Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rain, rain, go away . . .

A few weeks ago we had lots and lots of rain, 5 inches in a 24-hour period according to the rain gauge on the front porch.  The gutters had not been cleaned since last fall and they overflowed.  We immediately called for a gutter service to come out and clean them and will probably have this same service clean the gutters twice a year from now on.  Whenever the gutters overflow water comes into the basement.  Not a giant flood but enough to get the floor wet.  We have since discovered that excessive rainwater runs not down the hillside but toward the house because there is an old decommissioned oil heat tank buried in the front yard.  The water hits the tank and runs toward the house instead of flowing away from it.  Removing the old tank is out of the question as it would involve moving parts of a rockery and digging a huge hole on a steep hillside.  

There had been carpeting on the floor that got wet during the leak so we had to remove it before the situation could be assessed.  That room is going to be the library and it needs to be dry, warm and cozy.  The paneling had to come off so we could find the leak. We still could not find where it originated.  The bottom plate of the wall had to be removed before we found source of the problem.

The big worry was that there would be a giant crack in the wall but often water comes in where the wall and floor meet and that is not so big a problem.  What we did find was a surprise.  No cracks in the wall, that was good.  But a crack and holes at the bottom near the floor where roots from shrubs outside had worked their way through the concrete and behind the paneling.  What the photo does not show is two thick roots right at the bottom that had to be cut out with a razor blade.  These small delicate looking roots were growing up the wall behind the paneling and insulation.

There is a product that will seal and waterproof this type of crack in basements so we ordered some.  In the meantime the crack had to be cleaned out, roots removed, and the surface made ready.  Time to rent a Jack Hammer device.

It weighs 25 lbs and is, to quote, “about all a small, old man can handle.”  The use of said hammer required some protection too.

I did notice that the facemask is not covering the nose and the protective eye goggles are above the eyes.  It was hot work I was told and the goggles fogged up and the mask hampered breathing.  So much for trying to be safe . . .

 We plan to replace the old paneling with something brighter, paint the other walls, and install some carpeting as soon as the interior repairs have been completed.  Then the bookcases and books move in with a couple of chairs or a loveseat and a lamp or two.  It should be a warm, cozy library when it is all finished.  The Bride of Satan will have a little refuge when the kitchen remodeling begins in a few months.  Otherwise, she needs to put on her traveling furs and move to the north house for a while.  Not going to happen, if one listens to her.

A French Drain will also be necessary outside to prevent the water from flowing toward the house.  But that will have to wait until the weather is better.

This experience is reliving a part of Bob's life from youth and a part he would rather not remember.

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