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May 06, 2007

house, house, house

saturday morning began with a visit from roto-rooter to do a video inspection of my basement drains. i don't feel like re-writing what i wrote to J yesterday about it, so i am repurposing it here:

we ran water into the basement floor drains to determine that they connect to the larger central drain which has access to the drains. (i'll show you). he ran the camera through that drain out as far as he could get it. it went about 18 feet, i think, and then he couldn't get it farther, although we couldn't really see an obstruction. he got out an echolocation (?) device and ran it over the front yard in the location where he thought he'd gotten the camera. it appears that drain heads down to street level to the terra cotta drain opening in the curb, which i may not have shown you-- it's near the driveway of the rental house. that opening has been blocked for years. we theorized that there's a point at about the brick retaining wall where that water is just going out into the soil of the front yard but we could not see for sure. he said he could have someone with a bigger/longer camera come out and try to go farther with it and make a better determination of where the blockage or whatever is.

he charged me $85 for his time, nothing extra for the camera. he said to get roots out of a drain would be $220 plus another $85 or something to treat the roots (which i believe discourages them from growing back in too quickly).

he said the reason the cast iron drain started working again is because when i stopped running water through it, the roots dried out and died off.

i believe i am going to have him come out and root out the cast iron drain. my aboveground solution isn't working and it should be possible to get the drain working again.

as for the drains in the basement and the remaining mystery of where that water is going... that seems less important. the drains don't back up and the water is being carried at least down to the brick wall. that's not the side of the house with the real water problem. and rooting out terra cotta is problematic. digging in there to replace the terra cotta would also be problematic because of the retaining wall and the fact that the water main is there, and who knows what other services.

later in the afternoon, i went on the preservation tour in trinity park. i toured eleven houses and a church (with pipe organ recital) in four hours and it's all kind of a blur. the highlight of the tour, for me, was the first house i saw, a large traditional style house on Watts street where some really stunning design and restoration work had been done.

i am biased, but i really think my neighborhood had a more satisfying array of houses on the tour last year! trinity park is known for having some of the most astounding old houses in durham, in a variety of styles, and really relatively few were on the tour.

in the evening i met up with d&s and georg at federal which is much improved now that students are gone. no trouble getting a table on a saturday night, and no smoke.

this morning i went back to bed after breakfast and wound up sleeping another four hours! guess i needed it. then s called and we walked up to the bull durham house which was open today. ok, so i'm still a bungalow kind of girl, but wow. that house is totally amazing. i wrote to j and told him that if he and i were in the market for a house together in durham right now, i'd be making a pitch for that house. it's at a stage where so much work has been done that it's really move-in ready, but there's obvious things that could be done to take it to the next level. plus the fenced back yard is vast, with a dog pen inside it, a three car garage, and big back deck in addition to the wraparound sittin' porch.

Posted by lisa at May 06, 2007 07:25 PM


I think the reason there was less variety on this tour is that the emphasis was on the old Trinity Colleg, so they tried to get houses had been built or lived in by TC (or Duke, in the case of the new constructiion) faculty or staff. So that limited things a bit.

Posted by: Lisa B on May 7, 2007 10:58 AM

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