Water – Will internal waterproofing solve the moisture problems


We've been working on our water problem for awhile now.

Here's the deal:

There is black drain tile under the home (all the way around) tied into a sump crock. Water was only coming in one side. A camera through the tile showed us it's not laid right, like a mini roller coaster, so there are spots for many feet that are full of old standing water that won't come out. About 1/3 of the system is working and taking water to the sump. Where it's not working, water comes in where the wall meets the floor.. It's hit or miss with when and how much.

Instead of redoing what's there, we are having a Sure-Dry system (affiliated with Badger Basement but cheaper) put in along the inside perimeter. They remove cement, lay this perforated piece that looks like rain gutter almost, but has a high back on it. The back will go along the basement wall to catch any water that may run down the walls as well as any water that would normally come in at the floor along the wall. It goes to their sump pump and will head far out into the backyard.

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This is being done tomorrow.

My basement has no water in it right now but is very very damp. I have mold growing on the floor along the perimeter. It smells pretty bad down there as well. We run a small dehumidifier which will get us to low humidity but if it stops for a few hours, it's right back up there again quickly. The bedroom feels damp. It's almost like the blankets feel cold and heavy, but not necessarily wet.

My question is since there's no water inside right now and the dehumidifier runs, will this type of waterproofing system eventually help the cement floor dry out? The basement is supposed to be finished again in August. It was previously, but we ripped it out to do repairs. I'm thinking there's so much water under the house, that even though it's not rising right now to come it at the places it normally does, it's still wicking moisture up through the floor along the edges. Or maybe the slab itself is still holding water until things can get dried out. When they put their system in, they will be filling the old sump crock pit so that entire old system will be out of commission.

Neillsville WI is clay type dirt as you go deeper. I think we're sitting in a mud pit but am worried the system I'm putting in will only address the water coming in but won't help what's under the house dry out over time.

I will be cleaning with an antimicrobial cleaner before refinishing. I don't know if I should put anything additional down on the floor before laying carpet again (no pad).

Thank you for your time everyone! Now that I've learned they drill weep holes into the wall, i'm fairly certain this process will dry most of my water out in the ground as well as help my slab dry once we get the water moving. I think it will be longer than just a few days. It's going to take some time for the water to move in, pump out and eventually dry out. 🙂 You've all been very helpful!

Best Answer

I remember Neillsville from "The Rock" radio station. ;)

So, to answer the question, we need to know where the water is coming from. You mention that it's due to a high water table.

As such, I'd not ever finish the basement. It will always be one power outage or one clogged drain away from being ruined again.

It also means that your dehumidifier will never 'win'. Basements are moist by default simply due to cooler temps, but if you have constant hydrostatic pressure, it will always be an uphill battle.

Your (what I call) interior footer drain will certainly help, but you're at the mercy of the drains always remaining unclogged and the sump pump always having power. You'll also have to make sure it can handle excessive rain during those big midwestern downpours.

If it was merely an occasional rain/snow melt issue, I'd feel OK finishing the basement, but given the high water table, I'd consider rethinking doing a full finish project down there.

If your water problems are primarily at the footer, It may be OK. As that is exactly what the drain system is designed to handle. But if you have actual cracks in the walls and water is coming in there, I'd be definitely be hesitant.

One other note...a bit further west into MN, the clay soil we were on had a lot of radon. So you may want to get a radon test before thinking of finishing the space as well.

Oh, one last comment: note that the systems being proposed are in no way 'waterproofing' systems. They are water abatement systems--in that they are designed specifically to not be waterproof and actually allow the water to come in so it can be moved out. It's a nit-pick, for sure, but actual waterproofing is an entirely different discussion.