Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.12 – The One That Got Away

by Erik North on August 8, 2012

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While going through the archived photos, I had a few specifically in mind. Some old boilers, specific construction issues I’d seen, etc.

But one image I keenly wanted was from a Westbrook turn of the century old-style colonial. It was one of my first audits for the old Maine State Housing HELP loan program.

The homeowner wanted to replace their boiler which was truly ancient, having been installed in the late 50s. They also mentioned in passing that their basement flooded ‘all the time’.

On the walkthrough, the cause of the flooding became pretty obvious. Look at the photo below…now imagine panning it 8 or 10 feet to the left. The foundation was rubble and mortar walls with a very wet, sandy floor.

The sewer line ran along the sand basement floor. The line had a 10 inch hole knocked into it. Apparently, some previous owner of the house had tried to solve the basement’s flooding problems by improvising a drain into the city sewer.

Except that the house was at the bottom of a hill, meaning that during heavy rains, water pressure would build up and flow back into the house. *Ugh*

The final kicker: I either didn’t take a photo or deleted it. D’oh!

Moisture in basement


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Allison A. Bailes III, PhD August 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

I feel your pain, Erik. I’ve taken a lot of photos over the years, and they’ve been on at least 3 different computers now, plus the ‘really old’ ones that I took with film. I recall some of the early ones with ‘beautiful’ problems, crying out for photos, which in some cases I didn’t take and in other cases can’t find. Uggghhhh.


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