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My Steel Frame house is built on top of a concrete foundation. Since we do not have the funds to cover the cost of the whole house we needed to have the possibility to add more rooms later in time. GC and Architect were ok with this approach and designed the project considering that.

The foundation was built with that in mind, so apart from what the house currently needs, there are around 13 square meters more of foundation towards the front of the house

Thing is that once the siding was finish and the house should be water proof, we started to notice that water was leaking from some place. We sealed every single place that could cause this started hosing water to the exterior walls were the water was.

The following 2 pictures illustrate the water filtering through the floor of the front wall Water filtering through the floor of the front wall

Lots of water leaking into the house through the base of the front wall

There are 2 inconvenients: 1- the foundation cement coat are leveled towards the house, so any water poured on that floor would go directly to the house instead of flowing away from it to the garden. 2- that part of the house has no "step" because of the foundation that was laid down for the future expansion of the house.

The contractor and the architect told us to put exterior flooring to act as a barrier and fix the level of the floor.

We actually did this but. it didn't work we also tried to put some roof membrane to the base of the exterior wall and put the flooring on top of it. with no results as it can be seen on the next picture.

Front door and exterior flooring. floor plinth sealed

first row of tiles with membrane underneath it and sealed floor plinth

Foundation before filling it with concrete

Foundation before filling it with concrete

affected exterior wall and future expansion foundation surface

affected exterior wall and future expansion foundation surface

Front foundation and affected exterior wall and typical mate infusion from Argentina.

Front foundation and affected exterior wall

There's no way we can proceed to install any flooring with this issue not being resolved, and that's not allowing us to move in. Although its popularity is growing steady, Steel Framing experience is very little in Argentina.

I would really appreciate any insights or advice on this matter. Don't hesitate to ask for more information I would be glad to provide it.

edit: link to the imgur post

Edit 2:

After it dried, I did some water tests which illustrate how the water flows in**

affected front wall from the inside. Dry affected front wall from the inside. Dry

main doorway corner main doorway corner

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Well, as you can see, there is a reason for building the foundation up, or the whole slab up. You can put some kind of water barrier to stop, what you are experiencing. You know that, sorry. My thought of a solution would require you to cut a set of paralell slots, up against your house, close to the sill as you can. You'll have to remove the siding, a couple pieces up, all the way around... anyway I would. Make the slot at least 6" wide. You will need a Tiling spade, it has a long handle, and a long narrow spade! You are not in a frost area, water is your problem. I'd still make the hole 18" deep, and the top up 12". If you taper the space wide, from top to bottom, that's even better! This will be one pour. on the back side (wall side) you will need a strong waterproof membrane. Overlap and seal at the bottom of the pour, the same on the front of this "kick wall" but have it long enough to go back up under the siding from the in and out side. You may have to glue it on the top of the cill. A piece of copper flashing or allumium, coming down over the membrame, under the siding. I'd get 12" wide flashing, so a Z bend can go all the way over the cill. Do this but for your doorways, and you will no more seeps into your slab, metal frame house. It is a fair amount of work, the head guys on your contractors crew, should be able to cut the deck. Then the younger boys dig the footings, and the older guys measure the total width of the membrame. They need to put up a frame to pour into. Make sure the "boyz" taper the cill OUT from the house! It will require a few screw or fewer bolt holes in your deck. After the cill is dry, lap up the membrane, seal it on top, and add the Z flashing, put the siding back on. It is not a terrible solution, but it will work! See what others say, not something we see here up NORTH! :)

  • Joel, your answer has been really inspiring. I do have some extra questions though. the slab has 10 to 12" thick at most, that it what the engineer told us to build based on the soil composition analysis we made and the estimated weight of the house. If we go 18" downwards we would cut the slab off as well as the iron mesh it has. Wouldn't that make the slab weaker? Many thanks in advance! – Pacu Sep 26 '16 at 13:04
  • If you're up for the cut off of the slab, personally I would put a substantial footing below the slab. I'd use a tamper, to pack the soil, as much as possible. Personally, I'd consider a 36x36 footing. (I don't mess around) then inserting rebar vertically in the footing, use concrete binding compound, it locks 2 pours together. pour your riser wall. – Joel Huebner Nov 7 '16 at 21:59
  • My perspective comes from 25 years owning an 1854 Post & Beam building, on the Largest National Historic Landmark District, Also the 1st. – Joel Huebner Nov 7 '16 at 22:01
  • I built a kick wall and footing, to about these dimensions. Sweeping the floor removed sub rubble soil from the foundation. I built that 3x3 footing, put a 10"w x 48"h kick wall up into the sandstone foundation. All kinds of welded rebar! It will never move. I packed and added rubble (pebbles) and repacked. This was a 1/2 section of wall on my house, where two halves came together. Yes, they'd survived since the 1880's, but I wanted something better. This carriage return to post annoys me. I was also an Industrial Technology Major and grew up on a small Dairy Farm in NE Iowa. – Joel Huebner Nov 7 '16 at 22:09
  • what you want to do (sorry i've been distracted) is to cut slab, horizontal bore some 3/4" holes in the slab in all directions, at least 3-5. – Joel Huebner Apr 25 '18 at 22:51

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