Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a customer with a house that had a first story addition put on some time ago that is getting water coming in in especially hard downpours. They hired us a year and a half ago to ad a second story addition above this existing living room which was finished about a year ago.

All of the design for the second floor addition was done by an architect and all approvals were gotten as required by local codes. The problem is that the addition brought what was three separate roof's into one roof system which is dumping more water in the yard than it can handle even with the flow split between two downspouts.

This is a problem for a couple of reasons as far as I can tell. First, the grading on one side of the yard is bad. The level of the yard is about 8' - 10" above the level of the pad about 4' away from the house on one side and slopes down toward the pad in question from there.

The existing first floor addition was built over 20 years prior to our project. It seems that when they built it they just put the bottom wall plate directly on the slab at or below grade without any flashing along the outside or below grade to keep the water out and now the new roof, which is the same total area as what was existing, has now changed where the water goes in the yard and it is causing a problem that they haven't had in the rest of the time they have lived there. I.e. water in the first floor living room

Our second story addition which was built over top of this is supported by four posts on footings which are independent of anything above, so the weight of the addition is not being held by the first floor structure.

Now, whenever we have a flash rain storm about as heavy as you can get in New Jersey they are getting water in the first floor living room. I have explained the lack of flashing and bad grading to the custoimer and was even required to submit a letter with final approvals explaining that the grading in the sideyard needed to be corrected to assure they don't get flooding in the existing areas. This was only after it flooded while we were still on site and I had to replace 400 sq ft of laminate flooring after the water came in the first time to keep everybody involved sane.

I thought I had solved the problem a year ago but they recently got more water in the first floor after a bad thunderstorm and of course I got the call wondering why their first floor was flooded and what am I going to do about it.

I have two questions related to all of this. First, who is responsible for this. Should the architects have foreseen the drainage issue with the first floor in the planning stages or am I a negligent contractor for not knowing this would happen? The customers are saying that they never had the problem in the previous 19 years even if it was always wrong, so the fact that it is a problem now makes them think either the architects are at fault or I am. This has been a difficult situation to navigate, but somehow I still have the customers on my side as far as being pleased with the rest of the work.


The second question is what is the solution to this problem? Dig around the foundation and apply tar and a membrane to the foundation and 18" up the sheathing? It has vinyl siding so this seemed like a possibility to me but I would like to have some other opinions. I appreciate any other perspectives. I can post some pictures if it will help. I don't plan on doing the work as it is a liability issue at this point but I fell like I need to offer them some solution, if for no other reason than to protect my reputation.

Thanks


-Dan
 

·
Contractor
Joined
·
4,770 Posts
I did an addition once where the grade was awful-would have been about 16" below the slab for the sunroom. As part of the contract, a retaining wall was put in with combination of drain pipe which led to a catch basin which was then piped out to the street 90' away which then got the water out of the 'valley'. The point being that the fix was offered as part of the original proposal after identifying the problem to the client. sounds like an engineer's problem versus an architect's problem. Did the architect specify a particular size gutter/downspout? If drainage is the issue (water collecting to quickly to drain away thus raising above the slab) then a line or two dug in for drainage might be in order. A sunken barrel filled w/ large stone is another option, but once that fills you would be in the same position of too much water for the area-needs to be taken away.

I don't see any reason this was the builder's or architect's fault unless a siteplan was conducted which identified the poor drainage as an issue. best of luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Pictures would help. Maybe install 6" gutters and a french drain around the foundation. to drain the water away from the home. Depending on lot size and grade you may want to bring in someone to change the grade.
 

·
Thom
Joined
·
4,137 Posts
Start with the requirements of the building code.

Framing must be 6" or more above finished grade.
Positive drainage must be provided.

Positive drainage means the water must drain away from the house. There cannot be a situation where water on the property runs to the house, it must run away from the house.

The architect should have caught this. The builder should have caught this. If your contract was to build the second story addition as designed, you were not responsible for paying for regrading but you were responsible for providing it if needed.
 

·
General Contractor
Joined
·
8,093 Posts
Sounds like the only solution you have there is to come up with a drainage system. There is few options the way it can be done, but in order to see what will work best you might have to get an engineer and make a soil test to determine the water table,etc. In some cases you can put a drainage pipe around the house, tie all the leaders in and divert the water to the street or dry well away from the house.

Good luck
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top