DEAR SAM: Your columns often mention the installation of a sump-pump inside basements to prevent foundation seepage.Severe leaks in one corner of our basement occur after heavy rainstorms. An inside sump-pump would not be an esthetic addition at this corner which is part of our family room. It has been suggested that the pump be installed at the problem site outside the foundation; also it would be sheltered by an enclosure. Your comments and any additional information are appreciated.
ANSWER: The purpose of a sump-pump is to remove the water-table around the entire basement floor and not at one problem site.
Since water finds its own level and your leakage takes place only at one area of the foundation, namely, the corner of your family room, the problem may not be a high water table but a defective wall condition, for example, a cement block wall with an "open" mortar joint may allow surface water, accentuated by gutter overspills, to penetrate.
My advice is to check the external causes:
Elevation of the ground pitch so that surface water will drain away from the foundation;
The elbow at the bottom of the downspout to ascertain the existence of a blockage or break;
The drywell, if any, to preclude possible backup after heavy rainstorms towards the foundation.
Defective cement block walls which show spotted leakage or general wetness may be remedied as follows:
A specific leaky mortar joint can be plugged with Weld-O-Bond.
Porous blocks and joints can be plastered with one-quarter inch waterproof coating, consisting of Portland cement and Medusa (half and half) and two parts sand. A second coat of the same can be applied the following day, in extreme conditions of wetness.
Since the sump-pump must be used in conjunction with a French drain on the inside, entire perimeter of the foundation, the location of the pump hole and the pump can be at a low point selected by you; thus, it need not be in a family room, but more appropriately in a laundry or closet that is unobtrusive.
One major difficulty with an outside sump-pump, even if it were not connected to a French drain, is that outside water freeze-up would make it impractical, unless the sump were below the frost line-three, four, or more feet below grade; also, the ground grade may not coincide with the water level, whereas the floor level of a basement will determine that the maximum water level attained will be several inches below the floor grade.
DEAR SAM: We bought a 9x12 rug to place over a worn carpet but the new rug keeps slipping and will not lay flat, even though it has been down 8 to 9 months. It has a medium weight backing which is rather stiff. Can you suggest some ideas to rectify this problem?
ANSWER: Since you are utilizing the exciting carpet as an underpad, you should ascertain whether it is not a causative factor for the trouble. A spray, known as "Stay-Rug" which is distributed by Boyle-Midway of New Jersey, has been suggested to me as a possible suitable product.
Ordinarily, a professional carpet-layer would use some invisible tacking. Because of the "stiff" backing, he might have to stretch it with a "knee-kicker."
You might like to experiment with the use of 2-sided heavy tape, such as Scotach No. 561, fitted at the corners of the underside of the new rug. Another method might be to utilize, in conjunction with the above, some invisible taking to fortify the adhesion both to the underpad and to the floor simultaneously.
Finally, a discussion with a carpet dealer-especially the one from whom you bought the rug-may be most helpful.