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Old 06-22-2019, 09:00 AM
yorick73 is offline
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What type of professional to call to fix water leak in basement


This is probably a simple question but I'm not sure where to start looking for help. I have a water leak in an underground basement from the area surrounding the main sewer pipe that leads out of the house through the wall. To be clear this is not a leaking pipe.

When it rains outside water enters the space between the pipe and the concrete wall. I "fixed" this years ago by sealing the area with some kind of sealant that I can't remember at the moment. Anyway, this fix has failed and I'm having the problem again. It also appears that some of the concrete wall surrounding the pipe is damaged and is falling off. I've read that an indoor fix, which is what I did, is not ideal since the pressure of the water trying to enter the space can damage the concrete.

I should also mention the obvious. The pipe is underground on the outside of the house so an outside repair would require digging to get to that area of the basement on the outside.

I see there are basement waterproofing companies but I'm not sure if that is where I should start. My fear is that they may be used to more serious problems and want to provide a very complicated (and expensive) fix for a relatively simple problem. Maybe a plumber? Anyone in the field or anyone who has been in a similar situation have any advise?

Last edited by yorick73; 06-22-2019 at 09:02 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:13 AM
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This might be better suited for IMHO. My apologies to the mods and feel free to move it.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:20 AM
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If you're sure it's ground or rain water and not sewer or city water, then you don't need a plumber. A company that specializes in sealing foundations is probably the right way to go about it. On the other hand, if it's just in one spot, you could probably start with a general contractor and see what they have to say.
If it's just ground/rain water, they can probably dig around the foundation in that one spot, repair the concrete and seal that section. They may also be able to fix whatever is causing the water to push through in that one spot. Leaking gutters, clogged drain tile, landscaping pitched the wrong way etc.

Also, when you fixed it yourself, you probably used hydraulic cement. You could probably do it again and buy yourself more time, but it would be a good idea to have a professional take a look at it.

Last edited by Joey P; 06-22-2019 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:30 AM
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Make sure anyone you hire is a 'member' [https://youtu.be/DCXtGhtKk28

Seriously though, you might have to excavate the exterior to properly repair the connection. Could be improper backfilling or poor backfill material had placed stress in the connection into the house. Unfortunately, talking this problem from the inside probably won't solve it.

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Last edited by tingbudong; 06-22-2019 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:38 AM
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Thank you both! It is definitely rain water and I can see the water marks leading down from the pipe. I had water in my basement yesterday after using an outside water faucet directly above the leaky area. I had a lot of dirt put down years ago to grade the area around my house and direct the water away. I could do this again but I assume it doesn't get to the root of the problem.
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:04 AM
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There is a kind of sealant that can be applied to the inside wall (the "negative" side) and which supposedly infiltrates the concrete and crystallizes, plugging the pores in the concrete. This avoids the need to dig to access the outside of the wall. I had this done to a basement that had a very bad water infiltration problem. To be honest the results were mixed -- some areas sealed well but others still leaked, although not as badly as before. A foundation sealing specialist should be able to tell you whether this is appropriate for your situation.
https://www.xypex.com/products/crystalline-technology
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:06 AM
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You may need a drain installed around the outside of the house to draw water away from that area before it gets to the basement wall. You might also or instead need a better basement seal, and/or need part of the basement wall reconstructed.
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:37 AM
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The entire history of human civilization is rooted upon man's efforts to persuade water to not do what it was gonna do anyway.

I second the suggestion to look for foundation specialists rather than a plumber or GC. The solution will depend on how severe the problem is. Could be as simple as stuffing some hydraulic cement into the cracks, all the way up to excavating around the foundation and installing a French drain to channel water away.

Get multiple opinions.
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Old 06-22-2019, 10:38 AM
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Hire a professional. And ask about the guarantee.

You only want to pay for this once.
  #10  
Old 06-23-2019, 12:14 PM
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Thanks to all of you for the info and advice!
  #11  
Old 06-23-2019, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorick73 View Post
This might be better suited for IMHO. My apologies to the mods and feel free to move it.
Since this is looking for advice, IMHO is a better fit.

Moving thread from GQ to IMHO.
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Old 06-23-2019, 01:56 PM
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I agree the OP needs a basement/foundation company. Be sure to check their references.

There's a membrane they can install on the outside. Several of the Holmes on Homes episodes featured leaky basement repairs.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-23-2019 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:20 PM
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In case you want to try the fix again, hydraulic cement worked great in my situation. (exactly similar to yours).
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:18 PM
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Off topic: I'm curious about the use of the term "hydraulic cement'. Around here, just saying 'cement' indicates a cement that cures under water / while wet. If I wanted a cement that didn't cure while wet, I'd say something like 'mortar' or 'plaster'.

What would you think just 'cement' might mean?
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
In case you want to try the fix again, hydraulic cement worked great in my situation. (exactly similar to yours).
My understanding is that an interior fix with cement can cause other problems since the water is still trying to squeeze in from the outside. I read that it can cause the concrete to crack and I'm starting to notice this on the concrete wall in the area surrounding the pipe.
  #16  
Old 06-24-2019, 11:08 AM
Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Off topic: I'm curious about the use of the term "hydraulic cement'. Around here, just saying 'cement' indicates a cement that cures under water / while wet. If I wanted a cement that didn't cure while wet, I'd say something like 'mortar' or 'plaster'.

What would you think just 'cement' might mean?
I'm certainly not the person to explain the ins and outs of different types of cement, but in general when someone says 'hydraulic cement', they're talking about cement for patching cracks in foundation walls. If you go to a home improvement store, you'll find bags and buckets of 'hydraulic cement' right next to all the products for fixing leaks in basement walls.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Off topic: I'm curious about the use of the term "hydraulic cement'. Around here, just saying 'cement' indicates a cement that cures under water / while wet. If I wanted a cement that didn't cure while wet, I'd say something like 'mortar' or 'plaster'.

What would you think just 'cement' might mean?
Portland cement (the stuff used in concrete) is indeed hydraulic. (Meaning it hardens when you add water.) Generally people are talking about Portland when they just say "cement."

The "hydraulic cement" that is sold for patching leaks is Portland cement with some additives that make it especially good for sealing cracks because they expand when they contact water and it cures very fast (within minutes usually).
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