Below grade waterproofing ICF basement
Last Post 22 Feb 2024 03:53 AM by Steve Mercer. 5 Replies.
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ICFOwnerUser is Offline
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12 Oct 2023 02:47 PM
Hello and thanks up front for the long read and any help! We had an ICF home built in Colorado in 2013. A structural engineer designed the basement floor (floating, due to high clay soil) and the basement walls. An ICF contractor with extensive background in concrete work then GC'd the project. Please keep in mind, this was done and inspected with whatever code was in 2013 and I recognize things may have changed. The problem is that the below grade portions don't seem to have been properly waterproofed. Specifically, after heavy rain or snow melt, water was seeping in through the cold joint between the wall and floor (in this design, the floor was done first, then blocks stacked around the perimeter and then filled.) It took 3 years to convince the contractor to come back and excavate. He then blamed the structural engineer for not specifying a water stop method at the joint. Some remediation was then done, by us, which solved most of the problem. However, I am concerned I can't demonstrate and prove proper remediation when selling the home, and am worried about what's happening to the walls we can't access (under garage, under concrete driveway, under stone patio, etc). The only damp/water-proofing that was done on those below grade ICF walls was a painted on coat of BlueMax (NOT the blue sheeting, the paint-on product available at Home Depot). There was no peel and stick product used at the wall/floor joint, no sheeting product or membrane, no dimple board or membrane. So, main question: Back in 2013, was that considered an acceptable method of water-proofing below grade ICF walls? And, if more should have been done, who was responsible for that? Is it a structural engineer's job to specify this in their design? Or should an ICF contractor know what to do? THANK YOU!
newbostonconstUser is Offline
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13 Oct 2023 02:20 PM
You got what you got.....I would take an angle grinder and cut a slot all the way around right where the wall meets the floor, and then where the water collects use a hammer drill and drill down through all the cement to give the water a place to go... good luck....water proofing icf seems a little harder then poured walls.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlins
smartwallUser is Offline
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15 Oct 2023 12:36 AM
We always used 2 systems. Liquid then dimpled over the top. Question I have is there no perimeter drain system? This would keep the water from going thru the joint. Right now I wouldn't build anything without Form a Drain. It just doesn't make sense.
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17 Oct 2023 06:40 PM
Thank you. There is a perimeter drain...gravel, pipe, etc. I was able to speak to the structural engineer and he said much the same thing. However, his design called for the outer edge of the ICF blocks to meet the edge of the slab/floor. The contractor apparently over-poured the floor a bit, probably to give himself wiggle room. That creates a small lip around the edge where water can sit, even once it goes through the gravel/drain. So that likely contributed to the problem.
Chris JohnsonUser is Offline
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04 Dec 2023 01:00 AM
Hindsight being 20/20, a water stop is normally used in these situations, unfortunately not common in residential construction

Look around for someone who does epoxy/poly urethane injection. the foam will need to be removed, approx 4"x 4" pieces every few feet on the inside at the base to allow access to drill and install the nipple (looks like a grease fitting on your car)

As always the best solution is to fix the waterleak before it enters the foundation, in other words dig from the outside, but not always possible so the above solution can work, especially if your landscape is done and sidewalks/driveways completed
Chris Johnson - Pro ICF<br>North of 49
Steve MercerUser is Offline
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22 Feb 2024 03:53 AM
Well even back then they should have installed a keyway in the cold joint. Had that be done you probably would not have a problem now. we pour the wall and the footer all at once in a Mono pour. so you don't have a cold joint and don't need a keyway. The Best thing you can do is make sure you have a robust drainage system and use a peel an stick membrane like Polgguard's products. you paint a glue on first then apply the peal and stick membrane but the wall has to be clean and free of dust so you may have to pressure wash the walls first (not at full pressure either you don't want to damage the styrofoarm... you may have to bust out the patio and anything else that gets in your way. I know that sucks but water in the basement is no bueno! be sure to use polyguard's Polyflow 15P as your Dipple board. we wrap the gravel and your drain pipe with filter fabric that prevents the clay from migrating into the the gravel and eventually stopping up your drain pipe that runs around the foundation. there is one other option. you can cut the floor out about 6" around the inside perimeter of the walls install a drain pipe and attach a hard plastic to the furrowing strips in the ICF walls and run that hard plastiic down to that drain so you pour the floor back the plastic sheeting will direct the water coming through the wall directly to the drain you will also need a sump pump in that application. you are not stopping the water you are redirecting it to the drain. Be sure to use a water driven sump pump otherwise if the power goes out you might get a flooded basement. To make you aware there is a new drywall material out there that we now use that is made out of sulfate Magnesium Oxide. It is water resistant, and mold and mildew proof. so if you have a finished basement and you do have water the drywall is unaffected. Good Luck!
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