Life has been crazy busy. We have been working full speed to build a shed (finished on Tuesday!) and have a complete bathroom remodel in the planning phase. Three weeks ago, we woke up early and I started getting ready to make the two hour drive into work. Bryan came running up the stairs as I was drying my hair and told me that we had 5 inches of water in the basement. After a fair deal of cursing, we headed to the basement. Turns out we had had a wicked storm over night. Somehow in the span of 6 hours we got 5 inches of water in the basement. And the sump pump pumped it out. No clue where or how it came in. We both called into work saying we wouldn’t be making it in. Where do you even start with cleanup? We still had things in cardboard boxes from our move that we hadn’t unpacked that were soaked. Some of our big Rubbermaid bins we had gotten to “protect” our belongs had floated up and tipped over. Taking on water. This included all of our Christmas ornaments. Some of which turned out to be ruined. We started the process of taking much of our waterlogged stuff (including all of our suitcases) outside to dry. Here’s a shot of half of our basement storage in the yard, suitcases are on the deck. We still had a lot more to move out/around.
We have a Bilco door and suspected that most of the problem came from there as it hadn’t been put in completely correctly. The alcove where the stairs are had blue board and lauan plywood over them so we were never able to see what was behind there. We moved the stairs out and took down the alcove “walls”. And were horrified. The previous owner had disclosed that he had water in his basement once, maybe twice, and had corrected the problem. With what we saw there was no way in hell he had only gotten water once maybe twice.
We could distinctly see spots where water had come in. Mortar was missing between some of the bricks too.
The clean up process has been long and slow as we’ve had to work it around building the shed, a pre-planned hiking trip (a very welcome break), our jobs, running (so not prepared for my 15k weekend after this), not falling behind on housework/chores. This weekend we have a relatively free weekend that we can spend doing more clean up.
Last weekend we had a big shed work weekend. My parents were up to help. There was a storm Saturday night. Thankfully my mom’s paranoia made her go look in the basement. Water was coming in. Being woken up at 2am in our house by my dad was very disorienting. Down we went to the basement where my mom was directing water into the sump. I joined in the effort and we soon had a method where one of us would use a giant squeegee (3ft across on a long pole) to push the water towards the sump from where it was poring out of the alcove and the other would use a big sweeping/shop broom to push that into the sump. Bryan and my dad checked out to see where the water was coming in. It was basically everywhere. All across the back wall looked like a waterfall. And some of the other spots looked like a fountain.
We had gotten 3 inches of rain in 20 minutes. Seeing it come in it became very obvious how we had gotten that much water, and seeing our sump pump work, how we had gotten rid of it. After the rain stopped and we had to stop directing water, we went outside to see what was happening. Our backyard slopes towards the house. We could see water rolling down the yard, coming too fast off of our neighbors hill for the ground to soak it in. There was pooling water around the Bilco door area.
This was all too much for our sump pump, Sunday afternoon it died. Bryan rushed out to get a new one while I bailed the sump by hand. I felt like that scene in Fantasia with Mickey and the brooms. I would bail, fill up a bucket, go upstairs to dump the bucket, and by time I got back I lost all of the progress I had made. Within an hour Bryan was back with a new (and better) pump and we had it installed. This has all been a little too exciting for us.
Bryan and I are well aware we are very very lucky. Things could have been much much worse. And while we are thankful for that, this still really sucks.
So what now? We have a partially dug trench that is taking a lot of the surface water away from the back yard and running it down the fence line to a drain. But what else? We had one water mitigation company come in for an estimate. Their goal isn’t to keep water out, it’s to better manage it when it comes in. Part of which is drilling holes in the foundation. We aren’t a fan of that idea and have another company coming next week to get their opinion. We are looking at different landscaping options to move water away from the back of the house. It won’t completely fix the problem but hopefully it will help. The things we store in the basement are currently up on 2x4s. We are going to build shelves in the basement so unless we have a serious flood we won’t have to worry about that. The tough part is we want to fix the problem NOW. And we can’t do that. We have to make deliberate changes, which takes planning, which takes time. And money.
When it rains it floods.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get some posts out soon about the shed and hikes and some pictures that raise my spirits.
Rant/poor me post over.