Digging Deep in Dahlonega

One of our clients in Dahlonega, GA was experiencing a great deal of water leakage in his basement. Water was streaming in from multiple directions and he couldn’t figure out why. Initially, he had tried solving the issue on his own by installing a dry creek bed. But even after this, water continued to drain into unwanted areas of the home. Though dry creek beds can be useful – here’s a blog about dry creek beds – this water trouble required a bigger fix. As is true for many problems in life, the client needed to dig deep and locate the source. That’s where we came in. We aren’t licensed therapists but we can help solve your drainage issues!

Where to start? First, we had to figure out where the water was coming from. To do this, we decided to check the front side of the building to see where and how the water was getting in. This side of the home was where most of the leakage was occurring in the basement. Searching the front of the house for foundational issues wasn’t the easiest process because the client had already created a nice landscape full of shrubs, finished stonework, and a concrete path leading up to the entryway. All of this was right where we needed to dig to search for the source. So as not to disturb the stonework, we covered it with plywood and plastic. We also had to remove the bushes to get to the foundation of the home. Shrubbery can be replaced but water damage on your house is not so easily remedied!

Here is the before… just wait till you see the after!

After clearing everything, we found holes and other problems all across the front of the home. On both sides of the porch there were gaps between the building and the ground. We discovered that over time, the foundation of the home had settled and left a cavernous space underneath the house where water was able to flow into the basement. The client thought that he had a concrete foundation under this part of his home but unfortunately he did not. This happens a lot when people add on new construction to their home. It might seem cheaper to add a porch without pouring concrete foundation but it always has the potential to cost you more in the long run.

This image shows the space between the home and the ground.

The problems with the foundation didn’t end there. We also saw that the soil beneath the building was eroding because it was not compacted. To fix this, we started by compacting the soil with a tool called a jumping jack. You may have seen us use a similar tool in a previous blog where we were stabilizing soil to create a block wall. In that project, we used a plate compactor. Those are typically used for larger areas, whereas a jumping jack is better for tighter spots and trenches. Also known as tamping rammers or jack rammers, jumping jacks create over 2,000 pounds of compaction force and are good for wetter soils with high clay content. Comparatively, plate compactors do best with dryer, grainier soils. You can learn more about these tools here:

An example of a jumping jack

Once the soil was compacted, we then pumped in concrete and gravel to fill the void between the earth and the house. We also graded the space outside the building so that rainfall and other precipitation would flow away from the house. Adding a small slope so that the house is on higher ground than the soil around it may sound simple but it makes a significant impact.

Next, we replaced all of the client’s drain pipes and fortified them to the side of the house with 4” solid PVC pipe. We repaired the dry creek bed and created space for 4 downspouts to empty the water elsewhere.

Below is the final product. You would never know what had been done! No more leakage and the entrance to the home was put back together as if nothing had ever happened. This client and his wife prefer selecting and installing their own plants so we left most of the landscaping to them. Now they can rest easy with the understanding that the foundation of their home is safe and dry. If you know anything about Dahlonega, you know that it is famous for the gold rush that took place back in the 1800s. Though we weren’t digging for precious metals on this project, I think we did strike gold!

After: Striking gold in Dahlonega


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