Water through the wall

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    • #278921
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      Gday all,

      I have water coming through the walls of my downstairs room – through the mortar, and also up through the concrete floor, leaching salt out. A bit about my layout, excuse my naive terminology – I just flush em, I don’t fix em.

      My block slopes from the road frontage down to the back. The back of the house has a split level with a rumpus room underneath. Along one side of the room, the ground level is about 1.5 metres above the room’s floor at the highest point. Along this side, a previous owner looks to have dug it out, probably laid ag pipe, and backfilled with broken tiles etc. Then a layer of soil (clay), then a layer of large scoria. This room was an extension, there’s also an old under the house room further under the house. When it rains heavily, water enters at two points (soon after the rain starts) – at each corner of the room closest to the old-under-the-house-room. Through the brick mortar.

      Our block doesn’t have a stormwater drain. Just at the back of this rumpus room we have a pit with a float valve operated pump. This pumps water straight onto the back lawn, towards the lowest level corner. I believe a previous owner has dug soak pits (is that what they’re called?) in that corner. I haven’t dug them up to look, but there’s bits of concrete, steel offcuts and broken tiles poking through the lawn in spots. Also, I know from a neighbour that the last owner laid ag pipe across the front of the house, along a garden bed.

      My feeling is that the basic problem is the groundwater level goes up quickly when it rains, and the block, despite some good intentions, doesn’t get rid of it fast enough. It looks like a fair amount of plumbing has been done here in the past, and I don’t really want to get burnt (aside from the fact that I bought the place, but that’s water under the bridge)

      Sorry to be so lengthy. My basic questions are is the groundwater thing the likely problem? What kind of solutions should I be looking at? I’m thinking of digging one hell of a deep drain all the way around the front of the block, but I don’t think the wife will agree with an open channel

      Any responses would be greatly appreciated, here or at sgillon.pms@parasoft.com.au

      Cheers
      Steve

    • #299578

      If the problem were simply surface water running on a reversed pitch toward your walls, you might be able to repair it yourself. Depending on the amount of pitch you need, you could possibly hand rake enough soil along the edge of the house to pitch water away from the walls. But if you are dealing with a water table problem, the repair is usually a MAJOR undertaking, out of the realm of do-it-yourself. That should be obvious by the amount of (unsucessful) work already done by the previous owner.

      I cured an almost identical problem at my home. Like you, it involved property that sloped from the road down to and past my house. Like you, I suspected water was building up underground after heavy rain.

      The solution was not for the faint of heart. I moved massive amounts of soil from around my foundation with my own backhoe. Fortunately, I did it when it was flowing underground, so I could see what was going on. I say fortunately, because it allowed me to double up on the perforated pipe when I saw how much water I had to move! I dumped many tons of gravel around the pipe, and had to seal the outside of the foundation with cement and tar. Then I had to put the yard back together. It worked. After several days of rain, the water would pour full pipe out of two 4″ ag pipes, instead of my walls.

      And it only took me three weeks of intensive labor and a full sized backhoe, and a small four wheel drive loader. It’s unlikely that you will fix this with a little hand work. And even if you have access to heavy equipment, you can get killed working in an excavation if you don’t know what precautions to take.

      Are you getting a picture of what a disaster this can be to fix? If you can’t live with it, get several prices from guys who do nothing but fix leaky foundation walls. You may get a large range of prices and methods. Whatever you choose, get a written guarantee that is will fix the problem.

    • #299579

      quote:


      Originally posted by CallMeChaz:
      If the problem were simply surface water running on a reversed pitch toward your walls, you might be able to repair it yourself. Depending on the amount of pitch you need, you could possibly hand rake enough soil along the edge of the house to pitch water away from the walls. But if you are dealing with a water table problem, the repair is usually a MAJOR undertaking, out of the realm of do-it-yourself. That should be obvious by the amount of (unsucessful) work already done by the previous owner.

      I cured an almost identical problem at my home. Like you, it involved property that sloped from the road down to and past my house. Like you, I suspected water was building up underground after heavy rain.

      The solution was not for the faint of heart. I moved massive amounts of soil from around my foundation with my own backhoe. Fortunately, I did it when it was flowing underground, so I could see what was going on. I say fortunately, because it allowed me to double up on the perforated pipe when I saw how much water I had to move! I dumped many tons of gravel around the pipe, and had to seal the outside of the foundation with cement and tar. Then I had to put the yard back together. It worked. After several days of rain, the water would pour full pipe out of two 4″ ag pipes, instead of my walls.

      And it only took me three weeks of intensive labor and a full sized backhoe, and a small four wheel drive loader. It’s unlikely that you will fix this with a little hand work. And even if you have access to heavy equipment, you can get killed working in an excavation if you don’t know what precautions to take.

      Are you getting a picture of what a disaster this can be to fix? If you can’t live with it, get several prices from guys who do nothing but fix leaky foundation walls. You may get a large range of prices and methods. Whatever you choose, get a written guarantee that is will fix the problem.


      Chaz, we did a job just last summer that also required extensive digging for a one family home in my area.

      We had some ditch diggers who used a Bob cat and hand shoveling digging over 15 feet down to help alleviate a water condition.

      Well, after 7 weeks of digging and installing several sump pumps and long runs of perforated piping and fiberglass for covering to keep silt out and using Johns Manville
      rubberized protection for the foundation we finally controlled to flow from being a real problem. $450,000 to move water was amazing.

      These folks had ditch diggers and a “water proofing engineer” plus my plumbing company standing by to hook up the sump pumps.

      Ever feel like writing a book water removal for fun and profit?

      Water can be a blip to trace the source.

      Being an ex stationary engineer tracing roofing and steam condensate leaks was a real challenge at times as you know.

      Never a dull moment.

    • #299580

      Thanks guys, except the bit about 3 weeks worth of excavation and $450k! Some great info, much appreciated.

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