Stone foundations are famous for leaking. But especially if the soil outside it is not graded, water from downspouts not extended away from the foundation. And certainly if a sump pump is not discharging well away from the house, and onto a graded slope. It can become a circuit.
When all three of those things are present, well, a life raft may be in order.
This is another view of the stone foundation in the historic property in Manassas VA. It leaks.
It leaks so much and so regularly that everything in the cellar is up on stilts of some sort. Even the water heater, partially seen on the left.
The concrete directly ahead probably used to be the coal chute, which was sealed at some point with a concrete foundation. It does not look original to the house.
The stone foundation leaks. The concrete foundation leaks. And not much has been done to arrest that leaking.
So they deal with it. They installed a sump pump. And not very recently!
This inundated cellar is only about 10'x10'. And when you leave the room you need to pay special attention to clean your shoes of the Virginia mud which is thick on the floor. The sump pump pit is nearly full of mud and must be cleaned regularly.
If you aren't going to arrest the water flow, this was the only place to put a sump pump. The companies that would "dry" your basement would have wanted a drain pit all along the stone/concrete foundation, all around the cellar. That would have been a huge mistake. That system would erode the soil under the foundation walls and completely compromise the house in time. Stone foundations have no "footers" as do our modern concrete foundations. The underside of the walls would literally wash away! Big, big NO, NO.
My recommendation: It is best to get advice from a landscaping architect on how to keep water away from the house. Houses do not make effective boats. But if you have water getting inside, consult an engineer with historic home experience to create a solution that will not compromise the whole house!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560