Wet basement that SHOULD be dry?

miamicanesOctober 6, 2006

How common is it for someone to involve a structural engineer, bend over backwards making sure the builder follows every single best practice for achieving a dry basement, doesn't cut a single corner, and STILL end up with a basement that has water/dampness/odor problems?

Is it safe to assume that nearly everyone with problems is having them because their builder intentionally cut corners somewhere along the line? Or is it common even for people with cast in place ICF basements with chemically-waterproofed concrete, insulated subfloor, best of breed drainage, and vapor barriers -- all designed by a structural engineer -- to STILL end up with basement problems even though it SHOULD (in theory, at least) be flawless?

I'm asking because I'm thinking about being a rebel and having a basement built for my future home near downtown Miami. But I want to make sure that it really IS almost assured to end up being first-rate dry living space as long as no corners are cut anywhere along the line.

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I can't answer how common it is, but I can tell you about our basement. Our house was build in 1949 and had a couple of leaks when we bought it 7 years ago. DH bought the material to patch the leaks which involved digging away at the leak are to get rid of anything loose. We painted the walls with the moisture blocking stuff before finishing the walls. The patches have been there for a few years now and have worked perfectly. DH loves the basement because it makes working on plumbing and general remodeling so much easier. We love the basement. We did have a large window put in and it made a huge difference.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 9:46AM
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Where is your water table? What kind of soil do you have?If your basement extends close to or below your seasonal high water table, the water or dampness will probably win eventually.

I live in the upper Mid west. Most homes have basements (some damp, some dry), because our footers are generally dug very deep to get below the frost line. So, as long as we are digging so deep, why not have a basement? A basement is cheap extra space here.

But, why bother with a basement in Miami? Frost is hardly an issue. Isn't the water table high, increasing the odds of a wet basement? Why not build up and enjoy the Florida sun?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 9:09PM
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I never had a wet basement, and I'm in my 3rd new construction.
I do suspect my last house sat on a high water table. My sump pump ran often, even on dry days. I'm sure the builder must have known about this. I didn't make a stink over it, but sometimes wonder if I should have? Is this something the builder should disclose?

Anyway, the basement was dry when I sold, and it shouldn't be a problem as long as a good sump pump is on guard.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 9:19AM
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