Our Wet Basement and Lessons Learned – Part 2
After a great deal of panic and hand-wringing, we contacted a company called Pipe Vision who came over and ran cameras through the weepers to see what was going on. Sure enough, the weepers were so plugged with silt in several areas that the camera could not even penetrate. While this answered the question of why the basement was wet (weepers not working), it still did not answer why these relatively new weepers could be so clogged.
I know from 21 years in the real estate business that the very best contractor around for this type of problem is a fellow named Frank Fisher – a third generation excavator who has seen just about everything in this area. Between him and his side-kick John Bettencourt, they know soil conditions and construction issues the way they know how to breathe.
Although we had to wait a full 3 months for them to be available, they finally came and the fun began. With incredible finesse and skill, Frank excavated our entire foundation. All we saw were 20 foot high mounds of dirt. The grass was pretty well gone. Our stone patio and entry stairs were gone, our two decks were taken apart and it felt a bit like a noisy war zone most days. As it turns out, it was a great learning adventure.
We learned three important things:
1. There was a very old (likely from the 1800’s) clay drain tile emptying about 3 feet away from the foundation providing a continuous source of water underground.
2. The weepers that were put in before were installed incorrectly! As pointed out in part 1, the weepers must be installed BELOW the footings whereas these ones were resting right on top.
3. The aggregate (stone) covering the weepers was dirty stone as opposed to clean stone meaning that silt filtered through directly into the slits of the weeping drainage pipes and, there was no proper filter cloth creating a screen.
Over a period of 8 days, all the weeping tiles were replaced with new ones, new clean stone was wrapped and put in, the walls were re-tarred for damp-proofing and a rubber dimple wrap was added for water-proofing. The soil was filled back in, the land graded and the first stage of construction completed.
As John says, you could float the house in Georgian Bay now and we’d stay dry. I think he’s right! Here’s a 90 second clip showing some of our adventure.