Friday, March 11, 2011

Water spring time

Last weekend we had double-digit temperatures (i.e., above +10C/+50F) and some rain for a couple of days, which hugely reduced the snow cover here. You could actually watch the level of the snow fall. It was an amazing transformation, almost overnight we went from the dead of winter to what looks like maybe spring.

The driveway is now almost completely clear of snow, the front lawn is all clear and the back yard half clear.

In the morning I go out and sniff the air, I can smell spring.

I've been out walking the perimeter, planning where my garden is going to be.

But the bad news is now I have water in my basement.

Around here water is an issue for everyone, no matter whether you are on the Mountain or in the Valley, it just is. And here on the Ridge the hillside is full of underground springs. Last fall it rained so much the water table rose to its highest level, and then all winter we had major snowfalls. So the spring is looking good for flooding. It doesn't matter whether you are by the banks of an overflowing river or up on a hillside, the water will find you.

When I used to live here in the '80s that would not have been a big deal, the basement was unfinished and there was a drain hole in the middle of the floor. As long as I kept my stuff out of the way of the water flow, the water came in and the water went out and nobody got hurt.

But now...

The fellow who owned this place in between did major renovations, including a completely finished basement. He patched a major crack in the east wall of the basement and I guess that cleared up most of the water problem. I remember when I owned this place before that the east wall was the major source of the leakage. I tried fixing that with better gutters, but that only reduced the flow. I knew when I bought the house back that water in the basement was going to be the biggest potential issue, even though the previous owner swore the problem was licked.

All of the original concrete basement is hidden by gyproc walls and laminate flooring, except for a small area around the furnace. Behind the furnace is where I first saw water seeping out from under the finished floor, and it appeared to be coming from the south wall. I put down towels and cranked up the dehumidifier.

For a couple of days I was running towels between the drier and the furnace room every hour or so, but the flow seems to have subsided now. Good news, except that the weatherman has issued a Rain Warning for this weekend, so I expect I will be dealing with yet more water.

I don't know what kind of damage is being done under the finished floor. I've asked around what other folks think about it, and the consensus seems to be that I am doing all the right things and it is a just a matter of wait and see now.

I could spend a lot of money trying to waterproof the basement, but do I want to?

When I bought this house back I figured that the finished basement was a bonus, but I could go back to the way it was before if I had to. So I will probably wait and see until there are signs of rot and then tear all that stuff out and be done with it. Repairing it just means having to worry every time it rains.

In the meantime the dehumidifier hums along. Maybe I should go to Frenchy's for more towels.


Wisewebwoman said...

I don't have a basement in this old saltbox of a house and this is the first time I haven't had one.
They all seem to cause problems. I do hope the rain forecasted isn't too bad!!

Anne said...

You seem to be philosophical about the problem, but I hope it all dries up soon. It's nice to be able to think about a garden. I have planted lettuce and peas, and I am trying to weed my flower beds without pulling out real flowers. Sometimes in the early spring it's hard to tell the difference.