Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

So Far, Not So Good

My will broke at last, and I laid down the concrete.

The surface I laid to was ... mostly cleared to solid foundation. There were still a few more paint chips and tiny bits of caulk left clinging to the surface that I didn't like the looks of. And I'd only cleared the east wall and corner, leaving most of the south wall with multiple layers of caulk/cement/paint still covering it. Given the deluge I was getting through the east wall, I really didn't want to open up another wall before I got this side plugged. My intention was to lay the new hydraulic cement down with a gap of an inch or two between it and the south wall, so that I could clear the south wall later.

As soon as I was laying cement, I remembered why I hadn't wanted to do this until I was totally done with the chiseling/cleaning process.

Cement everywhere! So much for that resolution not to cover any areas that I hadn't cleared.

I'd wanted to try the Quikrete "Water Plug" hydraulic cement I got from Lowe's first, but first I couldn't get the can open, and then I noticed its instructions said scary things, like "widen all cracks to a minimum of 3/4". My existing cracks were running like a faucet at about 1/8". So I used the same Drylok "Fast Plug" I'd used on the interior wall.

This was a mistake. I had no way of knowing it was a mistake at the time, but it was.

Fast Plug mixing instructions are a 3:1 powder/water ratio. Quikrete's Water Plug calls for between 4 and 4.5:1. If it sounds like this means Drylok will mix up runnier, that's because it does. This makes Drylok much easier to apply to a dry wall.

It also makes it ridiculously runny when applied to a leak that's pooling out visible amounts of water by the second. The stuff was too runny to set properly. The instructions on both say "mix, let stand 2-3 minutes, apply to wall and hold in place for 3-5 minutes, then level".

For the first several patches along the wall, I did this. Water continued to emerge from my slathered-on cement. Eventually, I ran low on Fast Plug, by which time Lut was downstairs to open the Water Plug for me. At first, the fact that Water Plug mixed to a hard dryish lump worried me, but once I stuck it onto the leaky wall, it softened up and mashed nicely. The beauty of this soon appealed. The downside was: it leaked too.

I left it alone for a couple of hours while Lut and I watched the Babylon 5 movie "In the Beginning"(which was actually made after the show had been on the air for a few years). We went back down. Lut mopped up large quantities of water from the basement. I threw down another layer of Water Plug. I have many misgivings about this. I'm pretty sure cement isn't supposed to be layered. But I was feeling rather desperate. At this point, I just wanted to get it back to a slow leak instead of a fast one, so that I could sleep through the night without worrying that I'd wake to find half my basement drenched.

I left it alone and gave brennabat and her father, who works in construction, a call. He suggested I sue the sellers and install a French drain. Good advice, I'm sure, and maybe this time I'll be sensible and take it. I'm really not keen on suing the sellers, though. I do expect that they lied on the disclosure -- I don't remember it saying anything about the basement ever leaking, and they knew about it because they told me what they'd done to address it.

But even though the sellers have given me every indication that they're scum and deserve to be sued, I just don't have that much confidence in the legal system. And even if the disclosure didn't mention anything about the water problem, it's not as though I didn't have plenty of hints -- from the sellers and the inspector -- that this could be an issue.

Anyway, the conversation with Brenna was a lot more fun than the one with her father. (Goth poetry: "My heart is black, like an onyx ... something.")

Then I wrote for forty minutes or so on Prophecy, and then I couldn't stay out of the basement any longer. I had to go see how bad it was.

It's not that bad, in fact. The new cement is still leaking (sigh). But while it had drenched one towel, most of the areas which had been flooded earlier were basically dry now. (Still damp from the previous deluge, but no puddles that needed to swept to the sump pump like we'd been doing. I will probably go ahead and risk the ire of the constructions gods by throwing yet another layer of Water Plug atop the cracks in the new cement. But I'm going to let the existing cement dry over night; right now, the stuff is so slick that it's still hard to tell where the leaks are coming from.

And then ... I'll probably call a professional and get the French drain put in, like I would've done in the first place if I hadn't insisted on being so stubborn about trying to fix it myself. ;)

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