Home Ownership Fun

Well, that flooring scare was all for nothing, apparently! I feared the worst–that our foundation was cracked and leaking and we’d owe thousands in repair costs. Today, we had a skilled flooring expert out to the house to inspect, and he reported there is no moisture on the concrete slab. He was so certain that the slab was dry that he would have no hesitation installing hardwood floor on top of it as is. Whew, sigh of relief!

We can see in Exhibit A that the carpet is filthy and stained. In Exhibit B, however, the padding below the carpet is in “like new” condition, not so much as a blemish. And in Exhibit C, we can see the slab is stained in a similar pattern as Exhibit A. So what does that tell us?

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit C

Leave it to someone who is an expert in flooring to explain that in Exhibit C, what looks like staining on the slab is in fact the normal look of the slab; the clean outer edges are where the builders patched things up with some plaster. The moisture detector in that area came back with a normal reading. Add in the fact that the padding in between is so new looking, and we now know that the staining on the carpet couldn’t be the result of moisture on the slab, otherwise the padding would be filthy too. Rather, it must have come from above. Acrylic carpet is apparently known for its difficulty to get clean, so the grimy look must be due to wicking in the fibers after a shoddy cleaning job.

I also had a plumber out to inspect and he too saw nothing that resembled a slab leak. He tested the water pressure and concluded there were no leaks. But his visit did remind me that the sprinkler system is still a little out of whack. So I started my search for the sprinkler shut-off valve again. Several covers in the front yard were buried under grass and I uncovered those to no avail. But I did pry up a few boards on the patio in the backyard and found some sprinkler parts… not the main shut-off valve, but a good start. I’ll dig around more this weekend. Once I find the shut-off valve, I can turn off the water to the sprinklers so I can repair the leaky anti-siphon valve without turning off water to the whole house.

Aha! Sprinkler parts buried deep under the patio.

Aha! Sprinkler parts buried deep under the patio.

Help! Carpet/Foundation/Flooring/Slab Problem

Our white-ish carpet is rather hideous. It spans the entire house, and it’s only perfectly clean in a few random places. When we moved in, we were made aware of a rather large stain, but since then, more and more large stains have seemingly formed out of thin air. Carpet cleaners have blamed it on the dog… as much as I’d love to blame all of life’s problems on the beagle, this one isn’t his fault. We’ve tossed around various ideas as to how these stains came about… maybe there is a crack in the concrete slab, maybe there was a big spill long ago that wasn’t fully cleaned up, maybe it’s a drainage issue coming from outside, or maybe it has something to do with a real thing called “sweating slab syndrome” involving warm, humid air diffusing throughout the house and condensing on any surface that is at or below dew point temperature, which is often the floor surface.

Well, whatever, the root cause, we needed to see for ourselves what was underneath the carpet. So today we grabbed some tools and pulled off the baseboards, then ripped up a corner of the carpet. What we found was the underside of the carpet was very brown and grimy, the padding was damp, and the slab was also stained. Lauren posed this problem on a message board and an architect responded with a lengthy reply basically saying this was “not good.”

The real kicker is, we specifically turned down the foundation/slab part of the home insurance when we bought the house. You can’t add that later on. My gut feeling is that there is no structural damage. But still. It sucks we didn’t get that.

We want to eventually get hardwood flooring in the house (both for us to enjoy, and for resale value), but everyone says there’s no sense putting hardwood floor over the top of a problematic area without getting to the root of the problem. I priced hardwood out today for the hell of it, and the guy at the showroom quoted me a number four times what I expected.

I think the first step is to get someone knowledgable in here and give us a real expert opinion. I assume that would be a foundation repair guy.

Here’s what we’re dealing with. If you have any knowledge on this subject, let me know!

The massive stain on the carpet possibly caused by moisture.

The massive stain on the carpet possibly caused by moisture.

What it looks like underneath with the carpet and padding pulled up.

What it looks like underneath with the carpet and padding pulled up.