Basement – Waterproofing

Here are a couple of shots of the basement.

The paneling and old counters removed and exposing the staircase. You can see the old water well under the stairs. Also visible is the back door landing structure and the stairs that lead up to the kitchen. Those two double 2X4 posts perched on bricks are so wrong for good structure.

Here is the sump pump in a very inconvenient place. The slope of the basement floor was also an issue. It varied as much as 7″ from high to low. The concrete was thin and cracking in some areas too.

Here I’ve freed the old water well pump. There’s still water in the well! It’s 30′ down, but it’s there. I took the old pump out and wired it up, the motor ran, but the pump had seen better days. We’ll think about how to get the well working later.

Here’s some nice 1930’s brick work. This is in the wall that bisects the basement into two rooms. I think this was originally to be an opening into a crawl space, but they decided to put a full basement on the other side of the wall instead.

Here is the patch that covered that elegant brickwork. The sign is a portion of a work scheduling board – back when this subdivision was built in 1930. This is done in chalk and has been there for 82 years. Pretty amazing! It reads:

Green Co. No. 1 – Worked Wed at 518 Villa Drive – Sid King called out – See the Boss. Talked to Sup, He is to dum – let him eat sh…

Apparently there was one disgruntled worker on that job – even during the Great Depression.

So now is the time to address the basement waterproofing. Although there was little water seepage, the future plans were to use this space as additional living space. I know the best way to waterproof a basement is from the outside. That’s not really an option in this case – cost is just too much to do a proper exterior foundation drainage system. I have used the B-Dry System in 2 other 1920’s buildings with very good results. There are several other systems available. It is sometimes called a french drain system.There can be problems with these systems. They can clog over time. There are other systems on the market that have an access hatch that will allow cleaning. I have the B-Dry system in our gallery that was installed in 1989 and still works fine.

So here’s how it’s done.

Here is the wall that is common with the stairs. There will be waste ejector pump and a sump pump located here. The concrete floor is broken up along the interior of the basement foundation. 12″ of dirt is removed for the drain pipes. I also ran some additional drains for a sink, full bath and condensate drain for the air conditioner.

The old sump pump being filled in. A plastic sheet is riveted to the wall. I will finish this off with a spray foam wall system later.

All exterior walls were dug up and a polypropylene pipe is buried at the footer. The trench is filled with gravel before the cement is replaced. Because of the two room configuration of this basement, two sump pump systems were needed.

This is the second sump pump in the workroom. This is a labor intensive job. The work crew takes two days to do the job. There were 8 workers. Nope, I didn’t haul the countless 5 gallon buckets of dirt out and gravel in. I watched them do this before, and I wouldn’t DIY this job – I’m crazy, but not a masochist.

The original sump pump is gone. The walls are drilled to allow water trapped in the walls to drain into the weep pipes which then drain by gravity into the sump pump. They finish the floor openings off with a high strength cement.

Here is the finished floor looking back towards the stairs. The rigid white plastic is very durable and the system does a great job keeping the basement dry.

The other side of the basement that will be a workroom eventually. There was a fireplace down here originally. The living room fireplace is directly above. I closed this one in, as the masonry fireplace wasn’t up to code to use – and I didn’t want a fireplace in my workroom anyway.

Here is the full bath rough in. These will be covered up with a new concrete floor. Yep, looks like I’m gonna make the concrete dude happy again.

Next time – it’s pumpin’ time – not water, but concrete.

Stay tuned.


9 thoughts on “Basement – Waterproofing

  1. I love that sign! I did something like that in college when I was helping my painting instructor clean up the tabourets (cabinets on wheels) and wrote messages on the bottom like “It’s Miller Time!” or something like that. 🙂 Your basement is a good size, lot of work to just dig up the dirt, glad you didn’t have to do it!

    • Yep, it’s about 1000 sq feet down there. I had this done at my present home and gallery – it is a great deal of work – so to save my old body I thought it best to let others do it. The old sign was pretty funny. Tacked up over that old hole since this house was built. So hidden signs are part of your past? Perhaps your grandfather did this one?

    • Thanks for stopping in. We don’t get extensive flooding here often. The city is situated on the Ohio river – but it’s several miles from here and our property is on a higher elevation than many areas. Last major flood was in 1937 with lesser ones after. Looking at your blog – you have had it rough, but the way you lifted your house is amazing – and beautiful!

  2. I’m working on behalf of the visual editor for HouseLogic. HouseLogic’s an editorial site published by the National Association of Realtors geared towards homeowners.

    We’ve found a photo of yours online of your basement stairs and really like it!

    We’re working on a slideshow about making your stairs safer and we’d like to discuss how we can use your photo. Is that something you’d allow?

    If so, let me know and I’ll send over our boilerplate image terms, including a description of how we would use the photo. Thank you for your time.


    Dave Shumaker
    National Association of REALTORS®
    p: 800-874-6500

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