is this the best price/performance fix for basement leak?

I've done the easy fixes (grading, move downspouts, etc.), but I still have an occasional bit of water run down one of the basement walls. This is a problem because I would like to refinish my basement. I have read that the most dependable solution is to excavate down to the footer, seal exterior walls, and install a footer drain. I don't want to put this kind of money down (beyond my weekend warrior level of labor) if another solution will work for my situation for less money. I am hoping to get some advice to make the most out the plan or perhaps receive advice on some alternative that can be done for under about $1000. The estimate for digging down to the footer, sealing, and installing drain was $4500.
Background: Parts of the North wall of my cinder block basement only leaks when North winds pound heavy rains against the house (or if sprinkler hits house above N. foundation).
Fix?: (1) Use a Bobcat to dig 5ft wide by 2ft deep trench around North side of foundation. (2) Seal the 2ft+ exposed part of the outer North foundation wall. (3) Attach 5ft wide sheet of flashing to the foundation about 1 ft below ground level with a slight angle away from the house. (4) Have the other end of the flashing empty into a small channel drain about 5 ft away from the house. Dig out remainder of channel drain that wraps around and drains behind the house. (5) Shovel dirt back over the flashing and channel drain and re-grass.
My initial idea is to go with thin aluminum flashing because it is resistant to the mice and moles in the yard. Where would one find such large sheets of flashing or perhaps another material (real thick plastic?) that will resist rodents and water. Thanks for any tips or alternatives.
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This isn't in your budget, but may be the best way to go:
I had a simular problem in a house I use to own. Cinderblock walls that leaked into the basement. There was no drainage at all. I hired a specialist who dug out a trench around the inside perimeter of the wall (about a 10' x 20' rectangle) laid in drain tile and installed a sump pump. This was back in 1990 and it cost me somewhere around $1500 to $2000 back then. The basement was dry from then on and I thought it was a great price at the time.
Ms Leslie Gossett

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That sounds quite high. A backhoe and operator for a day shouldn't be more than 800.00. The rest, including backfilling (as long as the backfill is placed alongside the trench) IS "weekend warrier" work. Or the operator could return after sealing for another couple of hundred.
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Ok. It sounds like I can probably fix leak the right way (dig down to the footer, seal, and install drain) for only a few hundred more than my "quick" fix. Are there any sealing methods that I should especially consider or avoid? I remember hearing about a rubber-like compound that works better than tar as a sealant. I've also heard about a method of attaching rigid plastic sheets along the foundation to keep out liquid water. Anyone know any details about these or other methods? I only have a small occasional leak, so I think "water-resistant" should be good enough compared to "water-proof," but I'd hate to be wrong once it's all refinished...
Ralph D.
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snipped-for-privacy@mail.com (Ralph D.) wrote in

Avoid tar as it is not waterproof but rather considered dampproof. It resists water penetration but does not stop it especially under pressure.
For a good waterproof foundation sealer, go to a local builders supply store, not the local hardware store or big box home improvement center. Ask specifically for products that meet code for foundation waterproofing and are elastomeric. Avoid anything masonry based. Most products will be trowel on but some will be spray on. Either are fine as long as you get an even application at the minimum recommended thickness. Wall prep is key. Wall MUST be free of all dirt, dry, and down to the bare masonry. Make sure that you use a protection board and install new footer drains and either backfill with gravel or use a drainage board.
There are several rigid sheet products used below grade in waterproofing applications but most are used as protection board or drainage board. They still requires a waterproof barrier between them and the foundation wall. One rigid (actually semi-rigid) waterproof board is Para-seal. Not sure I have the name right but it is either an EPDM or PVC board that uses a bonded layer of sodium bentonite between it and the wall. The board is mechanically fastened to the wall. The sodium bentonite expands under pressure when in contact with water and prevents water penetration. Lead panels have also been used for foundation waterproofing, although that is dying out. Sodium Bentonite also comes in a stand alone rigid panel, but reuires a separate protection board. None are for DIY'ers though.
Water resistance is never a good thing to do. If you are going to dig up the foundation wall, take the time to do it right. Builders get burned all the time thinking that "water resistant" will be fine.
Check into Bituthene as a potential waterproof barrier. With a little instruction, it can be done DIY, and is a far better product than the vast majority of trowell on products.
No matter waht you choose make sure you have replaced all footer drains and provided some kind of all wall drainage.
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