wet basement

Hi,
Often times after it rains we have some quantity of moisture in our unfinished basement. Usually just a puddle in the middle of the floor but it is enough that we do not want to finish the basement until the issue is solved. What sort of professional do I call to just assess this problem? A civil engineer of some variety? I know I could call a contractor, but I would like to know for myself what the problem is before hiring someone to fix it. I'm in the Seattle area if that helps.
Neil
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There are, as Mr. Meehan notes, a number of things you can do yourself. Keep records of when and where the water turns up. Look for staining or other indications of the source. Look for water sources and flow outside. All these should help anyone who comes to look at the problem.
Check the yellow pages for a forensic engineer or architect. If there are none listed, try calling an attorney specializing in costruction law. They should be willing to offer up the names of contractors or design professionals that do the work. TB
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Skip all the hoo-ha, dig a sump well and install a pump. Get a few estimates from plumbers if you don't want to get dirty.
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"Skip all the hoo-ha, dig a sump well and install a pump. Get a few estimates from plumbers if you don't want to get dirty. "
What do you consider hoo-ha? The advice to make sure that water is being properly handled outside, before it gets to the basement? Or figuring out where it's coming from? Both of these are excellent areas of investigation that any competent basement water expert will tell you not only should be looked at, but MUST BE, before considering solutions in the basement. The first line of defense, which is essential to not only keep water out, but prevent damage, is to keep the water outside away from the house. And you can dig a sump well and install a pump and it won't solve anything, if there isn't a proper drain system around the foundation to lead the water to it.
To Joesph's advice, I would add, get outside during a heavy rain and actually see what's going on. Don't just rely on looking at slopes, etc on a dry day. You may be surprised to find water being blocked by shrubs, or to see a pipe that you thought takes water away from a leader to be overflowing.
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Fer sher dude, the OP will have the problem fixed right the first time and will never have water in their basement again. Might as well finish off the basement too because he spent big $$$ talking to hydro engineers who know better. Yup, don't dig a sump well, it'll never happen again. Might as well not even have flood insurance to cover the finished basement, because throwing good money at engineers is all that anyone needs.
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"Fer sher dude, the OP will have the problem fixed right the first time
and will never have water in their basement again. "
Anyone knowledgable about wet basement problems will tell you that the first thing to do isn' to put in a sump pump. The first thing is to try to understand where the water is coming from, how's it getting into the basement and what's going on outside. For example, if the lot outside is improperly graded, so that water is directed toward the foundation, that needs to be fixed. To do otherwise is like taking aspirin for a brain tumor and expecting it to be a cure. If it were as simple as putting in a sump pump, there would be no wet basements, nor would there be a big business in a variety of solutions to rid basements of water.
And further, a sump pump will do little good, unless there is a correct system installed around the perimeter of the foundation to bring water to the sump pit and everything is done right outside. To suggest all one needs to do is make a hole somewhere in a corner of the basement and put in a sump pump and that will magically absorb all the water from everywhere is simply foolish. You could put your sump pump in one corner, and 30 feet away, have the yard graded improperly, leaders dumping water right at the foundation, etc. and you can still have water coming in at that corner of the basement, regardless of a sump pump. It may eventually get pumped out by the sump pump, after it's made it's way from one end of the basement to the other, over the floor.
Might as well finish off the basement too because he spent big $$$ talking to hydro engineers who know better. Yup, don't dig a sump well, it'll never happen again.
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On 11 Oct 2005 07:19:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Absolutely. There's nothing like loooking at the problem to learn things.**
** (Not the same but I had to spend an hour in my convertible when it was raining hard to figure out where the leak in the top was and how to fix it.
Every basement below grade built in Baltimore County has to have a sump pump, and it did me well for over 20 years until last weekend. After 8 weeks with no rain, we had almost 7 inches of rain in 2 days (24 hours I think, spanning midnight) and the sump overflowed, even the pump was running constantly, and lots of water was coming out the pipe and being carried 30 feet away to the side of a hill.
Even if I had been in the basement at the time, I don't see how I could have stopped it from flooding.
When my pump rusted, I bought the non-rusting of equivalent size. That was all they had iirc, but I suppose I should look for a bigger one???
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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Can you tell WHERE the water is coming from ?
Look in the Yellow pages under plumbers/septic and in particular, look for ads that say something like "basements made dry" or the like. You should get 2 or 3 to come over and give your place a look and explain what they would have to do and give you an estimate.
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nlbauers wrote:

Step one is to keep the water away from your home. Make sure all downspouts are directed away from your home's foundation. Next look around your home. The ground, walks and drives should all slope away from the foundation for at least 10 feet (15 is better) in all directions. Normally taking care of these items will take care of the problem for good. After that the correct depends on your construction, what drains you may or may not have etc.
How much water is in the puddle? Does you basement have a drain? Is the drain backing up?
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Thanks all for your suggestions. I have several things I will try before sinking big money. Mostly I was curious about what flavor of professional would know about such matters, in case we don't succeed with eliminating the obvious. Thanks again.
Neil
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There are companies that specialize on waterproofing basements. I have started looking into them because I want to finish my basement and I get water when it rains. In my case water leaks in through a crack in the foundation. However, it sounds like you are not 100% sure were the water is coming in from. Do not be surprised if water is coming up through the concrete floor. A friend of mine referred me to a company called basement systems ( www.basementsystems.com ). I contacted them and they sent me a nice 30-something page book explaining the many ways that water can enter a basement and how to prevent it. Obviously, they are selling their solutions to the many different scenarios. At the very least contact them via the website and get the book. It is free and it came within 3 days.
Good Luck
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