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Our Wet Basement and Lessons Learned – Part 1

Posted by Sherry Rioux on August 19, 2010

I suspect many people worry that one day they’ll have a wet basement. Recently, that particular fear of my own came true when we discovered wetness in the basement of our 25 year old home.  Perhaps sharing our story might help others struggling with a similar issue and believe me, there are many of you out there!

A little history:  the house was custom built and then changed hands a few times. From what I’ve heard from neighbours, a wet basement had been an issue for a long time. Then, the owner before us decided to rectify the situation once and for all.  She had the foundation dug up, new weeping tile installed, the foundation walls wet-proofed with a blue skin membrane and put in the beginnings of a back yard drainage system.

This is a weeping tile

When we bought the house about 6 years ago, we were given copies of the invoices showing the work that had been done.  We then completed the drainage system in the rear yard which works like a charm.  We had confidence that any problem was surely rectified so we went ahead and finished the basement.  So, you can imagine our heartache when we opened a wall running along the back of our home only to find water running along the base where the floor and wall meet.  Everything above was dry which ruled out things like burst pipes, snow, rain or grading issues.  I knew right away that it was the weepers.  The 8 year old weepers!  I turned into one myself.  We wondered, how is this possible?

It’s worth taking a moment to explain weeping tiles.  According to a reference in Wikipedia a weeping tile is “used for underground drainage. The pipe is usually made of  plastic with small slits cut lengthwise into it. It is buried and surrounded by aggregate larger than the slits. The aggregate rocks prevent excessive soil from falling through the slits into the weeping tile. With this arrangement, water in the surrounding soil above the weeping tile flows into the weeping tile. The weeping tile then drains into a storm sewer or a sump pump.”  “It is used for water drainage near basement foundations to prevent flooding. It can be used in farmer’s fields to drain waterlogged fields. Such fields are called “tiled”. Weeping tiles can be used anywhere soil needs to be drained.”

“The weeping tile is to be installed so that the top of the product is lower than the bottom of the interior concrete floor. The weeping tile should be connected to a sump pit, located on the interior of the home. The ground water collected in the sump pit can then be removed by a sump pump. The exhausted water can be pumped a safe distance from the home by means of a flexible line or in some areas, into the city storm drains. Care should be taken not to create flooding conditions for adjoining properties.”

Next week- what we found and what we did

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