Mario, our concrete mason, is planning to form and pour the steps and landing outside the back basement door soon. One important feature of the landing is a drain for rain and snow. I’m a bit paranoid about flooding in the basement. I’ve known too many people get water in their basement and cause thousands of dollars of damage to half-ass the drainage when we have the opportunity to do it the right way now. The good news is that even without any weeping system, the old basement never flooded, despite some heavy rainfall. The bad news is that was before we dug it down by a foot, and we’ve definitely had water at that level, though mostly due to bad gutters. I have extensive plans for storm water management with our house, but most of them haven’t been implemented yet.

Catch basin drain

Catch basin drain

Two of the people I know that have had flooded basements live in houses very similar to ours, with a basement door to the outside and steps up to grade. In both cases, water coming in from the back door was a major cause of the flooding, so I want to be extra careful with ours. First, the landing outside the back door is going to be a couple inches lower than the basement floor. Second, I’m using a 6″ catch basin style drain that ties directly to our interior weeping system. The advantage of this style drain is that any debris that gets past the grate settles to the bottom of the drain rather than going down the pipe and causing clogs or problems with the sump pump. Using a 6″ drain means that it will be more difficult for leaves and other debris to clog the grate. Third, rather than center the drain in the landing I put it towards the retaining wall, so that when Mario pours the landing it will slope away from the house. Doing that math on square footage of the stairs and landing, this system will easily handle the 3″ per hour 100-year storm water rate for Chicago as long as the drain doesn’t get completely clogged, and this drain should resist clogging.

Area drain installed

Area drain installed (looking out from basement)

The installation itself was pretty straightforward. We dug out the landing a bit and took out the old concrete threshold at the footing level of the basement door so we could run a trench to the weeping system. A bit of pipe, some stone, and the drain itself went in with a bit of test fitting and trench re-grading.

Ready for stairs and landing

Ready for stairs and landing

Mario came out and put in more stone to prep the area for the steps and the landing. We got some snow over the weekend and a holiday coming up, but hopefully we can get them formed and poured soon.

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