Basement flooded!

sjsh_momMarch 15, 2011

We are building our house and things have been going well until we got a ton of rain and all the snow melted. We are at the stage of the brick going up, the windows are in. The basement is poured cement and the floor is poured cement. The windows are in too.The back yard is of course not graded and there is no wells in place int eh front of the house. ALOT of water got in. The builder now has a sump pump trying to drain the water out.

His explanation: there are no drains correctly in place on the outside of the house, the back is not graded and the 2 well pits that are planned to be placed in the front are not yet since the ground was too hard due to weather.

We were assessed by the survey to not forsee any drainage issues and there would be no need for french drains inside the house. There are going to be french drains outside. He thinks the leak was from the window since one could see that is the area where the water drainage pattern is.

Installed the basement there are only a furnace, the rough wiring was hanging and touching the ground, was immersed in the water. The basement stairs are in (wooden) and of course a small area of the framing in the middle of the basement stairs. We otherwise have steel beams.

Now besides the sump pump what else should the builder be doing? We are expecting more rain arghhhh. Should there be a dehumidifier? He should replace the furnace, the stairs. Should we replace the window? Is this all his responsibilty to replace?

Any other advise?

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Questions - In what part of the country do you live? Depends upon how far along construction is. Do you have gutters and downspouts? You can try to divert runoff temporarily until grading is done. Use anything available. Were sump pits put in when the basement floor was poured? Do you have power to run the sumps? Ask the builder why he did not put in the wells when the foundation was poured? You can NEVER have too many failsafes to avert basement flooding.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 8:21AM
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We are in Northern NJ. No gutters yet. Great question on why the wells were not put in with the foundation. I can kick myself for not following up....He is going to do the footing drains and open the outside French drains tomorrow.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:24PM
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Excellent - you may eventually want to put covers on the wells. This will help if they are a solid material. We have heavy clear rigid molded covers. They are made of some sort of plastic-type material and curve away from the foundation, like a bubble top. Hope I explained that right. Helps a lot. Of course, proper grading sloping away from the foundation is critical, but I am sure you already know that. I would also bury extensions from the downspouts, when they are installed, out into the yard to
handle roof runoff, otherwise, the water will just run down into the foundation. You can get 8' perforated pvc 4" dia pipe at HD. Make sure you have a pitch so that water will not lay in the pipe and freeze. Little splash pans are just a waste of money. Finally, try to have the largest gutters and downspouts installed that you can, not the wimpy 4" ones that are typical, you won't be sorry.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 7:44AM
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I didn't address your question about whether the builder should replace the furnace and/or window. I am no expert, but it probably will depend upon how deep the flood was, and what your contract provides. As things dry out, you should be able to determine if there was any damage, watch for mold. Does the furnace sit on little "feet," or is it raised enough to dry out? You will probably see water marks or rust marks. I think most furnaces house the filters at the bottom. Take up the potential water damage issue with him. Sorry but I don't trust builders. Your's may be the nicest person in the world, but at the end of the new home warranty, you will get hosed if you don't. Problems don't happen until 2-3 years after you have moved in. The so-called new home warranty provided usually expires in 1 year, and normally that is the amount of time in which the owner discovers and has the trades back to correct minor flaws and cosmetic mistakes.
Good luck! Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:01AM
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