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Leaking Driveway Expansion Gap?
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Leaking Driveway Expansion Gap? - August 7, 2009, 10:53 AM

So I posted this on a few other forums, might as well post it here:



So, I noticed recently that my closet in my basement (subterranean) started getting slightly wet on the carpet after a heavy rain. I pulled the carpet up and noticed the basement floor was wet.

I live in an end unit carriage home that is joined on the side by my neighbors garage. The closet basement in question is on the foundation wall closest to the driveway (directly next to and underneath it).

After doing some investigation, I found that there was a hairline crack going down the length of my neighbors driveway along with a crack in the corner that water would just "disappear" into. And by disappear I mean it reappears in my basement. I put a hose on it and sure enough, water started dumping in.

I got some waterproof/flexible cement patch goop, and applied it the length of the house, and in the corner:



This helped, but didn't solve the problem completely. I think the issue now is the black rubber "tar" or whatever it is that is used in the strip between my neighbors garage and his house is leaking. I can pour water on it and it disappears (again, into my basement, albeit slower).





I think the issue is water getting underneath this black stuff and draining toward my house right above my foundation and slipping in above the foundation and trickling down the inside of it to my basement.

What is the fix for this? Can this black stuff be removed and replaced to be water tight? If so, is it a DIY job or do I need to call a contractor to do it properly?


ANYONE??? BUELLER??


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August 7, 2009, 11:00 AM

I would be very careful working on his seam. You should talk to him and get his approval in writing incase anything goes wrong. Also check you homeowners insurance because this might be covered and might cost a bit of money to fix. You should have your basement checked for mold! If the leak starts there your foundation might be cracked also. They pour the foundation first and the driveway last.


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August 7, 2009, 11:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge131 View Post
I would be very careful working on his seam. You should talk to him and get his approval in writing incase anything goes wrong. Also check you homeowners insurance because this might be covered and might cost a bit of money to fix. You should have your basement checked for mold! If the leak starts there your foundation might be cracked also. They pour the foundation first and the driveway last.
I'm going to be very careful about it, and get his permission.. that goes without saying. I'm just wanting to get all my facts straight before I go and talk to him about it. He said it was no big deal to put the sealant down, but this obviously is taking it to the next level.


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August 7, 2009, 11:14 AM

Blech. Insurance doesn't cover crap with this, except for anythign damaged on the inside of the house. I guess that's good though so I can get mold checked out, etc but fixing the problem I'm on my own.


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August 7, 2009, 11:16 AM

Be careful with the mold testing. It will come up positive in most cases, including harmless ones, and once you test positive for it, you need to disclose it whenver you sell the place, or remediate it. remediation is usually pretty expensive, and oftentimes, insurance will not cover it. Check your coverage before you test for mold, or be really sure you want to do it, there's no going back afterward.

In my old building, they covered a parking garage ramp that was leaking with some grayish sealant that just rolled on like paint, it worked pretty well. i can try asking them the name or the company that did it.

I believe the material in the expansion joint can be pulled up, and you can seal it under there.

In any case you can drylock the interior of your basement walls, that should help.


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August 7, 2009, 11:24 AM

Actually, you probably do not want to be working on your neighbor's crack (no pun intended)

Water problems and foundations can get messy.I'd want to notify him in writing that the crack in his driveway is a causing you a problem and you want to work with him on solving it. It doesn't have to be litigious in nature and you can always offer to go halves on the cost for the fix. Even attempt a fix yourselves before calling a contractor. This way if it does go wrong and you end up with Lake Mead in your basement, there is some recourse (your insurance will want to know at the very least).

As to the fix, it is not that hard to do. You do need the right sealant and you do need to get all of the old stuff out. More important would be to find out what caused the hairline crack (settling of the driveway? not enough packed base? etc) and keep it from happening again in a few. You also need to find out how it is penetrating your basement wall, a crack or porous cement. Cracks will have to be back cut and filled with something like hydraulic cement. You may have a drainage problem along the foundation leading the water to seek the path of least resistance and need to install something like a french drain.

start with the topside...its not that hard but I'd still get a contractor to do it. Shouldn't be a high $ job.


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August 7, 2009, 11:26 AM

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August 7, 2009, 11:37 AM

hard to tell for sure but it looks like the black stuff is a fiber joint filler like we spec in our garages around columns at grade slabs. I am sure that stuff is not waterproof.

Show your neighbor the damage to your place and he should be willing to fix it to avoid a law suit

You could have him pull it out and put waterproofing caulk in that should help. Or you could put in some kind of waterproof expanding foam

I am still confused how it is getting inside your place


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August 7, 2009, 11:49 AM

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Originally Posted by r6hokie View Post
hard to tell for sure but it looks like the black stuff is a fiber joint filler like we spec in our garages around columns at grade slabs. I am sure that stuff is not waterproof.

Show your neighbor the damage to your place and he should be willing to fix it to avoid a law suit

You could have him pull it out and put waterproofing caulk in that should help. Or you could put in some kind of waterproof expanding foam

I am still confused how it is getting inside your place
In picture #2, the black filler is angled toward the left which is my house. Directly below the 90 degree angle where the driveway meets my house and his garage is the closet. So it seems to me the water is sinking down under the driveway black filler, flowing left (toward my house) and somehow getting into the basement, either by flowing over the top of the foundation, or getting in through a foundation crack.

The closet is finished, so I have no way of knowing if I'm dealing with a foundation crack short of ripping the drywall down which I'm entirely trying to avoid.

I'm calling my builder since this shit should be covered under warranty since the house is less than 10 years old.

Installing a french drain would be pretty difficult considering there is a driveway there.


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August 7, 2009, 01:22 PM

I was in a very similar situation, except my leak was behind my siding where it met at the "soldier brick" on the front of my house. Went through 3 contractors to correctly pull out the siding, patch and put back. Siding is original on my 20+ year old house, so if if it didnt go back in correctly, no way i could find siding to match. And no my insurance wouldnt cover replacing my siding or fixing the patch. The did cover the carpet replacement.

ok long story short, if you dont have much luck with your builder, i have a contractor that does good work. He fixed my house, installed windows, gutter and siding on my parents house.


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August 7, 2009, 01:29 PM

Who was your builder?
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August 7, 2009, 02:33 PM

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Who was your builder?
+1.

expansion joint filler is not waterproof.

concrete is not waterproof.

but neither shouldn't matter since basement wall should be waterproofed, and should be equipped with a foundation drain (installed below basement slab elevation) that is connected to sump pit w/ pump and/or daylight.

these are code requirements.

[*sounds like you got a problem that can be mitigated, but not really fixed without extensive work.]

if i was to guess, it seems likely that one or more things have failed in your case, and that they would likely be the responsibility of the builder to correct.

call your builder. if he's agreeable, have him fix it- and do it right... and get a warranty.

if not, (and i truly hate to suggest it) call a construction attorney.
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August 7, 2009, 03:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikrsk8r View Post
+1.

expansion joint filler is not waterproof.

concrete is not waterproof.

but neither shouldn't matter since basement wall should be waterproofed, and should be equipped with a foundation drain (installed below basement slab elevation) that is connected to sump pit w/ pump and/or daylight.

these are code requirements.

[*sounds like you got a problem that can be mitigated, but not really fixed without extensive work.]

if i was to guess, it seems likely that one or more things have failed in your case, and that they would likely be the responsibility of the builder to correct.

call your builder. if he's agreeable, have him fix it- and do it right... and get a warranty.

if not, (and i truly hate to suggest it) call a construction attorney.
Or sell the house.

I called the Builder (Ryland). They're gonna give me a call on Monday...

I do have a sump/sump pump. Could these perhaps be the failure? Is there anything I can do to check this?


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August 7, 2009, 04:34 PM

Having dealt with something similar in nature (water issues from a neighbor) I will tell you this... they are going to start in the basement, and they are going to take down some drywall to get at the cinderblock that comprises the basement retaining wall to check where exactly it's coming in...

This is a damned if you do damned if you don't situation, and the only real way to get your money back will probably be some kind of construction lawyer to go after the builder for negligence or some fault pertaining to the building process and code adherence.

I'd try all the cheap stuff like sealing off the slab so most of the water runs down the driveway into the street instead of seeping into your basement... if that doesn't work then you're going to have to get someone down there to tear stuff out.. then you're dealing with new drywall, possibly carpet, etc. And putting some goop on a visible hairline crack in your foundation or where ever the leak may be MIGHT work... like sealing your neighbors driveway MIGHT work... but water has a way of getting anywhere.

Also consider the fact that though your neighbors driveway may be causing water to drain into the earth surrounding your house, he is not responsible for a foundation fault or problem with your slab... and it's your job to prove it. I would seriously consider being very friendly about this until you can ascertain fault, and then assign blame. A defensive neighbor can really make this a long, difficult process.


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August 7, 2009, 11:30 PM

Sump pump will be activated via a float switch that is either shaft mounted or on a float ball. Pick either one of them up and if it turns on, you are golden.

A french drain does little to combat any water that is flowing down against the side of the home. It will de-water the area around the footer and underneath the slab to prevent water from entering the home via the floor, however, if there is a crack in your foundation wall, that is the issue and no amount of sump pump will address that.

Most homes built in this area were not built with incorporate drainage board along the foundation walls and if water is flowing along that pathway, it will make its way into the home. The only way to properly address the leak is to seal the crack in the wall either via injection, hydraulic cement, or excavation/repair/drainage board.

You can address the water infiltration from the top side and hopefully avoid the problem altogether, however, water has a nasty habit of finding its way back downhill. The first thing I would do is divert that water coming out of the gutter down the driveway via an extended downspout to the street. Next would be digging out the expansion joint and filling with a less permeable material that the fiber board material.

Get rid of the bulk moisture (i.e. downspout) and fix the seam. That will probably mitigate most of the issue.

Spud....hmmm....who told you that the leak was coming from top course of brick when you wanted to caulk the starter strip full of silicon???
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