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  1. #1
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    Post ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    I inspected this home in July 08. The client called me today and said that water was entering the basement, I told him that I would come over and take a look. We recently had about 24-30 inches of snow that melted in about 2 days and have had frequent rain and snow.

    The basement walls are ICF construction. The basement walls are finshed with sheetrock and have no signs of water intrusion. Water appears to coming in at the seam where the footing and basement floor (slab) meet. The seams are about 6-10 inches out from the interior walls.

    I am looking for the best advise to give my client. Here is what I have told clients so far.

    *ICF walls may have not been water proofed correctly or water proofing has failed in some areas.
    *Possible inadequate drainage system at foundation footing
    *ICF walls may have voids (air gaps) in concrete
    *High water table

    It is my understanding that proper water proofing is the largest concern the ICF contractors face.

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  2. #2
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    Oct 2003
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    We don't have basements here in the Dallas area or anywhere much in Texas that I'm aware of. Just looking at your photos' though I have a question or observation. Why is there no moisture on the backside of the carpeting tackstrip and only on the front side. Sure appears to be evenly distributed looks like.

    As far as the advice you mentioned giving to them, did you give them also notice at the original inspection that these are things that could possibly happen that you have no way of observing if done correctly at the time of the inspection?

    Rick


  3. #3
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Its any bodies guess as to the cause. However the fact that the weather has been as you state could be to blame, and affect a underlying high water table. Without excavating or digging exploratory holes you are only guess as to the cause and the repairs.

    The best thing you did was return and address the issue. This will most likely mitigate an angry homeowner.


  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    I see you are in Wash. State. what part? I lived in Vancouver for about 5 years Did a lot of inspection up that way. very odd soil condition from one thing likes Rocks every where to full on standing water under home with very high water tables and just flat out mud...

    Basements up that way are just a pit for water to collect.
    like any dam they leak...

    I have only ran into one basement that had no water stains in it in all my years. I think Raymond has a hand on it you did the right thing by going back...

    Are there any exterior drains to help divert the water from the exterior of the home? that helps in a big... Before I would say do anything on the interior of the flooring or walls. get working on some exterior drains and they may need to be 5 to 8feet deep to help.

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    I'm located in eastern Washington the dry part of the state, our average annual rain fall is about 20 inches. The home has gutters and downspouts that are properly directing water away from the home and perimeter grading and drainage looks good.


  6. #6
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Well dang... looks like that 20 inches a year is a problem.
    you did make notes: in your report about basements and sub-structure walls can leak ?

    I think the only to keep this water out is some type of a drain system. and thats going to cost a few bucks to put in and then the only thing you can do is sit back and over a few season see if it works.

    these is just about nothing I can think of the you can do from the interior.

    Best

    Ron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    We don't have basements here in the Dallas area or anywhere much in Texas that I'm aware of. Just looking at your photos' though I have a question or observation. Why is there no moisture on the backside of the carpeting tackstrip and only on the front side. Sure appears to be evenly distributed looks like.
    .

    No basements here either, but from the looks of it, like Rick said, it appears to be seeping through up from inside the tackless strips.

    I'm guessing that the footing was poured, the basement foundation walls placed and poured on top of the footing, then the basement slab poured inside the inside perimeter of the footing, leaving a cold joint, and an unsealed joint, all the way around the basement inside edge of the footing where the slab was poured to.

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

  8. #8
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .

    No basements here either, but from the looks of it, like Rick said, it appears to be seeping through up from inside the tackless strips.

    I'm guessing that the footing was poured, the basement foundation walls placed and poured on top of the footing, then the basement slab poured inside the inside perimeter of the footing, leaving a cold joint, and an unsealed joint, all the way around the basement inside edge of the footing where the slab was poured to.

    What Jerry is saying Trent is you have a floating interior slab floor...
    with gaps or voids at the walls. The water is getting as it seeks its own level.

    Best

    Ron


  9. #9
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .

    No basements here either, but from the looks of it, like Rick said, it appears to be seeping through up from inside the tackless strips.

    I'm guessing that the footing was poured, the basement foundation walls placed and poured on top of the footing, then the basement slab poured inside the inside perimeter of the footing, leaving a cold joint, and an unsealed joint, all the way around the basement inside edge of the footing where the slab was poured to.
    My thoughts exactly. I've seen floating slabs here in some garages where moisture has seeped up at the edges. Like others have said, joints not sealed properly and raised water table has probably caused the problem.

    I'd be willing to bet that the concrete floor is not much more than 4in. thick and possible driving in the tackstrips created some small stress cracks that could be possibly allowing the seepage.

    Over the years, I've seen actual termite tunnels coming up below small cracks below the tackstrips. If they can make it through so could moisture.

    rick


  10. #10
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .

    I'm guessing that the footing was poured, the basement foundation walls placed and poured on top of the footing, then the basement slab poured inside the inside perimeter of the footing, leaving a cold joint, and an unsealed joint, all the way around the basement inside edge of the footing where the slab was poured to.
    Yeah Jerry, it appears that the water is coming in at the cold joint where the slab and footing meet.


  11. #11
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    If moisture, I agree with the above. If it is water, it may be hydrostatic pressure from a high water table. Do you know if there was a perimeter drain installed at the footer?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    I'd be the first to admit, I don't know Jack about basements because they are not common here. Never seen one or stepped foot in one.

    Always looked like a bad idea to me just looking at the design and the construction of them I've seen in videos and pictures.

    You build something which is underground and its walls are of concrete, you would just have to expect some movement of those walls and the always possibility of moisture intrusion.

    Have you ever seen water-proofing done that you could say that would be always water tight? I don't think so.

    The same principle goes for swimming pools though. Dig a hole, pour and shape the walls with concrete, fill it full of water. The only thing is you hardly ever hear that swimming pools are leaking below the surface that much. Is the plaster sprayed over the gunite that tight to prevent water seepage. If so, why do they not spray the walls of basements with this same material instead of using some tar base product that we all know cracks, splits and allows water seepage.

    Curious minds would like to know.

    rick


  13. #13

    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Hi Guys I am from Illinois where 95% of the homes have basements. It does look like water entered from hydraulic pressure at the cold joint. There are a couple of solutions.

    1st look at the drainage around the home if the soil is low at the house add more around the whole foundation.and install extensions on the downspouts to get water away from the foundation.

    If that does not do it but I think it will.

    2nd call a basement waterproofing company there are a lot of them. They can channel a drain around the whole perimeter on the inside of the home that empties into a sump pit and is then ejected out. They will cement over the drain channel so carpet can be reinstalled.

    Good luck,

    Steve Reilly
    Owl Inspection Services


  14. #14
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
    Richard Pultar Guest

    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    funny dampness, If there is a interior drain pipe that's usually where it is.
    wondering if there are window well drains connected to the perimeter drain that might be filling into the perimeter drain.
    All this speculation re a drain , I doubt there is one unless there is a sump pit or your on a grade that would allow for daylight drainage.
    I would drill a hole and look under the slab .
    If there is water I would just put a sump pump in and be done.
    Obviously it is a nicer house, and this is odd weather but fixing the symptom in this case without a major disruption is in order.

    I would not call a waterproofing company under any condition. The slab might be on gravel.. very common these days and the gravel will allow water to drain to a sump pit hole.. The 10K french drain route is a classic ripoff. Seen too many folks get the treatment /shaft when it was obvious negative backpitch of the grade was the first option. Waterproofing companies around here are major thieves. What they do will work , but why anybody spends that amount of money to collect the water and not fix the problem is a sin. I have never seen a waterproofing job that I honestly felt the homeowner did not get riped off.

    Last edited by Richard Pultar; 01-05-2009 at 08:56 PM.

  15. #15
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    [quote=Richard Pultar;67336]funny dampness, If there is a interior drain pipe that's usually where it is.
    wondering if there are window well drains connected to the perimeter drain that might be filling into the perimeter drain. quote]


    Richard makes a good point about the windows and the egress access wells. this basement did have egress windows ? thats going to be one of the lowest points adjacent to the foundation walls.

    What was the condition of the egress window wells ?

    Best

    Ron


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    like rick stated,,why are the carpet tack strips dry
    i have tons of basements here in colorado and when water intrudes,those strips suck up the water,
    is the water coming up thru the floor drain and maybe not the slab
    charlie


  17. #17
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Water is coming up at the cold joint that is past the tack strips. I have been told that by installing an interior drain and sump pump that it can cause significant erosion by constantly pulling water from below the slab and footing. I have seen basements that have significant settlement due those types drains and sump pumps. My first recommendation to my client is to apply a concrete sealer to the floor around the perimeter cold joint. They make some high quality specialty sealers that claim to work great. I told my clients that this would be the most affordable and simplest solution, but it may not hold up or be the ultimate cure to there problem. I think that the proper repair would be to install a exterior perimeter drain at the footing, but this would be very difficult to do on this home.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: ICF Basement (water intrusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    I have been told that by installing an interior drain and sump pump that it can cause significant erosion by constantly pulling water from below the slab and footing.
    .

    Here is a better solution (because I have no faith is surface applied bandages other than those applied to one's skin to allow the skin to heal itself):

    Cut a notch into the slab, but not through the slab, around the slab at the cold joint, install a deck drain like that used around pools, sloped to drain to one location and install a shallow sump and pump there.

    The only water the above will remove is that "water which leaks in", which is the only water your client is concerned with anyway.

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

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