strange basement drain amongst other things... [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-21-2008, 05:11 PM
I've always found this forum helpful, so thanks in advance!
Here's the story:

The basement in an investment property of mine has just had it's 2nd sewer backup in one year. The 1st one was storm sewer backup during the monsoon of April 15 in NJ...some of you might remember it. Then last week the city was cleaning something in the street sewer and I got water...amongst other "floating objects". So the new carpet installed in April had to come out again. Needless to say, neither I nor the insurance company is happy.

I have decided, hopefully wisely, to install porcelain tile and forget carpet. The slab needs to be scraped from old asbestos tile problem. On examining the floor, there are 2 things that concern me:

1. a hairline crack running the length of the basement that appears very old. So old that there is black adhesive in it..which probably went on 40-50 years ago.

2. There is a very strange drain cut into the slab about 1 foot in from one wall. It is about 2 inches wide and an inch or more deep. It starts from under a bar structure (which is going to be ripped out) and continues into the clean-out pit, pitched towards the pit. No standing water in it. Drain is now covered with thin tin glued down which will be ripped off to take a better look at what the heck this is all about. I am thinking it might be a very old solution to a water problem and maybe not serving any purpose now, but can't be sure. There is a sump in the basement, but I don't know when it was put in..before or after the cut drain. BUT I'm thinking that cleaning this drain and re-covering would be safest as opposed to filling it.

Any thoughts?
Issue 1: Should I spend $600 or so more and use Ditra over the entire floor because of this old crack?
Issue 2: How should I re-cover this mini-ditch? More tin or metal? Strong enough for tile and non corrosive?

One more thing. Walls are stuff because of the rough tenants (students) so they occasionally need replacement. I was not going to grout right up to the wall because of this, just put a molding along the edges to cover the gap. If I use Ditra and there is a flood down there, will water come in at the edges and fill the channels in the fabric on the underside of the Ditra? Is this a problem or concern?

I know this is a lot of questions, :blah: any advice greatly appreciated!


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crow wing
02-21-2008, 06:32 PM
If this happens often any thoughts of having the city install a check valve so
there is no more floods to your new work??
If you didnt want to Ditra the hole floor there is a crack isolation membraine that comes 12 inch wide to bridge the crack then feather out so not so noticeable.

02-21-2008, 06:54 PM
Doesn't the check valve go between my house and the street? In these parts I'm pretty sure that's the homeowner's responsibility...big bucks. It's only happened 3 times in 15 years, but 2 of them were in the last year.

What is the isolation membrane you are referring to?


crow wing
02-21-2008, 07:39 PM
At two to ten thousand each time I would think it could get expensive also.

The 3/32 membraine is a fiber cloth one side and a soft bonding rubber on the other and there is a bottle of primer, so you ruff up surface, clean, prime, and use a roller to push into primer. mine came from The Tile shop.

02-21-2008, 07:52 PM
Even home depot has it, I think it might be called crackbuster. It is made by custom building products. Should come with primer and instructions.