Tip Tuesday: Saving Money on Home Repair

As those of you who visit regularly are aware, we are installing a drain and pump system in our basement this week.  We live in an area of town that is basically one huge clay bed.  The builders of our subdivision probably shouldn’t have put basements in these homes because almost every single house in this area has had basement flooding issues.

Whenever it rains or whenever the snow melts we will get lovely little (and not so little) puddles in our basement.  And, no the water is not coming in the windows (believe me that’s the first thing I checked and sealed when we started having issues) it is coming up the cracks in the floor and where the floor meets the wall.
Thankfully, our basement is not finished so for the past two years we have been simply dealing with the problem.  All my boxes of books (for my future office/library) are up on tables.  Long term storage items such as Christmas and Hand-Me-Down clothes are in plastic containers.  And, everything down there is grouped in the middle of the floor and in the “high spots” where we don’t get as much water.  Every time it storms we use our Shop-Vac to suck up all the water (a big storm will generally take 4-5 days worth of 2x a day clean-up).
We wanted a solution that wouldn’t just be a quick fix, but would be something we’d never have to worry about again.  So, after talking to neighbors and calling around to several companies for bids we settled on Utah Basement Systems.  They were not the cheapest alternative, nor yet the most expensive, but we felt their system was the best fix for us.
The basic idea behind the system is not to try and keep the water out of the basement, but to deal with it as it enters.  They will install a system of drains just below the floor (one set around the perimeter and a couple through the middle).  They will channel the water to a sump pump that will pump the water up and out of the basement to the gutter and storm drain.  Best of all they guarantee that water will never come up and over the drains and they will inspect the system regularly to make sure everything is working properly.
All this does not come cheap.  We did our research and got all the bids over a year ago and the price tag was close to $10,000.  Yep, I know . . . gasp!  So, we started saving our money.  Finally after a lot of saving (and tax returns, and stimulus money, and bonus money) we had enough to start the work.
After talking to his dad (the king of do-it-yourself), my husband decided to see what work UBS would let us do on our own and what kind of discount we could get.  We are currently between jobs and any money we can save would help.  Plus, I think my frugal mania is starting to rub off on him (my evil plan is working!).
So, that is how we ended up spending this past Friday and Saturday Jack-Hammering our basement.  We will also be trenching from the house, under the sidewalk and to the curb.  All for a discount of almost $3,000.  Yes, it is a lot of hard work, but that’s also a lot of money saved.
Here’s some pictures:    

See my stockpile/storage there on the left.  Everything is now covered in dust!

A closer look of the specks floating through the air.  
Boy I have a lot of cleaning ahead of me.

The moral of the story is when planning home improvement projects see what you can reasonably do on your own.  A good plan and lots of research is also essential.  You just may end up being able to save a whole lot of money.

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