One night last month, during a heavy storm, I unlocked the back door and heard an unusual sound.
The basement was gurgling.
Rather, the wall in the basement had sprung a leak and water was flowing all the way across the sloped basement floor to the drain, which was fighting to keep up, and failing.
I changed into grubby clothes and set off to plug the leak, which was the size of a pencil eraser, and was acting like a geyser or fountain. It looked a lot like a kid turning their mouth into a water fountain.
Unfortunately, everything I had onhand that might fix the problem was water soluble and couldn’t set up against running water – caulk, spackle, grout, liquid nails. It was too late to go out to a hardware store, so I tried the one thing I thought might actually work.
I balled up some duct tape and shoved it into the leak, then created a patch over the top. The gushing slowed to a trickled, enough that I was able to squeegee out the basement and survive the storm.
The next weekend, after researching solutions, I bought Drylock Fast Plug as a first step to fix the problem. That entire wall has been seeping for awhile, and in addition to the one geyser, there are several smaller holes not so visible to the naked eye. My research and the shockingly helpful Orange Apron I talked to concurred that patching with Fast Plug, followed by a solid coat of Drylock Waterproofer, should do the trick.
I carefully followed the directions and made sure to ventilate the basement and don a mask, gloves and goggles. I mixed up a small amount to get the texture right, then applied the concrete to the main hole, then several other spots I had noticed and marked. It was kind of fun, almost like finger painting. Emboldened by my success, I mixed up more and patched the entire joint, where floor meets wall. I decided I had done enough for the evening and packed up and went off to take a shower.
An hour later, my face was a red, peeling mess that burned hot to the touch. When Don got home from work, he took one look and asked what had happened.
Despite all my precautions, I had brushed hair off my face with the back of my gloves, likely leaving some Drylock dust on my cheeks. When I hopped in the shower, the water must have activated the powder. A quick Google confirmed my self-diagnosis – I had minor chemical burns all over my cheeks and forehead.
After some burning, itching and a very uncomfortable night, they started to disappear about twenty-four hours later. But next time, I’ll use a hair tie.