‘Perfect storm’ spikes demand for foundation repairs

From a year of record drought to a year marked by record rain and snowfall, Manitoba homeowners are feeling the strain of extreme weather and the impact it’s having on their foundations.

Abalon Foundation Repairs is fielding calls around the clock, owner Gerry Bonham said on Wednesday. Bonham says he’s never seen it this busy in his 43 years in the business.

Read more: Expert offers advice for water pooling in basements

Almost all of the calls are related to basement flooding, he told Global News. People have backed up sewer systems, overtaxed weeping tile systems and plugged floor drains, Bonham said. In some cases, water is seeping through cracks left by dry spells from the last few years.

“Everyone’s sort of panicking because they don’t want to wait,” Bonham said. “They’re afraid every time it’s going to rain, the forecast — all of a sudden we’re getting rain every second or third day — so everybody wants it done at one time.”

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“We started like a month late because of the long winter,” he said. “It’s been a really, really crazy year.”

Unfortunately, people may have to wait for his services, he said. He won’t be able to get to some of those clients until next year, something he’s never done, Bonham said.

Last year’s drought caused many houses to shift, leaving cracks in the foundation. With the amount of rain that’s fallen in Manitoba recently, he admits it’s challenging to keep that water out of the basement, and rising inflation isn’t helping with the cost of repairs.

“Every time I get another email from another supplier … due to this, due to that, everything is going up,” Bonham said. “It’s crazy out there.”

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“This was like the perfect storm, though, with the amount of snow we had, so I would say it doesn’t really compare to any year that I’ve been there,” he said. “I’ve never had to call people and say, ‘Well, we can’t do the work until next year,’ and it’s April or May. It just is unheard of.”

Bonham recommends you check that your systems are draining properly or open up your finished basement wall to find the leak and prevent mould from growing.

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“You don’t want to get sick,” he said. “Knowing what’s going on is usually half the battle, and it’s the fear of the unknown behind those walls, and so people are afraid to open it up. But I mean, you’ve got to face it, if you’ve got a foundation problem like that.”

Bonham said you should also make sure your eavestroughs and landscaping are positioned well enough to drain water away from your home.

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