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Basement Waterproofing Questions - 3 estimates=3 different conclusion - Help, Please?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'll try to make a long story short. My home was built in 1952. I bought it 3.5 years ago. I plan on moving in 3-4 months, but keeping the house as an investment rental property. Last week, with the crazy rains in Baltimore, I started smelling mildew. I open the door to my crawlspace (which I haven't looked in in 2+ years), and there's some water on the concrete floor. Not an inch of water, but some puddles. So I get a dehumidifier and try to clean it up. I called 3 basement waterproofing companies to get an estimate on fixing the issues. Guy #1 says the water's coming in from the air vents on the walls (there are 3 air vents), and offers a $9900 price. I (using my special powers) negotiate him down to ~$3000, taking out all the bs add-ons. Guy #2 says the water's coming up through the concrete floor, and offers a $7900 estimate. Guy #3 says the water's coming in from the corners, where the floor meets the walls, and it's $6900, but if I decide to go for it today, he'll do it for $4900. All 3 have significant warranties, but #1 (25 years, and shortest warranty) will look the nicest, although I DO NOT think it will solve the problem, just cover it up so no one will see it/know it's there. So...Do I cheap out and go with #1, since I'm moving out, or do I bite the bullet and do it correctly? Anyone know any HONEST waterproofers How do 3 guys, who all claim 20+ years in the industry come up with 3 different conclusions???
post #2 of 13
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post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by whusurdadi View Post
Guy #1 says the water's coming in from the air vents on the walls (there are 3 air vents), and offers a $9900 price. I (using my special powers) negotiate him down to ~$3000, taking out all the bs add-ons.
Guy #2 says the water's coming up through the concrete floor, and offers a $7900 estimate.
Guy #3 says the water's coming in from the corners, where the floor meets the walls, and it's $6900, but if I decide to go for it today, he'll do it for $4900.


Being that I am close to Baltimore and know how much it rained this is what I would do.
I would put a bead of bathtub or similar calk around the corners of the floor. If that fixes the issue then # 3 is right.
If not I would place paper towels or rags over the air vents. If they get wet then guy #1 is right.
For guy #2 I see no reason why water would come up through solid concrete. If you have cracks in it then there is your issue. If not then I can not see this as being true.
A bunch of my friends do construction and I hear stories of previous contractors doing things completely wrong because they did not fully look into an issue.
post #4 of 13
We had basement leaks in one of our houses. I cost my parents tens of thousands in the long-run. I don't know what the right answer is, but I wouldn't base my decision on the lowest quote. Get it done right or you will regret it.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsacain View Post
Being that I am close to Baltimore and know how much it rained this is what I would do.
I would put a bead of bathtub or similar calk around the corners of the floor. If that fixes the issue then # 3 is right.
If not I would place paper towels or rags over the air vents. If they get wet then guy #1 is right.
For guy #2 I see no reason why water would come up through solid concrete. If you have cracks in it then there is your issue. If not then I can not see this as being true.
A bunch of my friends do construction and I hear stories of previous contractors doing things completely wrong because they did not fully look into an issue.

Pure MacGyver-like genius.
post #6 of 13
# 1 does not sound that plausible. I assume they are foundation vents not heating vents. Are they above the grade? Look outside your house and see where they are. If they are above where the water came then that is not the problem. Even if they are the problem, it sounds like it is only a problem in really heavy rain. Maybe just plan on having to use a dehumidifier every so often.

The other two are really just variations on the same problem. Do you have cracks? Is there a seam where the wall meets the slab floor? Try the caulk. Find one meant for the job and do it yourself. You could also paint on a concrete sealer that is meant to keep water out. I'd try both of the above which should only cost you about a 100, dry it out well, and wait until next winter to see what happens. Use some bleach to kill any mold/mildew.

The best long term solution is probably some variation on what I suggested plus a sump pump.

Also go outside and look at the sidewalk/concrete/patio/what-have-you that runs around your house. Does it look like the water drains away from the house? If the water is running into the side of the house it could work it's way down the exterior of your foundation or the base of the wall depending on how your house is built. You could use caulk on the outside for a quick and dirty fix, or in a worse case scenario you could have to regrade and make sure all water is draining away from the house.
Are you external drains up to the task of moving a lot of water? Do you even have any?

What were the details of the fixes that each suggested?
post #7 of 13
A rise in the ground water table could force water through your floor. I would do as Norcal said and see what gives with the next big rains.
post #8 of 13
I had this problem and companies tried to say that my sump pump wasn't working so they installed a completely new system. It was expensive. Guess what? The basement is still moist, although no water on the ground, but there wasn't any water on the ground in the first place. The walls were wet and needed to be sealed.

The main thing to figure out is where the water is coming from.

Are the walls wet? If the water is coming in from the walls, then it's an outside problem and a sump pump isn't going to fix anything. The best fix is to excavate around the foundation and seal the walls. A cheaper option would be to just seal the walls from the inside. You can do this yourself.

If water is coming up from the ground, then sump pump is the answer.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Canuker View Post
A rise in the ground water table could force water through your floor. I would do as Norcal said and see what gives with the next big rains.

how close is your house to any bodys of water? could be a zoneing problem if the water is coming ground up.
your best bet is sourcing the leak, any water proofing to the walls/floors can be done yourself if you dont mind putting in the elbow grease.
if you wanna pay someone for the work, (including materials and labor), keep searching. compile a list, and go with the best offer. if all of them garuntee the work, factor in the longest garuntee. review their company online.

too little information for anyone on these boards to help you choose one of the 3.
the cheapest isnt always the best.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JF90 View Post
how close is your house to any bodys of water? could be a zoneing problem if the water is coming ground up.

Yes. I don't know how I missed this.

Surely it is a zoning problem. Call City Hall; demand a hearing.
post #11 of 13
You might want to check to see if there are any water pipes running over the crawl space. Sometimes copper will get pinhole leaks its worth the crawl.
post #12 of 13
Is there a new ongoing or finished building or construction right next to you?
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota rube View Post
Yes. I don't know how I missed this.

Surely it is a zoning problem. Call City Hall; demand a hearing.

That sounds like a huge problem to me. Basically they would realize that you have a house in an area that should not support homes. To me that sounds like more of a possibly headache than the origional issue.
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