If Heather hasn't been writing recently, that means I'm not writing at all...

First, the basement - after all of the ongoing water problems, and finding out this year that only fixing the gutters was not going to fix the entire problem, and if one is going to get water a couple times a year, you still can't use the basement very easily, and so fixing it is worth looking into.

I was first motivated to do it by an advertisement on the radio, and called for an estimate (Advanced Basement Solutions), which came back at $2500, which is much lower than I expected.  There was some concern that this was a newish company, and maybe I could get better quality/warranty elsewhere, and it seemed like it is always a good idea to get a second estimate (J&D Waterproofing).  That estimate came in at $3700, though they were going to do a couple things that were worth more, if they were needed, which I wasn't convinced.  But, they were persistent, and asked to come out for a second estimate, due to year end discounts, etc.  I talked them down to $2300, but they had subtracted off their fancier features, and I was hoping that whoever did it would be able to help me a little with some drain/sewer problems as well, and I figured that though both companies said that they would do it "if it was easy", that the first company would be easier to talk into it, rather than talking a company that had already dropped their price, so I went with Advanced Basement Solutions, and we are thrilled.

They came out with four guys, I'd say one foreman and one guy who had done a lot of work, and then two younger guys who were newer.  I wanted to be around to watch and learn some things, and I figured I might as well make myself useful, so I hauled a lot of the cement out after the one guy jackhammered it up.  The floor turned out to be pretty thin, which one guy had guessed it would be, and so the job went pretty quickly (I think it was 5 hours from pulling into the driveway to leaving), and that included driving me to Lowe's to get some parts for the outside drain pipe where they wanted to connect the sump pump - I had been planning on fixing that last downspout, but it got so little water, that it wasn't really worth working on, but now that the sump drains into it, it needed to be connected to the rest of the system.

They helped out with some of the plumbing issues, and broke up a bunch more concrete than they had contracted to do, and we found a sewer leak that is easily fixable, though we think there is probably a second sewer leak still under the concrete, so I'm debating about what to do about that - we could do a minimal job and just fix that one problem, or do a gigantic job and replace the main sewer line, and add a bathroom while we're at it....  The one floor drain has a trap (which we thought it might not) but sewer gas, or perhaps just sewer water - it is slightly downstream from the main sewer line causes the basement to smell a tiny it every once in a while.  We disconnected an outside drain from the sewer line - when it rained, the main sewer line would get mud in it, and it wouldn't block the sewer line, but it would plug up the floor drain, and cause water to come up the drain and make a large puddle (say, 40 gallons large), so that pipe has been fixed, and we reconcreted the back steps and filled in the outside pipes that go somewhere that we don't know, but presumably the water that was coming in that pipe will now back up out in the yard, and eventually make its way to the new french drain system.

I just realized that I should mention the method by which everyone does drainage systems now on old properties.  I haven't found any commercial company who thought it would be a good idea to do a drainage system on the outside.  The idea is that if you do it on the outside, you have to dig through 4-5 feet of dirt and then put in your system, where if you do it on the inside, you simply jack hammer the concrete, dig down 6 inches, put your pipe in and reconcrete, and it is much simpler, and more predictable.

They also dug a two foot hole for the sump pump, and that is when they discovered our water table when it is dry, is around 6-8 inches below the basement floor.  Our sump pump runs for 4 seconds about every 31-32 minutes all day long.  The pump is right below our bedroom, but it is quiet enough to not wake me up, but if I am awake in the bedroom, I notice it.  I generally don't notice the noise when I am elsewhere in the house, though our woodstove (which we still love) has its electric fan running, so that provides a white noise that blocks most other sounds.

We had a small rain storm since the pump is put in, and it maybe changed from every 31 minutes to every 29, though it might have run for a second more or so.  By our calculations, that means the pump is pumping out around 22 gallons an hour on a dry day.  We'll have to see what happens on a rainy day.

The guys were happy to have Noah and Jonathan watch, and they weren't too bothered by Jonathan's non-stop chatter, though I did have to have them move farther away at various points.  The jack hammering was loud, but caused very little dust in the basement, and none in the rest of the house.  Though, since we had the woodstove running, the gas/air blower wasn't running, which presumably would have made it worse.

I'm planning on painting the foundation with a waterproof paint, since now there is a path for the water to go down the block, out through the drilled holes and into the pipe, where previously, people have said the waterproof paint would be a good idea, but it seemed to me that then the water would just build up inside the walls, and probably do all sorts of damage.

Posted by Jon Daley on December 22, 2010, 10:01 pm | Read 3979 times
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