No sooner had we arrived at our cabin to celebrate Cliff's birthday last weekend, when Jill texted, "I think you have a problem at the house," (never an auspicious start) "there's water dripping down the fireplace in the apartment below. . . " (How can that be? There'd been no rain for months.)
By Sunday evening, the drip had turned into a much larger concern and when the plumber, Andrew, began to open the ceiling looking for the root cause, buckets of water literally poured down on him before hitting the floor (that's probably gonna cost me extra).
Gratefully, Andrew knows how to swim, and not only excavated far enough to discover the offending pipe, but promptly returned the following afternoon to personally conduct the repair; unfortunately, not before EXTENSIVE damage had already occurred inside the walls. (That apartment is the bane of my existence.)
On Tuesday morning, the Bordi Water Restoration team promptly arrived at 8:00am and quickly got to work removing the wet drywall, soaked insulation, and warped floorboards. The following day, the workers returned (now in hazmat suits) to treat the surfaces for mold and mildew, and set up multiple fans. Meanwhile, the tenant had politely packed her bag and moved to her co-worker's house to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. (Smart girl.)
Next week, I've lined up a drywall installer and a painter, courtesy of my new pal, Cash, of United Constructors. While the United team is busy putting Humpty Dumpty back together again, I'll no doubt be battling the insurance company for a legitimate claim. (Why I always have to fight for coverage is a mystery to me.) With any luck, the downstairs apartment will be as good as new come next Friday (minus the FAT deductible).
Thus, begins the fall season, and we've yet to hit the winter rains . . . .
While a spontaneous leak in the walls ISN'T a problem most homeowners SHOULD, or WILL, ever incur, unchecked water is a home's worst enemy. In other words, while it's still dry, NOW is the time to baton down the hatches and conduct a check-up on your lovely home. (Let's keep it lovely.)
Fall is also the time to clear the gutters of leaves, to trim back large branches, to turn off the sprinklers, to schedule any overdue roof repairs, to address any drainage issues, to check the sump pump(s), and to consider French drains if water is a recurring issue. Left unchecked , water WILL eventually deteriorate foundations, create dank and moldy basements, and slowly rot wooden membranes that support decks, balconies, and porches. (If water can create the Grand Canyon, imagine what it can do to your four walls?)
And if by some unlucky occurrence, you should need help due to an unexpected crisis, I can personally endorse each of the vendors who came to my rescue this week. (BTW, all of them live on my services list: (click here))
Hopefully, you'll NEVER need these skilled trades, but if you do, it's nice to know there are honest, responsive, and diligent professionals who have the knowledge and capabilities to correct a complicated problem in short order. (It pays to be well connected.) BECAUSE houses are not static entities; like people, they're constantly aging.
Happy Birthday, Cliff. Next year, let's celebrate without the drama.
P. S. A collective "thank you" to all the trades for their swift action. Without their help, I imagine, this could have been a whole lot worse.
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 725 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.