Don’t panic, yet, over tiny base­ment leak­age

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - ARI MARANTZ

QI would like your opin­ion, if pos­si­ble, on a sit­u­a­tion with the base­ment in our home. We have a Logix Sty­ro­foam/ con­crete base­ment in a sixyear-old home. We had some wa­ter leak­age into the base­ment a cou­ple of years af­ter the home was built. The wa­ter was noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant, but it was cause for some con­cern. We had a con­trac­tor come in to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion in the spring of 2011. He found some cracks in the foun­da­tion and sug­gested fill­ing the cracks and seal­ing the base­ment where the wa­ter was com­ing in with a com­pound that ex­pands and seals once it comes into con­tact with wa­ter. Af­ter this was done, we did not have any wa­ter leak­age in the base­ment for the rest of the spring or sum­mer even though it was the wettest in the past 50 years. In the spring of 2012, I no­ticed a small amount of wa­ter drib­ble in at the same lo­ca­tion over a cou­ple of days and then stop. We have not had any wa­ter prob­lems since, even though the fol­low­ing spring has again been very wet. What could have been the source of this wa­ter? Be­fore, when we had the cracks in the foun­da­tion, if there was a heavy rain we would see some leak­age. We have had some heavy rains and I even soaked the area with a sprin­kler on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions, and there was no leak­age again. My sump pump has been run­ning since the spring, and I do not think there is a prob­lem with the weep­ing tile. We are stumped as to where that lit­tle bit of wa­ter could have come from. We had con­sid­ered ex­ca­vat­ing down to the foot­ings to check the weep­ing tile, re­place the blue skin and add dim­ple mem­brane to that part of the foun­da­tion. This would be very costly, as well as messy, be­cause we have a pa­tio on that side of the house. Do you have any pos­si­ble sug­ges­tions or so­lu­tions? Is there a need to worry about any fu­ture leak­age? We would ap­pre­ci­ate your thoughts and opin­ions on this mat­ter. Shel­don Kaminski, Lan­gen­burg, SK are in­stalled with a slight gap at the floor, wick­ing of mois­ture from the wet base­ment floor should not be a prob­lem with a slight drib­ble of wa­ter. If they do be­come wet, im­me­di­ate dry­ing with a fan or small heater should pre­vent per­ma­nent dam­age. If there is a soft sur­face floor cov­er­ing, such as car­pet, it should be pulled up and thor­oughly dried, to pre­vent mould growth. If your floor is cov­ered with hard sur­face ma­te­rial, such as lam­i­nate, you may have to tem­po­rar­ily re­move a sec­tion to en­sure it does not swell be­fore it can prop­erly dry. It is doubt­ful there is a se­ri­ous prob­lem with the weep­ing tile if you are see­ing only a tiny bit of leak­age and your sump pump is work­ing well. The other pos­si­bil­ity is some air leak­age is hap­pen­ing around some­thing that pen­e­trates the foun­da­tion, or from a small crack or hole. This could oc­cur around a gas line, fur­nace vent, dryer vent, HRV duct, or other item that may have been in­stalled by drilling a hole through the ICF af­ter set­ting. If the hole was not prop­erly caulked or sealed, cold air pen­e­trat­ing this area could cause a small amount of frost to build up and leak to the floor when the weather warms. This is less likely with ICF’s than a stan­dard con­crete foun­da­tion, but could still oc­cur. Do­ing ma­jor ex­ca­va­tion to in­ves­ti­gate an iso­lated, mi­nor leak­age in­ci­dent in a rel­a­tively new ICF foun­da­tion may be go­ing over­board, but mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion to en­sure the prob­lem does not get worse is cer­tainly pru­dent. The main con­cern would be a ma­jor de­fect in orig­i­nal con­struc­tion, which would cer­tainly be fol­lowed by more se­ri­ous seep­age than your have ex­pe­ri­enced. A tiny drib­ble of wa­ter, once ev­ery few years, is more likely due to some­thing poorly sealed and should be dealt with ac­cord­ingly. Ari Marantz is the owner of Trained Eye Home In­spec­tion Ltd. and the past pres­i­dent of the Canadian As­so­ci­a­tion of Home & Prop­erty In­spec­tors — Man­i­toba (cahpi.mb.ca). Ques­tions can be emailed to the ad­dress be­low. Ari can be reached at 204-291-5358 or check out his web­site at trained­eye.ca.

trained­eye@in­ame.com

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