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Calling *PigletJohn* for URGENT advice re Basement Flooding....

(9 Posts)
DopeyDawg Mon 20-Jul-15 15:42:29

Just posted this in Chat but was advised to re-post here, and that PigletJohn was the person to track down grin


Basement was tanked out (inc floors) 10 years ago at cost of around £15K by a previous owner.

Water comes up through the floor and around joins between floor and walls every time here is a flash rain storm (2/4 times a year). Results in 4" of water in 1 x 16FT square room, 2 corridors, 2 large storage areas.
Takes ages for concrete flooring to dry out and smell is horrible.
Cant use these areas at all, as everything smells musty and can be waterdamaged at any time.

Tanking contractor unhelpful (says he doesnt believe us, despite photos, and him doing some 'repair work' within the last 12m)
. Guarantee now expired anyway.

The Water board say that their water pipes 'are sufficient'
(they are not, the drains overflow down the back lane).

Council say it is down to Water Board but
'feel the water table may be high around here'.

Neighbours tell of history of basement flooding / rumours of river underneath (this is rubbish...)

I cant keep living here with this stress but worried may affect sale of house?

Shit. What to do???

PigletJohn Mon 20-Jul-15 16:00:41

"Water comes up through the floor and around joins between floor and walls every time here is a flash rain storm (2/4 times a year)."

This makes me think
1) the tanking is not right
2) you probably have a broken drain.

I don't know what method of tanking was used, so put that aside for now.

I'd start by identifying the run of your drains, and any nearby. Look down manhole covers, get a copy of any building plans (land registry if nothing else available) and see if anything else is shown. Find a local drain co that can do a CCTV survey. Draw a large-scale plan.

If your house has salt-glazed clay drainage pipes (brown) they are very likely cracked and broken, especially if your house was built prior to 1945 and is in a town. If you are lucky it will just be the rainwater gullies, which can be dug out and replaced. It could be your neighbour's drains. Rainwater may go to a soakaway, or watercourse, or (if old house) to mains drainage, in which case it will probably overflow in heavy rain.

If you are on sloping ground, and you can identify water running towards you, a ditch or French drain to intercept it and lead it round the house will help.

A local drainage company should be aware of conditions and be able to make some educated guesses on solutions. Ask them about adding a drainage sump to your basement or uphill of your house with an automatic pump. The pit must be lined with no-fines concrete otherwise the wet soil under your house will be pumped away as mud, leaving a cavity that your house could subside into.

DopeyDawg Mon 20-Jul-15 16:27:22

Oh, brilliant - hello PigletJohn thank you for responding so fast!

This is what I know:

House built 1880 in small town.
4 stories of Scottish Sandstone (inc basement).
Basement was original house, then later stories added on as builder could afford.
Front of basement is fully underground, back is partially underground.
Sloping ground across end of house (a road was moved 25 years ago) and banking created.
Front of basement is totally dry, it is the back, which backs onto a LA tarnaced lane, that is the issue, plus under the basement itself (mostly from back end though).

Local builder has checked an old pipe which came into our basement through back lane wall. It was dry, and has been sealed by them. Tanking guy has been in and declared 'all fine' (but he was a real git, I have to say). We are very rural but not local (or even same nationality) and have had a high old time with local trades charging us huge amounts and doing poor work so the thought of finding a local drainage person makes me feel stressed, I have to say. Plus I have NO money so if insurance doesn't cover, I may well be sunk (poor taste joke alert!).

Rainwater goes to mains drainage of single pipe around 10cm in diameter which serves all houses / cottages both sides of lane. Not adequate as other neighbours have water in but nothing like we do, with our basement.

Council have notes of this main drain, but not any 'access spurs' and are not going to help us.

I will try to find the Tanking paperwork and see what it says about methods etc.

I am HUGELY grateful for your advice, thank you so much.x

PigletJohn Mon 20-Jul-15 18:38:01

Have a look at rainwater gullies that take the water from that lane.

Some people put fluorescent dye down possible sources and observe if it comes out in their cellar. I have no experience of that.

DopeyDawg Mon 20-Jul-15 20:00:38

That's a thought, thanks.

The Tanking - have found some paperwork am hunting for more...

When the work was done, rotted door standard timbers were left in place and 'tanked around' and the Contractor (apparently, we only have his word for it) advised the previous owner to remove themselves. He says any further problems are due to this (which could be right as of course the gap where the timber frame were had no tanking protection at all...).

However, when he came back last year he bunged some DPM in the holes and put concrete on top, but it didn't seem very thorough to us?
Since then we have flooded, worse than ever, so it didn't work, anyway.

DopeyDawg Mon 20-Jul-15 22:17:58

Have found paperwork for Tanking ... it IS in date, till next year!

It was Biokil Crown products - membrane system, epoxy bonding, cementitious tanking, salt neutraliser, SBR bonding agent.

The 'warranty' is full of exclusions, however sad

PigletJohn Mon 20-Jul-15 22:22:19

see if you can find the website for the materials manufacture and see how it should have been done. They might even have someone who can answer questions.

It should probably be a continuous seal, all joints lapped, going above expected water height, with the floor and walls to hold it down and prevent water pressure pushing the membrane in or up.

DopeyDawg Mon 20-Jul-15 22:39:47

The membrane goes about 2" up the wall and the water comes in behind.
You can flap it with your finger around the old door frames.

I am also suspicious that they tanked 'around' rotten door frames?
Surely no good contractor would do this as someone is going to come back during the lifetime of the garuntee to say it has failed. But it does say: 'all recommendations given at time of treatment must be complied with irrespective of whether holder of guarantee is aware of them'.

I cant trace the old owners and the Contractor could make up any old tosh. Last year he claimed that we had had 'work done to the chimney breast'. Not so, but he wouldn't have it. Grr.

I might call Biokill for advice.
The cost of the tanking was £14K - not a lot perhaps by London standards but a big contract for a sole trader in rural Scotland.
The guy was disinterested when we called him out last autumn (hostile, in fact and openly accused us of lying) so I don't want a battle but have to do something.

Thanks for all this good info - very grateful thanks

DopeyDawg Thu 06-Aug-15 10:17:06

So, ScottishWater came out and said: 'not us' and 'it's Council's responsibility'

Council came out and said the same of SW hmm

However, they agreed to put a tanker of water in at the top of the lane and measure time it took to feed out into the river at the end of the lane.
Only.... it never came out.

I also now have photos of the drains they'd cleared flooding 2 days later (so did my basement - again...)

Now they are going to put an 'inspection manhole' in, when they have time in their schedule... sometime over the next month...

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