[s-cars] More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Keeping Water Out of the Basement

Calvin Young calvinyoung at cox.net
Mon Feb 9 20:05:34 PST 2009

The way to keep water out of the basement is to get the water to to  
go somewhere else.  This means draining it away by gravity, not using  
paint.  In time, nothing else works; water will get to the place it  
wants to go.  It is the irresistible object that will eventually move  
all immovable objects.

The procedure before the house was built should have been:

1. Parage the walls with portland cement
2. Use a french drain tile system (perforated drain tile covered with  
stone) on the perimeter of the exterior walls
3. Cover the stone with a nylon fabric made to prevent the stone from  
getting fouled by the dirt.  Get the outlet of that drain to a place  
where gravity will take the water to your neighbors house.
4. Create swale around the house to get the water away before it  
sinks into the ground in the first place
5. use a guttering system that also gets water away from the  
foundation and into the swale

Get enough water trapped around the foundation of a house and it will  
find a weak spot and come in.  Collected water weighs over 8 pounds  
per gallon.  As it accumulates, it creates tremendous hydrostatic  
pressures.  Just imagine thousands of gallons trapped in the soiled  
around your house, just looking for the one weak spot in your wall.   
It becomes like water trapped in a water tank.  The deeper the  
basement, the more pressure.  No paint can stand up to that.

Ironically, the weakest spot is perimeterusually not the wall itself,  
but the "cove" area,  that place where the wall and the foundation  
meet.  This is the weakest spot and the pressures are the greatest.   
I have had three homes with over two feet of water magically appear  
after week-long drenching rains that suddenly became downpours.  To  
equalize the pressure, it filled all that space in the empty  
basement.  Just like us after three or four beers.

  If you do not want to go through all that expense, next best is to  
create a french drain system inside the perimeter of the house with a  
sump pump system that will pump out the water that does come in;  
taking care to get that water into a swale away from the house for  
obvious reasons.  Yes, you have to cut the concrete all around the  
perimeter with a saw for about four inches or so and put in the tile,  
stone and fabric, and then re-cement.

next best and cheapest is to just dig a hole and put in a sump pump  
with rock in the bottom.  The water, if there, will find its way to  
the low spot and be pumped out.

Forget drylock, it looks good in the commercial, but is no  
alternative at all.

If you insist on a sealer, Sears and other companies used to sell a  
product called "Crack Stop" that you poured on the exterior of the  
house near the wall after making a trench.  This sealed the cinder  
block on the outside.  I think Drylock may have put them out of  
business because it seems like it worked better.
  The last thing you want to do is sandblast the inside of the house,  
you will NEVER get rid of the dust and you have no idea what is in  
that paint, could be lead and that will kill you and your newborn.


> Said basement has concrete block walls with atleast two coats of  
> paint.
> I am going to finish off the basement using standard 2x4 stud  
> construction,
> but feel it would be prudent to seal the block walls with Drylock or
> some similiar product. In order to do this I need to strip the walls
> of the current paint.
> Does anyone know of a mediablaster that "recovers" it's spent media?
> Also does anyone recommend a sealer other than Drylock?
> Thanks
> Chris

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