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We have several problems with our basement in our house. In…

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We have several problems...

We have several problems with our basement in our house. In 1993 we put an 20x40 split level addition onto the house. Within a few years we had water on the floor (January). We didn't have water in April like most people have in the spring. Long story short it was our softener that was putting the water on the floor. Because of the salt it ate the concrete so sweeping is very hard as it gets very dusty. The rocks in the concrete are pulling up also. Where we had thick linoleum squares glued down it's really bad as when the tiles come up the rocks are still glued to the tiles. I'm thinking the only way to fix the problem is pour a whole new floor.

Contractor's Assistant: Have you talked to a construction professional about the floor?

Yes and no. But to makes matters worst the mortar in our blocks is falling apart too. One time when we had a really heavy rain, I think we got about 5 inches in one hour, I walked around the basement and I counted at least a dozen places that the water was coming straight through the walls. We have a big whole in the wall behind the electrical box. Before we put the brick on the ground ( I had a flower bed there before) we would get black mud coming in the hole when it rained hard. We have cement, brick or a deck pretty much around the house to keep water away from coming in the house. Everything we have done as help with the water except when we get lots of water in a short time. We placed plastic under the brick and under the deck along with gravel sloped so the water runs away. For the most part we don't have water in our basement but we do have issues with mold and I used lots of vinegar and it seems to kill the mold. It turns the black into a dusty gray. But..... because I using the vinegar full strength I think it's eating the mortar in the blocks also. But to put a full basement, walls and floor is going to be really expensive. Our 20x40 addition is a split level and the old part of the house is a regular house and basement. To lift the old part of the house we are going to have to redo a lot of sheetrock where the old and new meet, adding more expense. When we put the addition on in 1992 we gutted the old house completely except for the kitchen, bath, and porch which we did the following year. We were able to insure it as a new house as we did so much work to it. We replaced all the wiring, insulation, plumbing and we even replaced the shingles. The only thing we didn't replace were the rafters and walls and the well. We have had some basement people come out, (I think they were Basement Renovations) or something like that. They actually came out twice, The first guy wanted to pull the walls out using a cable as they were sorta caving in years ago but the former owner had poured in cement things to keep the walls together (can't think of what you call them). I don't think that is really a issue other than they are ugly. The other guy that came out said that wouldn't do anything to fix the problem and that we needed to redo the walls which was something they didn't do. We have blacktop driveway and we have concrete on the south side of the house which is also a very poor grade of concrete and we need to replace that also but we really can't do that until we fix the basement as if we have to dig all around the house to put in new blocks, it would be putting good money on top of bad. I'm not sure who to get to fix the basement, it's different when you have to raise a house that is attached to another portion of the house. I'm thinking we need a tornado, I would cry a lot but it would fix the basement problem but my husband doesn't want it to mess with his garage which is 25 feet away the house and I don't want it to mess with my kitchen cabinets. Ha Ha.

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

My husband is going to be 63 and I'm 61. He has had 2 back surgeries and I have had 4 surgeries plus two knee replacements. Our bodies don't work very well anymore. He used to work for a contractor when we first got married but when we did the house back in 92 and 93 we had a couple of contractors do that and they built our garage back in 1998 but they all reached retirement age. My husband took a lot of time off to help them but he didn't really do any work. Just made sure they had their materials so they could keep working.

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

Not really, I can't think of anything. Where are you guys from as we live in central Minnesota near Brainerd.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Home Improvement
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/17/2018
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago
canuck the pro
canuck the pro, Handyman
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 3,050
Experience: i have extensive experience in the home improvement industry. my current job is at lowes home improvement.
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Hi, I'm Mike and I have 20+ years of experience in the home improvement field. I'll be glad to assist you today.

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Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

The experts here are from all around the world, to answer your question about where we are from.

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Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

It sounds like your plan will end up taking care of the problem as it progresses. Still typing.....

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Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

The plan to dig up around the outside is going to take care of the problems you are having if it is done correctly. They will need to dig up around the outside, down to the foundation then any walls that are needing repair would be repaired along with some proper water proofing on the outside of the foundation walls and also drainage should be installed to allow any ground water to drain away from the foundation. If the drainage cannot be led away from the foundation by gravity then it may have to be drained into a sump basin then pumped away with a sump pump. Hopefully they can find a way to drain any ground water away using gravity as it is best to not have to depend on a sump pump although this is still a very reliable solution.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I apologize for being a skeptic but I was hacked on my computer about a year ago. I'm not a big e-mail peson as I tell our kids to call me if they want an email answer.
Would we have to dig on both sides of the house. We have a porch (12x12) on the east side of the house that has a cement stairway and floor. When we redid the porch we raised the floor and put a false floor over the top of the concrete floor, That area had lots of concrete and for some reason that concrete seems to be good. The blocks in the old basement we think are only 8 inch blocks with very poor mortar. When we put the addition on the west side of the house we used 12 inch block I think. We have talked about filling in the basement but my husband keeps asking me where are he going to put the furnace, water heater, water softener, oil tank, and all the junk. We do have a slump pump and it does go off from time to time. we have replaced that too not too many years ago and we replaced the tank for the well last year. We were told that we needed to drill a new well last year as our water has lots of iron in it. We go through about 6-8 bags of salt a month because of the iron and the hardness, so my husband thinks we need a basement.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I'm not real interested in spending money to talk.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
How do know if you have someone that has done this sort of thing and that he knows what he's doing. I figured it would cost about 20-40 thousand to replace a basement (28x32) but there was someone not too far away that replaced a basement and it cost them about 4-5 thousand. They just had a house and we have a porch and addition that is attached.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Am I still talking to someone?
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

Sorry, there is a lot to read here. Typing now....

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I'm very money conscious and I don't want to spend money to talk on the phone even if I would rather talk than type.
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

I am very sorry about the site prompting you to do the phone call. I promise you that I am not prompting you to so please ignore the prompts.

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Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

I am a person so know that when there is time between our responses that I am typing up a detailed response while I refer back to any info you have provided, ok? Typing one up now....

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Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

There is a chance that the area by the stairs that you may not want to dig up may be fine. There very well may already be some good drainage there that is draining into that sump basin. The more area on the outside of the foundation that can be dug up the better. It would be best for the entire outside of the foundation wall be dug up down to the footing of the foundation to repair any damaged walls and get a really good seal and drainage installed. What they do is dig up one side of the house at a time then put drainage at the base of the wall which would consist of some gravel and french drain. Then the outside of the wall is sealed with sealant to make the wall water proof. The current issues are likely that the drainage is not sufficient and the walls are not sealed on the outside. The water is allowed to seep into the walls and causes damage. Do not let anyone tell you that the walls can be repaired and sealed from the inside. All of the water proofing must be done from the outside. The french drain would be continuous around the foundation so that any water that gets against the wall will drain down into the french drain and away from the foundation. When this is all done you will have a secure and dry basement. The repairs to the wall should be quite minimal and any quotes for the work will be quite accurate without any surprises. They can inspect the wall from the inside and estimate quite accurately for repairs and waterproofing.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
To dig on the north side of the house we would have to remove the 12x26 deck and probably all the brick in the mini patio area. That the area that goes about 5 feet in front of the porch (the width of the sidewalk) all the way to the deck. It's about 17x12 feet although it's not square but it curves around the house and then there is perennials planted along the edge. I'm sure the contractor would be able to tell us if that is the case. It's just a lot of work and our bodies aren't in the best of shape.
I guess it's just a big job and it will be a big mess when it gets done.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I never heard of a french drain.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Would we have to put in 8 inch blocks again or would you put in 12 inch? The east wall against the old basement entrance is fair except where the electrical box is and there is a big hole in that area behind the box. So to replace that wall because the porch is there what would you do?
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Do you have any idea what it might cost? Maybe it would be cheaper to get a stick of dynamite. :)
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

I heard boom sticks are very, very expensive......and the permits, argh...

So, I doubt any of the walls would need to be replaced. They could just be repaired with cement and any areas that have penetrations for electrical boxes etc. could be sealed with water proofing. As far as the sidewalk, they really are not that expensive to replace if they need to be considering the scope of the project already. The porch would be braced, then they would dig around the footing of the porch and when they fill it all back in they would just pour a new footing for the porch. It is unlikely they would have to remove it. Still have more to type but gotta go tuck the boy in....be back in a few.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I don't know what is a boom stick and why would you need a permit?
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

The deck would be the same thing. They would not damage the deck. They could dig against the foundation under the deck and if there is a pier in the way they would secure the pier then remove the footing for the pier then when they fill everything back in they would pour a new footing for the deck. The french drain (terminology is different based on location) is like this click here If you look to the left of the link there is a little box that also shows a sample of the outside of a building that is dug up around the foundation, drainage rock installed, french drain installed and the wall already waterproof sealed. I am not sure about price at all and even if I were to guess I doubt that would be a helpful guess since it would be a real shot in the dark. I can say that it is very doubtful that any walls would need replacing and it is most likely the scope of the project would involve sealing and repairing the walls while installing drainage. Sorry about the boom stick reference. That and the permit was a joke in reference to your comment in jest about dynamite.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I'm thinking the blocks would have to be removed as we have mold down there and its's gets worse. I'm thinking that the mold is inside the blocks and how do you to fix that. The blocks need to get dried out and have sunshine to kill the mold. The deck is not attached to the house, (only about 2 feet off the ground) , it's just sitting on cement pads and lots of gravel. It's just that its pretty good size. We built it in place and then how do you put it back when your done. Maybe rather then putting the deck back just pour a concrete patio that is ground level. I'm still thinking a tornado is a better idea as insurance would help pay for things.
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

As far as removing any blocks or replacing them that decision would be made once it is exposed outside but making that decision will not be based on removing mold. Mold spores cannot grow if it is dry and part of the process will also involve power washing the block wall before sealing it. The deck may be large and close to the ground but there will also be a fairly large hole to dig under it. It very well may be a decision that is made to remove the deck and that will all be based on what your plan will be as you discuss it with the contractor. They may be able to remove the deck then replace it after the work is done. I also like your ideas about tornadoes and dynamite. That way you have other options and it will be very clear that choosing not to wait for a tornado or choosing not to blow it up with dynamite were good decisions.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Where are you located as you could be from anywhere in the world?
We have pretty good soil here as far as drainage goes. when they dug our basement they wanted to use our dirt as a gravel pit. The only time we have water in the yard is in the spring before the frost goes out and as soon as that goes out the water is gone. Out in the field there is a low spot and that fills with water when the snow melts in the spring but it's gone within a day or two of melting. It's pretty big and gets deep in the center. It varies in size depending our snow depth but at least 12 inches deep or more. The biggest problem is the mortar in the blocks, It's very poor grade. Our electrical was used wired that came from the old mining pits. Whoever built the main house years ago didn't spend much money. The basement wasn't in bad shape when we first move here. Everything just started falling apart after we put the addition on and also when we had the problem with the softener leaking.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I'm going to have to go to bed. I was ready at 6 o'clock tonight and that was too early. Now it's midnight.
Home Improvement Expert: canuck the pro, Handyman replied 3 months ago

I am in NC in the USA. It is not really a matter of how porous the earth around the house is and the damage that has happened to the walls so far is not doubt from water. The idea for the drainage is to get the water away from the foundation quickly so that it is never over exposed to the water. Even if the water does not seep into the basement it still will cause damage to the walls and also cause mold. Have a good sleep. I will be doing the same. Hopefully I have answered all of your questions but if not then feel free to inquire some more. I am not online all of the time so please be patient if I do not respond right away. I usually am online in the evenings.

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