Basement-Waterproofing101 Waterproofing Information

May 14, 2012

My Basement Smells

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:36 pm

This is a very common complaint heard by waterproofers and mold workers.

When water enters a building from either a leak or thru a foundation leak the surrounding building materials may become wet. The resulting mildew (mold) smell is the actual growth of microbes. Most often the only recourse is removal of the wet materials. Consulting a waterproofing company that can determine the cause can of such a leak, and hopefully prevent another, but there is little that can be done to repair wet drywall, carpet or carpet padding.

UMN Study on Waterproofing Techniques

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:30 pm

When it comes to the subject of water intrusion in a basement, there is no substitute for a complete inspection and diagnosis of the the problem. Studies suggest that sometimes the most effective solution to help eliminate ground water infiltration into your basement would include an interior French Drain installed around the inside perimeter of your basement and a sump pump to discharge water from under your floor.

Less invasive steps like downspout redirection and grading changes should be considered before this system is installed, and most companies that specialize in keeping basements dry will be able to advise you about them. Sometimes these solutions will work and other times, they may not.
You may want to be prepared, however, to take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate the potential for mildew and associated odors that can go along with a wet basement.


May 10, 2012

Digging Outside

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:36 pm

It is a very common belief that water should be prevented from entering a house from the outside of the foundation. This belief is valid and entirely true. Unless the home (with a basement) has already been erected and buried.

Replacing the foundation drains outside or trying to seal a subterranean concrete wall will never entirely succeed. We have never heard of a contractor giving lifetime warranties for exterior work while many interior waterproofer give lifetime warranties on their work. This is due to the fact that exterior systems under so many tons of wet dirt sand and clay will all eventually clog and any exterior sheeting will eventually leak due to shear pressure, and there is no way for exterior systems to prevent water from pushing up from under the foundation.

November 9, 2011

Waterproofing Paints

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:51 pm

The popular belief that water resistant paints can waterproof a block or poured concrete wall has caused many a foundation wall to sustain permanent damaged. This is a myth that must be exposed to prevent further destruction to foundations everywhere.

Waterproofing paint doesn’t exactly waterproof, but it sure will trap moisture inside a block causing permanent damage to the block and mortar. The paint actually does prevent the passage of water through it. Problem is that it prevents the substrate (the material painted upon) from properly drying out. This only damages the wall underneath.

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February 28, 2011

Exterior Digging? Read This OSHA Article on Caveins

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:10 pm

An open excavation is an unnatural situation. The average landscape shows no vertical or near vertical slopes.

Soil or dirt is a very heavy material. A cubic foot can easily weigh 114 pounds and a cubic yard can be as heavy as a pick-up truck.

Consider a column of soil which is one foot by one foot and several feet high. At one foot of depth a horizontal plane one foot by one foot is carrying the cubic foot which lies over it. The stress, or load per unit area is 100 lbs. per square foot (psf). At a depth of two feet the horizontal plane is carrying two cubic feet or 200 psf. At a depth of five feet the vertical stress is 500 psf, and so on.

The column described would soon collapse if not supported by similar adjacent columns. Stresses are developed which act horizontally on the column. These lateral stresses can be considered

February 12, 2011

Mold And New Lumber

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:08 pm

Many industries, lumber products are manufactured or used in construction. Often the environment in which employees work have quantities of lumber from internal structural beams to wooden storage crates and shelving. In recent tests, mold has been found responsible for the sickness and possibly death of employees working in such environments. This study significantly demonstrates the inhibition of molds from mycotoninx to toxin producing fungi through the use of specific wood products.

Houses, for example, often use specific lumber products on the inside walls. While more effective than untreated lumber, molds still grow fewer of which release toxins such as Aflatoxins, Ochratonins, or Tricothecenes, all of which are dangerous to humans. Unfortunately, these particles are not easy to detect due to their size. They have been associated with neurological conditions, urinary tract conditions, skin lesions, and malignancies of kidney, bladder and the brain in both animals and humans.

Medical Director, Dennis Hooper, M.D., Ph.D. reported “The fungal outbreaks over the past decade have increased exponentially due to rising inclement weather changes worldwide

January 7, 2011

Mold Basics

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:13 am

What exactly is mold?
Mold is an organism that feeds upon organic matter. The fungi has over 100,000 species.

How do I get mold in my home?
Mold enters a home as tiny spores. Once inside they can readily find water or moisture in which to grow. Molds grow on any surface such as wood, ceiling or floor tiles, wall paper, paint, sheet rock, and even carpet. Anyone can be exposed to mold through touch, inhalation, or ingestion.

Where can mold be found?
Even the cleanest of houses will have some mold, possibly invisible to the eye. Mold is often found in areas of high humidity and can be cause by something as simple as a leaky foundation in the basement or roof in the attic.

What should I do if I find mold?
If mold is found in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room, your initial step might be to install and use exhaust fans. You can try to vacuum and clean home regularly to prevent growth of mold.

What about large amounts of mold?
Serious health problems, specifically respiratory problem are due to large amounts of mold. If the house is moist due to flood or humidity try to open windows and doors to increase air flow in the house. Areas you may notice excessive mold might be along the interior of the walls. This is done to flood or rain water which has seeped into the wall.

What other signs are there to indicate mold?
You know that there is mold in the house when you smell the musty odor or see small black or white specks along the damp bathroom or basement walls.

What should I do now?
After you see that mold is growing immediate action should be taken. If a small area is exposed to mold you need to clean it yourself wearing cotton face mask for protection. If there is a large mold or water damaged areas consider hiring a cleaning professional.

Washington State Department of Health

May 24, 2010

Water And Mold

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:41 am

Mold and mildew are never welcome in any home. The smell is often nauseating and can lead to multiple different illnesses. If you are experiencing any medical issues: headaches, dizziness, nose bleeds, breathing problems, nervousness, blurred vision etc. and you smell mildew in your home or work environment then there is a serious chance that you may be having a reaction to mold and should first see a doctor if your symptoms are persistent. Second, you should discover the location of the mold and its water source. If you cannot discover the water source you should call a basement detective or other waterproofing inspector to find the source of the water/moisture.

If the moisture is not abated the mold will continue to grow. If you clean the mold (be aware it is not really possible to clean inside a wall) it will return if there is water still present.

January 2, 2010

Sump Pump Failure

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:44 am

Regarding sump pump failure the most common homeowner error occurs with the actual knowledge base of the homeowners themselves. In the series of “connect the dots” after a homeowner has had a flood they often go from, “pump failed” to “basement flooded”. While this is fundamentally true there is a little bit of a bigger picture in view. It is knowing this additional information that will prevent a homeowner from saying 1 year later, “The pump is working fine, but my basement smells terrible!!”

It is not possible to discuss sump pump failure without first addressing what a sump pump system is. There are basically 3 things involved:
1. A subterranean environment.
2. A sump pump.
3. Sometimes a subfloor french drainage system.

On the first point:
The building is underground. If it is more than a foot or so underground there will be substantial water that gathers around the base (footer) of this building after a good rain. Given enough rain the water will build up pressure in the ground and under the house. This can cause the water to want to raise upwards and also cause the water to push laterally on the house.

On the second point:
(This may seem wildly rudimentary but..) The sump wells (the holes where pumps reside) do not cause the water. They may be easy access points for water entry but they are not the actual cause of the water problem.

Third point:
The drainage system.
Whether inside or outside, there is most likely to be some sort of drainage system. Only trained professionals can fully tell the condition of these hidden underground systems, but lets be clear. The job of these systems is to drain water away from the house. If water is entering the house it is pretty clear that these systems are compromised. (Compromised and buried next to your footer outside, possible under 9 feet of earth, or under your basement concrete floor. Either way not easy to access.) It is very easy for thse systems to fail after a few years of being under many feet of mud, clay and sand. This is why so many homeowners say, “it didn’t leak for years and now it leaks all the time.”

So. Understanding the above there are now only 2 points to consider (and this should be the basic of any good waterproofing inspection -apart from structural issues):
1. Is the drainage system operational and did the sump pump failure solely cause this leak. Meaning the sump pump should be replaced.
2. Is the drainage system failing and the failed sump only brought attention to a failing drainage system. Meaning that the system should be replaced.

We hope for you it is the former and not the latter.

A good inspector should be able to clearly show signs of what he is basing his diagnosis on.

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