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Waterproofing 1924 brick foundation

Posted by antonn (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 21:18

Hello all,

We recently purchased a 1924 Georgian Colonial that is entirely brick, including the foundation. We've had two relatively major rains and the basement walls leak pretty severely. In isolated areas, the wall weeps water, and in some areas the water actually formed a stream not unlike a drinking fountain...it was pretty dramatic to see. The house is ~1/8 mile from a large lake, so everyone has to contend with a high water table, but having two ~4-inch floods in the basement in our first two months of living here is unbearable.

My question is this: we have received six quotes for waterproofing. Two are exterior jobs (hand digging, tar application, Visqueen, new drain tiles, backfill) and four are various types of interior jobs. The exterior guys insist this is the only way to solve the problem; the interior guys tell us that digging outside the foundation will compromise the wall stability and may cause the walls to bow. We just want to do the job correctly so we're not constantly revisiting it.

Look forward to your thoughts!


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RE: Waterproofing 1924 brick foundation

I think the porousness of the walls often gets a bum rap.One thing I've noticed about high-end older houses is that sometimes they were built with pretty sophisticated drainage systems that later owners compromised with home improvements. French drains may end up getting paved over, an addition may be get added that causes water to pool where the house and shiny new patio meet. Before you do anything really expensive, look at the grading, look at where water pools near the house. Circle the house after a rain storm...any place water pools next to the house is a problem. Everyone is looking for a cheap fix...*IF* a cheap fix is possible, it usually involves grading.

My understanding is even if you can get a completely water-proof coating on the inside of the basement walls, the result would be water getting inside and acumulating inside the walls, which isn't necessarily a good thing. The only internal fix that is really worthwhile is drains and a sump-pump.

i can't speak to the bowing issue.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Tue, Sep 2, 14 at 12:03


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