Case Study - Sunken Living Room

The owners of a single family residence in southwest Fort Worth were experiencing a nightmare whenever it came a hard rain. Ten to fifteen minutes after the rain would begin, water would begin to enter into their sunken living room. The beautiful wood floor had buckled and was being removed when we were called to the residence. In addition, some furniture had been damaged.

We conducted some tests and found that the water was not coming up vertically from beneath the house, but was instead pooling in the adjacent flagstone patio and seeping in from there. Our design included basins connected to solid pipe that connected to a pump. Calculations based on elevation and distance measurements that we took showed that gravity just could not be relied upon to remove this water fast enough so that it would not pool.

No before photos were available showing the pooling water entering the house, but several were taken of the finished project. This photo shows one of the basins placed in the middle of the flagstone. Metal grates were used on top of the basins to help insure that debris did not clog up the system. Even though we had to remove every piece of flagstone for the excavation, with photos and a numbering system, we were able to return each piece to its original location so the beauty of the original patio was not lost. Drainage Case Study - Sunken Living Room 1
This is a look at two other basins we placed in a flowerbed in the same backyard. The water in this area did not contribute to the flooding inside the house, but it needed to be collected. On these basins, we used black domed grates on top. The domed shape allows water to flow into the basin even as mulch and other debris builds up around it. Drainage Case Study - Sunken Living Room 2
The homeowner was about to purchase new furniture and have a very expensive wood floor installed to replace the buckled one. We took several preventative measures to maximize the capacity of the system. Large basins with metal grates were used where the water was ponding. Larger than normal pipes and twice the normal number of pipes were used. And, as another preventative measure, we installed two sump pumps rather than just one. The thought was that if one could not keep up, or if one failed during a rain event, another would be on the ready. Drainage Case Study - Sunken Living Room 3
This photo has been included with this case study simply to demonstrate how a pump discharge pipe can be virtually unseen. If you notice in the middle of the photo, there are two PVC pipes that come up out of the gravel. Each is a 2” PVC pump discharge pipe and they discharge onto the driveway. Once they are painted a light brown or gray, they will blend in quite well. Drainage Case Study - Sunken Living Room 4

It just so happened that two days after we completed the system and three days before the new floor was to be installed, a huge storm hit this property with rainfall that was measured to be 4” per hour. The homeowner called us the next day to joyfully let us know that he did not get a drop of water in his sunken room. He was ecstatic that the system had been tested so quickly and that it had passed with such flying colors.