House built on slab - water leaking in

mommabirdJanuary 1, 2013

I am asking for a friend. Her house is built on a slab. It appears the ground is flat around it - not sloped away at all. Water is leaking around the base of the house, coming in and ruining the baseboard and bamboo flooring.

I know nothing about slab built houses. Is the ground supposed to slope away, like it does if the house has a basement or crawl space?

Also - the house has vinyl siding apied over the original wood siding. At the bottom of the siding is a J channel. Is there supposed to be a J channel at the bottom? Doesn't that catch the water that runs down the siding?

The house is about 50 years old. They recently took up carpet in a bedroom, so they can see the gap between the floor and the baseboard. It looks like the bottom of the framing is rotting from the water leaking in. How in the world would they repair that? The house is 2 story I. That spot.

Sorry I don't have pictures. I hope this makes sense.

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" Is the ground supposed to slope away, like it does if the house has a basement or crawl space? "


Mr. Newton's gravity still operates on a slab house.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Typically a starter strip is used for vinyl siding.

The ground should be graded so that water flows away from the house. Given the house has been there for 50 years, it seems something has been changed. I'd be looking at gutters and making sure those drain away from the house. You might also look outside at the affected area, even a build up of mulch in the planting beds can artificially raise the "grade".

As for replacing the base plate, it's possible but it is a fair amount of work. In theory it should be pressure treated lumber or separated from the concrete by some kind of waterproof material.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 10:52PM
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Thank you for the picture. That is not what the bottom row of siding on her house looks like. The bottom edge sits in a J channel. I think that is part of the problem - tha J channel acts as a gutter, pouring the water onto the slab. Plus the lack of grading.

There aren't any flower beds or mulch - just dirt right up to the slab, flat.

I am going to pass along this information to her. Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Whether there is J channel or not, the water will drain somewhere. J channel will just dump it all in one spot, wherever the ends of the J channel are. No J channel would let the water drip off all along the wall. If the water is coming in where the J channel is dropping it, that's definitely a problem.

But it sounds like the house might have a grading problem. If it can't be re-graded, one could install some French drains around the outside, like drain grates, with underground drain pipe leading away.

If the rotting base plate is all around the house, that's an expensive repair. Each wall section would have to be braced up, lumber replaced, and then reattached.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 11:03AM
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My friend has been planning a trip to FL to see family for months. She is there this week. I thought I'd wait until she gets back to tell her she has a certifiable HOME DISASTER!

Thanks everyone for your advice.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:16AM
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