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Posted by: from Ottawa
11/15/2011 at 8:21:07 PM

I am thinking of buying a house built in 1958 with a sub basement which is directly on the ground, not earth, but sand covered by a membrane. Although it was dry at the time I am concerned about water infiltration on rainy days plus the cement blocks were not insulated as well as the rest of the basement.

Should I be concerned and how to remedy the situation?

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Date/Time11/15/2011 at 9:39:56 PM

Hi Rolande:

Depending on what time of year you have inspected your basement will depend on the ground water surrounding the home. Check to see if the house is in an elevated position and not on a slope to the house. Even though you cannot do anything about this issue, it will be an indication that drainage will be away. Secondly, it might be wise to have someone inspect and clean out your perimeter drains. If they are collapsing or clogged, this will tend to cause damage. Thirdly, you can put a membrane on the areas where the blocks are, and this, in conjunction with looking after the drainage, can save you some grief. Most water damage to a house basement or crawl is caused by improper drainage with the perimter drain system.

I hope that this helps. If you have Roto Router in your area, give them a call.

Chuck MacMicking

Meadowood Homes

Qualicum Beach, B.C.

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Date/Time11/16/2011 at 10:44:57 AM

Hi Rolande,

Chuck is correct that you should ensure the exterior grading and drainage is good. You should also trust the rest of your senses. If the basement smells musty, there has probably been some water infiltration. If it is coming through the block walls, you would probably see some efflorescence or staining.

If the house is in fact high and dry, you can upgrade the insulation any time so that is not a major issue. As this area is insulated, it should also have a source of conditioned air to ensure that humidity does not build up and cause any problems.

Good Luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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