basement waterproofed but still leaks

diydanaOctober 25, 2006

I own a condo, the board had all of the condo's waterproofed. We are into 6 yrs now and out of warranty.

The wall has been leaking inside for 2-3 years and they keep on telling me they will come back to you when the last condo is waterproofed. They do a set every 2 years.

Finally the waterproofer guy comes in and says, "well I don't see a leak" even though it was leaking for 3 days straight and just drying when he came. So he says,"take a picture next time so I can see the leaks and call me at 5am -7 am. I will come down asap."

I took the pictures and they show NOTHING much. There is a crack in the morter in different areas that seep water slooooowly. Very slow but steady on rainy days.

So the picture looks like wet, shimmery mortar.

So I never called him yesterday.

There's no puddle ever but the floor is funky and black looking where the water ends here and there.

Could I hose down the outside area real good and make mock rain to let it "leak" inside just before our next appointment?

Any words of advice?

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I live in Maryland, just outside of D.C. We got 14-18 inches of rain in June of this year. My basement leaked in my '50"s house. It was a mess. That said.

I learned lots because I simply had to. The first thing I learned:

*When contractors apply waterproof sealer, it's probably watered down to save money during construction. This weakens the stuff.

*If you have water coming into your basement, sump-pumps are widely recommended by people selling them (we signed a contract on one, then cancelled it,,,due to "hard sell" techniques). Aside from that, sump-pumps are not going to fix the "disease". That's the water flowing into your basement, it's just going to pump it away form your walls.

*Re-grading...which includes ripping out large plants, that root systems loosen the soil, that cause the water to flow in to,,,,is the only way to correct this problem,,,,(I know lots will disagree, but this was told to me by a contractor I've known many years, who builds houses and who's word I consider better than gold).

If you have a crack in the foundation, it needs to be fixed. No arguments from anyone. Why isn't this happening?? Consult with a structual engineer. If you ask general questions over the phone, you will get a lot of answers without having to pay any money. You can use this as part of your defense. Any other professional that can help you with this will also build your case.

Finally. It sounds like you are getting the run-around from you association and everyone else involved with this. You need to start documenting when and who you talk to. Better yet, write letters with dates. Put a time limit on what you expect to correct this issue. If they do not come to some sort of date, because it is a structural issue, and they should be responsible for it, tell them that you are going to put your monthly fees into a separate account (that way they can't accuse you of not paying)until they fix the mess. You could have lots of expensive damage done due to this mess.

You can also contact your local news outlets and make a big stink about this. Perhaps they can steer you in a direction that will be of help.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 5:43PM
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ditto SG -
Large plants close to foundations attract water and root systems can certainly upset the balance of things

In addition - Look up as water goes by gravity - seriously- I would check entire permiter of property starting from roof lines - gutters (especially how well attached & do they have proper pitch to drain) - then check leaders - again are the properly attached and WHERE do they lead to???? - Difficult to determine if they are piped to underground system - as it's difficult to know the integrity of the system - is it draining properly, clogged, overflowing - but w/hard rains you could go out & check if puddling is occuring at those sites

Also - Is the topography of the land SLOPED AWAY from the foundation - water is not going to be kept out sheerly due to someone slapping "waterproofing" on cement - One must get to the root cause.

And even though your "waterproof guy" did not see actual water - typically there is staining on surfaces where water has leeched - so it speaks volumes to his professionalism or lack thereof and also whom he represents -
Don't let this go - you need to protect your investment and insurance companies typically do not insure based on flooding like you describe.

good luck

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 2:55PM
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Ditto jejvtr!!

I forgot to mention the proper width of the gutters. Mine were to narrow and had to be replaced. I forgot to mention the down spouts also. I discovered that they are just as important as proper gutters.

I do have "negative grade" in my yard and my neighbors that had to be dealt with also,,,,,

Fortunately I had a general contractor who gave me advice. (a good one should be able to look at the problem and quickly tell you what is wrong and answer questions in a way that make sense to you. Beware of fancy talk, they are just trying to impress you). I could trust this person who was independent of everything which helps. He gave me his opinion about what he thought needed to be done to correct things and again, I trusted his word.

After I digested his critique, everything he said made sense. I then had three landscaping companies take a look and got further education from that. I was very surprised at what they would or would not do as well as what the price was going to be.

After that, I hired the company who said that they would do what my contractor said needed to be done.

As you see, there is lots to learn (and forget) about this issue.

Good Luck!!


    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 1:14PM
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So I called the original company that waterproofed. He said there was nothing he could do until it rained again and he first hand saw it & could I take pictures. It rained I took pics and called he came 2 days later when it was dry again. So 2 hours before he came,I hosed the side of my building and mulch to see if I could "make it leak'" and let me tell you...water came in at a good clip.
I have these deep cracks on the wall above the mulch and greenery running up to the siding. The water is seeping in there. He came in looked at 2 pics only, close up... and I admitted to the hose stunt. He said great idea but I can tell from my last visit you have deep cracks outside so it doesn't matter if you wet it or not. I will send someone over to caulk it when it warms up next week. I said that's it? That easy? I was looking up ideas for myself...cold chisels and mortar...he laughed and said NO, no need, just caulk. When they "fixed" it the 1st time they laid new PVC pipes and re-graded and rock and soil and drains and put in a channel(for lack of better term) in front of the garage door for water to run into.
BTW, I had the gutters cleaned by a company last week.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 12:05PM
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