Sunday, August 03, 2008

Leak in the basement

This morning I detected a leak in the basement! In the furthest corner of the cold cellar, it's clear that water has accumulated there recently. About 4 feet of the wall leading to the corner is damp, and even has drops of water beading on it. This is the place where we've had trouble with the eavestroughs - I wonder if they've spilled over so much, they've saturated the ground right in under them?

Anyway, I went into full hysteria mode as soon as I realized the problem. I was ranting to Dean, "This is it! We're RUINED! This place is going to be a money pit, I just know it! They're going to have to dig up all the foundations, it's going to cost us $20,000, and we'll never be able to pay for it!" He told me sharply "There's no need to panic!" and I answered, "I'm not panicking - I'm despairing!"

We're going to have to call an inspector or an engineer, I don't know just what one does in this situation. I'm hoping it's just this corner where there's a problem, though I think we'll have to have the foundation of the whole house looked at, if we're calling someone in anyway. Maybe some drain tiles and new eavestroughs will take care of the excess water, and it's just a small section of basement wall that needs repairing. Let's hope so, anyway.


Blogger Binky, Webelf said...


Buy the Mike Holmes book & watch the show.

(1) Get water away from your outside foundation (eaves, drainage tile, land sculpting).

(2) Proper drainage inside (sump, etc., if needed).

(3) Water-proofing inside & out to wall itself: exterior = tar, plastic sheets; interior, bumpy drain-wall covering).

We've installed the interlocking plastic-backed flooring with raised bumps. Our basement is now 50% dryer, and little leaks have a way to get to the drains aside from soaking through the floor.

Patching or crack-filling is only temporary.


1:40 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

We watch Holmes on Homes all the time - that just makes it worse! One botched repair and renovation after another, and everything is always worse than it looks at first! I can see getting new eavestroughs and someone to put in drainage tiles to steer the water away - that's not so scary. But I'd never be able to do any waterproofing of the foundation myself, and that's the part that's scaring me.

I can only take comfort from the thought that we once had a yearly spring leak on the other side of the basement, beside the fireplace. Eventually, I figured out that the downspout outside emptied out right at that spot, so I attached an extender, to steer the drainage water out about 3' away from the house - it never leaked again. I hope this job doesn't turn out to be a major disaster.

2:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's going to be expensive, call your insurance agent. I've discovered a shockingly large number of people have homeowner's insurance and then never think to call when something expensive arises. It is the strangest phenomenon. You've paid for the coverage, use it!


12:19 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I'd never thought of that, NBS - thanks! We've never made an insurance claim in our lives, and you're right - this is what we buy it for.

2:02 pm  
Blogger Binky, Webelf said...

Must second the Home-insurance thing.. you'll pay the deductible, but in our case, we added 2k to the settlement, and got click-flooring installed, with drainage sub-floor.

Depending on what they find (such water-damage can wander far), you may be in for some good news after the frustrations of the flood.


11:36 am  
Blogger Kasia said...

I love Holmes on Homes, but I can see why it would aggravate your concerns. But remember the basic lesson of the show: do your homework, use common sense, make sure they get permits, etc.

And if I could be a little flip, look at the bright side: if after all that a contractor DOES muff things up...maybe Mike Holmes will come fix it!!! ;-) (If he does, please tell me so I can come up to Ottawa and watch!)

1:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did you censor my comment?

8:58 am  
Blogger Binky, Webelf said...

On Mike Holmes:

Sorry to be fuzzy: I simply meant you can check his shows or book for products & techniques on 'making it right'.


9:37 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I will have to check out his book. And you're right - patching is only a temporary solution. I can see that there have been a few patches elsewhere on that wall, from before the time we lived here, but this seems to be a new spot. When I see patchwork already in place, though, I'm thinking that we should get an expert to look at it, so we don't end up just moving the problem a few feet further along.

12:27 pm  
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