Has spring sprung?

Unfortunately, it can be ideal leaking conditions when spring rains come, and the ground is still frozen. The water cannot be absorbed, especially during heavy rains.  Flood damages can be costly, and the damages and after effects of the flood even more so. If a basement leak is left, then it can become more costly, you will need money to repair and if left unattended, more damages occur.

Spring is a common time of the year for your basement to flood, as it comes with lots of rain and sludge. Many homes suffer from a wet or flooded basement especially during this period.

A typical condition that encourages basement flooding is during heavy downpours, or when snow and ice is melting. You therefore need to protect your home by waterproofing your basement. Contacting an experienced waterproofing contractor can help repair your wet basement or put things in place to prevent your basement from flooding.

Meanwhile, you should be ready to put in a little money and effort in preventing a flooded basement rather than spend a lot on resolution.

Here are some few tips you could follow to keep your basement dry.

Install a sump pump

Sump pump is like a big floor drainage system, it keeps water buildups at minimal level, which in turn prevents basement flooding. Sump pumps extract water from your basement and redirects it elsewhere out of harm’s way. It’s also important to check your sump pump regularly to ensure it is in perfect working conditions. Keep external power to start your pump just in case your power gets cut during a storm.

Clean out your gutters regularly

Gutters have a way of being cluttered up with debris, including sticks and leaves. Regular cleaning of your gutters prevent debris from blocking the free flow of water. If your gutter is blocked it could lead to basement flooding.  So prevent your basement from flooding by keeping your gutters clean.

 

Extend your downspouts

Rather than connect downspouts to your footer drainage and many homeowners do add some more material to extend it so that water can run of the sprout away from the parameters. You could do this by attaching the black, corrugated plastic pipe that can be bought anywhere. Extend the pipes to at least 10 feet away from your house.

Ensure you direct the downspout toward areas that are graded away from your home to avoid water from flowing back towards your outside walls yo settle. Once there’s water buildup settling around the sides of your house, it will saturate the ground and eventually lead to basement flooding.

Reduce your water usage during rainy days

Rain water gets the sewers easily filled up, so constantly using water for laundry and bathing may not help matters. Using much water during heavy rainy conditions could easily lead to basement flooding and could even overflow to your environment.

Rain barrels are a good idea

Using rain barrels to catch rain water is also a good way of reducing water buildup around your house. Make sure to direct the overflow hose of the barrel away from the foundation of your house.

 

Winter Basement Tips

WINTER BASEMENT TIPS

With snow and ice piling up during the winter, and when temperatures begin to warm the melting water than results can seep into your basement and cause untold trouble. Every problem has a solution, however. Snow came early for most of us this year, but you can still take steps now to make sure your home can handle the winter and come out damage-free when the snow melts in the early spring.

Here’s a few tips to help winterize your home and basement for this winter:

SNOW SHOVELING

When you are clearing your driveway of the snow, also shovel near the house and move the snow away from your foundation walls. Otherwise, it will harden into a wall of thick snow and ice and could potentially seep into your basement when the temperatures warm. It’s a simple step and it will make a big difference.

KEEP YOUR GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS CLEAR

Your gutters and downspouts have a job to do: direct rainwater and melted snow safely away from your home and your home’s foundation. If they are broken, clogged, missing, or otherwise damaged they can’t do this job. Either do it yourself or hire a pro to clean dirt, leaves, twigs, and debris out of the gutters and make sure everything is in good working order. Also make sure downspouts are in place and directing water a safe distance from the home.

PROBLEMS WITH PIPES

Like everything, pipes can also freeze. When frozen, they tend to crack and there comes a flood. Make sure all pipes are well-insulated to minimize the risk of freezing. If you are going to be out of town for a while, make sure the heat is kept on warm enough, so the pipes don’t freeze.

CHECK THE SUMP PUMP

Double check the sump pump and its back up power source. Should it fail to work properly, you are looking at a heap of trouble. Does it have its own power supply (sumps should even be on their own circuit). Do you have a battery back up for the sump pump in the event of a power outage?

If you notice a basement leak, call a professional foundation repair company for help right away. The longer water seepage goes on the more work it takes and cost to repair it. Always good to be prepared ahead of time.

 

Ignore that Leaky Basement at your Own Risk

Sometimes leaks can occur in your basement right out of the blue. Fortunately noticing the problem early and dealing with it early can prevent major costly damages.

Uncontrolled leaks in your foundation may cause serious damages in your home, not to mention mold problems. Recognizing symptoms of water damages can be done by checking your foundation or basement on a regular basis.

These signs may indicate a leak in your basement; wet carpeting, peeling or lifting basement flooring, mold and mildew, leaking plumbing, and damp spots in the drywall or wallboard.

On the outside check to ensure the ground is sloping away from the foundation, check to ensure your gutters are clear. Gutters can contribute to basement leaking, including causing the ground to be saturated near the foundation walls. Over time the water could seep into the ground and infiltrate your basement. You can avoid this problem at least by doing yearly, or seasonal gutter cleanings.

 

 

5 REASONS WHY CONCRETE CRACKS

We often get asked about the causes behind concrete cracks. Customers wonder why they can appear even in a newly poured foundation. A homeowner will question why it is cracking and wonder if they received substandard workmanship or products.
When installed properly, concrete is one of the most durable and long lasting products you can use around your home. But it is important that concrete contractors follow well-established guidelines with respect to concrete placement. Durable, high strength and crack resistant concrete does not happen by accident.
Often we see simple settlement cracks. As durable as concrete is once cured, it’s hard to find a basement that doesn’t have at least one crack in it.
Why Concrete Cracks
1. Excess water in the mix
Concrete does not require much water to achieve maximum strength, however, a much of concrete used in residential pours tends to have too much water added to the concrete on the job site. This water is added to make the concrete easier to install. This excess water will however, greatly reduce the strength of the concrete.
Shrinkage is another common reason for cracking. As concrete hardens and dries it shrinks. This is due to the evaporation of excess mixing water. The wetter or soupier the concrete mix, the greater the shrinkage will be.
2. Concrete drying too fast
Also, rapid drying of the slab will significantly increase the possibility of cracking. The chemical reaction, which causes concrete to go from the liquid or plastic state (or a solid state), requires water. This chemical reaction, or hydration, continues to occur for days and weeks after you pour the concrete.
3. Improper strength concrete poured on the job
4. Lack of control joints (in concrete slab).
In a concrete slab, control joints help concrete crack where you want it to. The joints should be of the depth of the slab and no more than 2-3 times (in feet) of the thickness of the concrete (in inches). So 4″concrete should have joints 8-12′ apart.
5. Foundations poured in the winter
Foundations poured during cold months, or poured foundations that are left unheated during the cold winter months will develop many more cracks. Foundations poured on a base (ground) that is improperly compacted will inevitably develop more cracks as well.

Tips To Keep Your Home from Flooding

There are several ways homeowners can protect their homes from the increasingly strong and wet storms that have now become less the exception and more the rule.

 

 

 

  1. Make sure your sump pump is operating properly.
  2. Install a battery backup or generator for sump pumps.
  3. Have an interior drain system installed in the basement that runs into the sump pump/pit.
  4. Look for early warning signs of leakage, such as dampness in the basement, a musty odor, cracks on the walls or floors and discoloration or white powder on the walls.
  5. Make sure all gutters are clear and running well away from the home.
  6. If the home has no basement, make sure land is graded well away from foundation slab, which is equally important for homes with basements as well.

 

A Sump Pump is an Appliance in Your Home

You may think that your brand new fridge with adjustable shelves or other things with a Bluetooth connection might be a cool appliance in your house. Or maybe the stack-able washer and dryer set that cleans your clothes using half the water as your old one seems like your best appliance. If you’ve ever experienced a flooded basement, another appliance that should win your affection is the sump pump. While there’s nothing fancy about it, from a practical standpoint; no home should be without one. Today’s sealed units are submersible and run more efficiently and quietly than old outdated pedestal styles. They sit underneath the water line in a sump pit in your basement. As water from your weeping tile system drains into the pit area, the sump pump activates to move water safely out of your basement to an area outside your home and keeping the water table low under your floor. These units are an excellent means of basement waterproofing but can experience these common problems:

 

  1. Activation (Float) Switch Malfunctions

When the water in your sump pit reaches a certain height, a float switch turns the pump on. This part receives heavy use and will probably break first. Make sure your unit’s float switch can be easily replaced. They come in vertical, diaphragm, electronic and tethered styles. The vertical float switch is the most popular for its efficiency and reliability.

  1. Power Outages

Loss of power to the sump pump is also extremely common. The cord may be accidentally unplugged, the electrical circuit tripped or severe weather may knock the power out. Regular inspection of the connection and a dedicated outlet will alleviate some problems. Purchasing a battery back-up is also a good investment. This can offer continuous protection even when you’re away from home.

  1. Improper Installation

The pump should be professionally installed. Professional installers will follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions which are essential for trouble-free operation. The pump must sit flat on the pit bottom. Dirt and gravel should be removed to prevent float switch obstruction. It’s also recommended that a check valve is installed to stop water back-flow into the impeller. A small hole in the discharge line will relieve pressure and extend the life of the sump pump on some pumps. Some pumps do not require this step. 4. Wrong Sump Pump Size

It’s important to have the correct horsepower and pumping capacity for your application. A professional can help determine this. Too large a pump will create too much pressure that may blow the seals. Too small a pump will force it to work too hard and burn it out quicker. Typical residential sump pumps come in 1/3 and 1/2 horsepower with a pumping capacity of 35 or 60 gallons per minute. Replacements should be of similar size unless your current pump runs too often or you experience a loss of water flow due to a high vertical lift.

  1. Poor Maintenance

Maintaining your sump pump is easy and doesn’t require much work. During dry periods when the pump doesn’t operate often, pour some water into the pit occasionally to run a full cycle. Running vinegar through it will clean away any build-up. Keep the pit as clean as you can, within reason. Keep the float obstruction-free and any back-up battery should be replaced after three years.

  1. Life Expectancy

Like all mechanical appliances, your sump pump will eventually break down. With an average lifespan of three to seven years, you’ll likely need to replace the pump at least once while you’re living there. Prices range from $150 to $400 for a new one. Don’t underestimate how much damage can be caused by a malfunctioning sump pump. Being proactive and replacing it before it breaks down is the best thing you can do.

Waterproofing New Concrete Foundations

Waterproofing may be the least exciting phase of construction, but it’s one of the most crucial. While there really isn’t any artistry involved, it’s easy to overlook the importance and just go through the motions. Many builders want to rush through things and get this phase of the job done quickly, but if you want to avoid any future problems in callbacks, leaks and so on, you must take the time to get this step right. Always remember that it only takes one hole in your drinking glass to ruin your shirt!

Other than a fire, probably the worst thing that can happen to a residential structure is a foundation problem. The foundation is literally what the house is built on, what keeps the building where it was built, transferring the dead loads and the live loads into the ground.

The source of the vast majority of foundation problems is water. Wet soil beneath a foundation can swell or lose strength. And that’s only the first reason to keep the foundation dry. Then there’s the potential that wet damp basements and crawl spaces could breed mold and make below-ground interior spaces generally unpleasant. The problem is that typical concrete is not waterproof. Although it may not be cracked (which is actually rare) it will typically keep out liquid water, water vapor can still penetrate quite easily. Keeping water drained away from concrete foundations and preventing it from moving through the concrete are essential to a successful structure.

Accomplishing our goal, then, of draining any water away and ensuring a dry interior space below grade can be relatively simple or fairly involved depending on geographic location, climate, topography, soil/water table conditions, and depth of the foundation. There are three components of any system designed to keep water out. These are, from the bottom up:

  • Drains to move water away from the bottom of the foundation
  • Wall treatment to prevent moisture from moving through the wall and to route water down to the drains
  • Ground surface treatment adjacent to the building to direct surface water away

And remember that since this will mostly be underground when the building is complete, doing it right the first time is critical, because coming back to fix it is an expensive undertaking. A leaky foundation in a residential building can damage finishes and furnishings, even the structure itself. In a commercial building, water can ruin expensive equipment and disrupt vital work. It all adds up to lost money, wasted time, upset customers and sometimes litigation.

Can A Wet Basement be Dangerous?

If you are living in a home with moisture issues and water damage in your basement you might be putting your family’s health at risk. Although it might be something you are trying to ignore, a leaky basement or a basement with moisture issues can lead to dangerous mould and mildew growth. Here are some of the health issues that could be related to moisture and leaks in basements:
Bacteria growth: Bacteria love moisture. When your basement is wet from leaks and condensation issues it provides a prime breeding ground for many types of bacteria. Colonies of bacteria will be able to grow due to damp organic matter that can build up on your walls and floors. The more moisture provided the stronger the bacteria becomes and even the strongest anti-bacterial cleaning products may not be able to remove or kill them. This could lead to illness for family members.
Breeding ground for pests: In some cases a damp basement can prove to be a breeding ground for pests including mice, rats and insects. It has been proven that when there is water damage it tends to lead to higher allergens in the home from pests.
Dust mites: Dust mites thrive in an environment with humidity levels above 60 per cent. If you are allergic to dust mites or have asthma you will have to aim to keep your home below 50 per cent humidity. This will help inhibit dust mite growth. An air conditioner or even a dehumidifier can sometimes help. However, in a moist basement sometimes dehumidifiers could make matters worse.
Mould: There are many species of mould that could make your family ill. Mould is another thing that thrives in moist environments. Water damage, condensation and a continuously wet and moist environment will usually lead to mould growth as well as mildew. Mould could cause any number of issues from rashes and respiratory issues to headaches and even memory loss.
As you can see moisture in your basement could lead to many serious issues if not addressed.

RAINSTORM TIPS

Rainstorms during the spring and summer are a fact of life, and with them can come the threat of a flooded basement.
Your home is made up of many drainage components that work together to direct water where it is supposed to go – onto city streets and back lanes. Keeping water away from the foundation walls of your house is the most important action you can take to minimize your flood risk. Any of a number of improvements can help, but remember that it’s the whole system working together that gives you the best chance of avoiding a wet basement.
Before a Storm
1. Start on your roof. Eavestroughs (also called rain gutters) should be regularly cleaned and checked for leaks, poor connections or sagging. It’s important water from your roof flows easily and quickly to the downspouts. Anything that prevents this from happening should be repaired or replaced.
2. Downspouts should be checked regularly to make sure there are no leaves or other debris blocking the water’s path. Check also for leaks and poor connections where the downspout is attached to the eavestrough.
3. Downspout extensions take the water away from the house and the foundation walls. Extensions should be at least 6 feet (1. 8 metres) away from the house. If an extension is not possible, place a concrete splash pad at a sloped angle underneath the downspout. In all cases, directed the water to a street or back lane and not into a neighbour’s yard. In older neighbourhoods, some roof downspouts are connected directly to pipes underground. Seek the advice of a plumber or drainage expert before disconnecting.
4. Good eavestroughs, downspouts and extensions won’t help much if lot grading is poor. Walk around your home and measure the grade from the wall. This includes under steps and decks. The soil, lawn or other hard surface should slope downward at a continuous grade for a minimum of five feet. The soil at the wall should be at least 4-6 inches higher than the ground five feet away. This positive grade should be checked regularly as ground settles over time.
5. Window wells are an excellent way of adjusting the grade around basement windows that are low to the ground. Window wells have the added bonus of preventing dirt from rotting window sills. Once the window well is installed, backfill the outside of the well with dirt so the positive grade is the same as the rest of the house.
6. Concrete cracks on your driveway, sidewalk or patio can let surface water seep back to your foundation walls. These cracks or spaces should be sealed and waterproofed with silicone. As silicone wears down over time, this should be done every 3-5 years.
7. Look for any basement foundation cracks inside your house. If your basement is finished, check to see if there are any wet or damp areas along the walls or on the edges of the flooring after it rains. If there is, you may need to remove part of the wall or flooring to confirm the water source. Have any cracks you find sealed and waterproofed. that you find.
8. If you have a backwater valve on your sewer line it will help prevent sewer backup into your basement. Check it at least once a year to make sure the flap is free of debris and is moving freely. Lubricate the hinges of the valve if necessary. If you don’t have a valve in your home, consider having one installed.
9. Many homes have a sump pump that takes excess groundwater from the bottom of the foundation to the surface. A sump pump should be checked regularly to see if it is working properly. This includes cleaning the intake screen and checking for leaks. You can test a sump pump by taking off the floor cover and pouring water into the sump well. The pump that is working properly should automatically begin running.
10. The sump pump pipe runs to the surface outside the house. Like downspouts, water from this pipe should be channeled away from the house to a city street or back lane and not into your neighbor’s yard.
During A Storm. . .
1. Avoid using water. During a rainstorm, the pressure on your home and the municipal drainage system increases dramatically, sometimes pushing it to capacity. Washing clothes, taking a shower, running the dishwater and even flushing the toilet adds water to the system that may have nowhere to go but up your floor drain and into your basement. This is particularly true if you have a backwater valve as the valve is designed to close during extreme conditions and keep water from the outside getting in. When this happens, water from the inside also can’t get out.
2. Get your eavestrough extensions down. A long downspout extension is of no value when it’s propped up against the side of the house. Leave your extensions down all the time or put them down when rain is forecast.
3. Check the power to the sump pump. If you have a sump pump, double check to see that is plugged in and the breaker is on. More than one homeowner has searched for the cause of a flooded basement only to discover their sump pump lacked the power to perform.

5 Causes of Leaks in Your Basement & How to Find Them

A leaky basement can be a common problem that most households deal with at one time or another. Taking care of your basement is essential to ensure a healthy home, but many times we may not pay attention to that dingy area of our house. If basement problems are ignored, they could become things that could affect your home and ultimately result in costly repairs. High humidity promotes an environment in which mold and mildew could grow and cause allergic reactions in you and your family, and water damage could eventually result in damage and, therefore, greatly reduce your property’s value.

It is crucial for you and your family’s health to recognize water damage signs and determine what is causing them. For this reason, we will explain what the main causes of water-related problems are in basements, and provide a guideline in to effectively recognize them in a timely manner:

What Causes Leaky Basements?

A basement’s number one enemy is certainly water, since it is responsible for most problems found in them and could cause great havoc. The following are the main sources from which water could be making its way into your home causing leaks in your basement:

 

  • Rain and water pools around the foundation

 

Heavy rainfall can be deadly to a home that hasn’t been properly waterproofed. Problems due to rainfall accumulating near the foundations are more common in older homes, but even new houses can become flooded if there isn’t proper drainage that directs the water away from the structure. You should have a slope around your home that will help divert water away from the foundation, regularly clear out gutters and make sure downspouts are draining away water at a sufficient distance from the house.

 

  • Cracks in or around windows and doors

 

Sometimes the issue simply lies in small cracks and holes, or improper sealing of windows and stairwell doors. Take advantage of the next rainfall and inspect your windows and stairways for signs of leaks, and proceed to caulking and repairing whatever flaws you have found, sealing them properly and making sure outside drainage is adequately diverting water away from your home.

 

  • Leaky plumbing

 

The issue can also be inside your home, since leaky pipes are also very common problems and could be the source of dampness behind a wall. It is essential that you regularly inspect your pipes for leaks and cracks or blockages, and that you properly prepare them for cold weather by insulating them to prevent freezing and, ultimately, a burst pipe and a flooded basement.

 

  • Inadequate sump pump

 

Another important piece of equipment you should have in your basement is a sump pump. It will take care of the collection and drainage of groundwater under your house, which is essential since when the soil soaks up too much water and it builds up or expands, it could force its way into your floor and walls. If the sump pump is not regularly cleaned and adequately maintained, it could fail to divert water away and will most likely leak into your basement. Invest in a good sump pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean it and have it running year round.

 

  • Condensation

 

Sometimes the source of leaks is not external water seeping through, but simply high humidity levels inside your basement. This could be due to poor ventilation of the room, living near the ocean or simply due to warm temperatures during the summer. You can recognize condensation when you see the walls, pipes ceiling or furniture feel like they are “sweating”. This is a problem that can easily be solved by installing proper venting, especially for your dryer in case you have it in your basement, or by using a dehumidifier to condition the air.

Signs of Leaks in Your Basement

Identifying leaks in your basement in a timely manner will be crucial in order to prevent further water damage. The main objective should be to determine whether the source is from an external water source, such as rain, lot drainage or groundwater, or any other source, such as leaking plumbing or condensation.

In order to determine the source and decide how to best repair it, you will have to carefully inspect your basement looking for signs that indicate leakage, which are:

 

  • Dampness or brown stains on walls and ceiling

 

If walls feel or look damp, or you have brown stains forming around your walls or ceiling, this can indicate water has been absorbed into them and is reacting with the clay outside your home by drawing the acid in it and filtering it through your walls. Water could be coming from leaky plumbing, groundwater seepage, or rainfall accumulation.

 

  • Mold and mildew

 

Two of the most common home invaders are mold and mildew, since they quickly appear in areas of high humidity or where water accumulates. They are the culprits of that awful musty smell in your basement, and have the power to rapidly spread. They release spores that can produce respiratory problems and allergies, especially for patients suffering from asthma.

 

  • Efflorescence

 

Is that chalky white mineral deposit you sometimes see on your walls, which occurs due to the chemical breakdown of its bonging agents that leach lime through masonry surfaces. This is a sign of an environment that has high humidity levels.

 

  • Rust stains

 

Rust stains are usually found on concrete floors and carpet due to corrosion metal objects such as nails on baseboards, electrical boxes, metal feet on furniture and others.

 

  • Stained carpets

 

Finding stains or a damp carpet could indicate water has been coming through. Try to identify in which areas this happens and if it is connected with heavy rainfalls.

 

  • Water bugs

 

Some small insects are attracted to areas where moisture accumulates and will go looking for water sources. Look for evidence of bugs behind furniture and appliances, around corners, and along baseboards and beams to come closer to the water seepage source.

 

  • Stained or warped wood

 

Darkened wood and stained or warped floorboards are clear signs of water damage in the area.

 

  • Cracked and damp floors

 

If you find cracks around your floors or walls, this could be a sign of water putting too much pressure on the structure and wanting to force its way in, thus resulting in the floor breaking and water seeping through.

Basements are highly vulnerable spaces to water problems since they are the lowest point in your house and have to hold down excessive amounts of weight, especially during the rainy months. Catching problems early will make a huge difference in determining the method that needs to be used to solve them, and therefore, probably the costs you will have to incur in too. Don’t neglect your basement it’s integrity is important to the value of your house; take matters into your own hands and take some time to inspect it and avoid worse problems in the future. It is always best to have such findings viewed and repaired by a reputable basement repair company.