LESLIE: Andy in Alaska is buying a foreclosed home and needs some help. Is this a big project? What’s going on with it?
Drainage and Mold
ANDY: Huge. (Tom chuckles) This is the one that you wrote your book for.
TOM: Alright. (chuckles)
ANDY: I’ve got mold. I’ve got standing mold. I’ve got mold from a leak in a roof.
ANDY: I’ve got poured concrete walls with water coming through them.
ANDY: I’ve got a bad grade on the outside of the house. This thing has no gutters on it. There’s deck all the way around.
TOM: OK. Well, that’s a good place to start; to control your moisture. You do need to have gutters because if you don’t, all the water off the roof is going to land at the foundation perimeter and exacerbate this problem, so that certainly is a good place to start.
ANDY: The grades all the way around the house have deteriorated towards the house.
TOM: So in that case, do you have enough height on the foundation where you can add soil and have it slope away without covering the siding?
ANDY: Yeah, they already did that once but I think over the two years, with the flood, it …
TOM: Right. Well, here’s what I want you to do. I want to make sure that you’re using the right kind of soil for a major regrading and it’s not topsoil. You want to get clean fill dirt, have it graded against the foundation and have it tamped in place. You want it to slope down about six inches over four feet. And then once that slope is established, you can add a little topsoil on top of it. But people tend to use a lot of topsoil when they’re regrading and it’s a mistake because it’s like throwing sponges around your house. It doesn’t help the drainage. Helps the plants; doesn’t help the drainage.
And is this a forced-air heating system?
ANDY: It’s a boiler.
TOM: It’s a hot water. OK, so it’s a very humid heating system. Because you’re probably – do you have central air?
TOM: OK. Because you’re probably going to need a dehumidifier as well. I was going to tell you, if you had a ducted system you could put in a whole-house dehumidifier. But if not, you’re going to need a portable but you could put it on a condensate pump and have it pump the water out as it collects it so it doesn’t have to be something where you have to empty the bucket all the time.
ANDY: Aw, that’s cool.
TOM: Yep, easy to do.
ANDY: Hey, guys, thanks for everything.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome, Andy.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And good luck with everything.
TOM: It sounds like you’re going to need to call us back with all that work. (Leslie chuckles) I’m glad we were able to help you today.
ANDY: Yeah, well I’ll give you a call and tell you how it all turned out.
TOM: You do that. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Sounds like we could do an entire show around Andy’s house.