Building on a Wet Site

Ramakant writes: We are in discussion with a builder to buy a lot to build our new home. Currently it's a wooded area. However we discovered that this particular lot had a pond at one time covering almost 50% of the lot. Is it safe to build a new home on this lot? If so what are the things we need to consider? The builder says that we just need to stabilize the foundation with more concrete and other things. He says that this is nothing unusual and that they do very often. Steve Bliss, … [Read more...]

Wet Basement Solutions for New Home

Missy writes: I am in the process of building a new home in Michigan and when the foundation was poured last fall there was water sitting in the basement throughout the whole process. Now three months later as they are finishing the house, the sump pump has continued to run. We have a mix of clay and sand soil on the property. We want to know if this is just a temporary problem because the ground still needs to settle or is this a sign of water problems? Steve Bliss, Editor of … [Read more...]

Cure for Basement Leakage

Dan writes: In the process of selling our house, the buyer’s inspector reported that there was "active water" in the basement. We assume that it was found in the walls or floor. We almost never experience any visible water in our basement. Can you recommend a professional to come to the house and perform an evaluation. The evaluation needs to include a verification of the active water, a determination of any mold growth, and a path going forward to remediate it. Steve Bliss, of … [Read more...]

Soil Washed Away Under Foundation

Steve writes: A friend recently moved into a property where a downspout leaked for years causing soil under the footings to be washed away on one corner of property. Their builder said they need to fill the void with concrete to provide support in that area. Is this a good approach and what would you call this remedy? Steve Bliss of responds: This sounds like a reasonable solution, referred to, in general, as underpinning. Underpinning is required when the soil beneath a … [Read more...]

How Much Slope for Good Site Drainage?

Keith writes: Is there any recommendation to how high the grade of a home needs to be above an existing drainage ditch.  What is the typical elevation above the ditch needed to get water flowing? Steve Bliss of responds: Many basement water problems result from rain and snow melt that runs of the roof,  pools around the foundation,  and then runs down the foundation wall into the basement or crawlspace. The best solution is to slope the finish grade away from the house so … [Read more...]

Drying and Repairing a Flooded Basement

Darlene S. writes: Our finished basement, which we rent out as an apartment, was flooded when the incoming well water hose clamp let go while we were  out of town. We came home to over one foot of water. We are retired/disabled and live on a fixed income that relies on the revenue from the “in-law” apartment to pay our mortgage. The water clean-up company is eating up all of our insurance money and a different contractor submitted a bid for reconstruction without even coming out to access the … [Read more...]

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