Leak in my basement

I've got a leak in my basement coming from under the drywall. Behind the drywall is a poured concrete wall. In the 4 years I've lived here I have never had any problems like this. The house was built in 2001. This leak started about the time I started to run the sprinkler system a couple of weeks ago so assumed it was related to that, but now I've gotten some water in the basement after a short heavy rain yesterday. So, now I'm thinking that it might have something to do with a failure in the drainage tile system, but I don't know.
Drawing of basement layout (sorry for the crude drawing):
http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/Squisher/leak.jpg
Basement wall before the carpeting got wet:
http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/Squisher/basement1.JPG
I adjusted the sprinkler heads so that they weren't spraying at all and dug up around them to expose 8" of funny tube, then cycled the sprinkler system, and made sure there weren't any leaks down below. I've now got them spraying nicely away from the house and zero leaks.
I also pulled back all the sod along that wall and filled with top soil where it needed to assure that there was a slope away from the house and packed the topsoil nice and tight to the wall.
After doing all this work and still getting a little water after a sprinkler cycle I really thought it was a problem of the lowest sprinkler head (back by the doorwall) was draining all the water in the system after a cycle, but now after that 15 minute rain storm yesterday and all the water that came in, I'm not so sure given the fact that the too numerous to count all day rain storms I've endured over the last four years went by without any problems. I'm not in a high water table. My sump pump only cycles during heavy rains.
I'm going to pull off some drywall to see if any insulation got wet and address any issues there, but I need a solution for the leak. Given the fact that so many "dry basement" companies are just pushing their system, what contractor should I call out first and is there anything I can do myself?
If it is a drainage tile problem, what is the best thing to do?
__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 4267 (20090722) __________
The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
http://www.eset.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've got a leak in my basement coming from under the drywall. Behind the drywall is a poured concrete wall. In the 4 years I've lived here I have never had any problems like this. The house was built in 2001. This leak started about the time I started to run the sprinkler system a couple of weeks ago so assumed it was related to that, but now I've gotten some water in the basement after a short heavy rain yesterday. So, now I'm thinking that it might have something to do with a failure in the drainage tile system, but I don't know.
Drawing of basement layout (sorry for the crude drawing):
http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/Squisher/leak.jpg
Basement wall before the carpeting got wet:
http://pics.bbzzdd.com/users/Squisher/basement1.JPG
I adjusted the sprinkler heads so that they weren't spraying at all and dug up around them to expose 8" of funny tube, then cycled the sprinkler system, and made sure there weren't any leaks down below. I've now got them spraying nicely away from the house and zero leaks.
I also pulled back all the sod along that wall and filled with top soil where it needed to assure that there was a slope away from the house and packed the topsoil nice and tight to the wall.
After doing all this work and still getting a little water after a sprinkler cycle I really thought it was a problem of the lowest sprinkler head (back by the doorwall) was draining all the water in the system after a cycle, but now after that 15 minute rain storm yesterday and all the water that came in, I'm not so sure given the fact that the too numerous to count all day rain storms I've endured over the last four years went by without any problems. I'm not in a high water table. My sump pump only cycles during heavy rains.
I'm going to pull off some drywall to see if any insulation got wet and address any issues there, but I need a solution for the leak. Given the fact that so many "dry basement" companies are just pushing their system, what contractor should I call out first and is there anything I can do myself?
If it is a drainage tile problem, what is the best thing to do?
__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 4267 (20090722) __________
The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
http://www.eset.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Its only 8 yrs old and through normal settling a few cracks likely, hopfully, opened, removing drywall is a good idea. If you find cracks you can fix them inside yourself. I have old walls and used foamboard for insulation and covered it with paneling , all made to be removed and replaced for a situation like yours. If wall is just soaking wet from high water then maybe 5 coats of UGL or another waterproofing, and keep the wall open till you figure out a fix. Its now wet and likely full of mold behind the drywall, just use laundry bleach to soak the area to kill whats growing, you can do the work in maybe a day, or pay thousands. If basement is humid, above 65% or so humidity, get a dehumidifer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CraigT wrote:

Double checking the sprinkler, and touching up the landscaping, was a good idea. Likely failure point is the outside waterproofing on the wall, and/or a metal form tie that got left in wall and rusted out, or was not clipped and sealed over properly. I have one like that in my 40 year old poured wall, that I need to get an epoxy injection kit for. No painless way to expose the outside wall and repair from the outside. In your case, if you can localize the leak point, you can peel back the sod, dig a pit, inject epoxy and spot-patch the water seal the proper way. Is there water sealer (the black or gray stuff) showing above the sod line on the sloped wall? Bare concrete below finish grade level is a problem, and many people like to had the nasty black line.
In my case, the proximate cause of the problem was pretty obvious. Idiot previous owner left an abandoned concrete patio under an 18" tall deck, and along with it heaving, he also put a slightly raised plant bed around the outside. Heavy rain, and there was a lake under the deck, slowly draining into the basement through the failed sealing and rusted out tie bar hole. I solved most of the problem by scraping the old patio with a long-handled hoe to remove debris, and cutting a drain channel out through the plant bed.
Time to demo the drywall to expose the leak. Start with a strip at the bottom, to narrow down where the leak is. Then go up there, until you see where the water is coming through. If you are hiring out the new drywall, probably just as cheap to demo whole wall, rather than try to patch it in. Unless the leak is only at slab level, your drain tiles are probably fine. If it is high on wall, like I suspect, it is coming from someplace else. Rainstorm-related says it is probably surface or near-surface water causing the problem.
Good example of why I'll never finish out a basement, and if I stay in this house, will likely end up UNfinishing it. IMHO, subterranean rooms SHOULD be concrete.
Oh, and while I am ranting- IMHO, many of those 'inside solution' basement dry-out companies are con artists. Had one come here and they tried to high-pressure me into signing a contract Right Then, for 7 grand, to put in interior drains. Quoted 15 grand to dig out the backfill and reseal the outside/replace failed perimeter drains, which was the correct solution. Claimed doing slit trenching is now illegal, and they would have to kill all the trees and dig yard out to a 45 degree slope to expose the wall. That is when I told him I grew up in the business, and I knew he was spouting BS, and basically threw him out. Sure was a slick pitch though, he even brought a cute little portable printer and gave me a stack of shiny pictures that he covered with circles and arrows using a red sharpie. I can easily see how homeowners with no background in residential construction could be panicked in to signing Right Then, and handing over a big check.
Before the flames start- yes, there are some lots and some houses where inside drains are the only viable solution. In many cases, those lots never should have been built on, or there should not have been a basement. But they are the exception, not the first solution out of the box for a minor leak like I have. -- aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Can we assume your gutters and downspouts, etc., are all working and correctly placed?
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't have an answer but I have a similar problem in my house and wondering if I can get suggestions on how to fix. My house was built in 2002. When it rains really heavy outside I notice a puddle of water on the basement floor. I have concluded that the water is leaking in where the sewage pipe goes through the foundation and out to the street. I have found a couple of people talking about this problem, one person said to seal it from the inside, another said you need to dig outside to where the pipe leaves the founadation and cover with a tar product. Whats the way to solve this problem? Is this something a plumber could repair?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I don't have an answer but I have a similar problem in my house and wondering if I can get suggestions on how to fix. My house was built in 2002. When it rains really heavy outside I notice a puddle of water on the basement floor. I have concluded that the water is leaking in where the sewage pipe goes through the foundation and out to the street. I have found a couple of people talking about this problem, one person said to seal it from the inside, another said you need to dig outside to where the pipe leaves the founadation and cover with a tar product. Whats the way to solve this problem? Is this something a plumber could repair?
Just get a spade and digg it up , use hydraulk water block cement on any cracks and tar the hell out of it...Friggin around inside is a waste of time and money....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

YOU CANT SEAL WATER OUT! YOUR BASEMENT ISNT A REVERSE BATHTUB!
The ONLY solution is redirecting the water from away and under your home. the high basement humidities just lead to mold growth even if the water isnt puddling inside.
the cheapest solution is a indoor french drain with sump pump to move the water far away from your home
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree with bob haller on this.
What causes basements to leak is an over saturated soil around the foundation. A hole was dug, in order for the basement to be built. After the walls were up, the area around the foundation was back filled with dirt. That dirt is more lose and more porous than the undisturbed soil around it and it takes many years, sometimes decades for that soil to settle and become as hard packed as the undisturbed surroundings. Therefore it acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water, and in your case the sprinkler water as well. The resulting hydrostatic pressure causes the water to infiltrate the basement walls, through cracks in the concrete, through the joint between the floor an the walls, and through the porous concrete itself due to capillary action. Therefore the way to keep basements dry is to keep that soil around the foundation as dry as possible.
Slope the terrain away from the house, keep gutters clean and downspouts discharging as far as possible, keep sprinklers and hoses away from the walls as well as any plants that need constant watering.
However you can't prevent rain from soaking your yard. And this is why houses are built with a french drain buried by the foundation footing. To help relieve the hydrostatic pressure by draining rain water and discharging it somewhere. Unless your home is very old, chances are that you do have one in place, hopefully in charge of diverting the water to that sump pump you mention you have. (I say hopefully because we've seem houses in which the drain tile is tied to nothing and leads nowhere, believe it or not.)
The problem with those drain tiles is that, they fail overtime. Which is what probably happened in your case, after 4 years functioning properly. It is probably clogged or collapsed. In addition, because they are buried, they can't be serviced when collapsed or flushed when clogged with mud and debris without digging out the foundation (and then making the dirt around it all loose and sponge-like again when you fill it back) and replacing the drain tile. If you have porches, decks, fixtures... well they will have to come off too.
This is why internal perimeter drainage systems were invented, and have been used successfully for over 20 years. They work like the external ones do: collect the water from the surrounding soil, divert it to a sump pump which gets it out and away from the basement. They can be installed internally, with much less disruption, for a fraction of the cost (about 50% less) of digging out foundations, and can be fully serviced over the years, which is why good reputable companies offer lifetime transferable warranty on them.
Just make sure you pick a company that has been in business long enough, so that you know that they will be there for years to come to to honor the warranty they give you, and good companies usually don't have obnoxious sales tactics. Call 3 in you area and sign nothing you are not absolutely comfortable with.
Oh, and one more tip. Even if you do sign something and then regret, every state in the US has a version of the FTC cooling off rules, which gives you a certain amount of time (usually 3 days, some states less, so please check the time in your area) to cancel any contract signed or purchase made outside the provider/seller's place of business, (that means your home), without incurring in any cancellation fees or penalties. This rule was created exactly to protect people from pushy door-to-door sales people. So feel free to shop around until you find a company and system that really makes sense to you.
Hope this helps.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yeah my moms house had bad water problems, installed exterior french drain aroundf most of home, all new downspout drain lines to daylight at street, regraded entire yard, replaced sidewalks steps and part of driveway. I was really proud, within 4 months the water was again coming in basement:(
Interior french drain fixed it fine for 3 grand
the outdoor work cost 9 grand plus me as a laborer for free,,,,
should of done the interior french drain first!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And the only way to know for sure is to go outside in a heavy rain and take a look. As an example, you could have a piece of corrugated pipe attached to a downspout and it could appear fine. But in a heavy rain, if it's not pulled up far enough and high enough over the downspout, I've seen water pouring out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.