It’s not unusual for buildings with several apartment units to share a basement. Moreover, you can see them all over North America and Ohio especially. Our recent customer was the owner of such a building in Hamilton, OH, located 20 miles north of Cincinnati. She had four separate apartment units that she was renting out and one basement beneath all of them. The idea was to allow the renters to share the lower-grade level for storage just like so many homeowners do. However, after some complaints from the renters, our customer came to the realization that the basement was in dire need of repairs.
Namely, the walls of the basement were allowing water to seep in. And when there was heavy rain due to a storm, the water would come through the windows as well. This is the reason why the owner opted to contact us to assess the situation and hopefully repair the damage. In the following, we’ll guide you through the whole process, from inspection to the type of solutions we provided.
Meeting the Homeowner
The water-related problems in our customer’s basement were no surprise to us. With the local weather and the soil type on which the building was sitting, it was inevitable for water to seep through the walls and windows at some point. Of course, the age of their apartment building was another factor that would contribute to the overall situation.
Ohio has a pretty humid, continental type of climate. With hot summers and cold winters, Ohio gets a reasonable amount of rain and thunderstorms that saturate the soil. Interestingly enough, the experts call the predominant type of soil in Ohio Miamian. While it’s great for agriculture, Miami is a type of loam soil. It consists of a fair amount of sand, clay, and slit that will have high water levels, which will sooner or later affect basement walls, like in this case.
Luckily for the homeowner, she was aware that repairs would need professional attention. This situation was no DIY project that she could afford to experiment with herself. To her credit, she was quick to empty the storage space before our team could come around. This was important so that we could inspect the basement without losing any precious time.
The Initial Assessment of the Situation
Because of the heavy rain, the soil surrounding their building was full of water. There was a high water table that was leading groundwater directly towards the walls of the lower-grade level. The home, which was built in the 1960s, was clearly starting to show its age. The state of the substructure wasn’t in the best condition, with concrete that was cracking all over the lower-grade level.
These cracks and fractures were wide enough to allow water to seep through and flood the basement. Unfortunately, the rain was so heavy the previous couple of days that even the windows were beginning to let water inside. Both elements were calling for professional help, and the homeowner made the right choice by contacting us in time.
Of course, the owner’s plan was for us to first inspect the situation before we could give her an estimate of what kind of repairs would suit the basement. We opted for waterproofing; installing interior drainage, a sump pump, a vapor barrier, and an exterior discharge line along with a couple of other solutions. The homeowner was pleased with our ideas, and the stage was ready for repairs to begin.
Repairs: Waterproofing the Basement
After inspecting the homeowner’s basement, it was time for our team to take matters into their hands. Although this isn’t a run-of-the-mill job, waterproofing went completely smoothly. The whole process took three days to complete. We can proudly say that the owner is more than happy with the state of the basement and apartment building now. Here’s what we did.
The idea to waterproof the basement didn’t mean that our team would dig outside, exposing the foundation or applying drainage tiles on the exterior walls. Our solution was to minimally excavate the floor inside and install the BasementGutter™ interior drainage system in the sub-floor. This way, the drainage would intercept the seeping water from the walls and the windows.
Once the team did that, they had their eyes set on sump pumps. With the use of the SafeDri™ triple system, the water would drain outwards. Also, the set includes cast iron pumps and a battery backup to serve as an extra power source. This additional backup battery would come in handy if the power in the building fails during a storm.
Aside from that, the walls needed a vapor barrier to keep the moisture from coming in. The team used the 12-mil WallSeal™ since it will provide more protection. On the outside, we installed an exterior buried discharge line with two FreezeGuard™ attachments and one YardWell™ angled outlet. Additionally, a section of grated drainage pipe was installed in front of the walk-out door.
Future storms won’t make the water in the soil surrounding the apartment building a problem. The homeowner and her renters can safely continue to use it as additional storage space for years to come.
If you also are having problems with your basement and are looking to waterproof it, you should contact professionals serving the Cincinnati area. Our team at Ohio Basement Authority will come to your home and give you a free inspection. We’ll make sure to offer the best possible solutions to provide you and your family with safety and comfort. Don’t hesitate to contact us as water-related problems can turn into real nightmares if you don’t act in time.