I have a 3 year old brick home with block foundation. The foundation is
also grouted with concrete and rebar. On the front of the house,
approximately in the center (under the stoop and front door), there is a
6-8ft section of the foundation that is persistently damp. The dampness
never disappears, but it does get worse when it rains--even a small
rainfall will soak the wall.
The builder has tried sealing the brick and thrice tried sealing the
block on the inside, but with no effect. Now, the builder's proposal is
to coat the inside of the block with Thoroseal concrete top coat. Aside
from the fact that just covering the 6-8ft section will make the entire
wall look bad (part of it is in the integral garage and would never be
finished), I'm not convinced that this is anything more than a band-aid.
However, the builder is telling me that he doesn't know what else to do.
Does anyone have any ideas, or comments on the builder's proposed
As always, the first thing to do is get water away from the
Do have a valley on each side of the porch dumping water in the
nice flower bed and tree planting on each side of the porch? You
will never win unless you get the water well away from the
You are correct that anything on the interior is a Band-Aid. The
solution is on the outside.
Water proof/damp proof? With what?
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
The grade is away from the building, so no problem there.
Basically, it looks like a Tuff-N-Dri clone: a spray-on rubber membrane
with foam attached over top. There is an exterior french drain.
My only other thought is that the weep holes on the brick are probably
below grade. They're certainly below the landscape mulch bed, and may
even be below the underlying soil. I'm not sure how I would solve this
problem, as I can't very easily change the grade of the lot.
Stop water from getting into the wall, not before it leaves the wall. You're
contractor doesn't want to hear this because it means digging a hole. Too
bad. That's what needs to be done. DanG's bang on target.
Is the french drain there from the start? Is it adjacent? Why is it there?
Does the topography betray the existence of an natural waterway in the area
that might now be underground?
Hey metaphorical neighbor -
I recently endured the mother-load of moisture problems with our
cursed house, and have finally resolved the problems. Fortunately for
you and your builder (friend?), moisture problems can be handled in
sequenced progression in order of difficulty/disruption.
1. Collect water from your roof with gutters, and dump it out well
away from the foundation, preferably flowing to an area below slab
level, or your neighbor's koi pond. Otherwise, the outflow may just
pool below ground and come right back to your foundation.
2. Slope soil adjacent to foundation ~ 5% for ~ 5' out, preferably
3. Next step is unpleasant. You can either do an interior sump-pump
approach, or an exterior excavation.
a. I went with an exterior approach because, like you, we only had
a problem with one wall, and I don't like interior sump-pumps because
I don't want a mold factory in my basement. If you are fortunate,
like me, you can install a weep pipe encased in a soil-fabric sock at
slab level to daylight. Remember to slope pipe ~2% to assist
particulate flow, and backfill with course gravel/sand. If you can't
reach daylight at slab level, then you have a bit more excavation on
your hands - either dump weep pipe into exterior sump-pump tank, or
likely in your case, a dry-well would suffice based on your problem
being one of dampness, not water flow. You could make the judgement
which way to go based on how much water is flowing from the weep pipe
exit. Depending on site particulars and personal exercise regimen,
this can be done by hand in a day or two, or a few hours with a back-
b. Or, install an interior sump-pump, starting simple with just a
collection tank rig, and expanding horizontally along the wall edge as
required to resolve problem.
Before going hog wild here, you should also resolve the weep hole
issue. I suppose it's possible the exterior water shield is working,
but moisture behind the brick is somehow making its way behind the
scenes and showing up in your basement. If this is the case, then the
steps I recommended won't do much other than cost someone money and
work up a sweat. I suspect the fix in this situation is a lot easier
than installing a slab-level weep pipe.
- Good luck and good day,
Bob Stanley - Handy Man
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