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Community and Q&A

Basement Drainage in older homes

Ryan Lewis | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

Hi, I have a 1930’s era tudor home in Westchester County, (Zone 4A). I’m told my house was built before “footings” were standard. So I have some water in the basement. I want to build some french drains to remediate. It seems that a lot of the advice given is about newer homes or homes being built. Is there any special advice in this area for older homes without modern build characteristics?

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  1. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    User 7030867,
    First of all, can you tell us your name? (I'm Martin.)

    Here is a link to an article that answers your questions: "Fixing a Wet Basement."

    If you are digging an interior trench for a French drain adjacent to an old foundation wall without a footing, you want to do your best not to undermine the wall. In other words, if you dig a trench close to the wall, don't make the bottom of the trench lower than the bottom of the wall.

    If you don't feel qualified to make this judgment, you could either (a) consult with an experienced mason or engineer, or (b) dig the trench at least 16 inches away from the wall, to limit the possibility of undermining the wall.

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