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Radical Basement Dweller
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was getting ready to do some work at a friend of the family's. When I went to shut off the water under the house, I was greeted by about 8" of water in her crawl space. We've had a very wet year here in Delaware and many crawl spaces and basements have been flooded as the water table is so high.
I met Servpro out there today and rec'd an estimate close to $1500.00. I personally thought this was a little steep. Pump out as much water as they can...put some fans in to dry out as much as possible and lay down some new plastic for the vapor barrier.
This is an older woman on a fixed income, so I want to help her save where she can.
I'm looking for any advice I can get as to how to proceed. I know I will need a pump and will check with the rental companies. Fans...again the rental companies.
I have a question about the vapor barrier. It seems the best way might be to take up the old one...let things dry out for a while (like into summer) and then put down a new one.
Any help and suggestions are welcome.
Thanks.
 

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Sean
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By the time you factor in your hours, rental fees, time & mileage to pickup the equipment, etc... $1500 is probably about what you would have to charge - is there any mold issues that need to be addressed?

If the water table goes that high - how is a vapor barrier going to help if it's not moved up higher (i.e. bottom of the joists)?

Edit: I see Freemason brought up a dehumidifer
 

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Registered
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With that much water I would think you need to consider sump pumps/french drains etc. not just a vapor barrier. I don't know what your winters are like but we're just starting the snow season, just wait till the spring thaw.

If you pump it out and place fans you need to evacuate the damp air not just move it around.
 

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Atlanta Remodeling
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234 Posts
Having seen many estimates from ServPro for commercial clients, $1500 sounds decent to me. Having cleaned out one of my own crawlspaces many years ago from flooding - I'd pay double that. You think it's easy money till your in there with mud up to your eyelids. :censored: I'd never, ever do that again, or for someone else.
 

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Home Builders/Contractors
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262 Posts
If you want to stop this from ever happening again, take Aframes advice.

I can tell you this, you've got a whole lot of digging from your belly if your going to do it correctly.

What sucks about high water tables is the water pushes up all over. Starts at the low spots and and lower grades first.

I'd re-grade in the crawl space and put a perforated sump pit and submersible pump at the low end. Or add interior and exterior drain tile and 57 stone, tunnel under the footer and tie the outside drain tile into the inside drain tile. Tie it all into the new sump pump pit (unperforated pit).

Is the house build on a level grade or are there any hills near by?

I'd get $4500 -$5000 for this job. All labor and 5 gallon buckets
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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25,222 Posts
Sounds like a can of worms. To do it right, you'd probably at least need a sump pump, dehumidifier, fans to the outside and a new vapor barrier setup.

As described, ServPro is offering to address the immediate problem for a reasonable fee, but you're still left looking for a long-term solution.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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29,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies. This, as far as I know is not a recurring problem. Delaware is usually praying for rain and the farmers are always complaining about the water table being so low. This year we have been continuously drenched and then just had 12" of snow melt. We may get 4-6" of snow over the entire winter.
She's on level ground with no hills anywhere near.
One of the problems is this...she's 86 years old, lives alone and has a small fixed income. To do this job correctly sounds like she'd have to mortgage her home. It's a catch 22...if not properly taken care of, she has to deal with the potential of mold and the hazards that come with that.
The more I think about it though, the more I have to agree...Servpro doesn't sound all that expensive.
Would everyone agree that the vapor barrier should be taken up and left out until this spring or summer when the ground gets back to normal, then install one?
 

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Home Builders/Contractors
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262 Posts
Thanks for all the replies. This, as far as I know is not a recurring problem. Delaware is usually praying for rain and the farmers are always complaining about the water table being so low. This year we have been continuously drenched and then just had 12" of snow melt. We may get 4-6" of snow over the entire winter.
She's on level ground with no hills anywhere near.
One of the problems is this...she's 86 years old, lives alone and has a small fixed income. To do this job correctly sounds like she'd have to mortgage her home. It's a catch 22...if not properly taken care of, she has to deal with the potential of mold and the hazards that come with that.
The more I think about it though, the more I have to agree...Servpro doesn't sound all that expensive.
Would everyone agree that the vapor barrier should be taken up and left out until this spring or summer when the ground gets back to normal, then install one?
Absolutely remove the vapor barrier and get the air moving as soon as possible. Open all the vents to allow for better air movement.

Good luck man and good lookin out for the elderly women.
 

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Lack Of All Trades
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1,232 Posts
Was getting ready to do some work at a friend of the family's. When I went to shut off the water under the house, I was greeted by about 8" of water in her crawl space. We've had a very wet year here in Delaware and many crawl spaces and basements have been flooded as the water table is so high.
I met Servpro out there today and rec'd an estimate close to $1500.00. I personally thought this was a little steep. Pump out as much water as they can...put some fans in to dry out as much as possible and lay down some new plastic for the vapor barrier.
This is an older woman on a fixed income, so I want to help her save where she can.
I'm looking for any advice I can get as to how to proceed. I know I will need a pump and will check with the rental companies. Fans...again the rental companies.
I have a question about the vapor barrier. It seems the best way might be to take up the old one...let things dry out for a while (like into summer) and then put down a new one.
Any help and suggestions are welcome.
Thanks.
you could theorectically do everything that Servpro will do at a fraction of the cost.

Grab a sump at HD for about $60 and attach a water hose and pump the water out. Allow for cross ventilation for at least 2-4 days THEN apply vapor barrier yourself. Get 4-6 mil plastic and apply. Your total cost?

Roughly $200 bucks -- including gas money and lunch at Taco Bell!

Good Luck!

(Of course I didn't figure out the final price you will charge the old lady.)
 

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Particulate Filter
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4,430 Posts
Open all the vents in January in Delaware to dry out the basement? Sounds crazy to me. Broken pipes are a possibility, and what happens to the foundation if the 8 inches of water freezes expands and starts to exert pressure? Granted you can pump out the water but if the temperature is at 40 degrees just having the vents open isn't going to accomplish much.

Renting the fans and the dehumidifier will run maybe $500.00. $150.00 per unit for a week plus fees. Humidifier will have to be emptied periodically.
 

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Registered
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If you want to stop this from ever happening again, take Aframes advice.

I can tell you this, you've got a whole lot of digging from your belly if your going to do it correctly.

What sucks about high water tables is the water pushes up all over. Starts at the low spots and and lower grades first.

I'd re-grade in the crawl space and put a perforated sump pit and submersible pump at the low end. Or add interior and exterior drain tile and 57 stone, tunnel under the footer and tie the outside drain tile into the inside drain tile. Tie it all into the new sump pump pit (unperforated pit).

Is the house build on a level grade or are there any hills near by?

I'd get $4500 -$5000 for this job. All labor and 5 gallon buckets
Yep,
That is the proper fix, but.

It probably has been happening every year.

Check for previous signs of water

If it has been happening every year and she cant afford to fix it pump it out, and make sure no heat ducts or insulation hanging, and leave it be.

She's 86
 

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Home Builders/Contractors
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262 Posts
Thanks for all the replies. This, as far as I know is not a recurring problem. Delaware is usually praying for rain and the farmers are always complaining about the water table being so low. This year we have been continuously drenched and then just had 12" of snow melt. We may get 4-6" of snow over the entire winter.
She's on level ground with no hills anywhere near.
One of the problems is this...she's 86 years old, lives alone and has a small fixed income. To do this job correctly sounds like she'd have to mortgage her home. It's a catch 22...if not properly taken care of, she has to deal with the potential of mold and the hazards that come with that.
The more I think about it though, the more I have to agree...Servpro doesn't sound all that expensive.
Would everyone agree that the vapor barrier should be taken up and left out until this spring or summer when the ground gets back to normal, then install one?
Robie,
Suggestion for ya.

Call the town water department and see if they will come and pump the water out for you. If they cant do it you could probably call the Fire Department and they might come and pump you out. Back in the 80's we used to use the volunteers in Colonie NY. Dudes were cool as hell. My mother would send over about 6 tons of lasagna and bread the next day at :laughing:. Unfortunately a city department wont do it.

Anyway, they've got big azz 2-1/2" hoses and draft heads along with a pumper that will pump that baby out in a half an hour.

What sucks is someone has to get in there and drag the draft head to the low spots once the water level gets down to a managable level. The firmen wont do it. No big deal as someone will have to get in there no matter what approach you take.

Gooid luck
 

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Registered
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Robie its hard to say say for sure without seeing it but I think it very do-able for less than $1500.
I would pump out what I could, get the wet VB out and let it dry for a month or two. A couple of squirrel cages and open the vents would help. Then when its dry enough to crawl under there get an old army entrenching tool (about 20 bucks at the army navy store) and make a trench to a sump pit. The pit I put under my mama's house is just a hole deep enough for a 5 gal bucket with gravel at the bottom and the pump (I think she paid about 80 bucks) on top of the gravel. The pump has a float switch on it so when the bucket fills up enough to make the switch the pump empties the bucket through a hose to the outside.

I like SLS's idea of putting the new VB on the bottom of the joists.
 

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If this is the first time I would contact her insurance company. If covered they will offer to come in with their contractor & clean up everything usualy with no out of pocket cost to the HO, it's worth a call. or they will give you an estimate & you can choose to do it yourself.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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29,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'd re-grade in the crawl space and put a perforated sump pit and submersible pump at the low end. Or add interior and exterior drain tile and 57 stone, tunnel under the footer and tie the outside drain tile into the inside drain tile. Tie it all into the new sump pump pit (unperforated pit).

Is the house build on a level grade or are there any hills near by?

I'd get $4500 -$5000 for this job. All labor and 5 gallon buckets
Thanks again for the advice. Servpro is involved, so that's the first step. The son (who lives out of state) wants some estimates on getting the above done.
Where do I start looking (I know, Yellow Pages) but what kind of company?
Thanks again.
 

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Home Builders/Contractors
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262 Posts
Thanks again for the advice. Servpro is involved, so that's the first step. The son (who lives out of state) wants some estimates on getting the above done.
Where do I start looking (I know, Yellow Pages) but what kind of company?
Thanks again.
If Servpro is involved why does he want estimates? Sevpro should handle the insurance company and adjusters?

I would start with a local excavator. Someone with a small backhoe and a few laborers for hand digging with 3' spade shovels in the crawl space. Someone that digs and pours footers understand drainage applications.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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29,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If Servpro is involved why does he want estimates? Sevpro should handle the insurance company and adjusters
Servpro is handling the water removal. No insurance company involvement. I'm looking for the type of company that does this sort of work so I can get the ball rolling on preventing this from happening again.
 
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