No. of Recommendations: 1
OK, last go, probably.

1. House is stucco. But there are multiple doorways (2 sliding, 1 regular, 1 French, and garage door). They are all at the same height. There is also a double hung window which starts just 1.5 inches off the floor joist on the foundation. That’s why it seems best to create a barrier defense than try each one individually.

2. I think you’re right that topsoil is a loser. But there are some better suggestions downthread, including poly laid on the ground and up the plywood, pool noodles, and, uh, I forget. Oh yes, bentonite and some hydraulic cement sitting around.

3. Yes there’s leaking from the plywood on the dam. And yes, that would be a problem but... behind the plywood is a stone with paver patio. I would pry out one or more of the pavers and “sink” an irrigation pump I have into it and pump the water back over the wall. Think “very shallow sump pump.” Ultimately a losing effort, of course, but would buy some time, perhaps. I have two generators: an old one at the old house and newer, more powerful one at this house. Not worried about power, but worried about water. I always have at least 20 gallons of gas on hand.

4. The plywood would sit edge to edge, the edges overlaid with another strip perhaps a foot wide and caulked and nailed together and into the 2x4 “joists”. Rough joint. Just temporary to lap the boards.

5. Yes, septic field. It happens to be on the sloped lawn leading down to the river and was permitted that way, don’t ask me why. Nothing I can do about it. Totally submerged last year, came through fine.

6. I don’t think there will be a lot of “water weight” against the barrier. As I said, the house is exactly (as close as I can figure) at the height of the dam; if the river runs even an inch higher it’s flowing over the dam at prodigious rate. So maybe a couple inches, and more with swells and wind, but mostly I’m trying to keep waves from washing up, not really holding back two feet of the Tennessee River.

7. There’s a small concrete pad some places, but mostly it’s irrigation rock and pavers right up to the foundation. So the water would hit the foundation easy without some barrier. Mostly worried about the garage door; the cellar floor there was screeded about a half inch lower than the rest (for boat drainage) and the concrete pad lower than that, so that would be the first place to submerge. The barrier starts there.

8. The water won’t “run around the edges”. There’s a slope starting at the deck footers. By the time it gets to the side of the house there’s already a rise of land/landscape over a foot, maybe 2 foot high.

So thanks to everyone who chimed in, hgl, 1pg, psu, paulek, rain, mike, and I’m sure I left some out. Sorry. But thanks, I think I’m good to go here. I have all the pieces of my “do-it-yourself dike” kit cut and ready to deploy, some solutions for sealing the bottom and I’m ready. Just doing so nearly insures that I won’t need it, if I hadn’t done it then I would have needed it. You know how it goes.

Interrupted my current project: adding some carbon fiber strips to the (front/opposite the flood side) basement wall which is *just* barely beginning to bulge. A couple of cracks in the cinderblock about the thickness of a dime give me pause, as I’m about to finish and hide that wall behind a stud wall so I’ll never see it again. The carbon fiber strips stop it from moving any further. Expensive even just for the materials, but worth it for the peace of mind. Another of those “if I didn’t do it I’d need it” projects, probably.

Already did the landscape regrading (hired that out), reamed out the French drain (I rented a bigass snake) and had the landscapers add a second “surface” drain to carry away as much rainwater sooner and that’s working, so bracing the basement wall is the last step before enclosing it. No water showing in 40 years, so I’m not painting it, that’s the plan.

Working both sides of the basement here, snark!
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