Water in the basement.

33 Replies

Hey guys.

I just bought my first house, moved in last month. A couple of weeks ago, we had a very wet weekend and I noticed water stains in the baseboards of my finished basement. No French drains, no sump pumps. I’m located in Newark NJ. It’s gonna snow soon, really bad.

What should I do, and any advice on where I can get the money to waterproof the basement? Can I afford to wait a couple (5) of month before I get a contractor in there.

I already plugged in a dehumidifier, it seems to be pulling out 5 pints every 36 hours.

What should I do?

Why do you need 5 months to get a contractor in there? Find 3-5 water proofing professionals, plumbers, or similar who are willing to give you free consultations. If you don't know why you're getting water, how do you know how much money you need to fix it? 

@Nicole Heasley

My bad I wasn't clear... I was gonna take those 5 months to save some money, or I could get a home improvement loan right away, or I could get an interest credit card to fix it and pay it off before the internet kicks in.

@Maimouna Sow

Another important factor is that I don’t want the mold to reach the rest of my house. As of right now the baseboards of my basement is not only water stained, but it’s also molded.

I guesss I could rip out all of the finished walls, and put mortar (waterproof) on the actually basement walls, and baring the masonry will help me keep an eye out for the rest of the structure and to make sure it doesn’t reach the rest of the house?

What do you guys think?

@Maimouna Sow You haven't had anyone look at the issue. You could have a $15,000 repair or a $500 repair on your hands. Go get some more information before you go running to a bank.

First and easiest fix may be determining, as Satha Palani said, do your downspouts direct water away from the house? Does the grade around your house slope toward your house or away? If the land slopes toward your house all of the rain water slopes toward the foundation and builds up.  Often times simply fixing the grading around the house to direct water away from the house can fix the problem. 

@Maimouna Sow

Do you have a underground basement? Like they mentioned above, I would check outside and try to pinpoint where is the water coming from.

I'm from Newark and could take a look if you'd like.

Also, Congratulations on your new house. Keep up the good work.

God bless

It does not hurt to talk to the neighbors.  They may have dealt with the same thing and may also know the history of your house.

@Maimouna Sow the mortar will do absolutely nothing. You need to figure out where the water is coming from (no gutters on roof, saturated soil, lot runoff, etc) and address that first. If water still ends up in the basement an interior perimeter French drain system, as well as a properly waterproofed slab (may need to pour a new slab with proper vapor barrier, drain rock, etc) may ve needed. I would pull up any trim and drywall that may be in contact with the water to prevent mold issues as well as try to dry out as much of the framing as possible.

Not that you were the one to do it, BUT IF YOU’RE GOING TO FINISH A BASEMENT MAKE SURE THAT WATERPROOFING HAS BEEN ADDRESSED BEFORE SPENDING MONEY ON ANYTHING ELSE

@Maimouna Sow

Put in that drain! Ask your banker for a loan or a heloc to pay for it. I’d wait until it’s warmer out, concrete work in the winter time doesn’t work. I didn’t think NJ houses would have a basement, what kind of soil do you have?

@Maimouna Sow As others have said, to check: 1. Gutters & downspouts are clean 2. Mulch bed grade leads away from house foundation Also, 3. Add gutter extensions to carry water further away from house ($10 each at hardware store) 4. Check your HVAC condensate pump. Is it turned on? Is it plugged in? Some high efficiency HVAC units create water during heating & cooling. 5. Place clear plastic window well covers over the basement window well openings in your mulch bed ($15 each at hardware store). 6. Do you have a sump pump or clothes washer in the basement? Hook up a dehumidifier drain hose to either to automate the water extraction. Keep that dehumidifier running! You’ll need to dry the basement out very soon or you risk mold growth. Only open up the walls & remove enough baseboard trim & drywall to confirm the area behind is dry. If the basement walls are insulated, and the insulation is wet, it can act like a wick and draw water higher.... All of the above are basic DIY tasks if you are somewhat handy or willing to try and err. If that’s not you, then hire a handyman to take on the tasks. Good luck!

@Maimouna Sow Please get at least 3 different professional estimates. At least one of them will see that you are worred and don't know much about water issues, so they will build on your fear and then give a huge, overpriced estimate.

Do not react too quickly. The house is still standing. It's not in danger of being condemed any time soon. 

  • Get educated and get multiple good estimates.
  • Check the simple stuff as others have suggested such as downspouts and pooling water near the house.
  • Make the best decision for you and your property
  • Enjoy!

@Nicole A.

Thank you!

Yes. I’m actually really worried! But how long do u actually think I have? Of course tomorrow I will check the gutters and stuff tomorrow, and the slope of the thing and all of that. And I already have a dehumidifier in there, running.

But how long do I have to make a permanent change, (French drain, sump pump) before the rest of the house actually does get threatened.?

Cause I don’t really have money right now, I mean I could dye the money, and pay it off... but with everything going on,

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