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Should I Keep my Mouth Shut?
Old 09-01-2014, 08:09 AM   #1
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Should I Keep my Mouth Shut?

My neighbor is a nice guy and a casual friend who makes really bad decisions. For example, he works as a nurse in Sacramento. It's a six-hour commute.

He decided to fix a drainage problem, in which water accumulates in front of his garage. In the fifteen years I've been here, I've only seen that be a problem once. The water comes from a downspout that dumps water on the left side of his garage.

His plan is to make a drain in the cement of the driveway so the water can be carried from the left side of his driveway to the right. He rented a cement saw, and has cut the sides of the drainage path (it didn't go well), but not jackhammered out the cement in between.

Should I tell him that all he has to do is move the downspout from the left side of the garage to the right?
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:25 AM   #2
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I think I would offer the idea of moving the downspout "to see if that solves the issue" before he makes more of a mess of the situation. Guess you did not know of the guy's plans before he cut the concrete?
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:40 AM   #3
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Or he did know and was just looking for a little cheap entertainment!
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:44 AM   #4
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Suddenly I remember that episode of "The Cosby Show" where Mr. Huxtable tries to tackle that plumbing problem.
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
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Should I tell him that all he has to do is move the downspout from the left side of the garage to the right?
It depends.

If he's the type that would take the advice, and act on him himself, or hire a roofer/gutter contractor to do the work, then yes.

If he's the type that would enlist you to help, and then pester you down the road to assist with every little home improvement problem or project he has, then no.
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:41 AM   #6
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How about one of those add-on hoses for the dowspout that unrolls during a storm and empties 6 feet away?
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:49 AM   #7
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I would wander over to inquire what he was doing and would adopt a pensive stance, scratching my head, before musing out loud "what if......the water came down over there? Move the downspout, I mean? Or add an extender?"

If the penny doesn't drop, he is thicker than you imagined (and I would be concerned about his patients). He cannot be offended, because you didn't tell him what he "should" do.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #8
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Guess you did not know of the guy's plans before he cut the concrete?
I didn't see the simple downspout solution right away, partly because I'd thought he was concerned about water that was going onto his driveway from elsewhere.

However, I was certain that the problem didn't need a heroic solution.

So this is the advice I gave him: Have a drainage expert take a look and give you an estimate. He might say "Oh, no, you don't have to do very much here, just blah blah.." (I was sure that that's what an expert would say).

Next thing I knew, he was out there with the cement saw, and had the first cut made.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:05 AM   #9
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I would wander over to inquire what he was doing and would adopt a pensive stance, scratching my head, before musing out loud "what if......the water came down over there? Move the downspout, I mean? Or add an extender?"

If the penny doesn't drop, he is thicker than you imagined (and I would be concerned about his patients). He cannot be offended, because you didn't tell him what he "should" do.
Just this. Let the horse "find" the water.
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:31 AM   #10
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Since he has already rented the equipment, and has carved out the sides of his drainage path, then in the interest of maintaining a friendly relationship I would not say a word.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #11
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Yes, that's the smart choice, W2R, I'm going to resist. No one likes to get bad news, or be made to feel stupid.

Also, let's say he implements his solution, and it doesn't work or causes some other problem. I'll try to catch him earlier the next time.

Related to this, he was talking about making a sunken barrel storage system so that he could store the water from the drainage system, and use it for watering the plants.

I mentioned that the only time it rains is in the winter, when you don't need to water.

He said, well I could save it for the summer.

He'd save about 50 gallons of water a year, which costs under $1.

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Old 09-01-2014, 01:13 PM   #12
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Since he has already rented the equipment, and has carved out the sides of his drainage path, then in the interest of maintaining a friendly relationship I would not say a word.

Your probably right, but I only know for the opposite reason. I have sought input from my GF on a few issues. Input to bounce solutions off of, not answers. Well, I guess she must keep track through mental notes as she said "don't ever ask me for my advise again as you never use it anyways."


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Old 09-01-2014, 01:22 PM   #13
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Some people just like to use power tools (me included). Cutting concrete can be fun!

( a picture would be nice here)
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:43 PM   #14
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Yes................... Unless it's a big life safety issue.
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:52 PM   #15
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A 6 hour commute. Really. Wow.
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:59 PM   #16
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Although I'm the kind who doesn't butt in, if you've got a way to offer up advice, maybe it is worth it.
-- "My friend had a problem with his downspouts, and I suggested he dig a big drain to bring the water to the drainage ditch, then I came back a week later and he'd simply moved the downspout to a different corner--problem solved. He had to re-pitch the gutters, but he said that wasn't hard at all."

-- Driveways typically aren't very thick (4-5"). If he's making this drain deep enough to flow well across a 20' driveway, then he'll be pretty much be through the slab at the far end. So, it will crack, and maybe settle (especially if this water starts washing away the dirt, because the crack will be in the bottom of his new drain)

-- The saw kerfs are easy enough to patch with the grey goo sold in tubes for repairing pavement. It's not a structural repair, but it looks okay.
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:03 PM   #17
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I'd wait to point it out until he is completely done chipping out the channel........but seriously, I agree with samclem. It is probably going to break off where it is cut so thin - even a dump truck turning around using the driveway could do it.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:17 PM   #18
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If the gutters were installed correctly whereby the water will flow to the existing downspout, moving the downspout may not solve the problem, the gutters would need to be re-installed with the slope in the proper direction of the new downspout. Moving the downspout may result in the gutter overflowing in the area of the old downspout.
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:57 PM   #19
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Once it is evident that the neighbor's fix doesn't work tell him that you would be happy to help him think through other solutions.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:52 AM   #20
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If the gutters were installed correctly whereby the water will flow to the existing downspout, moving the downspout may not solve the problem, the gutters would need to be re-installed with the slope in the proper direction of the new downspout. Moving the downspout may result in the gutter overflowing in the area of the old downspout.
+1 I thought maybe the guy was comfortable chopping up his driveway but wasn't sure he could rehang his gutter properly. I am a DIY incompetent. I would never have intuited that cutting the slab would be risky as pointed out above. But then, I would not have started either repair without good advice.
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