Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nazareth, Pennslyvania
    Posts
    16

    Default New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    I recently had my 7 year old concrete landing and steps jack hammered up due to water found entering the basement. Water was seeping into the cracks where the concrete met the wood in the front of the house. Water found its way into the footing and over the side of the footing dripping down the foundation wall where it puddled on the basement floor. This didn't happen often as water would have to first fill the footing (where the pressure treated plate was installed) before it over flowed down the foundation wall. But after 7 years of this issue all the wood around the perimeter had rooted out. Read on for more details.

    The contractor jack hammered everything up and as suspected the OSB board wrapped in ice and water shield had water damage around the entire area where the concrete slab met the house. The installation replaced all the rooted wood with a aztec (plastic) like board, wrapped it in rubber and metal flashing with two layers of grade D paper on top, before a new slab was poured.

    The new slab is stamped concrete and the entire slab with the exception of a 2' x 2' area is pitched away from the house allowing water to run off the slab. The 2' x 2' area has a slight reverse pitch and water lays in that area around a 3/16" depth. This water lays up up against the area where the concrete meets the wood wall of my home. Basically the reverse pitch causes water to flow towards the wall and pool in that area.

    I was livid that a section of the slab drains water toward the house. To attempt to correct the problem, the contractor made some saw cuts in that area (in the groves of the stamped concrete) to channel the water away from the area it lays in. Water flows toward the wall, pools and then gets diverted via the saw cuts to the end of the sab. This worked however water still pools in this 2' x 2' foot area but at the same time it drains. Again its creates a 3/16" depth puddle and drains slowly. To put it in perspective. The entire slab will drains in less the a minute after it stops raining while the 2' x 2' area drains in around 5-7 minutes.

    Question:
    My concern is lets say it rains for an hour and this area puddles and doesn't drain immediately. Will the fact that it drains slowly via a divert-er channel (concrete saw cuts) cause any long term issues?

    I ask this because I'm under the assumption that if we get rain for an hour, it will puddle in that area until water reaches the height of the slope where it could then start to naturally run off the end of the slap. During this time water is also draining with the divert-er channel (saw cuts). But the entire time water is laying up against the edge of the concrete where the concrete meets the wall. Overtime the area where the concrete meets the wall will crack and water will enter the crack. Water will then find its way down the wall to the gravel bed where it will lay and slowly leach out via weep channels installed under the gravel bed. When it stops raining the puddle will finish draining via the divert-er channel and that area will begin to dry out after 5-7 minutes of divert-er directed draining. With an hour of rain and 5 minutes drain time the 2' x 2' area will be receiving 12 times more water then the rest of the slap (60min/5 = 12).

    Question:
    Do you agree that the 2' x 2' area will receive more water then the rest of the slab soley because of the pooling caused by the reversed pitch? Should I be concerned with this? Or it is ok because the water will drain as I described?

    Question:
    Should I tell the contractor that he created a life long event where water will seep into the slab because of the reverse pitch and he needs to start over and jack everything up and start again?

    Apparently the crew is saying that the guy that troweled that area created a low spot toward the house and a high spot at the end of the porch causing this reverse pitch.

    Existing Slab
    The other piece of information is that the existing slab was jack hammered to find that there was another slab under the existing slab separated by stone. The footing that supports the top slab was filled with concrete creating a internal slab. The existing slab didn't have enough drainage as result of this dual slab scenario. Had the footing (supporting the slab) remained filled with gravel and not cement the slab would have proper drainage. We think that run out from a concrete truck filled the inside of the footing which is why the original builder filled the footing with cement. Had it not been filled, water would have drained from the slab to the gravel to the earth. Where now it drains from the slab to the gravel to another slab and then to the gravel and finally to the earth. We believe it was for this reason that there was water damage all around the perimeter wall around the slab. Water simply couldnt escape fast enough. In the new slab we installed channels under the stone that would allow water to drain to the outside of the new slab. Basically creating a set of weep holes which will allow the water to drain and and dry out. We could have drilled holes in the internal slab but it was decided that there may have been another reason why the original contractor filled the footing with gravel and cement creating an interior slab.

    Sorry for such a long posting.

    Last edited by Pete S; 09-12-2014 at 05:30 AM. Reason: added paragraphs
    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Phew... Paragraph or two, or three or four or..... would have been nice. I got lost after the fourth sentence. Was there a question in there somewhere?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nazareth, Pennslyvania
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Phew... Paragraph or two, or three or four or..... would have been nice. I got lost after the fourth sentence. Was there a question in there somewhere?
    For some reason the chrome submission didnt retain my paragraphs


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Thanks for the paragraph editing....much better.
    No matter what, water flowing back to the foundation is not good. For the most part and without being there or viewing photographs I think your assessment and concern over the potential long-term issues is valid. I suspect drainage holes could be drilled through both slabs to facilitate draining below the footing without compromising any perceived intention for the extra foundation concrete but who knows how deep those holes need be to be effective.

    Having past issues of water seeping into the basement, I would have thought the contractor would have suggested a drainage system against the stem wall, to carry any water away from the property, which would have been relatively easy to install, not just water-proofing. Clearly the underlying slab is an issue and adversely effects natural drainage. However, if water is flowing away from the foundation, as it should be, then the underground slab should not be an issue.

    Would it it be possible to saw cut, break out a strip of the top slab and re-install with an effective pitch away from the foundation rather than a complete demo.?

    Last edited by Ian Page; 09-12-2014 at 02:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nazareth, Pennslyvania
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Thanks for the paragraph editing....much better.
    No matter what, water flowing back to the foundation is not good. For the most part and without being there or viewing photographs I think your assessment and concern over the potential long-term issues is valid. I suspect drainage holes could be drilled through both slabs to facilitate draining below the footing without compromising any perceived intention for the extra foundation concrete but who knows how deep those holes need be to be effective.

    Having past issues of water seeping into the basement, I would have thought the contractor would have suggested a drainage system against the stem wall, to carry any water away from the property, which would have been relatively easy to install, not just water-proofing. Clearly the underlying slab is an issue and adversely effects natural drainage. However, if water is flowing away from the foundation, as it should be, then the underground slab should not be an issue.

    Would it it be possible to saw cut, break out a strip of the top slab and re-install with an effective pitch away from the foundation rather than a complete demo.?
    Its possible to cut that area but the issue is the stamped colored concrete is going to be difficult to match. Plus the second poured slab will likely not bound to the original slab and it will like crack at the saw cut area. Have a a look at the uploaded photos to get an idea of what Im describing. With the added saw cuts water drains it just lays against the wall until its all drained. As I mentioned there is a drain system consisting of 8 strips of rain screen position around the perimeter wall and leading out at the edge of the slab, there is one strip visible in the pic named IMG_20140910_114147a

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete S View Post
    Its possible to cut that area but the issue is the stamped colored concrete is going to be difficult to match. Plus the second poured slab will likely not bound to the original slab and it will like crack at the saw cut area. Have a a look at the uploaded photos to get an idea of what Im describing. With the added saw cuts water drains it just lays against the wall until its all drained. As I mentioned there is a drain system consisting of 8 strips of rain screen position around the perimeter wall and leading out at the edge of the slab, there is one strip visible in the pic named IMG_20140910_114147a
    First, I'm not seeing the rain screen you refer to. I see 60 min moisture retardant protruding above the slab. Now that is typically 40" wide and in this application, two layers (min. i.m.o.) are recommended. I'm not sure if that's the '8' strips you mentioned. The problems I do see which may have contributed to the original issue: (1)Downspouts in close proximity to each other which may or may not be connected to a sub-surface drainage system. (2) water spigot in the same vicinity. (3) Facing stone applied directly over O.S.B. Without moisture prevention barrier. I would expect some measures would be taken to overlap the 60 minute barrier with appropriate material before reinstalling the facing brick. You should also be aware that brick, mortar and concrete are porous in and of themselves but could be sealed to minimize their porosity.

    I can't comment on what the contractor did as water intrusion preventative measures and following manufacturers guidelines but being as there is still a reverse pitch in the newly poured slab, any collected water will go somewhere before evaporation. It may be that adequate precautions have been taken but 3 years from now may be too late to find out. If the contractor is satisfied with his work and efforts have him warranty it for at least 10 years.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nazareth, Pennslyvania
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    First, I'm not seeing the rain screen you refer to. I see 60 min moisture retardant protruding above the slab. Now that is typically 40" wide and in this application, two layers (min. i.m.o.) are recommended. I'm not sure if that's the '8' strips you mentioned. The problems I do see which may have contributed to the original issue: (1)Downspouts in close proximity to each other which may or may not be connected to a sub-surface drainage system. (2) water spigot in the same vicinity. (3) Facing stone applied directly over O.S.B. Without moisture prevention barrier. I would expect some measures would be taken to overlap the 60 minute barrier with appropriate material before reinstalling the facing brick. You should also be aware that brick, mortar and concrete are porous in and of themselves but could be sealed to minimize their porosity.

    I can't comment on what the contractor did as water intrusion preventative measures and following manufacturers guidelines but being as there is still a reverse pitch in the newly poured slab, any collected water will go somewhere before evaporation. It may be that adequate precautions have been taken but 3 years from now may be too late to find out. If the contractor is satisfied with his work and efforts have him warranty it for at least 10 years.
    For the 8 strips of rain screen the contractor added them as a measure to drain water from under the stone of the slab just so water can escape. One of the rain screen strips is shown on the step picture have a look to the right of the second step. The picture may not be clear but the downspouts are within 20 or more feet of each other one just runs out 3 or more feet past the end of the steps (downspot disconnected in the pic) the other runs into a drain that flows out 30 or more feet away on a down slope.

    The old work (stone application) which your seeing and commenting on is being torn down the only drainage they had behind there was one layer of tar paper and not grade D as in the new work. The contractor installing the new stucco wall will be removing all the stone and stucco and lining the OSB with 60 minute grade D paper and rains screen on top as well as weep screeds at the foundation with wire message on top of the rainscreen. In so far as the steps and slope issues I was thinking of asking for a 10 year guarantee as well, we shall see how he reacts.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,776

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Pete,
    What do you think the odds are for a problem? Factor in the fact that the contractor may not be there in, oh lets say, 5 years. Then include the run around for a correction that will make you happy. Compound by a coefficient of resulting damage. Don't forget about the legal fees.

    Is the warranty from the company and him personally, not that it will make any difference in bankruptcy court.

    How about a 10 yr bond against work and potential damages?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nazareth, Pennslyvania
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Pete,
    What do you think the odds are for a problem? Factor in the fact that the contractor may not be there in, oh lets say, 5 years. Then include the run around for a correction that will make you happy. Compound by a coefficient of resulting damage. Don't forget about the legal fees.

    Is the warranty from the company and him personally, not that it will make any difference in bankruptcy court.

    How about a 10 yr bond against work and potential damages?
    >Is the warranty from the company and him personally
    YES. Sure it doesnt matter much if he has no money.

    I've had two other contractors say its not ideal and it probably wont cause water damage, water does run out with the fix the contractor added (diversion channel). Yes it does pool in that area but it does run out at the same time, there's probably 1/8 - 3/16 of an inch of water depth directly against the exterior cladding. So its really a race between how much standing water seeps in the crack if left unsealed vs the water that runs out. With a medium rain it doesn't have a chance to pool, with a down pour its going to be a factor of how much water pools and how long it takes to escape to lower the pool to the point its not touching the exterior cladding.

    So whats the odds? Depends on how many heavy rain days we have vs light rain, hard to say. Surely water will enter that area whether its pooled or driving rains forces water up slope, any crack between exterior cladding and slab will allow water to seep in regardless of slope, wind is a big factor too. If the crack is sealed (caulked) and maintained and the concrete is sealed this will minimize water infiltration. Even with all that all, the sheathing and structural members are water proofed with rubber membrane, flashing and two layers of grade D paper, plus all the previously damage sheathing was replaced with plastic board not OSB and on top of that there are rain screen channels embedded under the gravel leading out to the exterior under the slab. The stucco contractor will also be embedding a channel in the wall above that area to redirect the water away from that area, so technically all the water that will finds it way there will be for the most part from the rain splashing down in that 2 X 2 area plus water even has collected on the wall say 2 feet up. With all that done water will enter but will it have a chance to cause damage, who really knows?

    At this point the contractor agreed to sign a 10 year guarantee with the following terms

    CONTRACTOR acknowledges that the newly installed PORCH has areas where the concrete is not properly sloped which causes water to flow toward exterior cladding (stucco wall) (collectively herein “KNOWN DEFECTS”).


    CONTRACTOR guarantees that both the PORCH and exterior cladding (stucco wall), structural framing members (sill plate, floor joists, rim joists and wall joists), footing and foundation wall, below and above PORCH perimeter not to extend beyond 1 foot of PORCH perimeter (herein collectively “STRUCTURE”), will be defect free for a period of 10 years starting on the date of this AGREEMENT (herein “ GUARANTEE PERIOD”).

    Defects will be limited to PORCH concrete settling and water infiltration of STRUCTURE as a result of the KNOWN DEFECTS (collectively herein “DEFECTS”). CONTRACTOR guarantees that water will not infiltrate STRUCTURE. CONTRACTOR acknowledges that the long term effects of water infiltration can severely damage and devalue property of STRUCTURE.



    CONTRACTOR will be held liable for the GUARANTEE PERIOD and will pay for the cost to replace the PORCH and repair damage done to the STRUCTURE while adhering to the International Residential Building codes in effect at the time of a claim OWNER makes against CONTRACTOR for any of the DEFECTS.



    A claim can be made by calling CONTRACTOR describing the problem and/or sending an email or letter to the CONTRACTOR. CONTRACTOR will have 1 week to respond to the claim. If CONTRACTOR and OWNER enter into litigation CONTRACTOR will be held responsible for all legal fees in addition to costs for repairs.

    Will he go bankrupt before 10 years nobody knows.He's been in business since 1989, hes got a family, he survived 2007-2008, hes got an A rating on Angies list. The point here is its not a company that started up last year and that has alot of weight his ability to stay in business. Will I see water infilitration in less then 5 years? Chances are I will if it fails.

    Since he agreed to sign this hes got the confidence that I wont have a problem. If he didnt he wouldnt sign it and does he want to take that kind of risk for 50% of 3500 thinking his cost is 50%. Its a small amount of money for a potentially large risk if this fails.

    Dont get me wrong this shouldnt have happened and Im not arguing for the CONTRACTOR but hes signing something potentially that could cost him maybe 2 or 3 times the project cost unless he plans on closing his doors tommorrow.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete S View Post
    I recently had my 7 year old ... But after 7 years
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete S View Post
    Since he agreed to sign this hes got the confidence that I wont have a problem. If he didnt he wouldnt sign it ...
    I suspect: a) he thinks you will not find the results of the known problem for 10 years, in which case he is off the hook; b) he think you may not be the owner of the property for another 10 years, in which case he is off the hook; c) that by the time the known problem causes sufficient damage ... he will be off the hook in one way or another.

    Instead of that warranty, which is basically useless, do as Garry said "How about a 10 yr bond against work and potential damages?" - that way an actual insurance company is standing behind the money backing the work.

    If he cannot purchase a bond for the work ... insurance companies don't like losing their bets, so they don't make bets they think they will lose ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Nazareth, Pennslyvania
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I suspect: a) he thinks you will not find the results of the known problem for 10 years, in which case he is off the hook; b) he think you may not be the owner of the property for another 10 years, in which case he is off the hook; c) that by the time the known problem causes sufficient damage ... he will be off the hook in one way or another.

    Instead of that warranty, which is basically useless, do as Garry said "How about a 10 yr bond against work and potential damages?" - that way an actual insurance company is standing behind the money backing the work.

    If he cannot purchase a bond for the work ... insurance companies don't like losing their bets, so they don't make bets they think they will lose ...
    Interesting. That suggests that he would have to pay an insurance company to insure the work doesnt it? Any idea what that would cost him?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete S View Post
    Interesting. That suggests that he would have to pay an insurance company to insure the work doesnt it? Any idea what that would cost him?
    Pretty much depends on his company, the type and scope of work he has done, the value of the work the bond will cover and other factors we don't know.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    O.T.H....If he already carries E.&O. and liability and/ or Bonding, which I'm sure he probably does, any claim you make against him, as long as his insurance is maintained, would be passed on to his Insurance co. whether he agrees to the contractual obligation or not. The contract is something of a mitigated loss but only to the extent of his deductible, probably $3500.

    I'm somewhat surprised that he is agreeing to some of the language in that caulking and sealing are maintenance issues and certainly wouldn't last ten years without attention. Unless he's prepared to provide the maintenance, though I suspect not.

    At some point you either have to accept the work, as is and live with any potential consequences or get off the pot and insist on a re-do. However, even with the latter, there are no guarantees, largely dependent on workmanship and materials.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    FL, TX
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    It seems to me that the exterior should have been finished all the way down to the foundation and then the landing made "free standing" and "hollow" underneath with proper drainage below. This would have reduced materials and resolved any issue with excessive water. I have seen this done many times, the landing itself poured in place and locked to stem walls below.

    All that being said, I agree that there is no "quick fix" for the condition that exists now. Cutting drainage grooves does nothing as those grooves must be maintained by removal of dirt and debris or they will not work. The entire purpose of your replacement was to eliminate water standing and moving to the house, and damaging structure. The contractor knew this and did not provide proper structure for purpose and intent. It is really that simple.

    I agree that you should probably ask for his insurance/bond information in writing or use it if it was already provided to you. It may be good to go and get new bids for the rework in writing so that you have a value of loss before you even talk to him or his insurance/bonding agent. It may be that he is no longer a "qualified bidder". That is a legal issue you may have to address. You may wind up needing an attorney and the clauses in your contract may or may not allow recovery of attorney expenses.

    Another possiblility is that some cities and counties have programs that allow you to address the issues with a bureaucratic department before heading to any court or other action. This might be preferable. Remember that the ONLY reason you demolished the old porch was because it was reveresed sloped and damaging the house, the contractor KNEW this and did not produce a product that met the need and probably did not meet code as well (minimum slope of the landing 1/8 inch per foot generally).

    Also, you should understand (and possibly ask your insurance) that standing water is a slip and fall hazard. This means that YOUR homeowner's insurance is not covering possible personal harm against the contractor's work (but not for your personal injury, only for visitors). Any place that water pools there will be things growing there that are slippery. This is NOT good. Contact YOUR insurance and ask them to reject it along with the fix, this means that they will exclude water damage, and slip and fall from this area of the house. This wil give you a LOT of power in dealing with the contractor, however if he has no insurance or bond or was not covered at the time by it then you will have a financial burden yourself.

    Good luck.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: New concrete landing and steps for front entry (small section has reverse pitch)

    Any time a masonry landing is higher that the wall's wood framing and substrate you should expect eventual problems.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •