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Discussion Starter #1
Been a while since I posted, but last time I was active a few of you gave me some advice on a contractor to rebuild my hunting camp in Warren. Newest challenge, actually one that came with the camp, is a very wet basement. My neighbor who looks after our place thinks Dry Lock will do the trick. The problem is that the french drain that was built around the two-bedroom and bath addition to the camp wasn't built right. So it may be a lot more than just painting the walls with Dry Lock and plugging some holes in the cement block wall. I'm in the Warren area, up on Pleasant Drive, so do any of you have any suggestions of a someone to call or what to do to dry out that cellar?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, 30-06kid, I'll probably do the Dry Lock but may get someone to come up and check it. The Warren paper always has an ad for a company that guarantees to dry it out. But just don't want to spend too much on it. Really needs it, though. Mold is getting to be an issue. At this point, I'll take six, seven years of dry cellar over what I have there now.
 

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Take a electric presure washer and add clorine to kill the mold then paint on the dry lock easy to do. They have many differnt brands out. You do Not want one that is mixed with water as the water in the block will make it peel.
 

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I do forensic strucutral engineering work and this is one of the most common problems I encounter. Save your money on the Dry-Lok. It is a very short term solution at best.

I'd need to know what your foundation walls are constructed of to best advise you. But I'll give you some general principals that should help...

First... Make sure your roof runoff is collected and discharged away from the foundation. I.e. make sure the gutters are in good condition, not clogged with leaves and debris, and connected to downspouts and a conductor system that discharges the water at least 10 feet from the foundation to a location where it will not flow back toward the foundation.

Second... Make sure your site grading immediately around the foundation is sloped away from the foundation walls. Modern codes call for 6 inches of fall away from the foundations over the first 10 feet.

Correcting those two issues are a good first step.

Third... Not knowing when the structure was built makes this hard for me to comment but, if its an older strucure there may be no perimeter footer drain (i.e. a French drain.) This would no be unusual in older homes as basements back then were not intended to be habitable spaces. Even if there is a drain, it may be old terra cotta pipe that is collapsed or fill with silt. These typew of drains generally have a 50 year shelf life. The drain is supposed to keep the water table below the floor slab level so it doesn't rise up and seep up through the floor or in at the wall to floor slab juncture. You may need to add a perimeter footer drain either externally or internally. I recommend 4" PVC perforated pipe bedded in gravel. There are also pre-manufactured vinyl cove base/collection channels that basement waterproofing contractors install in conjunction with sump-pump systems.

Fourth... There may or may not be a dampproofing coating on the exterior faces of the foundation walls. This is typically tar,but in older sandstone rubble foundation walls may be cement parging instead. If this coating is missing or deteriorated, accumulated groundwater may be flowing through the walls. To add a coating would mean completely digging up around and exposing the walls, this would also give you the opportunity to add or replace the footer drain.

Fifth... I don't know what kind of soil the foundation walls were backfilled with, but I generally recommend that you avoid clays as they hold water. Free draining granular fills are much better and exert half as much lateral pressure on the foundation walls.

I don't know how much money you can afford to sink into the problem. Interior french drain systems generally cost about $40 per linear foot with a sump/pump unit costing $500 to $700. For the average basement you could be spending a few thousand dollars.

You can try the Dry-Lok, but I can almost assure you that you will not get the desired results, at least for the long haul. Also, pressure washing and bleaching may help with the mold initially, but unless you eliminate the moisture source, the mold will just recur. Also, bleach is not the best fungicide and can be very dangerous to your lungs. There are commercially available products (sorry don't know brand names offhand) that would be better and safer to use than bleach.
 

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As a general contractor I can tell you that you are not going to get much better advice than WexfordBowhunter just gave you.

I've done several jobs where the owner's wanted to create a finished area in damp basements and we went the route described in WexfordBowhunter's fourth point:

WexfordBowhunter said:
Fourth... There may or may not be a dampproofing coating on the exterior faces of the foundation walls. This is typically tar,but in older sandstone rubble foundation walls may be cement parging instead. If this coating is missing or deteriorated, accumulated groundwater may be flowing through the walls. To add a coating would mean completely digging up around and exposing the walls, this would also give you the opportunity to add or replace the footer drain.
If, as you described in your original post:

huntscribe said:
The problem is that the french drain that was built around the two-bedroom and bath addition to the camp wasn't built right.
Then reinstalling the footer drain and parging/dampproofing the walls if needed is probably going to be the best, although most costly, solution.

Dry-Loc is a good product and I've used it often but in your situation it is little more than a temporary band-aid.
 

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Wexford bow hunter is correct. I deal with air quality, and as long as you have water, you will have mold, which will cause longterm breathing problems and health problems. Wet basements are typically do to underground water pressure. Dry lock will not work in the short term. Sealed sump pump install and air exchanging system to get rid of humidity will eliminate moisture and mold
 
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