Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When It Rains It Pours.......Right Into the Basement

So, when we bought the house, there were some puddles in the basement.  But I didn't worry about it too much, I figured it would be easy to fix.  I think I was a bit cocky after our Craftsman Bungalow - a few gutters made a world of difference.  And it seemed like most of the water was coming in from the Owners side of the house, which didn't have gutters.

So one of our first projects - install gutters on the missing side.  And then wait for some rain to test it out.

Yea, well, that's where it got interesting.  We'd actually had a stretch of really nice weather and hadn't had much rain in awhile.  But suddenly, our cell phones were going off with severe storm warnings (we didn't even know they could do that - scared us to death when they went off in unison!) and the National Weather Service was predicting severe storms.  We ended up with 6.5 inches of rain in one evening and everything was flooding - sirens and flashing lights seemed to be everywhere.
 And of course this is the point during the storm where I decided to go see how my gutters were working.  

Yeah, 10:30 at night and my husband was not happy, but we donned our raincoats and headed over to the house to check it out.  And as luck would have it, the electricians had been rewiring the basement that day, so we knew there wouldn't be any lights in the basement.

We pulled up and raced to the front door - and discovered ankle deep water in front of the porch steps.  Ugh!  Next, we turned our cell phone flashlights on and went down to the basement.  Sure enough - water was coming in at a good clip on the new gutter side, as well as the front and back of the house.  Sigh....my gutters didn't do the trick.  (Sorry there aren't any photos, but we were too busy unplugging things and moving tools to take pictures!)

The next day, I took a look to reassess the situation.  And once I stepped back to look, there was a big realisation.  There is a 'saucer' around the house on 3 sides.  So when it rains, the water is channeled towards the house.  

For example, when we get a really heavy rain, the driveway next door dumps its water next to our house.  And because the ground slopes towards the basement, the water naturally goes in.

In front, the ground swales towards the front door, but it can't drain away and goes back towards the house, instead of draining to the street.  
And the saucer around the front steps creates the ankle deep puddle (which must be a nasty, icy mess in the winter!).

The back of the house was even worse.  We had just pulled the old deck out (more about that later) and discovered the ground pitched down 12 inches towards the foundation.

So, we called in the experts and they came out to do some regrading.  They created a swale next to the house, that pitches towards the street.  This required the installation of window wells to change the grade.

In the front yard, they  pulled away the 'saucer' and regraded so the yard drains towards the street.   (oh, and I had them pull the lilacs out that were on either side of the front door.  They were way too big for that spot! And would cover the front windows soon.)  And they used the extra soil they dug up, to fill in the big holes all across the back of the house.   That should fix the grading issue we found there.
Finally,  Greencare Landscape Management came out and hydroseeded the front yard.  It was a fun process to watch, as they sprayed seed and a binding agent all across the new soil.  That helped it 'grip' the yard.  But it requires regular watering and a little patience to get the grass seed to sprout.

In a couple of weeks, we have a beautiful new lawn!!!  Nice improvement, don't you think?

Now we just need to wait for some more rain to test it all out - but hopefully not 6.5 inches at once!
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  1. Oh No...I couldn't help notice the sign " Waterhouse Builders" .....maybe now not such a good sign...or sign. hahaha Hope the problem is fixed.

    1. Ha ha - I never thought of it that way! Too funny!


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