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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Longtime friends of the decanter will recall Ol’ Robbo’s gripes about the ongoing water problem in the Port Swiller Manor basement, and that I’ve been on about it rayther a lot this summah, what with all the rain we’ve been having.

Well, we finally decided we needed to get a professional opinion. The engineer came out yesterday morning.

Yes, it’s pretty bad. Not as bad as it could be, but still.***

As I may have mentioned before, the basement is a walk-out. Turns out the walls on the two underground sides are both bowing in. Plus, the sump drainage system is shot, and the built-up pressure is causing water to come in at the base of the walls, which apparently are not actually anchored to the slab, but just rest on it. Soooooo, we need to fix the drainage, brace up the walls, and waterproof the whole shebang.

This is all due to the passage of time and home construction methods here in the awful, nasty clay of eastern Virginny. (It’s a fairly common issue, too.) Ol’ Robbo was very careful to question the fellah about this, lest Mrs. R get the idea that it was an issue I should or could have done something about earlier. (In fact, I might have spotted the cracking had I gone looking for it sooner, but we’d just have wound up in the same boat we’re in now.)

So this weekend, it’s more drywall/insulation tear-down for Ol’ Robbo. Oh, joy. We meet with the fellah again next week to get the full butcher’s bill and to sign the papers. (When I relayed the rough estimate to Mrs. R yesterday, she took it fairly stoically, only saying, “Well, so much for the idea of me retiring this year.” And as an aside, just what the hell do I pay homeowner insurance for?)

Incidentally, I don’t often plug things here, but if you’re anywhere in the mid-Atlantic and have this sort of issue, we’re using JES Foundation Repair. They’re engineers, not building contractors. I spent a couple hours going through things with the fellah, and he was eminently knowledgeable and obviously highly competent. And chatty. His store of anecdotes about the darker side of the home construction world was highly entertaining, if somewhat chilling. Caveat emptor, indeed.

*** There is apparently a 1 to 5 scale to this wall-bowing biznay, with 1 being a few cracks and 5 being the wall caves in. We’re at about 3.5, with horizontal and diagonal cracking, and the bowing itself is just under an inch. The good news is that we need not go quite Full Monty to fix it. Any greater bulge would have required extra steps.

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