Basement Flooding. Sod to blame?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by javadoc, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. javadoc

    javadoc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Hi there, hoping the I could get some assistance on a problem we are having. I know this isn't so much a lawn type of issue, but I am hoping that some landscaping professionals could chime in w/their experience with regard to my following problem.

    The wife and I had a house built this past spring, and the house came with an unfinished basement affording us about 1,200sf of future liveable space. Now, the lay of the land around the house is a that we are on the side of a slight hill. There is a house up the street (uphill) from us, and it sits about 4ft higher in elevation than our house (just to give a picture of what's going on). I mention the house b/c water I'm sure drains from his lot to mine and probably contributes to the burden of my onsite drainage.

    Now, back in September, two months after construction was complete and we moved in, we had record setting rains in the area. I think we had 7inches in 2days. This resulted in water creeping into my basement at the junction of the slab and basement (concrete block) walls in a few areas, most remarkably one area of the perimeter, but not all around the basement wall area. The water wasn't deep but it was pervasive and covered about 200sf of floor space at some points, before I could ShopVac it up, every few hours.

    I of course called the builder, who blamed the fact that I had sod grass (Kentucky Bluegrass sod) installed on site the first week of September, and it hadn't yet rooted in. This was the cause of the flooding, he said, because the sod wasn't allowing water to drain away from the house. His expert opinion was derived from when he lifted a piece of sod once (after 7" of rain) and found standing water under it. Working for an architectural firm, I've consulted a vast number of construction and landscaping professionals that I have contact with, and every single one says he's wrong, and some say worse, but the builder maintains this reasoning, still, even faced with a mountain of professionals saying that he is incorrect.

    I have given him many chances to fix the problem but he maintains, instists, that the problem is that the sod, not being rooted into the top soil, is hindering site drainage and causing water to build up along the side of the foundation wall and find its way into the joint of the wall and slab.

    Anyway, I've been battling my builder to fix the problem ever since. Even now, when we've had snow on the ground, and the weather warms up a bit and melts some snow, I have water flowing across my basement floor.

    I want the builder to dig up around the foundation and figure out what's broken, but he refuses b/c he says my sod's to blame.

    Any ideas of what to do? Could he be correct? I am about ready call my lawyer, but that may cost me as much as hiring a contractor to fix the problem myself. Thank you so much if you can help me.


    Waterlogged :)
  2. SSmith

    SSmith Banned
    Posts: 447

    You're being duped, my friend. You need to call the builder up and demand the problem be fixed or start to look for a lawyer.

    BTW...It has to be a crack in the foundation doesn't it???
  3. KCLandscape

    KCLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 526

    How about some pictures?
    Did the builder put in a drain system around the foundation?
    Sounds like bad grading!
  4. SSmith

    SSmith Banned
    Posts: 447

    It does sound like bad grading....

    Blaming the leak on the sod seems pretty assanine.
  5. javadoc

    javadoc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Well, there could be an issue with grading, and I've pointed it out. Being as how the grade of the lot is sloping, the area where the water penetration is worst is where I would suspect water from the neighbor's lot is draining into mine. I've pointed this out as well, but the guy keeps blaming the sod.

    Pictures? I have literally thousands of pictures of construction, and some from just about every time I have water. I'll post some links, after I get back from a lunch meeting.

    However, nobody thinks this could be the sod's fault? Hmmmm... funny, that doesn't surprise me.

    Thanks for the replies guys!
  6. javadoc

    javadoc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Pictures... hope it's okay to hotlink to this site. If not, let me know.

    This is a bit of the flooding from last night. Like I said, not deep water, but a constant problem:


  7. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    Now I have heard it all...

    Ask your builder what he installed for perimeter drains. Obviously, being down hill your house is going to be in the way of the water flowing down hill. When it hits your foundation, it will slow down and soak into the soil surrounding your house. Perimeter drains handle this issue by moving the water around your house and dump it out on the low side of the house. I have even seen perimeter drains that hook into municiple sewer systems though this practice was discontinued in most cities. You could have bare dirt and the soil grading and perimeter drains should be able to handle surface water.
  8. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    it also looks like the slab was not cut or cured correctly. That crack in the second picture shouldn't be there.
  9. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Sounds like you have a sub surface drainage issue, i.e. not enough pea stone, crushed drain tile, etc. Is your sump pump working correctly? If I were you and could not get any satisfaction from the builder, I'd go see the Building Inspector in your local jurisdiction. Your local municipality is responsible in this situation also, as they have approved and inspected the work. Also, you may have to contact a real estate attorney.
  10. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    sir--positive perimeter drainage will have to be re-installed at your house.

    it has nothing to do with the sod. good luck.


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