Yes – I would say I qualify as an expert in basement flooding. Not quite an expert in PREVENTING basement flooding, but maybe someday I will be there. This all started about 5 years ago when I bought a house that had basement flooding issues. Of course, the previous owners said the flooding occurred because there was no backup pump and there was a power outage.
It wasn’t until I lived in the house a few months that I learned that a backup pump wasn’t going to keep my basement dry. I had much bigger issues. I’m not sure the best way to relay this story, but it includes many parts: mold remediation, neighbor directing runoff onto our property, window wells taking in water, downspouts being buried but not sure where they go, poor grading of our backyard, and inadequate sump pumps given all of the above. Oh yes – and I live in a neighborhood with poor storm sewer management.
When we first moved in, the basement had already suffered a flood, and due to the house being in foreclosure, the flooding wasn’t addressed in a timely fashion. Thus, you guessed it, mold. Mold is a scary term, and it can cause problems for people, but I’m not as convinced as some about just how bad it really is – and I think that these mold remediation companies are not the most trustworthy, scientifically sound people in the world. It is a big money earning industry, though. Regardless of what I think about mold, it is a deal breaker when trying to get a mortgage. No mortgage company would approve the loan until the mold was treated. We had two different mold remediation companies come out and look at our property. In addition to the obvious mold that we knew was in the basement, they also managed to find mold in the attic. I’m guessing that most homes have mold in their attics, but since we wanted a mortgage, and the mold inspectors said there was mold in the attic, we had to treat that mold as well. It wasn’t nearly as expensive as I would have thought to have mold remediation done. It actually cost us a few thousand dollars to have them treat all of the mold in the basement and attic. They did remove the bottom few feet of drywall in the basement (which did cost a few thousand to replace and repaint), treated the surfaces behind the drywall, and treated the areas in the attic. They then will give you a letter saying your home is no longer a mold hazard. I’m sure this is a very high profit industry. Once we had our letter that the mold was cleared, we were able to get our mortgage approved and buy the house.
As we thought the problem was a lack of a backup pump, we had one put in. We had the basement re-finished (had to repair the drywall and repaint) and we had carpeting put in. Not the best idea to put carpet in a basement that has a history of flooding, at least until you have proven that the home can withstand heavy rains. We learned the hard way. We loved our new basement. It was a a great, comfortable, homey place to relax. It only lasted a few weeks. While we’re out of town, we get “record” storms. We assumed our new haven was safe, as we had a back-up sump pump installed.
Since we were out of town, the next morning we had some relatives go check on our property, since we had heard of significant flooding in our neighborhood. Sure enough, the basement was wet. Ugh. Big Ugh.
And then the fun began. Part 2 coming soon.