Building a Modern Tiny House in Connecticut

Tiny House Nightmare Deluge

On the eve of the great deluge.


We had an exciting tiny house adventure Sunday night.  It was raining just a few drops in early evening, then developed into real rain.  Around midnight, there was a waterfall-like sound and we were having a deluge nearly worthy of Noah himself. 

Michael had gone to bed about 11:00.  At 12:30, I was cleaning up dishes after an experiment with chocolate chip cookies (which actually came out pretty well).  He drifted sleepily into the kitchen and confided that he was a bit worried whether the big tarp over the Tiny House would be shedding water OK.  

It was still pouring heavily, but he went out to the site in slippers and a tee shirt (and pants, and an umbrella) and I followed very soon with two raincoats and more flashlights.  

What he had found when I got there was a nightmare: about 2/3 of the length of the house was dry under the tarp where it was shedding water well from a temporary raised “ridgepole” we had put up under it, but the tarp over the rest of it had collected 2 bathtub-sized pools (“bags”) of rainwater that were hanging down between the newly-installed rafters and growing deeper by the minute as it continued to pour. The weight  had begun to pull back the corners of the of the tarp so that a significant pool of water had already collected on the bathroom subfloor.

We pushed up on the hanging bags with what we had handy (a squeegee/broomstick), hoping to push the accumulated water up and over the ridge rafters of the house.  No luck - they were just too heavy, even for two of us together.   It really looked like something was going to give any second; I could not believe the tarp had not simply ripped under the enormous stress.

Michael yelled (had to - the downpour was so loud) “We have to pump!!!” I ran out into the huge puddle that was normally the yard and sloshed about trying to find the portable pump we use to clear small puddles off the tarp when rainstorms are over.  Of course, it wasn’t where I expected, but I found it where I had actually left it; meanwhile, Michael brought our tallest ladder and climbed up on the side of the house near the deepest pool with an umbrella in one hand and pump in the other.  I handed him the pump and he submerged it from above into the water, while I flailed a bit longer to locate an extension cord.   

Amazingly enough, we got the pump running shortly and it shot a powerful stream out of its outlet hose onto the ground.  We held our collective breath, hoping that the rate of outflow was exceeding the rate of continuing collection.  Michael yelled that he could see the biggest pool shrinking, even though it didn’t look that way from underneath.

After he got the biggest pool drained to a more reasonable size, he moved on to the next, fearing that the tarp might not hold up long enough to finish pumping the first.  Both pools were pumped dry, we pulled the tarp back into place and searched for another 10-foot 2x4 nearby to place overhead under the tarp where it did not have a ridge to keep water shedding rather than collecting. How to get it up above the rafters was a puzzle, which Michael solved quickly; and we finally got the tarp set up so that a repeat performance of the same horrendous event would be most unlikely. We used sponges and towels to start mopping up the floor, and the wet/dry shop vac to suck up what was left (an indispensable tool!). At this point the worst was over, and the rain was letting up.

As MY Dad said to me once that HIS father had said to HIM, “You showed a lot more sense getting out of that problem than you did getting into it!”  I pass that on now to Michael, but with the disclaimer that the rain was more than we have seen in a very long time, and he had taken reasonable precautions to keep the rainwater from collecting into growing puddles. It just came down too fast and too hard.  Also, the full extent of his foresight in planning minute details of the project is only just now beginning to become clear as the whole family watches him putting up sections of exterior wall sheathing.

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