Basement-Waterproofing101 Waterproofing Information

December 30, 2014

Small Depressions Along Outside Foundation Walls and Stairs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 1:10 pm

Small depressions that appear alongside your foundation walls or near concrete slabs and stairs are mainly caused by poor soil compression and water erosion.  If the void is caused by downspouts terminating too close to the foundation, consider extending the downspouts with ADS piping.

If downspouts do not seem to be the cause, the best action you can take is to simply fill the void to keep it from getting bigger.  First, remove any yard waste or trash that may have become trapped in the hole.  Next, fill the hole with soil.

One mistake some people make is to fill with gravel first, then soil on top.  Gravel allows water to flow, and the void could continue to grow under a layer of gravel.  Filling the hole completely with a clay/topsoil mix will do a good job and can add the stability needed to keep the void from reforming.  Most importantly, tamp the “fill” until it is level with the surrounding soil, or just a bit higher, perhaps, to allow for some continuing natural soil compaction.

Finally, check to see that the soil along your foundation allows for water to flow away from the house to avoid obvious problems with water infiltration into the basement or crawl space.

December 11, 2014

Regrading Your Property to Solve Problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 11:10 am

Regrading is the act of raising or lowering the surface of your yard.  Regrading is correctly indicated when problematic surface water or water accumulation (pooling) on your property becomes a nuisance.  Very often, however,  regrading projects are inspired by water finding it’s way into your basement.

“Pour over” resulting in a wet basement can be addressed by regrading.  “Pour-over” usually happens when the soil next to the basement wall  is higher than the top of the basement wall, causing water to literally “pour-over” the top and end up on your basement floor.  This problem can develop as flower beds, decks, driveways, etc. are added to the original house design.  The removal of these features is often required to solve the problem.

“Pour over” can also happen when soil is added to the house perimeter so that extra “slope” will help water flow away from the house. This is an easy to understand mistake.  More soil next to the foundation wall can create additional pressure on the foundation and contribute to pour-over.

When regrading is recommended to solve a basement water problem, lowering the height of the soil next to the foundation wall is always the best bet.


December 10, 2014

Window Well Drainage

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 12:06 pm

window wells

Window wells allow for ventilation and light into under-grade structures, however in many homes, drainage can be a BIG problem, especially if your home is on a relatively flat lot.  Fortunately, there are several solutions to consider.

First, a window well cover will help keep falling rain or snow from entering the well during a bad weather event.   If flowing surface water is entering the well, consider a larger, replacement well that extends at least 6 inches above the surrounding earth.  If your home is on a hill, a new drainage pipe can be inserted at the bottom of your well and “day-lighted” downhill from the well.  If the lot is flat, digging a hole from inside  the window well to the bottom of the footer could help direct the water to your exterior drainage system, assuming that your exterior system is still functioning!

Fortunately, the “last resort” is a guaranteed solution to the problem of water accumulating in the well.  A basement waterproofing company can install a drain in the well that allows water to find the sump pump inside your basement.  This type of water management is real insurance against a common problem that no one wants to face twice!

November 21, 2014

Electric Generators

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 11:05 am

Whole house generators…the large, exterior units usually fueled by a propane tank or natural gas, offer the best possible option to keep your basement sump pump and your appliances running when your power goes out.

Small generators, all the way up to large 45 kW units, can range can range widely in price and should never be considered a DIY project. An electrician can help you determine your power needs and install your generator.

If your house is “sump pump dependent”, that is, you rely on your pump to continue working to keep your basement from flooding, a generator should be strongly considered.  Battery backup units are additional, 12 volt pumps installed alongside your main pump to take over in a power failure.  Battery pumps are smaller and pump less water than the main pump.  In addition, aging batteries may not keep the backup running as long as you expect, which has been a serious disappointment for many homeowners.

Perhaps a more reliable backup system than a battery would be a water-driven backup pump that can be installed where a municipal  water supply is available. These pumps use water pressure to spin a small propeller and typically remove 2 gallons of water for every gallon of water it takes to power the pump.  Of course, if a regional power failure causes the municipal water supply to stop flowing, you are back to the flooded basement scenario.

The bottom line…self starting, external power generators offer the most reliable way to keep your pumps, and appliances, running.

November 17, 2014

Why do we call a French Drain “French”?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 12:58 pm

Just like french fries are not from France at all, (think Belgium in the 1600’s), the “french drain” is attributed to the wrong county as well!

French drains are an American concept first associated with a former assistant Treasury Secretary, Henry Flagg French (1813–1885) of Concord, Massachusetts.  Mr. French published a book in 1850 titled “Farm Drainage” where he described simple, sloping trenches, from high ground to low ground, filled with gravel and incorporating roofing tiles to help channel the water.

Today, french drains are an integral component of interior basement water mitigation systems.  Gravel along with weeping drain tiles (perforated pipe) are used today in combination with sump wells and sump pumps to guarantee results that can last for many years.  Exterior french drains can help eliminate nuisance  wet spots in yards as well.

So the next time you want to impress a family member eating french fries and talking about their wet basement, you can watch their jaw drop with your knowledge of these little-known facts!

November 14, 2014

What conditions lead to a problem with mold in my basement?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 2:55 pm

While improper ventilation and other issues can enhance the prospect of mold growth, four conditions must be present before a serious mold infestation can develop.

1. There must be mold spores present.  Since mold spores are ubiquitous, (even found in the cleanest of homes), mold control that depends on eliminating spores is doomed to failure.

2. The temperature has to be in the “growth range”  Generally, temperatures that are tolerated by humans can encourage mold growth.  That doesn’t mean that mold won’t grow at near freezing temperatures (have you checked the vegetable crisper in the fridge lately?)  That said, the ideal temperature for rapid mold growth is 65 degrees Fahrenheit and above.

3. Mold also needs a source of nutrition.  Unfortunately, any carbon based source will do.  That includes most building products … think framing and drywall, for example.

4. Finally, to have a problem with mold, abundant moisture must be present.  Relative humidity levels of 70% plus provide the necessary airborne moisture level as well as the presence of liquid water, of course.

Consequently, since mold spores can’t be eliminated,  and since basements are mostly kept in the “mold growth temperature range” and have many surfaces to support mold, the only viable, reliable way to address the problem is to reduce the level of dampness and water in the basement.

November 13, 2014

Downspouts, Gutters And Trees

Filed under: Uncategorized — Picasso @ 6:24 pm

Any basement can be damp or wet, however there are some things you can address before involving a professional.  For one, make certain your downspouts and gutters are clean and functioning.  The best way to check them is to inspect during a rain event!  If you spot a problem, for example, water topping the gutter or downspouts pouring water onto your foundation or basement wall, you may find a bit of maintenance will save you money by preventing a problem in the basement from developing.

Also, tree roots from older, established trees too close to the foundation can cause water intrusion and stress the foundation, potentially causing serious damage.  It’s always good to get a second opinion from a professional if you are in doubt about the extent of your problem.

November 11, 2014

Sources of Interior Moisture

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:48 pm

Although the most common source of basement moisture is the foundation wall there are also other sources of water and or leak/dampness that are to be considered when inspecting a basement for condensation problems. Consider the following:
Unvented clothes dryers
Bath / shower vents that don’t discharge outside.
Water Heaters
Water purifiers
Plumbing leaks from both above and in the floor

Of these it’s the plumbing leaks that are sometimes the hardest to chase down. If a leak is from above and hidden inside a wall it can be pretty hard to detect by simple moisture meter alone. If you find a leak area and it appears to be below any plumbing above it is very likely associated.

Likewise, if it is in the concrete basement floor and is appearing on top of the floor it is hard to tell if it is hydrostatic pressure or a pipe leak in the floor. The biggest clue here is if it is leaking all the time or just after a heavy rain. If the latter then it is surely a pipe leak.

Another source of moisture can also be the concrete floor itself. It can often take a few years for the water to evaporate out of freshly poured concrete.

April 1, 2014

Why Is My Basement Wet?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:13 am

To determine the cause of a wet or leaky basement you first must distinguish between 2 things:  Is my basement wet from simple condensation from the air or is it leaking from an actual water leak? Surprisingly enough these two get mixed up a lot.

Here’s what to look for.
Condensation will:
Typically appear over an evenly distributed area such as the lower portion of a wall or utility tank.
Appear on cooler surfaces.
Rarely pool up.

Water leaks will:
Very often pool up.
Be either directly associated with:
a.  plumbing leak (continual if a supply plumbing line or following use if associated with a drain) or
b. an outside water leak (weather dependent)

Once the cause of the leak is isolated to the best of your abilities it will make clearer the solution  (saving time an money) and give you enough info to either fix it yourself or tell you who you should call. Exactly why the leak is happening will be answerable by either a plumber or a waterproofing specialist. To dig deeper into the subject of non-plumbing leaks we suggest you read our main page.

January 20, 2014

Is Ventilation Necessary

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:06 pm

When it comes to maintaining a healthy basement most people consider that maintaining a dry basement rings the victory bell once and for all.

Not true.

Basements ventilation and adequate basement ventilation are crucial to a healthy home.

Basements are most often the coldest portion of a home and like a cool glass of water in a warm room the water in the air will condensate (collect) on the lower (cooler) portions of the glass. This is to say that a homes moisture will gather and condensate on the lower portion of the home, most specifically the lower portions of the basement wall. proper ventilation will keep the air mving enough that it will slow this process down sufficiently enough to prevent condensation from actually occurring as well as more evenly distribute moisture about the entire home.

A basement without ventilation will take on a smell rather quickly and if there exist drywall and other finishing material mold and fungus will likely appear as well, and that quite quick.



Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress