How to fix a Basement Water leak in NJ

February 02, 2013

How to fix a basement water leak in NJ

Most houses with a basement have a concrete foundation. Concrete is porous, it can absorb and retain water. These homes will usually leak so homeowners want to know how to fix a basement water leak in NJ.

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There are two main types of concrete foundations, Concrete Block or poured concrete.

  1. Concrete block is also known as CMU or Concrete Masonry Unit. These hollow blocks are typically 8” H x16”W x 8”D
  2. Poured Concrete walls are usually 8” thick of solid concrete.

These walls are sealed with a tar like substance before the backfill occurs. That is your house’s waterproofing. Most technically it is called damp-proofing. The tar is degradable and therefore not permanent. It does not last forever.

Every year snow melts and rain falls. Gravity pulls this moisture deeper into the frost line and because this seepage is constantly moving beneath the frost line, you should expect water related problems year round. As this water approaches your home it collects in the loosely packed soil that is pressing against your foundation. As the water level continues to raise the weight of the water causes pressure to build (Hydrostatic Pressure). This pressure forces water into settlement cracks in your home's foundation and sooner or later, into your basement.

why basements leak






The foundation is made of porous concrete that is no longer sealed.

Should you do an outside trench drain or inside French drain?

A trench drain is a trench covered with gravel or that redirects surface and groundwater away from an area. This is an outside drainage system. Most trench drains were simple ditches, pitched from a high area to a lower one and filled with gravel. Trench drains are common drainage systems, primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations. Similar drains are also used behind retaining walls to relieve ground water pressure

Trench or Perimeter Drains are often installed around a home foundation during the initial construction of the structure. They are buried around the foundation wall on the external side of the foundation. In most homes, an external drain tile is installed around the foundation walls before the foundation soil is backfilled.

The trench drain will help to move water from around the outside of foundation walls but doesn’t do anything for the water coming right up under the floor.

A French Drain is installed underneath the basement floor on the inside perimeter of the basement and relieves the hydrostatic pressure (water pressure) from the footing area.

The outside system is based on grading and gravity; the inside system uses a sump pump to remove water from the basement. The water enters the sump pit from the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, and then the sump pump pumps it up and out of the basement.

To install this kind of drain:

  1. The inside perimeter of the floor is cut approximately one foot from the wall. A trench is excavated and pitched.
  2. Where possible, the lowest course of block is tapped and bled (weep holes) in order to drain the walls.
  3. Fully slotted polyethylene drainage pipe is installed and covered with gravel. The basement floor is re-cemented to its original level.
  4. To discharge the water a submersible pump is installed in a covered polyethylene liner.

Because the French drain will relieve the pressure from the walls and the floor, the interior French drain is the way to go.

Posted by Waterproofing Solutions

Doug Lynch

Written by Doug Lynch

Doug Lynch, of Westfield, NJ is a Certified Waterproofing Specialist, Certified Mold Inspector, Certified Mold Remediation Expert, EPA Indoor AirPlus Ally, EPA Lead Safe Certified as well as member of Indoor Air Quality Association, Basement Health Association, North Central Jersey Association of Realtors, Coldwell Banker Concierge Services.

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