Published on July 25th, 2014 | by Henri


Water accumulates in basement entrance

Q.  A basement entrance that is about five feet deep was remodeled a couple of years ago with new walls and stairs. With heavy rainfalls, there is now an accumulation of water at the bottom of the stairs, an area of about 4 by 8 feet.

What to do? Installing a sump pump is not possible as there is no practical means of discharge due to the property location. Would it be feasible and workable to install a drain in the middle of the bottom of this basement entrance way? How would this be done (if you deem it possible) and to what depth would the hole be, and would it filled with stones or what other material?

This was suggested by a handyman but after spending the money to replace the walls and stairs I would like to get an expert opinion to make sure the plan works

A.  My question is to ask why the people who installed the new walls and stairs did not also build a drywell under the bottom pad that I assume to be concrete. That’s simply negligent, and you have a right to have them correct this gross oversight. Enough of the 4-feet by 8-feet concrete should be removed to allow digging a deep drywell.

In my opinion, the entire 4-foot by 8-foot pad should be removed and a hole at least 3-feet deep excavated. I would not fill it with stones as they will reduce the amount of the well’s water capacity. Drywells have a limited life as they fill with soil that gets in them so it is important to make them as big as possible.

The perimeter of the hole should be lined with concrete blocks set on edge so the holes in them are horizontal to let water reach and be absorbed by the soil of the walls. The blocks should be stacked to the level of the bottom of a new pad. The pad needs to be built on a form resting on the blocks and must be reinforced with steel re-rods. A drain should be set in the middle of the pad and the concrete must gently slope from the perimeter to the drain for it to function properly.

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