2 products we used:
The Edward Dromgoole house sits on a stone foundation typical of 18th Century
houses around this part of the country. The stone was laid in a two row pattern
out of local Limestone with only sandy dirt out of the yard as "mortar".
The basement was dug after the house was built, with stone and bricks laid
against the cut earth. As you might expect, especially with the house not built
exactly on the highest ground, this wasn't a long lasting design. As the dirt
eroded away under the original inner wall of the foundation, it has completely
caved in over the years. Even parts of the outter layer have fallen, as early 20th
Century photographs show, and have been rebuilt at various times.
Some of the last residents still survive, and one lady, who grew up in the house,
says that it ALWAYS had water standing under it.
As we found it, the house is barely still standing on remnants of the outer stone
wall. Soon after the Foundation purchased the property, the decision was made
that the water situation had to be remedied, or the house would be lost.
Tom has a system of waterproofing old house basements that has been proven to
work before. This situation was a little different, although they are all unique, in
that the foundation was so fragile, that there was danger of the whole thing
collapsing if it was dug too close to the remaining remnants of the foundation. In
doing this before, Tom had dug close to existing basement walls that were intact
enough to support a house. In this case, if the excavation was dug close to the
existing foundation, there was a good chance that everything would have
collapsed. On this house, the excavation was dug at about a 45 degree angle
down, and away from the base of the foundation to leave that part of the red clay
to help hold the house up.
Tom rented a mini-excavator, and dug a "grade establishing" ditch around the
house. The bottom of that ditch started two feet below the floor level in the
basement, and at about a 45 degree angle away from the ground level at the
foundation. The plan was to dig all the dirt away from the ground intersection at
the house to the bottom of the grade establishing ditch, leaving original,
undisturbed earth to hold the house up. If this grade establishing ditch was not
dug, it would have taken a lot of extra time, with a more expensive, large piece of
equipment there to be guided while doing the major part of the excavation.
It worked like a charm, and once the large excavator arrived on the job, with the
grade establishing ditch already there, quick work was made of the major part of
the excavation. A metal edge was welded to the teeth on the large excavator, so
the operator could completely clean out the excavation with little hand cleanup left.
Once the excavation was complete, Voltex DS sheets were placed on the earth,
and that protected my 90 mil Firestone Pond liner. The bottom of the excavation
was graded to slope down at a rate of 1 inch in 8 feet, and drained out to daylight
downhill from the house.
On top of the waterproofing membranes, washed crushed rock (railroad ballast
size)was layered so any water could quickly drain down to the perforated pipe at
the bottom. Geotextile fabric was placed between the drainage stone and the fill
Long story shortened, it works like a charm, and the basement has been
completely dry since. Several comments have been made by onlookers that it's
probably dryer than any new basement.
Having now solved this problem, the rest of the restoration can commence.