What do I do?

The foundation under my home is falling apart. We can’t afford to fix it but the basement is flooding and it’s the dead of winter in Maine. I just don’t know what to do. Everything seems to be falling apart all at once.


Get a second job and don't buy a house again without a significant amount of money set aside for an emergency, because they often happen.

Pearl L

nnaybe you should call sonneone to fix it anyways, they nnight let you nnake paynnents


Short term, this is only a problem for today because we are back in the deep freeze later tonight. Borrow or buy a shop vac to get the water out, or a sump pump as the person above suggested. Some towns will send a fire crew to get the water out for you if it is really deep. Unfortunately you are going to have to bite the bullet and call a contractor to fix the basement in spring. Otherwise it will take to whole house down. Mold can make you very sick.


Tell a mason.

Spock (rhp)

you contact your homeowner's insurance agent for an inspection and evaluation ["file a claim"]. second, you get detailed estimates from several contractors (what do they think needs doing, what materials will be needed, what unforeseen problems may occur, etc.). then you evaluate what you and your family can do yourselves. then you [gulp] evaluate whether the house is worth saving, given what the insurance company tells you and what the contractors/yourselves can do for how much. It's a step by step process ... make sure the HO insurance is the first step

No Mercy

u may SELL your house as it is. someone with money will fix it and u will live at a rental property where someone with money will take care of everything. with YOUR money


Your immediate solution is to get the water out of there with a sump pump (or wet dry vac if the "flooding" is really just puddles on the floor). Long term, you need to identify the source of water. Is it surface water, or water seeping up from a subterranean spring? One simple solution that really helped me was to grade around the house so that surface water runs away from the foundation. If Maine is getting the same rain today that we have in VT, the flooding might be from surface water. Remember, the ground is frozen and can t absorb the water. If the ground (or surface ice) isn t sloped away from your foundation, guess where the water wants to go? If surface water turns out to be the source, you can try what I did in the worst area. In addition to grading the ground away from the house, I dug down 6" (rolled back the sod) and laid down tar paper. It s kept the basement dry in spite of a huge crack in the foundation. ADDITIONAL EDIT: People here who tell you to move (out of Maine!) or that your house is going to fall down around you have to get a little perspective. Of course, without actually seeing the degree of damage we have no way of telling how severe the "falling apart" and "flooding" are. Still, New England is full of homes that have survived for hundreds of years with stone foundations. No mortar, just stone walls, dirt floors and Yankee ingenuity. How do they keep water out without solid waterproof concrete walls? By the methods I described above. By modern standards, the *correct* fix is to jack the house up and pour a new foundation with adequate drainage. I guess if you could afford that, you could afford to move and let somebody else deal with it, right? I do suggest you talk with a local concrete contractor to explore options and confirm the foundation is at least stable. Still, you would be amazed at the power of water water has to crack and push concrete walls. Get the water away from the walls, and everything stabilizes. Unless your house is built on an underground spring, the way you get rid of the water is by grading around the house. Gutters can help re-direct runoff from the roof, but they can also be a problem in high snow areas. You could build a stone or concrete trough/gutter on the ground, but for me, banking the gardens and lawn away from the foundation has worked wonders.


You need a $120.00 sump pump and a long hose to drain the basement. Get railroad ties or some long 4x4 lumber to shore up your main floor.


Your choices seem to be living where you are like it is or moving to someplace where you are not responsible for taking care of the property. A more fundamental question that you should have asked yourself long ago is why do you choose to live in Maine?


Well you better get moving. Shore up what's crumbling if that's all you can do for the moment, but you need to make the commitment to actually repair things properly, or else your house is going to come down around your ears. You think you can't afford to fix it, can you afford to replace the entire house? Look at whether your homeowner's insurance will provide any relief. If flooding is ongoing, seriously consider installing a sump pump to keep things under control until spring thaw.