Our new summer project

Last week I mentioned that we’ve added a new summer project to our to-do list. Unfortunately this project is driven by a problem. You got a bit of a glimpse of the problem in this photo that I shared on Friday.

What is this?

This is the drywall in the long room in the basement. And in case there’s any confusion, it’s not supposed to look like this.

We’ve had water issues off and on ever since we finished the basement. This spring was the worst.

In the unfinished space just beside the long room, this was the scene. Water seeping in at the joint where the foundation wall met the concrete slab.

Basement foundation leak

We surmise that this happened along the whole wall, including in the finished area. The baseboard swelled and stained. The carpet was damp. And behind the baseboard mold grew.

Water damaged baseboard

We had some water-proofing contractors come in a few weeks ago and give us quotes to fix the problem. Work starts today. So our formerly finished long room now looks like this. And it’s about to get worse.

Spray foam insulation

With the drywall removed the studs don’t look too bad. Yes there’s mold, but it doesn’t go too high on the wall, and the wood isn’t rotted at all. Even so, I’m not sure much of this will be salvaged, as our contractors are doing the waterproofing from the inside.

Water damage

The other area of focus outside of the long room is the cold cellar. The cold cellar is an addition, and when it was added, the concrete floor was poured just up to the old footings. In the spring or even on rainy days, the whole perimeter of the cold cellar leaks.

Water leaks around a basement footing

This area isn’t as worrisome, as it’s unfinished, but nonetheless we’d rather not have water in the house at all.

Our contractor is also going to redo our sump pump pit and put in a two new pumps–one on a battery back-up. During a power outage in one big storm this spring, Matt bailed the sump pit for four hours. We’d prefer not to repeat this situation… or worry about the power going out if we’re not home.

Waterproofing is one of those projects that I’m not super excited about. Cutting into our drywall was a bit heartbreaking after all of the work we put into finishing the basement in the first place. Plus it’s a lot of money just to get us back to where we were when we first finished the basement.

However, it’s a very important project. Knowing that this is our forever home, we want this problem solved.

Have you ever waterproofed your basement? Do you have any water leaks?

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11 thoughts on “Our new summer project

  1. The contractor plans to approach the problem from the inside, but what about the outside? I know it would involve a lot more time, and unfortunately money, but waterproofing the outside walls would help. I remember my sister, who has always been small, climbing down into a narrow space between the basement’s concrete blocks and the dirt and coating the walls with a tar substance. She did that on every home our family and friends built. I am sure there are better coatings than tar today.

  2. Oh Julia, what a drag. I HATE paying for things that just take you back to where you were! We have a similar problem in our suite, with water coming in the foundation wall to the kitchen. It has flooded three times now. It’s not our problem financially, but in terms of pain in the butt…. The foundation people came twice and said it was fixed, but alas, it is not. Our landlord needs to gird up for a fight with this company, but seems to be suffering a certain weakness in his constitution… I hope your situation resolves quickly and with minimal expense possible.

  3. Hi Julia! I understand the frustrations! It goes with old houses with basements. I think you’ll be happy with the french drain system. I have three old buildings and have this in each one. I used B-Dry, but there are others. All three not only are dry, but no excess humidity. Did this in the Misadventures house and it’s bone dry – even with the huge rains we’ve had lately.

  4. My last house had a nice size basement. I never attempted to finish it for that exact reason. I only had one time that I had water actually sitting in the basement and that was when my sump pump went out. But the floor was constantly damp from water seeping through.
    I can see how that would be frustrating to tear things apart to get it right back to where you are. I am sure though, that it will be comforting to know that everything will stay dry.

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