I have a basement, block foundation, wall that is starting to crack in a step-ladder formation. There is also a 1/4" to 3/8" crack between the top & bottom of about 3-4 blocks in the middle of the wall. When it rains i get water seeping in on the bottom block & floor joint. On the outside of the house there is a tree between my house and the neighbor that has a root (i assume) that is lifting one of my driveway slabs so it's sloped TOWARD the house.
It's clear water is flowing toward the house and by the fact that it's coming in the basement along the floor that its getting either between the house and blocks or IN the blocks?
I will be tearing up the driveway in the spring but at this point should i be driving "weep holes" in the bottom block to let the water in? (my basement is unfinished) It's also possible that the dirt is getting wet under the driveway (along the outside of the wall, freezing and the dirt is pushing the wall in)??
All of the cracks/VERY slight bowing/cracking is new as of the last 6-8wks (winter time) so i am thinking that the dirt is getting wet when snow was melting, then overnight freezing/expanding and creating the pressure.
Any ideas to get me through until spring without any further damage to the wall??
Sounds like you are already aware of it, but you have a huge project here.
Good, educated guess that the tree roots have caused not only the driveway slap to move but are the cause of the bow in the block foundation. You have to remove the roots (and most likely the tree as removing major roots will likely kill it anyway). In the process of removing the roots against the foundation you can dig down to relieve the pressure of all the wet dirt. Hopefully digging out will allow the wall to move back into place or an inspection can find that the wall is still sound.
At this point, you are looking at exterior waterproofing and installation of new foundation drains before backfilling again. this, coupled with your driveway repairs will make for a fairly large-scale project. Since you are already going to spend some large piles of cash to make the fix, there is no point is doing too much to tide you over until springtime.
I would just try to redirect as much surface water as you possibly can. Get some 4" corrugated plastic pipe and run all your downspouts as far out from the house as possible. If you have areas where there is a slab tilted up against the wall so that water runs towards the house, you could try making a "flashing" out of roll roofing or rubber roofing to direct water away. Here too though, all you should be trying to do at this point is to try to minimize any additional damage until you can do the total repair in the spring. Since the basement is unfinished, it's not going to hurt very much at this point if you have a couple of new water intrusions.
Beyond that, this is such a major project that it's not a DIY type thing. Get some estimates from the pros for doing this right.
On the outside of the house there is a tree between my house and the neighbor ...QUOTE]
Is the tree actually on your property, or the neighbor's property? If the latter, one thing you can do now is explain the situation to your neighbor and get his/her permission to remove the tree.
I doubt if a tree removal contractor would be willing to take down someone else's tree without permission, so this is a permission you can get ahead of time, preferably in writing. Or the neighbor could give his permission when your tree contractor comes, but I doubt a contractor would even agree to tackle the tree without written permission.
I had some extensive large tree removal projects done several years ago and my contractor refused to even go on a neighbor's property, which was a decision I respected.
On an unrelated note, there was some "excitement" during the project when several men in cargo pants type uniforms, hats, and leg holsters asked my contractor and his men to vacate the area while they executed a search warrant at a adjoining property. We never did figure out what the reason for the search was, but we all stayed away.
What do u guys think about drilling holes in the bottom blocks (weep holes) to let some of the water out? It would just flow down to the drain in the basement
I think the tree is technically right on the property line
If the weep holes are to be your only fix, then I would recommend against it. Water is going to find a path - all the weep holes do is give it a path that passes through your basement. Without the holes, while some water may migrate it's way through your foundation wall, some of it should eventually find it's way around the house rather than go through it.
I really think that making a path for flowing water will hurt, more than help. The moving water will gather soil, making a larger space for even more water flow. This in turn will cause more soil movement that could damage your walls even more. Hard to prove at this point but I think the major wall movement is from the tree root. You already have multiple cracks through which water can travel, so any back pressure is already being relieved. Putting in weep holes now will just make something else that will have to be repaired in the future - something that is not going to help now anyway.
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