Month: August 2008

Final Solution For Wall Leak

Judging by the ads Google runs in the side bar of this site, I’m guessing they think this site is about home repair, fixing leaks, stucco repair, and leak repair. (Just thought I’d throw in a few more key words for the construction ads).

When Google thinks it knows what your site is about they start sending visitors to your site who are looking for information about that topic. So for anyone wanting to know how our leak repair story ended, here is a description of our final solution for the wall leak we discovered a few months ago: GUTTERS.

Gutters solved 90% of the problem. They look nice, they were easy to install (i.e. it was easy to find a good installer), and they eliminated the cause of the problem by removing the water from the narrow section between our houses.

Getting our stucco repaired was another part of the solution. It was necessary because we had a hole in the side of our house, but I am not convinced that over the years that even repaired, well sealed, and painted stucco can withstand the water pressure that regularly exists on the side of our house if we didn’t have gutters.

Paint was another part of the solution. I dug the dirt away from the foundation all the way around the house and painted all the stucco I could reach as far down as I could reach. Several contractors suggested doing this as a way of keeping water from seeping through the stucco.

A French drain was NOT part of the solution. I considered the cost and effort of installing a below-ground drain, and it seemed like I’d be at the $500 mark quickly. After installation there would still be two significant problems left to solve: aesthetics and maintenance. The aesthetics of a line of gravel running down my side yard didn’t appeal to me, and I couldn’t think of a way to hide it with landscaping that wouldn’t also ruin the French drain. And maintenance on such a drain is necessary to keep it working. And the drain would only help if it could run out to the street or the pond in our backyard – all at the right slope. For our relatively flat Florida lot, this just didn’t seem like a good solution.

Tropical Storm Fay brought a week of heavy rain to Central Florida. On the Sunday after the rain stopped an informal raised-hand survey of people at our church indicated that about 30% of everyone had some sort of leak in their house during that storm. Our house didn’t get a drop inside, so I think it passed the test. I think this problem is solved.

Now I just have to get Andrew to fill in that ditch.

A Welcome 2nd Day of Not-School

Tropical Storm Fay in Orlando - boring so far

Pretty Boring in Orlando So Far

Tropical Storm Fay gave the kids a day off school today on what would have been their second day. So far the storm sent little more than rain and some gusty wind, but it was nothing that would have interfered with school. We like this kind of anti-climactic storm activity.

Another 1st Day of School

1st Day of School

Audrey and Andrew Ready For School

We’re running out of “1st Day of Schools”, but today was one of the last few. Audrey started her freshman year of high school, and Andrew begins his junior year.

This year high school starts during daylight hours. Our county swapped the starting times between the high school and middle schools, so now the poor 6th graders have to be at the bus stop at 6:30 am while the high schoolers sleep in. Andrew said it was weird finishing first hour in daylight.

One interesting contrast between our experience sending Andrew off to high school and that of sending Audrey: On the Saturday before school begins there is an orientation and sign up where you get your locker, find your classes, etc. Both of us went with Andrew two years ago and helped him figure things out. He was happy to let us join him. Audrey, on the other hand, went with Andrew to the orientation day, and was happy to have the independence. She didn’t want a ride to school from Mom on the first day either; she took the bus.