water in basement :-(

So, our house is about 6 weeks old now (new construction - we closed at the of May), and we're having some rather severe problems in our basement.
While it has been raining seemingly every day now for the past month here in Atlanta, we've been to the basements of other houses still under construction in the same subdivision and none of them have the problem we're having, so it's just our house.
And the problem is, we're seeing water on the basement floor. It's worst after a heavy rain, of course, but regardless we get wet floors. It's mostly just at the base of two of the walls, and in one corner the water actually pools up, though mostly its just dampness on the floor along the walls. The floor at the middle of the basement is dry as a bone - it's just where the wall meets the floor, coming out maybe 2 or 3 inches from the wall.
There's no dampness on the walls, mind you, JUST the floors.
There are no visible cracks anywhere in the floor.
I have a weather gauge down there that showed the humidity at 80% at one point. The builder came and put a dehumidifier in the basement, but after a week of running 24/7, the humidity is down to just 72%.
About a week ago we saw (yellow) mold growing on stuff we had stashed down there, so we've spent the past week trying to clean up what we could and tossing the rest.
The foundation has the black stuff (tar?) on the outside, and like I said, it's not coming in via the walls anyways. The windows and door are sealed correctly, so that's not the source of the problem, and anyways the areas most affected are those furthest away from the windows and door.
The grading on the house appears ok, although I don't have instruments to measure it - I'm just eyeballing it.
The downspouts were just the standard ones that didn't have any extensions on them, but after we complained the first time the builder added some piping to the downspouts so they emptied out about four feet from the foundation. It appears that did little to nothing about this problem.
The builder also ran a snake through the foundation drain (which yes, it is exposed to the surface at both ends) and there was nothing clogging the drain.
We've checked all around on the second floor ceilings for leaks and there's nothing visible. Nothing visible in the attic either, so there's no *obvious* leakage coming in from the top of the house.
The builder doesn't have any more ideas (at least not that he's sharing with us), and we certainly don't know what else could be the problem, unless there just so happens to be a spring under our foundation (I know one guy to whom that actually happened!).
While it's tempting to just throw down a sealant on the basement floor and forget about it, that only keeps the water from getting to the top of the basement slab, it doesn't stop it from permeating the entire rest of the slab just short of the surface.
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Do you have a sump pump? You must have a lot a high water table. The hydrostatic pressure below the slab is causing the moisture to permeate the slab. If you don't have a sump you probably need one.
I would go back to the builder and insist that they install a sump well & pump.
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I'm not aware of there being a sump pump and the builder never mentioned there being one. I'll bring it up next time I talk to him.
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snipped-for-privacy@angelfire.com wrote:

I wouldn't--he'll jump on that as a cheap out if you're satisfied w/ living w/ a band-aid over the problem.
Have him fix the daxxxed problem right!
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I would go back to the builder and insist they regrade and install drain tile <correctly> and waterproof to fix the problem...
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Sealing the floor is not a good answer.
Echoing Call the building department inspector and have a chat. What is the builders warrantee?,,,, god help ya if it is KB. Be persistent, as soon as it dries out the problem will go away. Then when the warrantee is gone it will resurface. Get the de humidifier on high and check in another week.
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Im sure your builder knows the answer but does not want to tell you or spend the money to fix it. You will need to get out the right pros to help you, an engineer etc, even the bldg inspector should help and he is free. It is probably from where the slab meets the wall and can be ground out and sealed again. But has the water table risen, do you have a spring, here you need onsite help. You say there is an exposed foundation drain, do you mean draintile under the foundation, these usualy run to a sump and pump. How large is the basement and the dehumidifier, are you running AC because it is strange that you can`t dehumidify it easily to 45% . My basement 600 sq is at lake level and a 40 pt unit easily keeps it at 40% if I wish. Are any water pipes above the area and are they condensing, dripping? It could be an expensive fix for the builder
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The builder did put some sealant where the wall meets the floor (looks a lot like caulk to me, actually, except that it's grey instead of white...).
There is a creek running maybe 200 feet behind the house, but that is at a lower elevation even than our back yard.
As for the foundation drain - the builder called it a foundation drain and hasn't mentioned anything about draintiles, but I'm not a construction expert and am not even sure what is a drain tile.
The basement is the same size as the first floor of the house, which I guess mean's it's around 1000 or 1100 square feet. We don't normally run the AC except maybe an hour in the evening.
There are water pipes in the basement, but I did check those first thing and there wasn't any obvious problem with them.
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"As for the foundation drain - the builder called it a foundation drain
and hasn't mentioned anything about draintiles, but I'm not a construction expert and am not even sure what is a drain tile"
You say you don't have a sump pump. So where does the foundation drain go to? It has to take the water away somewhere.
As for thinking about applying a sealer to the floor and forgetting about it, that isn't going to work. If there is water, it has to be eliminated. Sealers almost never work as the water just finds another way in. Or the pressure overcomes the sealer. That sealer the builder applied that looks like caulk is useless.
I'd start by taking a look outside when there is a heavy rain. See where water is actually going, pooling, etc. You may be suprised. For example, I once had a problem I couldn't figure out. When I finally went outside during a downpour, I realized the flexible 4 inch pipe I had on the end of one of the leaders was backing up and water was spewing out the top of it because it wasn't placed high enough up on the leader.
Then I'd figure out where the foundation drains are going and get a sump pump put in. There's nothing wrong with having a sump pump to solve this problem. With a history of water on the floor, I'd most certainly want one anyway to prevent a future possible disaster, even if you don't need it to fix this problem.
Finally, in many cases these problems are worse with new construction and may get better over time. That's because with disturbed earth around the house, it's easier for water to get in. Also, if you want to figure out where the water table is, you can get one of the round auger type post hole diggers with a couple add on lengths of pipe. Just did a hole and keep going till you find the water level.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Well, it better be going away from the house...and a sump pump isn't the answer, it should better be on the outside.
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I second the idea of going out when it is raining outside to actually see how the water flows. Water is such a dynamic thing that we will have a hard time to imagine how it flows. And the water can flow differently in a mild rainy day and in a heavy downpour. We will have to see it to believe.
A few examples:
- A few leaves on the gutter didn't seem to be able to stop the water flow. But they can slow the flow just enough in a heavy downpour to overflow the gutter especially if the drain hole in the gutter is not big.
- The second floor in my house has a section of downsprout channels water from the roof to the gutter in the first floor. In a downpour, the water from that downsprout can come out in such a full force that it skips pass the first floor gutter and land on the ground.
I would not believe these if I hadn't seen these.
Jay Chan
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I had the exact same problem in my house. The water would be in a pool in a low area right in the middle of the floor with No signs of where it came from......
I was not home enough to catch it happen. I looked at everything such as over head water pipes or drains that could be leaking. I thought it was coming up thru the floor and the builder swore it was imposable to come up thru the cement floor due to the way it was done.
Finally I was home during a good down poor and found the water entering from around the sewer line where it went thru the foundation wall which was covered with insulation. It would run down the wall and to the low spot in the middle of the floor and the trail would evaporate leaving no signs what so ever of where it came from.
I bought this product called Great Stuff and used a straw to get it in as deep as I could and seal the pipe entrance. Well this stopped the leak from that pipe and moved it down to the next pipe which was the incoming water line so I sealed that in the same manner.
I have never seen any water since and that was about 8 years ago. May or may not be your problem but though I would pass it on.
Bernie
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I'd get the builder to do everything he can without installing a sump pump, then when he has done all that, then have him install a sump pump.
It is better to have a sump pump but to not really NEED one.
Remember, they don't work when the power is out.
Mark
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I could not agree more, but in the rainy/wet season they will get a lot of use on a lot with a high water table or has drainage issues. Speaking from experience unfortunately...
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If it's water table you're going to need a sump pump and drain tiles, preferably on the outside. but if need be, on the inside along the walls. If it's ground water that is draining down along the outside of the foundation then it's got to be graded away. Can you dig a hole down to the depth of your foundation--if so, you won't have any problem determining if you have a high water table. If it's water table the last thing you want to do is to try and seal it--the water is going to get in and if it doesn't, worst case, your floor will crack. I've seen a crack right down the center of the floor. It's a bummer and too bad you didn't see this before you closed on the house. MLD
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We did look carefully at the basement before we closed - we walked away from a house closing a few weeks earlier due to concerns over extensive cracking in the basement (and that house was only 11 months old!). There was no apparent problem at the time of closing.
But then it started raining, seemingly every day now for several weeks straight. While it could just be due to excessive rain, none the less we feel there shouldn't be water coming in no matter the amount of rain, at least not if they did the job right. Since the subdivision is still under construction, we've walked through other basement homes and haven't seen anything like this, even in the houses literally right next door to ours.
If the houses on either side of us don't have this problem, it seems to me like the problem is with the construction itself. I could be wrong, but that's my first impulse.
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If it has been raining so much your water table may have risen temporarily. If your lot is in the the right (or wrong) place the water from the surrounding lots might find their way to yours. This is my situation. I seem to have a high water table on my lot, whereas my neighbor who is slightly up hill doesn't have it as bad, judging from how often his sump drains vs. mine.
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It's a daylight basement, however, exposed in the back of the house, so I would expect if there was a rising water table the backyard would also be flooded? Only it isn't. In fact, the back yard seems to drain pretty well.
*blink*
I better check that it isn't draining back into the basement...
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Not necessarily, surface water can dissipate pretty quickly if there is no blockage or pooling on the grade. Water that soaks into the ground from the surface has travel through, obviously, the ground: clay, soil, rock, etc. Clay is especially bad because it takes a long time to saturate and then a long time to dry out. Now consider the crushed stone underneath your basement slab. Water can travel through that pretty easily and most likely collects there if it cannot get out fast enough through the surrounding soil conditions. It's not intentional but the stone located below subterranean basement slabs acts like a drywell in wet locations. Therefore a sump pump is required to keep the water level below the slab.
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