Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Starting from the Bottom Up - the Basement Gets a Major Upgrade Part 2: Waterproofing

I'll bet you thought we were done with the basement - but there's still so much more to do!  

With the asbestos remediation and the giant fireplace removed, it was time to tackle the ongoing wet basement issue.  As we previously discussed, the house (and basement) is at the bottom of a 20 foot high wall of ledge (granite rock).  That means there is always some water flowing down there.  The original builders tried to accommodate that by installing a narrow crevice cut around the perimeter -  it contained gravel so the water could be channeled away.  And that probably worked for awhile, but over the decades, that gets filled with silt and no longer works - see the water coming in from the side walls?  We needed to fix that with a comprehensive waterproofing system.
This basement is always wet

But before we could get started, we had to get the basement emptied.  That meant the giant anchor of a boiler had to leave. 

And it was a huge task.  The boiler had to be cut into sections so the guys could cart it off.  Some days, sparks really do fly!!!

The scrap guys took all the metal we had - including the kitchen sink! 😂

Everything - including the Kitchen Sink!

With everything out of the way, Dave from Concrete Prescriptions could get started.  First step was to break up the existing concrete floor.  Why?  A typical waterproofing job only breaks up the perimeter of the floor.  But for this job, the owner wants to use the basement for exercise equipment and needs a clear open space for that.  One side of the basement has a ceiling height of 81" - the other is 87".  Yup, there is a 6" difference from one side of the room to the other.  You can't miss the sloping floor as you walk through the room!  And how could exercise equipment ever work right with that kind of slope?? (but wait, if your exercise bike was facing the downward slope, would it be easier???😂)

And curiously, the side that was lower had a much thicker concrete floor.  The other side of the room was only an inch or two thick! 

Super thick 8" concrete at the high end of the basement

Next, he created a trench around the perimeter and filled it with plastic drainage pipe (There was so much residual water in the basement, as soon as he got the trench dug, it started to fill with water). The pipe gets wrapped in permeable fabric, so it can never fill with silt.  Once in place, it gets surrounded by gravel. The pipe slopes towards a new sump pit, and the new sump pump will pump all the water out.  

There was so much ground water, the freshly dug footing holes filled with water!

This trench goes around the entire perimeter of the basement
The side walls get a plastic embossed fabric that will channel any water that comes in through the walls down to the new plastic pipe.  The rest of the basement floor got a thick layer of gravel to provide a solid base for the new concrete floor.  It was covered with a heavy duty layer of plastic, providing a vapor barrier to keep water from rising through the concrete. 

The big day was when the concrete truck showed up to pour the new floor (through the basement window).  What a job on a cold winter day - but a huge milestone.
And the result?  Now this basement is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws its way! (and with this winter, that's a lot!! 😂)

The basement feels like a whole new space!  Level floor, no water and no asbestos.  A great way to start a major renovation!

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  1. And the ballpark financial cost of such and undertaking was?...

    1. Reach out to Concrete Prescriptions for an estimate - every basement is different and it would be hard to compare costs.


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