Basement Waterproofing HELP!!

Old 03-24-16, 08:07 PM
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Basement Waterproofing HELP!!

I bought my house a few years back. It is a 1950's house and one of the features I liked about it was the 'waterproofing' system that the previous owner had installed. There were vinyl panels about 18 inches up the walls all the way around the floor. If any water came in, these panels were meant to guide the water down to the drainage system. A few months after moving in our entire city suffered a major flood where anybody with a absent lost everything in it thanks to the drainage and sewer systems backing up. The clean up crew removed the panels in order to clean behind them and there are hundreds of holes drilled about an inch above the floor level. Nobody that I have talked to has seen this type of system before. Is there something that I can do to repair these holes? Is this actually a waterproofing system? It rained moderately today and I have soaked through 4 full sized towels from water flowing out of the holes in my basement walls...
Old 03-24-16, 08:22 PM
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This is one of those shortcut "waterproofing" systems sold as alternatives to excavating the foundation and fixing the problem correctly. Essentially, instead of stopping the water from the outside, your system lets the water enter the foundation wall, and then drains it out of the wall through the holes into the panel collectors and down to internal drain pipes. I assume you also have a sump pump that then collects the water and pumps it out of the house.

If you plug the holes, the water will find another way into the basement. If you replace the panels, it may restore the operation but all the water filtering through the foundation walls will eventually cause you trouble.

The short term answer may be to replace the panels. The long term answer is to have the foundation excavated and properly waterproofed. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear. The only real way to have a dry basement is to keep the water from entering the foundation in the first place.
Old 03-24-16, 08:45 PM
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Hi Kevin,
I'm afraid my opinion is worse than CT's. Most basements were never intended to be lived in, dry, or finished in any way. They were just there to hold the house up. But home owners like the idea of utilizing all of that space and fall victim to the advertising that promises a dry basement. A dry basement starts during construction and basically encapsulates the floor, footings, and walls in a waterproof membrane. Slapping some tar on the outside of the walls doesn't do it.

Your system was not ment to stop the water as CT explained, but manage it once it entered. And, as you discovered that doesn't work under all situations. Whatever you do the restore the existing management system, you need to minimize your finishing plans down there. Run a dehumidifier down there and enjoy what you can.
Understanding Basements | Building Science Corporation
Old 03-24-16, 08:48 PM
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Yep, you have a water management system, not waterproofing. Waterproofing is done on the outside....
Old 03-25-16, 01:10 AM
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If you don't have a high water table, I would expose the foundation & seal the entire wall, from the outside. If you have the right materials & 4 day workers, you can do it in one day.

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