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Old 10-02-2008, 09:10 PM   #1
FunfDreisig
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Default Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

I'm finishing the construction of the stem wall along the back of my new 25x42' garage. Now I need to waterproof the lower 1/3 of the wall which is below grade. I did a search and found a couple of products: Tuff-n-Dri and Vulchem. These look like they would do the job of "waterproofing" but...

the lower part of the stem wall will be backed by a french drain with a 4" perforated pipe enclosed in crushed limestone. The crushed limestone has a lot of sharp edges that could cut through the waterproofing. So I'm looking for a protective barrier to separate the concrete block wall and the crushed limestone backfill (see attachment).

FWIW I saw a high tech version of this product on Renovation Nation but of course they didn't mention a product name

Thanks in Advance - Funf Dreisig
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File Type: jpg French Drain.jpg (21.6 KB, 70 views)

Last edited by FunfDreisig; 10-03-2008 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

I used foundation tar and then place 6 mil black plastic on the foundation wall. Then I stacked 2" styrofoam against the wall, and back filled with crushed stone. The reason I went with 2" was because if a large rock managed to wind up against the foundation, the 2" would act as a barrier from it pushing against the wall. My cellar is bone dry during the wettest weather.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

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Originally Posted by Junkman View Post
I used foundation tar and then place 6 mil black plastic on the foundation wall. Then I stacked 2" styrofoam against the wall, and back filled with crushed stone. The reason I went with 2" was because if a large rock managed to wind up against the foundation, the 2" would act as a barrier from it pushing against the wall. My cellar is bone dry during the wettest weather.
Thanks Junkman. That sounds like a pretty good / inexpensive solution using readily available building materials Since the crushed limestone I'll be using in the french drain is roughly 3/4" maybe I could use 3/4" styrofoam as the "cushion" material.

Did you run the 6 mill plastic only vertically? Or did you also run it horizontally out away from the foundation (e.g. in an L shape)?

Thanks - Funf Dreisig
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

I used 1 inch foamboard. I glued it on so it would stay in place until the leach rock was placed.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

why? its below grade
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

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why? its below grade
If you mean why is it below grade....

The garage is being built on a slope and located such that the back portion is below the grade of the slope at that point. Hence the need of the concrete block stem wall, etc..

FWIW the original plan was to have the rain water catchment tanks (see the attachment in the OP) at the same level as the garage slab BUT... when I was excavating the hill sides for the tanks I hit a very solid limestone ledge. So I took that as a sign and a great foundation for the tanks Of course that left me with the back wall of the garage below grade. And required some sort of French drain to handle the overflow of the water tanks, etc.

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Old 10-03-2008, 09:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

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Originally Posted by FunfDreisig View Post
Thanks Junkman. That sounds like a pretty good / inexpensive solution using readily available building materials Since the crushed limestone I'll be using in the french drain is roughly 3/4" maybe I could use 3/4" styrofoam as the "cushion" material.

Did you run the 6 mill plastic only vertically? Or did you also run it horizontally out away from the foundation (e.g. in an L shape)?

Thanks - Funf Dreisig
I ran it down to the footing, where the perforated pipe that goes around the entire foundation and then out to daylight. I wanted the pipe to pick up the maximum amount of water. When the footing was poured, there were connector pipes going through the footing so I could also have a inside perimeter pipe on the other side. The reasoning for this, is that in my area, there are a lot of underground springs, and the last thing that I wanted was to have the water captured inside of the foundation. My basement is bone dry 365 days a year, no matter how much rain we get. You only get one chance at this, so you have to do it right the first time, because to redo it again if it fails isn't a option.... unless you want to spend lots of money..
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

Asphalt (two layered) works fine as damp-proofing but if you want water proof you're going to have to go to an actual membrane such as platon or two layers of asphalt and a membrane over top. I've used the platon and found it very easy to install and less unpleasant to deal with than asphalt.
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

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Asphalt (two layered) works fine as damp-proofing but if you want water proof you're going to have to go to an actual membrane such as platon or two layers of asphalt and a membrane over top. I've used the platon and found it very easy to install and less unpleasant to deal with than asphalt.
Thanks! That's the kind of product I've been looking for. Unfortunately Platon does not seem to have distributer in Texas But Grace appears to make a similar product (hydroduct) That is handled by Ram Tools. I'll call them first thing Monday

Funf Dreisig

p.s. I've decided not to go with the simpler/cheaper styrofoam solution because my stem wall is slightly inset onto my slab. And this interface is the most critical w.r.t. water. IOW I need a protective barrier that is flexible. So that it can run down vertically the concrete block wall and then flex out a bit to be able to get down past the stem wall to slab interface.
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Old 10-04-2008, 10:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

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Originally Posted by FunfDreisig View Post
Thanks! That's the kind of product I've been looking for. Unfortunately Platon does not seem to have distributer in Texas But Grace appears to make a similar product (hydroduct) That is handled by Ram Tools. I'll call them first thing Monday

Funf Dreisig

p.s. I've decided not to go with the simpler/cheaper styrofoam solution because my stem wall is slightly inset onto my slab. And this interface is the most critical w.r.t. water. IOW I need a protective barrier that is flexible. So that it can run down vertically the concrete block wall and then flex out a bit to be able to get down past the stem wall to slab interface.
Last time I checked, water takes the path of least resistance, and it doesn't care about twists and turns. Water will even travel uphill to go downhill a distance away. The Styrofoam is a protector of the fresh concrete so the wall doesn't get damaged, and it also helps to insulate the wall from heat loss.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

Platon (dimpled membrane) is sealed along the top edge to prevent water from getting behind it. In the event of water incursions, it allows the water to quickly drain downwards which keeps it from seeping into concrete and giving you freeze/thaw issues.

It's commonly used with icf foundations (which are typically EPS insulation) as both work to keep water away from the concrete. The top edge of the platon should run up to your parging, just at or slightly below grade.

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Old 10-06-2008, 05:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

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Originally Posted by Junkman View Post
Last time I checked, water takes the path of least resistance, and it doesn't care about twists and turns. Water will even travel uphill to go downhill a distance away. The Styrofoam is a protector of the fresh concrete so the wall doesn't get damaged, and it also helps to insulate the wall from heat loss.
I'm going to be waterproofing the lower 2ft of the block wall AND the upper 5 1/2" of the slab (5 1/2" because that is how high the forms were) with a roll on product like W.R Meadows Mel-Roll LM. This will "seal" the critical interface between the slab and the motar bed of the block wall.

The problem with a rigid product like Styrofoam is that the block wall is inset about 1/2" from the edge of the slab. This would produce a wedge shaped void above the slab.

That is why I'm going to use a flexible geocomposite like Mel-Drain that combines a dimpled polystyrene sheet, bonded to a polyproplyne fabric. The dimpled sheet is the "protection" and the fabric is the soil "filter". The idea is to let the water run down the dimpled surface to the perforated pipe in the French drain. The top of the 4" perf pipe will below the top of the slab. So.... hopefully the water will not try to go up behind the geocomposite which will be glued to the wall/slab.

This product does nothing for "heat loss". But that is not my main problem here in central Texas. In fact ,I'm much more concerned about minimizing heat retention most of the year

Funf Dreisig

Last edited by FunfDreisig; 10-06-2008 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: Waterproofing a stem wall below grade

FWIW in my internet research on this subject I discovered that generic term for these geocomposite drainage things is - drain boards - DUH

They come in lots of variations from many different companies each with it's own name: Grace - Hydoduct, Tremco - TremDrain, Armtec - platon, W.R meadows - Mel-Drain, etc.

Their primary purpose is to reduce the hydrostatic pressure on a wall by draining off the water before it reaches the wall. Most companies market them as part of an overall "system" that includes a waterproofing layer (typically a roller, trowel, or spray applied liquid coating). Then the drain board is attached to the wall to both drain the water and protect the waterproofing from the "back fill". And of course the "system" requires some type of French drain to gather the water at the base of the wall and carry it away.

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