Monday, September 15, 2008

Chicago's Rainiest Day. Ever.

From Chicago's Rainiest Day. Ever
6.63 inches is what they recorded at O'Hare. Our basement has an area that is unfinished, and an area that is finished. On the unfinished side, there was a leak that allowed water in every time we had a big rain. Saturday's rain kept up for hours, so I was able to find all four places on the unfinished side where water came in.
The biggest leak was where the gas line comes in. You can see in the photo there is a gap between the pipe and the concrete. When you are in a closet, and the leak is on the bottom side of a pipe and you can't get below the pipe, it's really hard to capture a photo, but trust me, the water isn't just dribbling in, it is pouring in. Google saved the day once again! A quick search told me that the answer to my problems is Hydraulic Cement. This is really cool stuff. You can apply it while the water is pouring in. And it sets permanently in 3-5 minutes. What makes it special is that most cement shrinks while it cures, but hydraulic cement actually expands slightly.
Two of the other leaks where between the foundation and window sills. One of them was easily accessible from the outside where I was able to dig out the area around it and patch from the outside using the hydraulic cement. The other window is right next to our concrete back patio. Over the years, the patio has shifted away from the foundation creating a crack which is allowing the water to pour in. Once it is dry, I'll apply Pli-Stix to fill this crack.
And the last leak on Saturday was the "Clean-Easy Drain." The seller said that it was the last remaining part of an incinerator they used to have, but had to remove once they became illegal. I really wish they would have really taken it all out, as we now have to have a bucket below this drain to catch the drip!
At any rate, by 5pm on Saturday, we were satisfied that we had taken care of the problems, and were grateful that our finished side hadn't shown any signs of leakage.
At about 10am on Sunday, I went down to the basement to check on the improvements from Saturday and was pleased to find that the hydraulic cement had really worked to fix two of the leaks, and the bucket from the third wasn't overflowing. The fourth was still a problem, but we knew we couldn't fix it until it is dry outside. I then went over to the finished side, checked my e-mail, and life was good.
At about 2pm, I went downstairs again, and everywhere I stepped on the finished side, I made a big wet footprint in the carpet as water seeped up from the padding below. This made me sad.
So, I ran around and got all the toys and books up off the floor, and we decided to just wait it out. Tonight I'll go down with a wet/dry vacuum, but I suspect the carpet will have to be removed to prevent mold. We don't live in a flood plain, so we didn't have to buy flood insurance. I doubt that it will be covered, but we'll be checking with the insurance company anyways. The good news was that it seemed slightly drier this morning, though the carpet was still soaking wet. Basements should not have carpet.

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