You know all the water issues I’ve had with this building, right? At first, I thought the issue was that the back wall needed a french drain – so I had that put in. Then I went out during a torrential storm and found 50 gallons of water pouring down from a beam – upstairs. I had that fixed. More recently, after having rain for 4 months straight, I discovered dampness/water on the foundation, near the walls…on the back half of this side of the building.
So I talked to Julie, and I talked to Terry (a guy who knows a lot about a lot and does work for both Julie and I when he’s not doing his day job) and we all decided that this is what was needed:
- Dig a huge trench along the side and back to completely expose all of the building that is below grade.
- Tear off all the old insulation that was broken and falling off the building anyway.
- Apply a new waterproofing product
- Install a French drain (second time for the backside. yeah!)
French Drain and Waterproofing
This job was going to require big machinery and I decided that instead of renting equipment and trying to do everything ourselves, it should be tackled by people that know how to deal with this stuff. So I got quotes, sucked it up, and hired it out.
We originally hoped we could excavate and change the landscape so the whole building would be above ground. However, we can’t do that because a main electrical line (to the neighbor’s house) runs through there. (Right through my property. Weird, right?) Anyway… Giant trench dug.
Old insulation removed, waterproofing applied and French drain installed.
They also buried an additional drain for the gutter that had previously emptied into a big splash block.
Another Issue found while the last one was being fixed.
When the French drain and waterproofing work was happening, I noticed a puddle of water on the floor in my workshop, at the front of the building, where there had never been ANY moisture, dampness or water before. There is a hose bib on the outside of that wall which had been used for a pressure washer and the building had been sprayed in that area.
This all is outside my wheelhouse so I had Julie check it out. She determined that the water was making it’s way through voids in the mortar, upon which the block walls had been set. The blocks were set into mortar but the mortar wasn’t tooled, an important process that basically smooshes the mortar tightly into the joint. You can see in the photo below how the mortar on the bottom of the block is all lumpy but the joint on the top is smooth. It’s like someone just forgot.
I swear. Some things about how this building was built were so overdone -and then other things were completely overlooked.
I didn’t take any pictures of how this fix was made because I was busy doing something else. But here is a photo of the wall AFTER Terry fixed it. He and used a grinder and cut out the lumpy mortar. He cleaned it out and then applied hydraulic cement (which is supposed to stop water). It rained hard the last 2 days and I didn’t see any sign of water in the building so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that one is fixed now. (Now and forever.)
I don’t think we’ll have any problem from the “lumpy mortar issue” on the portion of the building where they just installed the French drain because they installed the waterproofing all the way down, past that joint.
The silver lining of finding this additional issue to fix is that this side of the building now looks a lot better! (We even changed out the old door that had a doggie door cut out of it and then was patched up with spray foam.)
And now there’s a clear path to the side door, which is where y’all will come in when you come to my B&B someday!
But I’ll put in a sidewalk and do some landscaping and make it all pretty for ya’ first. And probably find and fix a few more water issues. Ha!
It’s nice to have things moving along again. Even if it’s slowly and I keep finding more things to fix. It’s definitely better to find as much of that stuff now, than later!