help w/ patio pitched incorrectly & rebuild

dinosaur1(5)March 24, 2012

I have a small 16x16 patio slab in our backyard that is pitched towards my home. I am not sure how it's graded underneath. I am getting a slow water leak in my finished Rec room where the wall meets the floor when it rains. *It gets wet next in a 1-1/2 x 4 ft wide area. The drywall is not wet. *I have mulch next to homes foundation for landscaping and limestone rocks for edging. *I taped a plastic sheet over the patio slab towards my home and guess what. No water. It has to be coming in from underneath the step or on the corners somewhere.*

Should I remove the mulch and limestone rocks an add brown, compacted soil instead? *Mudjack the slab or remove, regrade and repour. Or should I install pavers instead?

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Basically I haven't found enough info to be comfortable. Alot of people on here have tried to help and I am still gathering the info. The prior posts that you are referring to....1/2 of those concerns are already taken care of.

Thanks for your concerns though. Feel free to maybe help me instead of choosing to label me in a way that I am not I came here for help and I appreciate any helpful suggestions at this time.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 11:31AM
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It's not that people don't want to help you, but of the numerous suggestions that were given previously, you do not acknowledge and deal with the suggestions. It's as if they were made and then ignored. When someone points out a possible condition that needs being investigated or dealt with, you should be coming back and reporting if the condition exists and what was done about it. But you just ignore it. So what would be the point of people making the same suggestions over again? If I were you, I'd return to the previous thread on this. Read through people's comments and suggestions about the matter and report back on each and every one. Even if you don't think the comments or suggestions are good, you should address why or why not so each could be dispensed with once and for all. Then, you could possibly make some headway. In the end, you'll need to take action as that's the only way the problem will ever be resolved. If you're not ready to take action you should say why or why not so that people could at least know what the status is or if they're able to help any more. Otherwise, they can't.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:02PM
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I figured I start fresh. It took a very long time for people to respond before. Any hurt in that? I fixed half of the things in the previous posts.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:51PM
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"I figured I start fresh." ...and throw everyone's past efforts away.

"Any hurt in that?" ...other than it throws everyone's past efforts away? I guess not.

The last thread ran over the course of 11 days. Nevertheless, the answers to the questions that you're asking here, are already over there. No waiting for anyone to respond. To report back that you "fixed half of the things in the previous posts." gives no one any idea of what half those things are. No one knows what you did about anything. But we know what you haven't done. You didn't tear out the old patio of have it mudjacked. Those are still your choices (or build a deck.) There can never be any more choices unless you add move away and sell this problem to someone else. No one here can meet with contractors and get prices or access your bank account and pay for the work. There is no magic band-aid if your patio slopes to drain toward the house.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:29PM
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If the slab is pitched toward the house, chances are that it settled at that end which would mean that the soil under it is also pitched toward the house. Often there is a layer of gravel layed down before pouring concrete. If that was the case, it is more than likely that you have a very nice pathe of least resistence for water to move (with the assistance of gravity being on its side) very quickly through that gravel to your foundation wall.

Lifting the slab is a big effort that will not guaranty your result will be effective.

If you want to be sure, I'd suggest removing the slab and any gravel material that might be underneath it. Then re-grade the subgrade so that it pitches away from the foundation. My preference would be to leave a 4' planting bed between the house and the new patio - for aesthetics AND to keep the new patio and gravel base farther from the house to insure not repeating the situation if more settling were to continue. Then, after the subgrade is pitching away, prepare the base material for a paver patio and build it.

If the subgrade is not pitched away and you use the gravel base material to grade for the patio, water will flow right through it back to the foundation no matter howmuch you pitch the patio surface. My guess is that and not enough compaction to the backfill next to the foundation is what caused the slab to settle in the first place.

Other than that, you can try less expensive and less likely to work ways to try to save the slab, but I think it is a lot of effort without much chance of working - eventually, you'll wind up replacing it. Why not just do it, solve the problem, and enjoy your new patio?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Let it go, Yardvaark. There's a history here - including, but not limited to, how to cut back 9 or 11 spruce trees a few feet behind the extant patio to replacing brown mulch with "burnt orange" mulch. There's the equivalent of a "yeah but..." to almost every suggestion offered.

The questions and concerns are legitmate but sometimes beyond what a forum can do. So unless you want to summer in Pewaukee, Dino's got to extrapolate something from the responses and use it to investigate some local expertise. The Greater Milwaukee area is not bereft of resources.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I really appreciate your help and insight into this matter. I feel you hilt it on the nail. I've gotten the same suggestions from some local experts who came to my property. Oh and thanks for not wanting to argue like the others. As you can see this is mainly why I started a new thread.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 6:11PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

But if you directed the water off the side of the patio instead of letting it run to the house, you might solve the problem without replacing the patio, I think... Laag? It all depends, I suspect, on how wide the area is that was sub-graded. Whether you try that or not first depends on whether you have the resources and desire to replace the patio. Doing it won't stop you from demolishing the patio, if it doesn't work.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:04PM
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How do I direct it away from the house? That is something I am willing to try.�

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:36PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I think I explained the idea of a little concrete dam/water diverter in the last thread on this topic. Like I said there, this will give you a little ridge on the patio which may be a bit of a pain, but on the other hand, it will cost as much as one bag of mortar, though you'll need less. It would have to be fairly close to the house so that little water falls on the house side of it, and as high as the height difference from the low corner of the patio to the high corner.

The other option is similar - to top-coat the patio to upsweep the corner and edge that are dropped. This I have no experience with and no expertise about doing.

Both ideas might work, or might not. But plan A - full removal and regrading of the sublevel - isn't going anywhere, can always still be done. My little idea might allow you to delay it until it is convenient and affordable, in case that is an issue.

As I think I said in the other thread, I solved our water infiltration problem to the basement with a one-foot long, half-inch high concrete dam, and we solved a ceiling leak in my parents' house with the same approach - the water entry point is probably one tiny spot. If you can divert the water from that spot, you can solve the problem.

That is the opposite of the big-picture, "solve the problem from its origin" approach that PLS, Laag, and others have suggested, and as such might qualify as a temporary fix, if it works. It all depends on what you want to do.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:03PM
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I love the idea. My only concern is if I use a bag of mortar and it doesnt work what do I do with what I just created at that point?

Can you or someone draw what you mean by this idea?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:23PM
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I have some huge spruce trees behind the patio. Could their roots be pushing up against the homes foundation?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:35PM
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The reason that damming and diverting may not work is that water will take the path of least resistence. It will have to totally seal the path that takes it to the foundation. If there is a layer of crushed stone or gravel under the slab, surface water can get into it at any point around that slab and quickly move through it.

I've seen people try to make a better base for asphalt driveways on hills by putting an extra layer of larger stone under it. All the water that was supposed to flow over the shoulder of the driveway goes right under the driveway and rushed down the hillundermining the driveway in various places even though it looked like it should just flow over the shoulder.

At some point, Dino, you will have to stop waiting for the magic answer that will not cost any money or effort and accept that you will need to take action. Now you have local experts and invisible people on the internet giving you the same advice. What more do you need?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 7:42AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Laag, that is why I have tried to be clear that this is a trial and may not work. It does depend on how wide the subgraded area was.

If it were me, I would want to know first whether the big fix is necessary. The plastic sheet test did work. On the other hand, that may have directed the water more generally, whereas with a single dam, all the water would flow into the ground quite close to the area where it is infiltrating into the house - depending on the actual contours of the patio.

But if you were really serious about avoiding the demolition/regrading option, you could finesse the dam to discharge the water at various points around the perimeter (make a little dike as well as a dam). You could also dig around the edge where the water discharges and divert from there.

True, all of these are little muddle-up fixes, but sometimes people can't do the big fix for some reason, and then muddling through is all they've got.

So, if you have the money and are prepared for the disruption and redesign, and have a contractor ready, there is nothing to stop you from doing the big fix now. I am not trying to talk you out of that, nor do I disagree with Laag's diagnosis. I am just saying that if it were me, and I could solve the problem with $5 instead of adding a few zeros to that, I would try that first.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Karin has a good point, if you can fix something fast and cheap, why not to try it first? Patio itself is presumably in good shape? My suggestion is to dig a trench between patio and house, put drainage tube there and redirect water someplace else. It might be easier to get rid of it if it does not wark than a mortar dam. Cons I can see are plants will have to be replanted or there is no place to redirect water.
Maybe someone already suggested it in previous posts? Sorry I did not read them all. Fresh start...
If you decide to go with drainage tubing I can give you some advice (everything still so fresh in my mind) and you can find plenty in the internet.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:16PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

We have really no idea yet how much water we are talking, because Dino did not yet report if he surveyed the surface of the patio to figure out how much of it is really slanted. If the whole slab is slanted, then we are talking about a patio full of water. If just a corner of it drooped after the concrete was poured, however, it could be just a corner.

And if it doesn't work you can probably just chisel it off or if you are demolishing the patio, it goes with the rest.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 2:16PM
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I had 2 mudjackers come over today. Using their level it is mainly off on the right side towards my home and towards the middle by the spruce trees.

1 person said he would need for me to remove my step so he could mudjack it 2 inches. The other person said I should also remove my step, but he would raise it 4 inches and cut 4-6 inches of the slab back from the home.

Yesterday 2 concrete contractors came and basically said I should rip it all out and repour it.

Al of them told me that I should completely remove the mulch away from my home. I should get lawn and garden topsoil and pitch it away from my home all around. 25% Black Topsoil, 75% Brown Topsoil. It is a premixed blend with a recommended use of no more than 4-5 inches. it is richer than regular brown topsoil.

I also showed them my basement drywall. Al basically agreed that I should start fro the outside and not do any epoxy injection yet since it's a small leak.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Yesterday my insurance claims adjustor came over to our home with an investigator. They claim the "step" is causing the problem because they noticed that is was a newer looking step. I asked for them to show me where the water is coming in and they were unable to. Now the investigator files a report with my insurance company and if he says he cannot assure them what is going on....the next step is an engineer. Being that the investigator told me to rip the drywall down to look at the poured concrete wall behind it that tells me he is looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:35PM
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The concrete guys want to remove and have you pay them to replace concrete. The mudjackers (I've been listening to too much Lisa Lampanelli lately) want to have you pay them to use their mud jacks. The insurance guy will likely blame it on something you did so as not to settle. I'm shocked by that coincidence.

Scratching my head over the specificity of the soil mix.

Rip out, re-grade, replace with pavers (that can easily be re-adjusted if there is settling), leave a planting bed between the hardscape and the house, and be done with it.

In fact, if you call a paver installer, he'll say the same thing.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:35AM
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I am not required to do any demo work for the insurance company.
Let THEM/their engineer do that.
Hypothetical; I start cutting and hit a wire that I'm not aware is there it causes sparks I get shocked or worse yet it starts a fire.
It's now my liability not the insurance company's.

If they need the wall exposed,Let them expose it.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 1:47PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I wouldn't say exposing the wall from the inside is looking for a needle in a haystack, but the most logical way to discover where the water may be entering; there is water penetration occurring somewhere, and if the concrete steps are a more recent addition, they could very well be the source of the problem. From what info you've given in this latest posting, the water infiltration thru the wall may be exacerbated by the improper slope of the concrete patio and subgrade, but redoing it wont correct the leaking wall. The perimeter wall waterproofing may have been compromised and may also require a drainage system to be installed to carry subsurface water away. Mudjacking or changing the soil adjacent the foundation doesn't address the real problem. Identifying where water is penetrating the wall and fixing it, and ascertaining if additional drainage is required is the logical solution.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 5:44PM
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No I meant finding the water leak overall is like finding a needle in a haystack. I have a basement specialist coming today to tell me if epoxy injection is needed or not. My insurance company should do any demo work that they require to find the source of the problem. I shouldn't have to because then I am liable.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:04PM
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I had a basement specialist come and inject epoxy into my poured concrete wall. Water problem fixed!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:04AM
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>25% Black Topsoil, 75% Brown Topsoil. It is a premixed blend with a recommended use of no more than 4-5 inches. it is richer than regular brown topsoil.


>I had a basement specialist come and inject epoxy into my poured concrete wall. Water problem fixed!

Water fixed, drainage not fixed, water certain to reoccur....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 1:53PM
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