Mud Monkeys Waterproofing
Yes, our 80-year-old house is in the blog news again thanks to a repair job most homeowners dread: basement waterproofing. We didn’t choose to do this because of an ugly situation such as actual basement flooding, but because there were indications some damp was creeping in. The first sign was efflorescense steadily growing worse on our fireplace brick (salt in moisture that crystallizes when it reaches surface air).
Our roof and eavestroughs required replacement a couple of years ago, and we were hoping the larger capacity troughs (5″ is now the standard, instead of 3″) would prevent rainwater from sloshing over the side where the fireplace was. Sadly the issue was not resolved.
In the one unfinished room of our basement, we could also clearly see the damp outline of the cement blocks that comprise our foundation, which was causing the interior plaster coating to degrade and fall away. We couldn’t help but wonder what we couldn’t see going on behind the finished walls.
It was time to call in the professionals, and thanks to a referral from our friends Michelle Walker and Molly Reynolds, we knew that Darby Braun of Mud Monkeys was our guy.
Darby came out to do a free inspection and estimate for us at the end of February. We were impressed with his experience (20 years running Mud Monkeys, and many more years of construction experience prior to that), his thorough review of the process with us, and his engaging sense of humour! He gave an honest opinion that our house would likely stand another hundred years if we did absolutely nothing, but agreed that if our goal is to install a stone driveway and patio, we wouldn’t want to find ourselves having to do basement waterproofing after the fact.
We agreed that three sides of the house would be hand-dug and waterproofed from the outside, but the front wall of the house would be done from the inside so as not to disturb our mature yew hedge. Darby had answers and solutions to all of our questions! He sent us a formal quote as promised, and added us to his work schedule for May 8 with a handshake deal.
Communication with Mud Monkeys was always excellent; they confirmed the start date ahead of time, and were ready to go by 8 a.m on May 8 as anticipated. We could not believe how hard the crew (led by James) worked, and how much they managed to accomplish every single day (did we mention they dig all this by hand?).
When rain threatened for a couple of days, I asked James how they dealt with poor weather. “We’re Mud Monkeys…and dirt isn’t mud ’til you add water!” Nothing slowed these guys down.
The team carefully laid out a tarp in the yard to hold all of their equipment, and to temporarily place the contents of each trench they dug. The guys were incredibly respectful of our property, taking care to cover the holes with plywood each night, and even sweeping the dirt from our patio daily.
We have a mature flowering shrub at one corner of the house that we expected to lose, but the guys took care to tie it back and dig around the roots as much as possible. Incredibly, they were able to save it!
As they completed each 20-foot section, one person would begin refilling the trench and tamp it down as the others dug the next section. Hard, grueling work.
The final stage involved jackhammering a section of the basement floor, installing weeping tile and a sump pit, protecting the entire front of the house with a dimpled membrane, and pouring gravel and fresh concrete to repair the floor. The work was absolutely meticulous.
This entire project was completed in two weeks, and the final bill matched Darby’s quote exactly. Darby arranged for a plumber to come in and install the sump pump in the pit, drilling through the front wall so the pipe could exit by our hedge and water meter. The pump itself is currently running off an extension cord to the nearest outlet, but we can have our electrician come in to install a new dedicated outlet for the pump if we wish.
Mud Monkeys made this experience as painless as it could possibly be, and we have absolute confidence in the work that was done on our home. Darby was on site several times to supervise and answer any questions, and all of his employees were an absolute pleasure to deal with.
You’ll find Mud Monkeys listed on the Homestars website with many other glowing customer reviews. Thanks for your help Darby, and we’ll be sure to pass your name along as often as possible!