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Apartment Rain Flooding/Repairs

SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
edited January 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm hoping to draw on some homeowner knowledge here: My apartment has had yet another flood problem(sewage backing up beneath the toilet), when we had a really heavy rain last week, and about a foot of carpet out from two walls of my bedroom was soaked due to improper drainage outside. If I don't just want to just use this as an excuse to get out of my lease right now(the manager offered), and I want to try to yet again overlook a problem, I'd want to know that this can be completely fixed.

So the foundation of my building is pretty clearly F-ed, and the bedroom has a noticeable slope, which I take as a contributing factor to the flooding, but maybe it's not, and maybe any properly made building would still get interior flooding if enough water on the outside sat against the building. Yes/no?

But the complex is trying to use landscaping changes to solve the problem.

This is right after the flood:
apt1.jpg

The roof, and how far out it extends:
apt2.jpg

Work done so far:
apt3.jpg
apt4.jpg

The complex thinks that the hose that was run from the gutter was the problem, in that where it opened up, was too flat, or uphill, so the water stayed on that grassy area and could run back to the side of the building. That seems right to me, but I don't know if that's the only problem.

I assume their ditch method can adequately direct the gutter water away. What I'm less sure of, is whether the direct rainfall(not from roof-to-gutter) might be enough to cause future floods. In the 3rd pic you can see a depressed area extending further away from the ditch that could still collect water.

Any thoughts on whether landscaping could totally solve this issue? As much as I hate the feeling of not being secure in my apartment, I also really hate moving, especially so soon after I moved in.

PSN: Kurahoshi1
Septus on

Posts

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I don't think piped gutters is going to help with sewage flooding. Sounds to me they have improper drainage near the foundation and nothing to prevent back flow.

    Also, make sure you add sewage/flood protection to your renters policy.

    Ladies.
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Grading could certainly be an issue. You want the ground to slope away from the house, and not just because of gutter water. Also, if one of your bedrooms is slanted, you've definitely got foundation issues and no amount of proper grading/drainage is going to make up for that kind of damage/cracks/holes there. I'd also be concerned about that tree, and whether or not the roots are practically growing right through the foundation.

    I fail to see, though, how the gutter issue could contribute to sewage backup. Or is that just another result of the heavy rain and your landlord is going to do something else about that? Sounds like improper plumbing.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Figgy wrote:
    Grading could certainly be an issue. You want the ground to slope away from the house, and not just because of gutter water. Also, if one of your bedrooms is slanted, you've definitely got foundation issues and no amount of proper grading/drainage is going to make up for that kind of damage/cracks/holes there. I'd also be concerned about that tree, and whether or not the roots are practically growing right through the foundation.

    I fail to see, though, how the gutter issue could contribute to sewage backup. Or is that just another result of the heavy rain and your landlord is going to do something else about that? Sounds like improper plumbing.

    Yeah this. They probably don't have backflow valves installed so all that shit just gets pushed back in.

    Ladies.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    I did indeed add sewage protection. Coverage wasn't as much as I'd like, but hopefully enough. That was a problem because the pipe that runs to the whole building, and connects underground to the street, had 1)a buildup of grease and 2)is bent due to a tree sitting on it. With the bad foundation, pressure building up in the pipe all went to our unit, as it was flowing downward. After jetstreaming it, I am assuming that the grease is gone, but the bend remains, and I was just hoping that would sufficiently reduce(but not eliminate) the risk of another backup.

    But this recent problem was all rainwater.

    Edit: There's some sort of access valve in the sewer line immediately outside our door, and opening it does stop the flow into our apartment, but we can't leave it open all the time, and we can't always be at home to notice a backup problem in a timely manner.

    Septus on
    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Honestly, the repairs to this place would be so expensive that your landlord is not going to do it. You've either got to deal with this shit whenever it happens or move out.

    Fixing the grading and the downspout are a start, but you've still got major structural problems to deal with. I doubt the landlord is prepared to pay for that. He'd probably much rather just pay for new carpet every now and then.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah the price to fix this might range anywhere from $50 to a few ten thousands.

    Ladies.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Yeah, they did the jetstreaming of the sewer pipe, but said they couldn't afford to tear up the parking lot and completely replace it.

    The foundation problems were apparent as soon as I moved in, but I assumed they would just affect the unit on the longer term. So aside from the water stuff, I know I'd be taking a risk, though seemingly a very small one, from the foundation issues.

    But particularly if we have a hard time finding another apartment that is acceptable in terms of price and location, I want to know whether the rain issue at least can be solved. I don't know if the grading is on the agenda for repairs, presumably it would involve really hardpacking in some dirt and top it with grass, starting at the wall and angling it down? I don't know how that thing usually goes. I certainly don't expect them to somehow fix the foundation, and what looks like that big exposure in the first picture.

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I would say this is probably going to affect it very little. Though piping it will probably remove water from pooling if it used to. Which is good. Though if you're getting torrential downpours a lot it may end up backing all the way up the pipe and overflowing the gutters/roof, a good start at least anyways.

    If it were me I'd see if they can't knock off like 15% of your rent to help cover any potential damages/increase in renters.

    Ladies.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    If it has plenty of space to continue falling into the lower level of the parking lot below, what might cause the pipe to back up?

    It looks like their plan might be to dig ditches close to both walls, the length of the apartment on both walls, presumably that meet up to the ditch coming directly out from the gutter. I don't know, maybe that kind of addresses it?

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Septus wrote:
    But particularly if we have a hard time finding another apartment that is acceptable in terms of price and location, I want to know whether the rain issue at least can be solved. I don't know if the grading is on the agenda for repairs, presumably it would involve really hardpacking in some dirt and top it with grass, starting at the wall and angling it down? I don't know how that thing usually goes. I certainly don't expect them to somehow fix the foundation, and what looks like that big exposure in the first picture.

    Fixing the grading would involve literally tonnes of dirt and re-sodding. When we had our house re-done, they used those giant rolling things as well as a machine that pounded the dirt down. It's not hard to do, and the landlord could certainly do it himself with a couple buddies to save a grand.

    Figgy on
    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Our apartment search is coming up with very few good options, so we're leaning even more towards staying, so I'm still trying to think of how well their solution will work.
    apt7b.jpg
    apt5.jpg

    They dug the trenches, and the hoses from the gutters are underneath the ground. But beyond that, they have trenches running the length of the walls, and they seem close enough to the wall to capture most rain that would fall directly on the ground, as opposed to the roof.

    I'd been worried about the trenches degrading, but I wonder if the gravel they put in them, will be sufficient to keep them in tact.
    apt6a.jpg

    This last picture, depending on how well the dirt is packed and when it'll have grass on it, seems like some sort of improvement in slope over what was there previously.

    Do these measures bring up any new issues, or leave others glaringly unresolved?

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    The trenches will probably help alleviate it in the short term, long term rainfall though, ick, I'm still doubtful.

    Ladies.
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    Can you move into a second-story unit in the same complex?

    I wouldn't be optimistic that what they've done is going to solve the sewage problem.

    etxvv5.jpg
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Transferring within the complex requires us to sign a new lease, which basically means another year to get a decent price, and I'm not willing to extend my time with them.

    Bowen, by longterm do you mean a bunch of successive rainfalls, or one big one? If it's the former, I guess I could try to be watchful and see whether any of the gravel gets washed away etc, or other movement of the soil.

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah one big one will fuck that up, successive gives enough time for the ground-soil to drain and evaporate standing water. Though 5-6 days of rainfall will be the same as one day of super hard rainfall too.

    Ladies.
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Wait, they dug trenches along the exterior of the house? And the foundation itself is likely cracked? Isn't this just going to give water direct access to the basement/foundation?

    Even if it isn't cracked, you don't want water sitting against it. Right now, water is going to pool and collect in that gravel instead of running down a properly graded slope.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    how deep did they dig that trench? if they dug it down to the bottom of the foundation and installed some weeping tile than that will help a lot with drainage, if they just dug down a foot or two than I suppose they could of installed some sort of french drain. but just a trench with gravel alone wont do much

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Foomy wrote:
    how deep did they dig that trench? if they dug it down to the bottom of the foundation and installed some weeping tile than that will help a lot with drainage, if they just dug down a foot or two than I suppose they could of installed some sort of french drain. but just a trench with gravel alone wont do much

    Yeah I was assuming it was the second.

    Ladies.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Hmm, all I saw in the morning was a trench of maybe 10 inches deep, and then an area of filled in gravel in the evening. This is maybe a foot from the wall.

    Even if they're being dumb and this will add more erosion of the foundation, how fast are we talking? It doesn't actually rain that much here, and I'd be out of there no later than September.

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Depends on average rainfall and extent of damage already. If they didn't add any sort of weeping tile to that you're looking at probably 1-5 years before the foundation starts needing massive repairs.

    If the guy did this himself okay. I can't see a construction company digging out a hole and filling it with gravel, that's just going to make it worse.

    Ladies.
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    I don't think you have to worry about structural damage as a renter who is leaving this year. I would still keep anything expensive off the floor, mount power bars under a desk or something, etc.

    What they did will not stop future flooding.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Figgy wrote:
    I don't think you have to worry about structural damage as a renter who is leaving this year. I would still keep anything expensive off the floor, mount power bars under a desk or something, etc.

    What they did will not stop future flooding.

    Maybe just a tiny bit as there's a huge space next to the foundation!

    Ladies.
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Figgy wrote:
    I don't think you have to worry about structural damage as a renter who is leaving this year. I would still keep anything expensive off the floor, mount power bars under a desk or something, etc.

    What they did will not stop future flooding.

    Maybe just a tiny bit as there's a huge space next to the foundation!

    I guess it's better than nothing, but so would have been laying down tarp.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    That may have actually been functionally better.

    Ladies.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Uggghh, :(

    You think the mitigation really is tiny?

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    They'd have been better off fixing draining issues, using backflow prevention valves and such then trying to add drains and weeping tiles. Seems like sewage is backflowing back into the pipes because of flood waters, whether this was a $50 part at home depot or a complete drainage overall is still up for debate but if it rains pretty gnarly again expect it to backflow.

    Ladies.
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Well huzzah, we've decided to move, because we found that we were able to make a transfer, rather than breaking our lease, to a different, and much newer complex altogether.

    I feel sorry for the poor sod who will take over my unit.

    And I really appreciate all the advice.

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
    Check to see if there is a rental complaint forum or something along those lines in your area. This way you can at least flag the unit for those issues and save someone in the future from having to endure having their shit ruined. At least if they are smart enough to look up the address.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Septus wrote:
    Well huzzah, we've decided to move, because we found that we were able to make a transfer, rather than breaking our lease, to a different, and much newer complex altogether.

    I feel sorry for the poor sod who will take over my unit.

    And I really appreciate all the advice.

    Good news! Good luck with the move.

    Hopefully the landlord will realize it makes more sense ethically and financially to fix this place properly, rather than deal with major issues in a few years.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Comahawk wrote:
    Check to see if there is a rental complaint forum or something along those lines in your area. This way you can at least flag the unit for those issues and save someone in the future from having to endure having their shit ruined. At least if they are smart enough to look up the address.

    I usually look at apartmentratings.com. However I never see complaints listed there about specific unit numbers, so I assume there's a reason, and I'd feel hesitant to call it out specifically. Moreso, since I'm going to still be with the same overall management company. I'll certainly list the maintenance problems though and the questionable measures taken to address them.

    PSN: Kurahoshi1
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Figgy wrote:
    Good news! Good luck with the move.

    Hopefully the landlord will realize it makes more sense ethically and financially to fix this place properly, rather than deal with major issues in a few years.
    And if it's in the US he pretty much can't hold any renter to a lease because the property doesn't meet code anymore. And really he's avoiding doing the nasty, eventually he's going to have to dig up the pipe and replace it, probably get rid of the tree too, maybe rout the pipe around it if practical, because a small crack in the foundation can be fixed with a cement grout injection. Large cracks and wholes, well that's big dollar repairs there.

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