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Prevent Water Seepage Through Basement Walls

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Marilyn in Illinois, you’re up on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?

    MARILYN: We built our home about 30 years ago. And for the first 24 years, we had 180-acre farm in our backyard. We didn’t own it but as soon as farmer died, they started construction, putting utilities in. And now we have a bunch of very beautiful, expensive homes behind us. And for that 24 years, we didn’t have a crack, a settling; our home was perfect. Well, after the construction went it, we noticed some, oh, (inaudible) cracks in the seams. And now we’ve noticed, for the last couple of years, every once in a while a little bit of seepage comes from the wall that’s – from the basement wall that is to the backyard. And it’s not every time it rains but sometimes when it’s a heavy downpour, there’s a little trickle that goes to the sewer. And I don’t know if it’s something we could repair ourselves or do we have to have professionals do it. And we’re thinking of possibly moving next year, so we want to know what to do about this.

    TOM: You want to find a house with another couple hundred acres behind it, right? To live in.

    MARILYN: Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful? (chuckling) We are just shocked. It’s – we’re having a hard time.

    TOM: We hear it. We feel your pain. But I will tell you that the brand new development is probably not responsible for the leak that you’re now seeing. It’s probably a drainage that’s just snuck up on you. The areas that you want to look at, Leslie, I would say the gutters and the grading.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it could even be just that over time as the earth settles around the house, it’s just changed the way the grading is and now maybe something’s sloping toward that wall. It’s really not a big issue.

    What you want to do is you want to check your gutters. Make sure that you have gutters. Make sure they’re clean. Make sure that the downspouts are clean. You know, every so often, snake out those downspouts because debris …

    MARILYN: My husband does that all the time.

    LESLIE: Good, because debris gets stuck in them. Then you want to look at where those downspouts are depositing that water. Sometimes those downspouts are right up against your foundation, which could put that water directly against that wall. You want to make sure that the grading outside – you want to make sure all of the ground slopes away from the house. You want to go down about six inches over four to six feet. So it’s not drastic but it does get that water moving away.

    TOM: And the type of soil that you use is also important. If you have a lot of topsoil or a lot of mulch, that’s going to hold water against your house. The key here, Marilyn, is that you tell us it happens after heavy, heavy rain and that’s always a drainage issue.

    LESLIE: Which would be a drainage issue.

    TOM: You’ve just got to get to the bottom of it. I mean that’s proof positive that something is not quite right with your drainage. You’ve just got to get to the bottom of where it’s going wrong.

    MARILYN: Oh, that sounds so much easier. Simpler.

    TOM: Yes. It’s very simple. OK, Marilyn?

    MARILYN: Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. 

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