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Excessive rain can damage homes, slow construction

POSTED: July 29, 2013 11:42 p.m.

Matthew Greenway and his wife are building their home in Gillsville, but rain keeps getting in the way.

Work at the partially completed house stopped July 21 when heavy rain washed out the driveway. The driveway spanned over a creek and there’s no other way across it, Greenway said.

Local restoration companies are hearing from residents who are facing damage to their houses because of the heavy rain this year. More rain is forecast for later this week, with the best chance coming Wednesday at 60 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

“(The driveway) caved on both sides of the road where my pipe is, and now we can’t get over there and work,” Greenway said. “It’s been raining like crazy over here.”

Many are calling for help with flooded basements and mold that is thriving on the humidity, said Tom DiGregorio, owner and founder of AquaGuard Basement Systems Foundation Solutions in Marietta, which serves the Gainesville area. With the drought last year and the amount of rain this year, it creates a kind of “perfect storm,” he said.

“We’re definitely in a very busy time, in fact as busy as we’ve ever been, DiGregorio said. “It’s primarily due to the excessive amount of rain we’ve had on a consistent basis.”

Some 14 inches has fallen just in the month of July , and 53 inches so far this year, according to the weather service. Last year’s total rainfall was 49.9 inches, and just 4.1 inches fell in July.

The rain can cause a leak in a basement or in a foundation and that can cause mold and mildew.

DiGregorio said workers go after the source of the mold, which is the humidity produced by the moisture. The company dries out the affected areas, wringing out the air of humidity so the mold doesn’t spread.

Russ McKenize, project coordinator at Servpro Industries, a fire and water cleanup and restoration company in Gainesville, said it takes five factors for mold to flourish, including the ability to reproduce, the right temperature, oxygen, food source and moisture.

“Moisture is the only thing we can control,” McKenzie said.

Greenway said his house is expected to be done by September, but he may have to ask for an extension from the bank to allow enough time to get it done. The house is safe from water damage because it’s on a hill.

“This week I was going to put Sheetrock in the house, but I can’t get anybody over there to get the Sheetrock through there,” he said. “You cannot get over the creek.”

The driveway needs a lot of dirt poured into the hole before it can be fixed, but dry conditions are necessary.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Greenway said. “We got a nine-month construction loan and I’m going to go way over that to get it done because every time we’ve been trying to work over here, it rains everyday — can’t get anything done.”

McKenzie said there are steps homeowners can take to keep on top of foundation and basement problems, including cutting shrubbery, maintaining the flow of water on the land and maintaining gutters.

If a homeowner’s basement is flooding, McKenzie recommends limiting loss by putting valued furniture on blocks, pulling the carpet pad out and surrounding the water with sand bags. Then use a wet/dry vacuum or sump pump to remove the water until the rain is over.

“Foundation walls are designed to keep water out, but eventually foundation walls will go bad unless you stay on top of them,” he said.


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