Drywell Rebuild with the Help of Oakum

The folks at Chicago 2-Flat tore up a concrete slab in their backyard to discover a 100-year old drywell located just next to the house. They considered setting up rain barrels as the only gutter drained into this drywell but decided against this due to the weather and limited space in their yard.

Instead they rebuilt the drywell by improving the drainage and re-sealing the pipes. In doing this they used oakum which made of loose hemp or jute fiber and sometimes treated with tar, creosote, or asphalt. It’s been used for hundred’s of years and is the perfect material to seal pipe joints.
As long as the drainage keeps the water away from their foundation, this drywell is good for another 100-years.

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.
Timothy Dahl

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