Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In Which I Analyze My Problems

OK, I am attempting to calm my recent, "OMG, my house is going to need foundation repairs and it's going to cost more than $10,000 and I'm going to die broke!" panic by considering the following facts:

1. I did have a structural engineer check out the house when I bought it. His opinion was that what it really needed was better drainage.

2. My drainage still sucks. All I did was replace some of the gutters.

3. When I took a closer look at the gutter in the corner of the house that's leaking, I saw that said gutter is not just leaking at the seams, it's actually got big holes in it that are undoubtedly dropping water right down onto that corner of my foundation.

4. The fact that I didn't see this problem until I unblocked that gutter could be coincidence. It's even possible that this was happening for ages and I just didn't notice it, or it didn't rain hard enough to be an issue. But it is, at least, suggestive.

5. My next-door neighbor is currently having his yard regraded, so obviously I'm not the only one with this problem, and at least somebody else in this neighborhood thinks better drainage is also their solution.

So. Plan of action:

1. I already applied some sealant to the downspout as a temporary measure. It might at least help, for now.

2. I will get those gutters replaced ASAP. I can call the guy who did the ones on the back of the house.

3. It is probably a good idea to find another structural engineer and get a second/current opinion about the state of my foundation, advice on adequate drainage, and thoughts about whether there are cracks in the concrete that need to be patched. Finding one out in this backwater might be problematical, but I can make some calls.

4. Depending on exactly what said engineer might say, I should look into my options for better drainage. Even if I have to have the whole yard regraded, it will almost certainly still be cheaper than foundation repair. If I see my neighbor, I should ask him about his experiences. (Although, a) it's not actually his house, it's his late mother's, and he's not around much, and b) He seems to be doing a lot of the work himself, which is not really an option for me.) I should also talk to the contractor who does the gutters and see if he knows anybody. I did see him talking to some of the guys working over there, actually, when he came out a while back to remove the old internet antenna from my roof. (Also, part of the problem is likely that there are some goddam trees that keep trying to grow right at that corner of the house, and while I keep hacking them down, they keep growing back. That can't be good for anything at all. If I'm getting my yard dug up for drainage, hopefully I can get those removed at the same time.)

5. Try not to panic, or despair, or wallow in self-recrimination about not addressing any of this stuff sooner. One way or another, it'll get handled, right?


  1. Your analysis is excellent! (Plus, breaking the necessary work into separate tasks can help you prioritize by need or affordability.)

    1. Thanks! I'm thinking if fixing the gutter -- not too difficult or expensive -- solves the immediate "OMG, water is getting into the house!" problem, then I can perhaps take my time and save up for getting the yard regraded, or whatever I might need to do.

      Fingers crossed.