Saturday, September 20, 2008

Prozac Please - Update on Basement

The desk piled high with piles of mail....for those of you that willingly accept my OCD tendencies when it comes to having order in my life, well, you know this is making me crazy!
And the blessed hole in the wall...it is going to be there for awhile....
On Thursday, Lonnie from Columbus Pest Control paid me a visit. He was the one who cured my carpenter bee problem in the spring...after he left, they started dropping dead on my deck, which was an indication of success in my mind. I had high hopes that he would find the source of the problem. He did not let me down.
After showing him the scene of the crime, we determined the problem was actually a drain pipe out in the mow strip, the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. There is a noticeable change in elevation in the grass - the thought is the the pipe going from the downspout to the street is not functioning properly and is not allowing water from the downspout to drain out to the street properly. This caused the water to back up into the pipe (all the way up the grass to the back of the house) and cause the concrete block in the basement to become damp, as the downspout sits right outside the portion of the block wall that became wet. The wood studs became wet and termites started eating them and the moldy drywall was how the problem became evident to me. How did we determine this? We stuck the hose in the downspout - had the pipe been functioning properly, water should have shot out into the street. It did not, so we stuck the handle of a rake into the pipe near the street (where we thought the problem was) and sediment and water came gushing out. That, along with the noticeable change in elevation in the grass, was fairly indicative of a problem. I think maybe if you look at the McMansion at the bottom of the blog you can see the fall off in the grass I am talking about...
So now what...first and foremost the termite issue needs to be addressed. It will be by far the most expensive piece of this whole thing. I am going to have to get those termite spikes around the house - they are baited and monitored for feeding, so that as long as there is evidence of activity, the spikes are baited. Unfortunately, termites are the gifts that keep on giving - when one colony moves out, another moves in, so ongoing treatment of the problem is necessary - and also because when the time comes for me to leave this house, I will have to disclose how I addressed this and I don't want that to be an issue. The upfront cost is about $1500 for 2 years and then about $300 per yr after that. I have heard this seems high and that you can treat them yourself, but this is one area where I am not ready to self medicate - the $1500 up front is chump change as opposed to trying to repair a support beam in the future should the maggoty little you know whats try and eat them...the pipe is shallow and should be easy to fix, given the strong evidence of the location of the break. The blessed hole will have to stay open until there is no evidence of termite activity, as this corner will have a termite treatment station. Drywall will eventually have to be repaired, but brother Joe can do that.
So while I am not thrilled about the termites, it is definitely better than my original thought of black mold (the mold on the drywall was black in color). Yeppers, Meg, open up the wallet and pout the money out. But I would not have it any other way, as I love my little McMansion....

2 comments:

The Tuckers said...

the true joy of home ownership... look at all the things you are learning.... and all the money you are spending....

Becky said...

Oh ... sorry to read about it! I'm with you - I like when my desk is organized! The volunteer dinner sounds wonderful, too!