Basement beginnings: Water proofing? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-31-2014, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,
I figured I'd try to see your input here since most of you have your theaters/game rooms in your basements.

We bought our house 3 years ago with an unfinished basement. We're looking to add a game room/sports bar type of retreat for the guys.

Right now the concrete foundation does have a few cracks in it, one that leaks during hard rains/snow melt. It doesn't leak much (at most there was about a half-gallon of water after a very heavy week of rain).

I decided to call in a few basement waterproofing companies and one came today. I was simply thinking we needed the crack repair, but they said the only solution is a French drain system with a sump pump.

The entire time I kept thinking this seems a bit overkill, but I let them state their case...

Now, our house was built in 1999, along with several others as part of a development. Our neighbors mostly all have finished basements, without sump pumps. The man doing the estimate said water could happen at any time, and the fact that the house has been around for 13 years without major water issues means nothing...


So here's where the questions comes into play: am I being sold something I don't need? What did you guys do for water proofing? Does a French drain system seem overkill to you, or is the waterproofer correct?

Thanks for any input/discussion.
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-01-2014, 09:57 AM
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You are most definitely being sold something you don't need. These national water proofing companies have the same script they use at each house. They offer the same remedies and always offer some discount, payment plan, or better price if you make your job available on their schedule and not your. Odds are they even did the hammer test and smacked the floor and said you had soil erosion underneath.

You need a solution, but the major waterproofing companies will most likely not cost effectively solve your problem. They also are near impossible to get their warranty paid out if future problems arise. They would most likely find an extenuating circumstance as to how their work fixed the issue and the new problem is in fact a new issue not addressed with their previous work. All of these words come from experience in people who have worked with these companies and going through their sales pitch.

Your solution might be DIY where you create a slope away from the foundation, dig out a few feet around the foundation down a couple feet and put in a water barrier, gravel, and drain tile. I have some basement finishing books which go over all of this on how to get the water away from the foundation so it doesn't go through the wall.

The best in place fix I have ever seen was at my parent's house two decades ago where they had a large crack and it was high pressure epoxy injected. That never leaked water again and the crack never grew.

A new crack showed up elsewhere a few years back with a waterfall of water coming through and the current method used was a low pressure polyurethane epoxy fill. You can hire this out for a few hundred or buy the materials yourself from McMaster.com. This crack still gives them issues as the crack was most likely not completely filled even after three attempts. They were told this polyurethane is usually perfect, but this time it has not been for them.

The solution to your water problems are between $300 and $2000 most likely. Any more to that and you are being extorted.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-01-2014, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizzygone View Post

Hey all,
I figured I'd try to see your input here since most of you have your theaters/game rooms in your basements.

We bought our house 3 years ago with an unfinished basement. We're looking to add a game room/sports bar type of retreat for the guys.

Right now the concrete foundation does have a few cracks in it, one that leaks during hard rains/snow melt. It doesn't leak much (at most there was about a half-gallon of water after a very heavy week of rain).

I decided to call in a few basement waterproofing companies and one came today. I was simply thinking we needed the crack repair, but they said the only solution is a French drain system with a sump pump.

The entire time I kept thinking this seems a bit overkill, but I let them state their case...

Now, our house was built in 1999, along with several others as part of a development. Our neighbors mostly all have finished basements, without sump pumps. The man doing the estimate said water could happen at any time, and the fact that the house has been around for 13 years without major water issues means nothing...


So here's where the questions comes into play: am I being sold something I don't need? What did you guys do for water proofing? Does a French drain system seem overkill to you, or is the waterproofer correct?

Thanks for any input/discussion.

I have such a system in my home.

I can't speak to your situation or home but I can tell you about my own experience with such a system... And it depends on how you define "13 years without MAJOR water problems". I'm a bit particular, but I want zero problems. So, I installed a similar system B-Dry. http://www.bdry.com/home

For me, it's the only solution if you want an absolutely dry basement. I have installed the B-Dry system in my home (and previous home). It is done in a day and I've never had a drop of water since. Moreover, the wall paneling they put up keeps mildew and that basement smell at bay. The only downside is if the power is out for an extended time, you may get wet if it's pouring out. However, a passive water pump can prevent that (and it does not require power). Or, like our home, you can install an automatic, whole home generator so power to the pump is not an issue.

Here's a photo of the vapor barrier and you can see where they dug out and re-poured the periphery of our basement. Moisture from the walls is simply directed down the vapor barrier and into the drain system and pumped out. Once installed, you simply drywall over it.





I am a big fan because I've had experience with the system for 15 years and two homes. I will not put up with water damage and take chances on cheap products like others might. It works and it's as bullet-proof as any other solution out there.

Good luck!

My Home Theater of the Month- Le Petit Trianon

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-01-2014, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting: two different opinions on the matter. Hopefully we can get a few more.

We bought the house with a crack in the foundation, and what looked to be an epoxy fix, but it may have been a hoax: cutting the plugs, there doesn't seem to be anything behind it.

I'm still unsure of what to believe. I'd like to avoid a huge cost for something that is a hoax.

May I ask, the bland, what size basement do you have, and if you don't mind a guesstimate of what you spent? Thanks!
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-01-2014, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizzygone View Post

Interesting: two different opinions on the matter. Hopefully we can get a few more.

We bought the house with a crack in the foundation, and what looked to be an epoxy fix, but it may have been a hoax: cutting the plugs, there doesn't seem to be anything behind it.

I'm still unsure of what to believe. I'd like to avoid a huge cost for something that is a hoax.

May I ask, the bland, what size basement do you have, and if you don't mind a guesstimate of what you spent? Thanks!

Yes, two opinions but only one with in home experience for a number of years:D. It's not a question of whether the system works, it's really if you need such or simply want to have such a system installed. It will do the job.

We have a smaller basement (25 X 35 ft). Likely 120 linear ft. We did the whole perimeter with a single sump. We haven't replaced the sump and have had no issues. The basement air is as nice as the upstairs. No mildewy smell.

In my first house, I had them only do 1/3 of the basement as it saved money and the other side was always dry. You don't have to do the whole basement.

The system works and your basement will never leak, but it is costly. I put it in 10 years ago and I think I paid around $6000-$7000.

If you're really going to finish off your basement nice with thick carpet, drywall and a nice theater, I think it is money well spent. Otherwise, filling the crack would likely solve it (until another occurs). Just check your insurance if you are having infrequent issues (few insurance companies pay for basement floods around my neck of the woods).

As you can tell, I'm a big fan.

Good luck.

My Home Theater of the Month- Le Petit Trianon

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-02-2014, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I was afraid of that price. I read a few articles online that put the estimate at $3-5000 but after looking at Angie's list reviews i got the feeling that was incorrect.

I'm wondering if it's something I could even do myself. I'll be ripping up the floor a bit to put in plumbing, so while I have a jackhammer, it seems like it'd be feasible to do the work myself (although working around things like the electric panel and sewer would be things I'd need to research how is done).

I can't imagine the materials cost much. I just wonder if I can find them to purchase myself without being a contractor.

I know it'd be labor intensive, but if the cost savings is there, it makes sense to me.


But I'd also like to hear a few more opinions on the matter. Like I said, my neighbors all live in houses with finished basments, but nobody has the drain tile system or sump pump. Plus I know some people see a sump pump as a turnoff when house shopping, and issue I'd like to avoid should we ever sell.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-03-2014, 02:49 PM
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Just a quick aside -- I don't know if I was being fed a line of bull by our builder or not, but supposedly here in NJ interior french drains are not permitted by code. This came up in conversation because I told him I wanted to be as sure as possible that our basement would not have water issues. He said he used to install them all the time to help prevent water damage, but no longer can. I'd guess if one is being offered to you that your area allows it, but you may want to check. Moreover, there must be some reason that our local code disallowed them (if it is indeed true, I took his word for it).
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-04-2014, 05:46 AM
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I used B-Dry in 2005 on a ~1,000 sq. ft. basement and it was ~$4,500. That consisted of digging a trench around the perimeter of my basement (inside) filling with gravel then concrete on top, filling in the existing sump pump well and digging a new one in the opposite corner of the basement and installing a new pump, and approximately 6 of the white vinyl-type sheets like 'thebland' mentioned installed over small cracks in various parts of the basement. I've had issues with the sump pump dying, water coming through a window, etc. but haven't had any issues with the B-Dry system.

Since money is a factor, I would start with the outside of the house. Run all your gutter downspouts way out into your yard, bury them if you have to. Get a couple loads of dirt and pile it up around the problem area to create a nice slope away from the house. If you can keep the majority of water that collects of your roof far away from your house, it might be as simple as that.

With that said, I'm with 'thebland' in that I want absolutely zero water problems. My new house, which has a much nicer finished basement, has a sump pump, a water operated backup sump pump, and an alarm inside the well that goes off if both pumps malfunction and the water level rises smile.gif
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-04-2014, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
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If the cost was only about $4500, I'd jump right on... But my impression is that the charge much more around these parts... Maybe double that, which really digs into my budget.

The exterior is about as fixed as it could be... The issue is the problem area is directly below my front stairs, which are solid concrete... So there isn't a very easy way for me to build up beneath them....although I certainly plan on trying in the spring.
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