Dry With A Twist of Lemon

Dry With A Twist of Lemon

After interviewing four different companies, reviewing bids ranging from ~$6000 to ~$22,000, we picked Frontier Basement Systems to fix our water issues in the basement. The only problem with them is their tagline, “All Things Basementy.”

The male owner does bear a passing resemblance to my youngest brother, which always gave me pause when I walked past their truck in our driveway.

My brother and niece
The All Things Basementy Owners
Buster singin’ in the rain.

It was a rainy day when this next phase of the basement adventure began, so Buster and Yessa got some time dancing in the driveway before the work team arrived.

The Basement Before:

Thanks to Weston, W/D in the garage.

The old sump pump “casket” will be disappearing.

The first day began with Alex (team lead) and Jorge around 11:00. Alex and I walked around and talked about the whole project. As is generally the case, I haggled with the salesman to decide the company and price, but Alex and I were the ones “on the ground” who made the real-time decisions.

Alex was fantastic to work with and he warned me straight away that he thought the job would take more than the planned three days. He hoped to have a larger crew the next day, and we’d see how things went.

Even with only the two of them, they accomplished a huge amount the first day. Day 1 was demolition day, taking out the drywall and the stairs. Bless Jorge for tackling the stairs. They were well built and sturdy.

The goal was to have open access to three of the four walls, including under the stairs; no easy feat.

Truck load of supplies and piles of rock.

Partial Supplies

By the end of day 1:

Day two added Tim, Austen, and Pedro to the cadre of folks working their keisters off in our basement, and their efforts showed.

Old sump pump out and trench against the wall.
Trench around the fireplace, already filling with water.

Trench in the garage, headed to the new sump pump.

The stairs are no more.

Wall trenches

I love this shot of the jackhammer they used to blast through anything in their way.

Day 3 we dropped down to Pedro, Tim, and the ever-present Alex and Jorge. They got us nearly to the finish line.

Water mover installed, gravel placed, plastic covering in place, final step is the cement.

Plastic sheeting up in case we ever have water coming in the walls. This mold-proof covering syphons down into the floor system, draining to the sump pump.

The final Saturday morning, we were back to the original crew; Jorge and Alex. They gave us their weekend day to complete their part of the job.

Jorge finishing up the sump pump.
Cement all laid.
There are two of these “cleanout” openings that we can use to test the system to make sure there are no stoppages.

That jigsaw puzzle above is our staircase. Someone will come back to put that beauty back together…eventually.

Back corner of the basement. A window will go in here shortly.
The cut across the floor to lead all pipes down hill out to the sump pump in the garage.

This sump pump we had installed is the stuff of plumbing dreams. Even my big brother said, “They did a good job with that.”

Compared to this old piece of metal that literally spit in my face:

The old sump

We are now driving the BMW of sump pumps.

I am in love with this sucker.

There are two sump pumps buried in that pit. A main and a back up if the first goes down. And if the power goes out, we’ve got a multi-hour battery back up.

No longer will I have to lie awake on stormy nights, wondering if I should sit downstairs to will the sump pump to keep working.

The one lemon to this dry martini was the morning Alex knocked on knock back door and said those dreaded words, “Could you come with me, please? I have something to show you.”

The back basement wall had started to shift enough that wall anchors are going to need to be installed. The problem couldn’t be seen until the drywall was removed, and after that it was clearly evident. Alex worked with me to get us a discount, and he’ll return to help do the install, but here’s the kicker: The wall anchors can’t be installed until early April. And until they are installed, the wall on the back of the house can’t be drywalled and we don’t have any stairs to the basement.

Big picture, these are tiny issues, and after this is all done we’ll either feel good about living here forever, or we will be able to honestly tell the folks we sell it to that we have done everything humanly possibly to handle any and all water problems. I’m ecstatic about either of those options.

The gentlemen were truly grateful for the baked good and tips we gave them with our sincere gratitude for their hard work, and I was grateful to work with a team I liked and trusted…and they cleaned the basement bathroom before they left.

Job well done.

I’ll leave you with one last shot of this lovely:

It’s good to have a talisman.