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Doug Swetland
 
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Default Advice needed on new basement - sump hole higher than rest of basement

wrote:

A member of my family is having a new home built. The basement has been
poured (it has poured walls) and they are waiting for the walls to fully
"set." Well, yesterday it rained, and what we observed was that the entire
basement floor appeared to be covered with a significant amount of water (a
piece of electric wire laying on the floor was completely submerged),
EXCEPT for the corner where the sump hole is. I then recalled that the
side of the basement where the sump is was the part that the concrete
finisher did last (it is the side by the egress window) and therefore, if
there was a small bit of extra concrete, that was likely where it wound up.

In any case, it appears we have a situation where as much as an inch of
water at the far end (give or take a little) would have to run UPHILL to
reach the sump. Now I should also mention that this basement is built on
pure sand (literally - there is a sand mine just a mile or so down the
road) and drainage is very good, so I don't really expect that there would
be too many situations where the basement might flood - but on the other
hand, if the unforeseen ever did happen, it would be much easier to deal
with the problem if the water naturally ran toward the sump. I should
probably also mention that this basement was constructed with extra
headroom, so pouring more concrete over the existing floor would be doable
(in terms of not losing space). And, the general contractor seems like an
honest person, but I'm not sure that he's aware of this problem yet.

So I have three questions:

1) Realistically, is this anything to worry about? Or am I concerned over
nothing? Should I keep my nose out of this?

2) Would this violate any codes or building standards (in other words, is
this something a local government building inspector would take an interest
in if they knew of the problem? This is in Michigan, if that makes any
difference).

3) If there is a problem here, what would be the best approach to take with
the contractor? Should my family member insist that a new layer of
concrete be poured that slopes toward the sump, or would that create other
problems? Would the excellent drainage of the soil indicate just leaving
well enough alone? If you are a contractor, would you categorize this sort
of defect as "serious" or "minor"?

4) If additional concrete should be poured, is that something that the
homeowner would have to bear the expense of, or would that be considered a
serious enough flaw that the concrete subcontractor should be required to
fix it on his nickel?

Neither I nor the family member in question have ever done anything like
this before, so I guess what I'm wanting to know is whether this is a
significant problem, or something fairly normal? I have a feeling the
contractor is not going to think it's anything to be concerned about, and
if that is the case, is it worth making a fuss over? Time is of the essence
here - if the situation is going to be rectified, it will be much harder to
do so after another week or so.

Please Note: The email address in the message header will NOT work. If
you want to reply privately, please use "usenet092303", followed by the
"at" symbol, followed by "workbench.net" (no quotation marks, of course).
That e-mail address will go away after about a week (by then any advice
would be too late to be useful anyway), so don't use it after October 1,
2003.


I don't think you have a problem.

The purpose of a sump system is to remove rising ground water before it
gets into the basement. It should have drain tiles next to the
foundation that direct the water into the sump pit and then the pump
will take it from there. The level of the floor should have no affect
on this capability.

If water gets into the basement you've got other problems that need to
be fixed (landscaping, pipes, etc). It is reasonable to want a floor to
slope to the sump pit, but that should have been specified in the
building contract. With a heavy sand base I suspect the pump will
rarely be used as the drainage should be excellent.

Make sure the inspector and the builder know about the situation and
find out what the codes specifiy. I suspect your family member will be
very happy with a dry basement and plenty of headroom.

I've got a full basement in a heavy clay base, no foundation drain tiles
and am at the bottom of a hill. I put a sump pit in the lowest corner
as a stop gap measure. I'd rather have your problem. (The pit hasn't
been used in a couple years since I installed various drainage systems
in the yard.)

dss

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Steven
 
Posts: n/a
Default Advice needed on new basement - sump hole higher than rest of basement

In a perfect world, the sump would never pump water from anywhere but the
outside drainage system and the basement would always be cozy and dry. In
the real world, we have fast snow melts, heavy rains, etc. that tend to end
up at the lowest point in the area (i.e. a basement), and the sump is real
handy to get rid of the extra water. In my years of building, I have yet
to see a basement that is perfectly dry after a few years. The sump is a
good backup plan for basement flooding, and if it is at the highest point,
it sucks (...air that is, rather than H20). Think about the landscapers
that build up beds around the house and create a dam for drainage. It
happens daily.


"Doug Swetland" wrote in message
...
wrote:

A member of my family is having a new home built. The basement has been
poured (it has poured walls) and they are waiting for the walls to fully
"set." Well, yesterday it rained, and what we observed was that the

entire
basement floor appeared to be covered with a significant amount of water

(a
piece of electric wire laying on the floor was completely submerged),
EXCEPT for the corner where the sump hole is. I then recalled that the
side of the basement where the sump is was the part that the concrete
finisher did last (it is the side by the egress window) and therefore,

if
there was a small bit of extra concrete, that was likely where it wound

up.

In any case, it appears we have a situation where as much as an inch of
water at the far end (give or take a little) would have to run UPHILL to
reach the sump. Now I should also mention that this basement is built on
pure sand (literally - there is a sand mine just a mile or so down the
road) and drainage is very good, so I don't really expect that there

would
be too many situations where the basement might flood - but on the other
hand, if the unforeseen ever did happen, it would be much easier to deal
with the problem if the water naturally ran toward the sump. I should
probably also mention that this basement was constructed with extra
headroom, so pouring more concrete over the existing floor would be

doable
(in terms of not losing space). And, the general contractor seems like

an
honest person, but I'm not sure that he's aware of this problem yet.

So I have three questions:

1) Realistically, is this anything to worry about? Or am I concerned

over
nothing? Should I keep my nose out of this?

2) Would this violate any codes or building standards (in other words,

is
this something a local government building inspector would take an

interest
in if they knew of the problem? This is in Michigan, if that makes any
difference).

3) If there is a problem here, what would be the best approach to take

with
the contractor? Should my family member insist that a new layer of
concrete be poured that slopes toward the sump, or would that create

other
problems? Would the excellent drainage of the soil indicate just

leaving
well enough alone? If you are a contractor, would you categorize this

sort
of defect as "serious" or "minor"?

4) If additional concrete should be poured, is that something that the
homeowner would have to bear the expense of, or would that be considered

a
serious enough flaw that the concrete subcontractor should be required

to
fix it on his nickel?

Neither I nor the family member in question have ever done anything like
this before, so I guess what I'm wanting to know is whether this is a
significant problem, or something fairly normal? I have a feeling the
contractor is not going to think it's anything to be concerned about,

and
if that is the case, is it worth making a fuss over? Time is of the

essence
here - if the situation is going to be rectified, it will be much harder

to
do so after another week or so.

Please Note: The email address in the message header will NOT work. If
you want to reply privately, please use "usenet092303", followed by the
"at" symbol, followed by "workbench.net" (no quotation marks, of

course).
That e-mail address will go away after about a week (by then any advice
would be too late to be useful anyway), so don't use it after October 1,
2003.


I don't think you have a problem.

The purpose of a sump system is to remove rising ground water before it
gets into the basement. It should have drain tiles next to the
foundation that direct the water into the sump pit and then the pump
will take it from there. The level of the floor should have no affect
on this capability.

If water gets into the basement you've got other problems that need to
be fixed (landscaping, pipes, etc). It is reasonable to want a floor to
slope to the sump pit, but that should have been specified in the
building contract. With a heavy sand base I suspect the pump will
rarely be used as the drainage should be excellent.

Make sure the inspector and the builder know about the situation and
find out what the codes specifiy. I suspect your family member will be
very happy with a dry basement and plenty of headroom.

I've got a full basement in a heavy clay base, no foundation drain tiles
and am at the bottom of a hill. I put a sump pit in the lowest corner
as a stop gap measure. I'd rather have your problem. (The pit hasn't
been used in a couple years since I installed various drainage systems
in the yard.)

dss



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