Wet Basements and Crazy Rain
Maybe crazy weather and wet basements are considered normal in Colorado Springs, but for me 2015 has been full of surprises. The crazy cold and windy days, followed by bright and sunny weeks, and then of course the torrential rains of this past May. I’m sure there are thousands of similar stories of flooded and wet basements to the one I’m about to tell, but I hope that hearing mine will let you know you were not alone in your misery, and give you some ideas of what to do if this dreaded event happens to you.
I Thought I Knew Wet Basements
Having dealt with wet basements in other homes I’ve remodeled, I thought I knew a thing or two about how to spot potential problem houses and how to fix them. That feeling of confidence was wiped out the moment I got a call from my realtor who was showing my newly remodeled house, that now included a built in swimming pool in the basement. I’d just completed a two month top to bottom rehab that included refinishing the entire basement, to include moving several walls to make a large master bath and walk-in closet addition. It was beautiful, and now it was all wet.
Emergency Water Removal
When I got the call, my first thought was, “how bad can it be.” The answer was pretty bad. Upon arriving at the house I found about four inches of water throughout the entire basement. I immediately went into action to both remove the existing water and prevent more from coming in. This proved extremely difficult as thousands of other residents of Colorado Springs were experiencing the exact same thing, and had bought up all the water pumps in the city. Fortunately I have a very loving and supportive wife, who called around Pueblo and found one of the few remaining pumps for sale. She bought the pump, and braved driving through a serious hail storm to deliver it to the house. (Note: Women by themselves get seriously great service at Home Depot!)
The Gift of a Water Pump
The water pump my wife bought me was the super duty 20 GPM (gallons per minute) kind that I though could empty the entire basement in time for me to be home for lunch. Five hours later when the last drop was ejected onto the street, I learned just how much water four inches can be. Due to continued heavy rain, I was to relearn this lesson two more times over the next week, until I dug a trench around the back yard and stopped the water from coming back in.
Permanent Water Remediation Solution
The next task at hand was to figure out how to solve the water problem permanently. I had to make sure that whoever bought that house didn’t end up going through the same pain the next time Colorado had record rains. Four different engineers and basement waterproofing specialists later and we had our plan. Don’t ask me how they could tell, but due to how the water was coming in and the slope of the property, the contractors knew that preventing the water from pooling behind the house was the key to solving the basement flooding. To solve this, they said I needed to regrade the property, install a french drain, and add a concrete wall at the edge of the back patio. If I recall, I didn’t even ask the price. Wanting the problem solved right I just said to make it happen.
French Drains Work
Eight hard days of labor later for the two contractors and they were done installing the water proofing system. I was very impressed at both how much work was involved, as well as how good the finished product looked. To give credit where credit is due, if you need a good concrete contractor at a good price, give Augie Meana of Mena Concrete Construction, Inc. a call. Anyway, now that the outside work was done, how did I know for sure that it would work? Fortunately mother nature complied nicely and two days later we got another huge storm. I crossed my fingers as I walked down the basement steps…..not a drop of water to be found!
Preventing Mold 101
While all the outside work was going on, I also had my hands full on the inside. Mold is a huge concern with wet basements, and I knew that time was of the essence. I called every basement water remediation company in Colorado Springs, and every one was booked solid. With a basement full of wet carpet, I didn’t have time to waste. That same day I called my general contractor and we had all the carpet and padding torn out. If you’ve every lifted rolls of either of these you know they can be big and bulky. Try doing it when everything is saturated and it’s a whole other ball game.
Fans and Dehumidifiers
After removing the water and anything that was even slightly wet, the next step to prevent mold is to dry out the air and keep it moving. Six jumbo sized fans and two very large dehumidifiers later and I was in business. I personally inspected the house every day for the next week, and while I did have more water creep in before the outside work was done, I made sure it was pumped out right away and that the fans and dehumidifiers were keeping everything else dry. This worked like a charm as I never smelled even a hint of that musty damp odor that comes from mold.
Beautifully Rehabbed Basement
After all the above work was completed, it was a few thousand more dollars work to put everything back the way it was before the floods, but everything really turned out great. Ultimately while the whole process was not very fun, I’m just glad it happened to me and not to someone else after I’d sold the house. I of course would have helped whomever had purchased the property, but would have felt terrible if their belongings had been damaged.
Let me Buy Your Flooded House
I hope none of you ever have to go through something like this with your house flooding, but if you do just know that you’re not alone. If you’ve run across this article because you’re basement has flooded and you’re either want some help or are possible looking to sell your house, feel free to submit your property on Sell My House to Smith. I’d love to see if I can help in any way or potentially buy your house.