Need suggestions. Garage floods in the spring due to snow melt.
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Thread: Need suggestions. Garage floods in the spring due to snow melt.

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    Need suggestions. Garage floods in the spring due to snow melt.

    We bought this house about 3 years ago. The first year when the snow melted it flooded into the garage. Last year there wasn't as much snow and it was a gradual thaw so it almost flooded. Came close. This year we've been hit pretty hard with snow so I expect more flooding.
    The problem is that the garage section on the left was added on to the original section on the right, and the slab top is barely above ground level.
    There's a county road with ditch to the right of the garage (to the top of the overhead view) and there's a slope on the other side of the driveway.
    The wedge shaped concrete pad is in front of the new section of garage. It heaves quite a bit in the winter. The other old slab doesn't heave as much. Why? How can I stop it from heaving if I tear it out and re-pour?

    What would be best way to stop the annual flooding? (besides build new garage. Can't afford that)

    Lay drain pipe around the garage? (The water gets deep on 3 sides of the garage; back, left, and front) How do you keep the drain pipe from freezing and not draining in the spring?

    Cut a shallow depression across the driveway to the slope? I've been warned if I do this that it would make snow plowing difficult, but I intended to make the slope gradual. That still wouldn't drain the back and left side though.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? HELP!

    The soil is a sand and gravel mixture but when it's frozen it doesn't absorb anything naturally. I thought about draining it to the back, but the property line is actually at the treeline and neighbor isn't receptive to me putting the water on his land.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Overhead 2.JPG   Overhead.JPG   Contour Map.JPG   0806171427.jpg   0806171427b.jpg  

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    Can you put in any type of surface drain and feed it directly to the ditch?

    It sounds like some regrading of your lawn might be required to drain the water properly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1023Easy View Post
    Can you put in any type of surface drain and feed it directly to the ditch?

    It sounds like some regrading of your lawn might be required to drain the water properly.
    A drain is my thought too, but being as frost here goes down 3', wouldn't it get frozen and be worthless in the early spring?

    The science of grading is Greek to me, but it seems like I'd have to lower the rest of the yard on all sides in order to get it to not accumulate around the garage.

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    Perhaps install drain tile with gravel around the garage problem areas leading to a sump pit with pump that flows to the road ditch?
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    I can only offer thoughts based on my own experience here in CNY. Feel free to set me straight as necessary.

    It isn't how much snow you have, it is how much melts is a short period of time. I love getting rid of a couple feet of snow in a Jan or Feb melt to ease the big melt in the spring.

    Your topo map makes me think the area is fairly level with a spread of about 10', and that your place isn't a bullseye for the water. The pictures make me think that the floors are just about level with the ground outside though.

    I suggest a shallow, open, wide, and mowable trench running down to the streetside ditch from behind the garage. Make another one from past the house to the low area. If it looks like the drive makes too much water, run a smaller one alongside the driveway on the lower side. I suppose you could always complete the moat design by connecting the one behind the house and the one behind the garage. You can have boat races in the spring. Turn it into a lawn feature.

    After rereading, is it the garage floor or the wedge shape slab in the front that heaves?
    If it is the garage slab, the garage addition probably wasn't prepped deep enough, thus the frost heaving. Is it just a slab or do you have footers? If it just the wedge, dig it out and make a better bed for it.

    Where does the water come in, just at the door or around the walls too?
    For the walls, expose the outside above and below the surface, clean them off and seal them. I can't think of a name off-hand but there are some good sealants for this purpose.

    For the main door I suspect you don't have a garage door threshold. Many don't feel they need it. It is a strip that mounts to the floor of the garage door. It mates with the weather strip on the garage door bottom for a good seal. Make sure the right way faces out so it will work with the weather strip. Run these all the way to the ends and seal the cracks. TIP: clean up any excess then run wax paper or plastic wrap between door and strip if you close before glue is fully dry (like to seat the strip), or you will regret it. This is one I use, it comes in many sizes and is easy to trim.
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    Make sure to use the polyurethane construction adhesive. It is the only one that always works if installed right. It is also very durable.

    Don't know why but this makes me think of a friend who had water issues. He lived at the base of Song Mountain in CNY and he needed a new well, a new septic, and the basement waterproofed. All involve water.

    The basement was first and a lot of time, money and work was spent to finally get it waterproof. Then the well, and after several tries around his yard they finally found an adequate supply. Each attempt cost more and more with lots of stone to bore through. Finally the septic. This guy came out and noticed the artesian well at the surface causing all the problems. He put up a diversion wall and the artesian water went a different direction. The water was sweeter and more plentiful than what came out of the well. The existing septic was fine once things dried out a little, and the sump pump in the basement never came on again. As luck would have it, he tackled the wrong problems first. It taught me to try to look at as many angles as I can think of before committing to a solution. I might get lucky.

    Good luck.
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    Looks like a swale to the rear of the property would work best, or at least it wont freeze up like drains could.
    You dont need much slope to get water moving away from something. Most places recommend 6" over 10', but even half that would help.
    What you dont want is flat from the garage or other buildings out 10' or more. Or worse, what happens a lot, having the ground sloped toward the buildings. This happens because the backfill around the foundations isnt done properly, or done quickly and once it settles, no one ever addresses it later.

    Anyway, Ive got to do something similar, but dont have much open area to work with. I was going to run French drains, or a version of them anyway, but a gradual swale around the place would be much easier, and have a greater capacity to remove water in all weather.
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    Steve, my first thought/question is how far away from the pavement are you clearing the snow?

    I lived in CT for 68 years and dealt (TOOO much!) with snow. The first snow, whether 1/2"or 12", was pushed 6 feet from the pavement. By the end of the season, I usually had 2-3 feet of grass on the sides of the pavement. Even at 0 degrees, you can get snow melt, BUT, the grass is darker than the snow, accepts the heat and starts to thaw...only slightly, but enough to absorb the snow melt. You could/SHOULD also make a pass around your garage...for the same reason. I see a slight dip/trench/indentation of the rear of your garage. I'm assuming this is from melt on your roof running off...gutters will help this! Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveInMN View Post
    A drain is my thought too, but being as frost here goes down 3', wouldn't it get frozen and be worthless in the early spring?
    IME, drains generally don't freeze up solid. In order for the drain to freeze up, it has to fill with water first. A properly sloped drain would never hold enough water to be able to freeze solid in one instance. It is possible that several freeze/thaw cycles could cause it to freeze up solid but that's pretty rare. Usually if get any ice in the drain and you get a thaw, the warmer water running through the drain melts that ice so the whole system ends up being self-cleaning.

    The caution there is that the entry point to the drain can get blocked by ice/snow long enough that water can back up and flood your area until the blockage melts enough to allow water to flow into the drain.
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    Both small concrete slabs in front of the garage heave but it's the wedge shaped one that heaves most.
    As far as I know the inside slab isn't heaving.
    Last year I plowed the snow back away from the garage about 6' around the sides, but we didn't have much snow that year. It came close to flooding though. The snow that did melt ran toward the cleared area and froze at night. It couldn't soak in because the ground was still frozen just below the surface.
    The prior year (our first in that house) I didn't expect flooding and that's when it came around the garage and through the doors as it got deeper. Since the garage slab is so low to the ground, the walls are soaking in water if even an inch or two of snow melt accumulates.
    This year has been a lot of snow and my poor 316/49 tractor and plow is struggling with the compacted snow. I don't know if I can get it plowed away from the building.

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    A couple of thoughts, I am a land surveyor so I deal with drainage and elevations all the time. Someone above mentioned a swale at the back. I agree, looking at the pictures that looks like the best bet, and extend that swale along the sides also. Looks like you would then have to drain it somewhere, most likely out to the road. The trick is you have to know how to get that to drain.

    I would then cut in a trench drain in front of the garage and get that to drain into your new swale. They sell this at lumber yards, Lowes, Menards and such. They are some kind of heavy plastic or PVC and include a slotted cover and come in different lengths. Once again, you have to get it to drain and slope it in the correct manner. You have to cut this into the concrete, so this is the hard part.

    Concrete will change elevations from frost heave. You can't stop this, unless you put footing under it. That far north footing probably have to go down over 5 feet. The garage may be on footing is why it doesn't change and the driveway does. This is normal and not a problem usually. In my experience the biggest problem when putting up a building that results in problems like yours is its built to low. If that was a foot higher, no problem. People cheap out when building and don't want to bring in fill.
    Last edited by dodgeman; 03-04-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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