How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Phil Your Own Question

Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 5577
Experience:  Retired contractor, 51 years experience
23932409
Type Your Home Improvement Question Here...
Phil is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hello. I have a problem in the Crawl Space under my house.

Customer Question

Hello. I have a problem in the Crawl Space under my house. There is an outdoor drain pipe that starts in my driveway, goes through the opening in the foundation and finally joins the main drain pipes outdoors to the city sewage system. It appears that the area around the opening for the drainpipe through the foundation has eroded and water spews to the area below which in turn has created an opening below the foundation. Can you suggest a do-it-yourself solution and what I am up against to repair the damages? I will attach a photo for you reference. Thank you.

Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Phil replied 12 months ago.
Welcome to Just Answer!

Thanks for the great picture, can you describe the black looking sludge on the floor, does it seem more like algae, sewage, or something else.

So far it looks like ground water leaking through the hole in the foundation...

Is the pipe shown in the picture, black ABS plastic or copper?

Is the piped slopped down from the foundation wall to the main sewer line under the house? Do you know where it comes from and what drains into it.

What is the water table in your area, is it in the deep south, Louisiana for example? or in some parts of Texas around Houston?

We can go from there.

Phil
Customer: replied 12 months ago.

The black looking sludge appears to be a mixture of sand, soil and sediment of some kind which is dry at the moment. The black pipe is ABS (PVC?) plastic. The drain pipe originates from a drain opening in the driveway, goes through the opening in the foundation and I believe ends up into the city drainage. Several drainage pipes from the sinks, showers and bathtubs join into this pipe. I am not sure if the toilets share this drain pipe or go another route which I have not checked yet. I am in the Seattle-Everett area in the state of Washington where we usually get a lot of rain during the Fall and Spring months.

Expert:  Phil replied 12 months ago.

Hello again,

Its ABS pipe, real tough material not at all prone to cracking... PVC is a bit more brittle.
Chances are in the 99% range that it is ground water leaking though the hole in the foundation that ABS runs through.

You can buy some 'hydraulic cement' at any large hardware store. Clean out the opening as far back as possible using a coat hanger wire and brush... then mix up the hydraulic cement in a small batch, fairly stiff, and poke it deep into the hole... it expands when it dries

If that stops the leak, go back a few days later and mix up a larger batch and fill in the rest of the hole.

If that only slows the water leak. apply a thick coating of silicone seal around just the very edges of the hydraulic cement... leave the middle of the hydraulic patch alone.

 

be sure the area is dry before you use the silicone seal.

then wait 3 hours and pack the rest of the hole full of a stiff mix of hydraulic cement.

Work fast, it cures in 5 minutes or so.

Stay in touch as necessary. If you rate my advice so far positively I will hold the question open for unlimited follow up as you might need it days or months from now.

Phil

Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 5577
Experience: Retired contractor, 51 years experience
Phil and 2 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 months ago.


Thanks for your reply with steps to seal the opening. What should I do with the area below where the water will usually sit after some heavy rain? Should I fill the area with soil, cement or other material to build the area up again? I concerned that water could seep through under the foundation.

Expert:  Phil replied 12 months ago.
Hello again,



When you mix the hydraulic cement (it expands when it cures unlike regular cement) mix it real stiff so it doesn't sag away from the pipe when you stuff it into the hole. then expect it set up in 2 to 5 minutes... small batches and working real fast is the way to do it.

If the bottom space does not have a cement floor, now would be a good time to put one in.

Clean the edges of the foundation very well, so the cement floor sticks to it... Hydraulic cement is a good idea for the floor as well.

Thanks for the positive rating!

Phil

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
< Last | Next >
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
  • Thank you for the expeditious answer. It's good to know you're out there and awake in the wee hours when I finally have time to ask questions about my Jenn Air. Jean Riverhead, NY
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • The Home Smithy

    Home Builder

    Satisfied Customers:

    2002
    #1 Home Improvement Expert 30+ years experience
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TH/TheHomeSmithy/2011-8-13_11146_homesmithy.500x500.64x64.jpg The Home Smithy's Avatar

    The Home Smithy

    Home Builder

    Satisfied Customers:

    2002
    #1 Home Improvement Expert 30+ years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BS/bshull17/2011-2-11_04125_japic.64x64.JPG Brian's Avatar

    Brian

    Architect

    Satisfied Customers:

    1967
    Licensed Architect- 16 years, L.E.E.D. AP
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ST/Steve555/2013-6-14_144343_Depositphotos4247517S.64x64.jpg Steve G.'s Avatar

    Steve G.

    Handyman

    Satisfied Customers:

    135
    VP of electronic repair company and home theater advisor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/Erdaram/2011-6-21_14724_ANIEric4Pics.64x64.gif Eric M. Bright's Avatar

    Eric M. Bright

    We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't!

    Satisfied Customers:

    1734
    I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/rich03dungo/2010-3-17_101556_tshirt2.jpg Rich's Avatar

    Rich

    Home Improvement Enthusiast

    Satisfied Customers:

    674
    Over 35 years construction and home maintenance experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AL/alumalite/2012-5-10_234018_shutterstock506249951forJA500.64x64.jpg Phil's Avatar

    Phil

    Mechanical Engineer

    Satisfied Customers:

    409
    Retired contractor, 51 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JE/jerrymassie/2011-1-15_45937_1111055.64x64.JPG Jerry's Avatar

    Jerry

    hearth products

    Satisfied Customers:

    317
    owned and operated stove retail and service 12 yrs