• Stephanie Gillett

Leaky Basements and Windows

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Mitch pulling weeds behind our house before filling it in with dirt.

I've never been scared of weather before!

In fact, I used to love a good storm, with the wind blowing and the rain coming down. Now that I'm the owner of an older home, I sit on pins and needles until the episode is over, because I never know what thousand-dollar problem is going to reveal itself to us

Rain brought puddles of water into our basement, and it freaked Mitch out. Unlike him, I'd experienced the occasional water-in-the-basement thing and I didn't think the earth was caving in. But in this case, where the lake is only a short walk away, the basement was always damp, and the musty smell was almost too much. We needed to do something.

Storm drainage being a huge issue, we decided to purchase a yard and a half of dirt to shovel in and around our foundation, girding it up so that the water would roll away rather than sink down. Boy, did the foundation need it. We could have used up two or more yards of dirt easily. But we did what we needed for the foundation - I'll get more when it's time to landscape in the spring.

Then our neighbor pointed out the huge gap between our driveway and the foundation and said, "Well, that's your problem right now." Mitch set to foaming that in and caulking it up. Finally we had seamless gutters put in, a replacement for the leaky, broken excuse for gutters we had up there. Now, no water in the basement.

The same guy that did our gutters went up on the roof and added some flashing around the chimney so that the roof didn't leak into the attic. I felt like we were truly conquering rain. But then, just like that, new weather, new problems.


It snowed - and I mean more than an inch that stuck - on Halloween night. And guess what? Our house is cold! Wind outside blows my bedroom curtains around. Cold air leaks in through every "new" window in the house: windows that were, for all we know, installed by a seventh-grader getting on-the-summer-job training. They're horrible!

But Mitch had the perfect solution. He built us STORM WINDOWS. Like, he literally went to Home Depot and bought all the stuff to make window frames. He got glass, he whipped out the glazing putty, he's using the oil primer...my opera-singing hubby made us storm windows!! Then he installed them - and the curtains don't blow when the wind blows. My husband is AMAZING!

I bought us wood blinds, which we installed promptly, and that helps with some of the cold. Mitch also got some rope caulk to temporarily plug up some of the holes. When the weather gets warm again, we'll be taking out windows and repainting, redoing, and reinstalling them the way they're supposed to be done.

I'm so proud of my guy. Seriously. Storm windows!

(BTW, if you're feeling industrious, Mitch learned everything he needed to know about building storm windows at the Crafstman Blog (www.craftsmanblog.com). Check out the DIY storm windows post, it's great!)

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