Fall Season Can Lead To Wet Basement Problems

fallThe fall season is upon us and with it comes many changes around us. Falling leaves and other debris is one of them. Such debris could end up in your gutters. This could lead to all sorts of other problems. Add that to something like an improperly placed downspout and pretty soon your home could end up with a wet basement. Luckily, there are things that home and business owners can do to prevent such things.

The first and simplest action to take is cleaning the gutters and downspouts throughout the fall and winter months. The second action is to review where  your downspouts are and make adjustments accordingly. In most instances, they should be pointed away from the building and extend a minimum of five feet away from the building’s foundation.

If they all appear to be in order, it’s always a good idea to ensure that water from the lawn, driveway, patio, window wells or other nearby properties is not the source of the flooding. In some instances, it may be necessary to add topsoil around the building’s perimeter, buy a window well cover or install an alternate drainage system to address those sorts of water intrusions.

Of course there are other elements that may be contributing to a building’s wet basement wall problems. For instance, it may be exacerbated by tie (snap ties) rod hole leaks, condensation, sewer drain backups, broken water pipes, overgrown vegetation, cracks in the walls or hydrostatically induced pressure (improper drainage). Fall is the time to have a good look around and have these things repaired and addressed before Old Man Winter comes and plays further havoc with your basement.

 

Ignoring That Leak in Your Basement Because The Weather Has Been Dry?

moldy damp basementRemember that leak in your basement? So now with the dry weather, it’s not as bothersome, and you’re hanging onto your money and not giving it much thought.

Not a big deal, you may think.  After all, your basement isn’t finished, or maybe you only use part/ or all for storage and the occasional project.  The water will evaporate eventually, right?  Or, you can clean it up with a wet vacuum.

Why panic, right?  And why spend money fixing a leak that really isn’t hurting anything?

Well, not so fast, there, frugal homeowner.  By ignoring a leak in your basement you may be creating other problems in your home and you may be doing so based on an erroneous assumption that fixing the leak will be too costly.

Why Not to Ignore a Leak in Your Basement

Let’s step back and take a look at the consequences of ignoring a leak in your basement.

When seepage occurs in the basement of your home, the water (whether it’s a little or a lot) has nowhere to go except to accumulate in a puddle on the floor.  Along with being messy to step in, that puddle of water can create some real problems:

Increased Humidity – As stated correctly above, water that accumulates in the basement from seepage will eventually evaporate.  That does take care of the puddle on the floor but all that moisture ends up in the air in your home, which drives up the humidity in the atmosphere.  Home HVAC systems are designed to manage humidity in the house, true, but air-conditioning, for example, has to run that much harder and longer to remove all that added humidity from the air.

Ever hear that joke about the electric meter spinning fast enough to cut cheese?  Welcome to your future.

Mold – Mold is an unfortunately common occurrence in homes and it can be detrimental to the health of everyone that lives there.  Mold spores spread easily and are often conducted from the basement into aboveground living spaces, either by HVAC systems or the  “stack effect” that causes movement of air into, out of and through buildings.

Mold spores require three things to grow and spread, two of which – food and warmth — are always present in most basements.  (Food for mold is any organic material, including wood, paper and drywall.)   When the third factor, moisture, is introduced into the environment, even long-dormant mold spores can spring to life and begin causing havoc.

OK, you say, but I’m hanging onto my money right now, and isn’t fixing a leak in a basement going to be expensive?

Not necessarily.  The most common style of basement is one made of poured concrete and the most common source of a leak in such a basement is a non-structural in the wall.

Fixing a crack in a poured concrete wall is a simple process of  injecting it with expanding polyurethane to fill and seal it against future leaks.  Done right by a basement waterproofing professional, the cost will be several hundred dollars, not the thousands you may be imaging.

Of course, if the problem originates with seepage through a masonry wall or is created by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation, the repairs will be more extensive and will cost more but will also eliminate the possibility of mold and humidity that may cause respiratory problems for your family and damage to your home.

So, remember, that leak in your basement, should not be ignored – call a basement waterproofing professional today for an assessment. Most times it’s a free estimate.

Emerging Enterprise- Wise Cracks Foundation Repair Saint John

Basement Waterproofing Adds Space to Your Home

nice family roomBasement waterproofing adds useful square footage to a home and protects its foundation. More than 60% of all homes with basements have existing moisture problems at any given time and up to 90% of homes experience moisture problems within the first 15 years of construction.

Before waiting for a disaster to strike, take the preventative measure of basement waterproofing. Without this, a homeowner is susceptible to water damage in their home which will lead to expensive repairs and a non-functioning basement.

Before the telltale signs of mold and damage appear, to a thorough inspection of the foundation or have a professional do it. Too many homeowners don’t make use of the available square footage in their basement because the room is dark, dusty, and moldy. Waterproofing is a permanent solution that get eliminates the likelihood of structural damage and decreases mold and mildew.

Instead of dreading the walk down the basement stairs, add a new usable space with basement waterproofing. If you have a water in your basement have a professional come in. Their experts will find the source of the water and correct the problem. A professional company can find out where the water is coming from and put in a system to stop that.
Aside from eliminating mold and mildew, add useful square footage to a home today with basement or foundation waterproofing.

Avoid a Leaky Wet Basement with Regular Sump Pump Maintenance

Installing a sump pump drawingOne of the worst thing that can happen during a big rainstorm or melt is suddenly finding that  your sump pump has stopped working. By investing in sump pump maintenance, you will save yourself money and the nasty task of bailing water out of a wet basement if the sump pump stops working, not to mention the cost of potential damage to your property.

Why Do Sump Pumps Break Down?

Unfortunately, sump pumps are liable to wear and tear. These are mechanical devices after all – parts naturally wear down over time. Sump pumps have a number of moving parts, so many of those parts are bound to become worn or loose after years of repeated use, so it’s important that you perform regular checkups to ensure its operating properly. If you’re not sure contact a reputable waterproofing company to perform an inspection for you.

What to check?

#1: The Float

Floats can get caught and tangled in debris, which inhibits the float’s ability to determine whether water levels are manageable or not.  They often just stick sometimes for no known reason. If the float can’t “float” then your pump can’t do its job.

#2: The check Valve:

Another important part to maintain is the valve – particularly the check valve.  This valve makes sure that any water that flows through the pipes from your sump pump only flows away. In other words, the valve ensures that your water does not back up into the pump.  This process subjects the valve to a lot of pressure when the pump operates, giving some opportunity to break down.

#3: Pipes, Hoses & the Sump Pit

The water that gets pumped away from your basement waterproofing systems is not always pure.  Since the water can be contaminated with different elements, it can clog your pipes and hoses over time.  Also clean out your sump pit on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon to find everything from rocks and mud to lime and rust deposits when performing routine maintenance.

#4: The Pump Itself

A sump pump is a mechanical device and will wear out. If the pump is broken, it will require repair and usually replacement.  Most times when in doubt replace it with a new one. This is not something to procrastinate over!  Avoid the stress of a breakdown by maintaining your sump pump on a regular basis. The old saying holds true that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Homeowners Should Not Delay Getting that Basement Leak Repaired

wc-slide3Wise Cracks® have been helping homeowners turn their leaky wet basements into a dry solace that will remain dry for many years to come.
As much as it may not seem as if we’re likely to see winter end soon, rest assured that it will end, and spring will make its presence. Spring will inevitably lead to all the snow melting, add to that any rainfall, and many basements will unfortunately start to leak. After a particularly hard winter, the warmer temperatures of spring will bring an excess of water and moisture – which can affect your home inside and out. Prepare now at the first sign of a problem before a bad situation becomes worse. A small issue can quickly escalate into a large and costly project if left untreated.
Wise Cracks® have been happily providing solutions for twenty five years to worried homeowners. Homeowners easily feel some peace of mind while Wise Cracks® provides them the best and most cost-effective solution to a dry basement. Wise Cracks® have been chosen for the fourth year in a row by the consumers, the coveted Consumer Choice Award. This is an award chosen by you- the consumer. This is not something that can be bought.
Waterproofing is science and an art. It takes experience, skill, knowledge, and an understanding of how buildings and homes are constructed in order to resolve their water issues, and Wise Cracks® are the experts in this regard. Wise Cracks® offers its clients a seamless transaction from start to finish transforming their office, home or basement into a healthy usable and dry living space. Contact your nearest Wise Cracks® today and find out why they are “Canada’s most trusted basement repair company.”®

IS MY FLOODED BASEMENT COVERED BY MY INSURANCE?

Floodfacts2Whenever you experience a flooded basement or any other water damage emergency, a call to a professional waterproofing company provide the help you need, and then a call to your insurance company is usually the next call.
A flooded basement is a stressful occurrence. A professional company can assess the damage and quickly provide an estimate for repair. It’s important to quickly help people recover through water damage restoration and safely get things to be healthy again through by repairing the damage.
Most times calling your insurance company for help can be a daunting, confusing and intimidating process. Most policies do not cover leaks from cracks, etc. in a basement, but will usually only cover sump pump failure, or water coming up into the basement through a floor drain or sewer back up, unless you have specific flood insurance. Many policies will just cover the damages, and not the actual funds to get the defect repaired, which is even more frustrating, as not getting the repairs done could mean another flood down the road. Many people try and rely on New Home Warranty, but they typically don’t cover defects such as regular settlement cracks.
Even though your options may seem limited, there are companies that specialize in leaky basements. You should chose a repair company that has been established for some time, with a proven track record, and one that uses newer and modern products such as polyurethane injections of cracks, and state of the art equipment for other flooded basement repairs.

 

5 Common Myths about Repairing a Leaky Basement

Injection 10

 

  • You can only do it in the spring/summer or when its dry- Wrong!

 

Interior repairs and modern materials are utilized all year round, even if there’s water pouring in! Exterior waterproofing materials and methods can mainly only be done when the weather is good. A nice dry day with temperatures that will allow the materials to set up the way they were intended. Most of these repairs, if done by an established waterproofing company, can be done even when the deficiency is actively leaking

  • You can only do a repair on the outside- Wrong!

 

This is an old way of thinking. Today’s modern products and methods can seal a leak effectively from the interior of the foundation. There are many companies offering crack injections and interior drain systems that offer long-term warranted solutions.

  • Crack repairs cost thousands of dollars and mean big trouble for your foundation- Wrong!

 

Cracks in the foundation are typically just caused from normal settlement and rarely pose any further structural problems. Cutting edge polyurethane injections are an inexpensive solution to seal a leaking foundation crack.

  • Any handyman or contractor can do foundation repairs- Wrong!

 

Many a handyman or “do it yourselfer” will attempt to repair a foundation leak themselves. Most often the repairs will fail and it will end up costing more to have the repair done professionally. A professional will have to try and repair what was done, plus you’ve already spent money on the first repair attempt, and now you have to pay a professional to do it. Remember that the cheapest price is not always the best choice. Like any service type of business, choose the company wisely. Look for an established foundation repair company that are well established, and have a high degree of integrity.

  • My insurance will cover foundation repairs- Wrong!

 

Although most homeowners will call their insurance company when a basement leak occurs, rarely is this covered by most insurance policies. It would be a good idea if you have a sump pump to have sump pump insurance, or if you live in a flood prone area to have flood insurance. There have been instances where a homeowner’s insurance gets cancelled if they have one claim, and then have another subsequent flood.

 

 

BASEMENT REPAIR HELPFUL INFORMATION

shutterstock_139231043Basements are one of the most popular types of foundations due to their ability to offer homeowners extra space in a household. With the right construction, this foundation can successfully bear the load of the rest of the house and help prevent structural damage to a home. However, some factors can directly or indirectly cause basement damage. The following information will give further insight into basement damage so the right Basement repair can be performed to fix it.

It’s helpful for a homeowner to understand what to look for with basement damage. Regular inspections of a basement will enable a homeowner to identify damage and call a service provider to fix it. First, learn about the different parts of a basement. This can include the mortar joint and floor drain. Look for unevenness, shifts, and cracks in the foundation on the interior and exterior of the home. Ensure that the land a home sits on slopes away from the home. Inspect a chimney for missing mortar and damaged flashing. Gutters should be assessed for blockages. The Further inspection should be done to evaluate the need for a repairman.

There are three main types of foundation cracks: vertical cracks, horizontal cracks, and rotational cracks. Vertical cracks are also known as drying cracks. These cracks typically have a maximum width of 3/16 of an inch. They run vertically and diagonally. Drying cracks are usually left unattended unless they occur due to overexposure to water. Horizontal cracks are regularly called buckling cracks. These cracks are not completely horizontal all the time but are almost parallel to the ground. Buckling cracks should be examined more closely than other types of cracks. Often a repairman will need to be called for these cracks. Rotational cracks are caused by improper contact in between two sections of the foundation. This condition will usually escalate unless it’s repaired quickly.

These are just a few facts to help a homeowner learn about the need for Basement repair. By identifying certain signs and understanding the basic types of foundation cracks, a homeowner will have an easier time deciding when to call a professional for help.

 

 

Water Damage to Your Home Could Be Very Costly

Aside from the obvious cost of repairs, which can escalate if the water source isn’t found and repaired, there’s also the cost to your family’s health from infections and respiratory ailments stemming from moulds. Water can seep into your home from many sources, inside and outside your walls.

If you have water leaking into your home, how do you tell from shutterstock_139231043where?

Basements

The most likely place you’ll find water is the basement, because it’s the lowest point of the house. Basement water can come from several sources: eavestroughs, foundations, sewers, pipes. Each has its own repairs.

Bathrooms

If you spot the ceiling under a bathroom starting to bubble and flake, chances are you’ve got a leak in your bathtub, shower, toilet or sink. Don’t wait! See if you can find the source of the leak! In some cases, it may be just a matter of re-caulking the area around the tub. Or making sure you put the curtain in place properly next time you have a shower.

To see where it is leaking behind the tile. You may be able to cut a hole in the drywall gently. Shine a flashlight in and watch as someone runs the water! If you see a lot of water, then it may mean the tiles and grout around the bathtub have failed and are allowing water in behind. This means you’ll probably be best off replacing wall and tiles all in one go. It’s an expensive renovation, but necessary before more serious damage occurs to floor joists and ceilings below.

Condensation

If you find water on the floor or dripping from your pipes, don’t panic! It may just be condensation. A quick fix is to insulate the cold water pipes with a foam cover, available at any hardware store.

Downspouts

Blocked downspouts can back up your eavestroughs and these can spill down the walls into the house. If you are having leaks and you suspect the downspouts, relieve the burden on the draining around your home by disconnecting the downspout and ensuring it ejects water at least a couple of metres from the house to a surface that slopes away from it. Remember, most cities require downspouts be disconnected from the storm sewer!

Eavestroughs

Generally, the one of the most likely culprits in the event of water leaking into through the basement walls is your eavestroughs and downspouts. Clogged downspouts cause eavestroughs to back up and spill rain water running off the roof down the side of the house where it can penetrate the siding or drain directly onto the foundation wall where tiny cracks will allow it to seep into the basement.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp says it’s a good plan to inspect your eavestroughs annually to ensure they are not clogged, and don’t have low spots where water can pool.

You check the water flow by running a hose into your eavestroughs and checking the water flows to the downspout and drains without backing up. Of course, you have to make sure they and not blocked with leaves and debris. It’s a fairly easy job to clean and inspect your eavestroughs, but many people are spooked working high off the ground. There are businesses that will do this for you.

Foundation Walls

Foundation walls crack, this is very common. Concrete spends a lifetime curing and moving with the freeze-thaw cycles. When a house settles and the concrete hardens, cracks appear. You may not see these cracks and sometimes they’re not a major issue, unless there’s water nearby. Then it’s an issue.

There are different ways to fix a leaky foundation wall. The outside fix is more expensive and disruptive. It involves digging a trench around the perimeter, sometimes reinstalling weeping tile (see below) and sealing the walls with a elastomeric membrane material.

The inside fix is faster and more reasonable. It could involve removing any drywall and studs to expose the crack, then injecting it with a flexible elastomeric resin which will seal the crack right through to the outside, and blocks the water out.

Grade

Ensure all landscaping around the perimeter of your house slopes away from the foundation.

Plumbing

Water pipes can and do leaks, seals in fixtures wear out. Sink drains can spring a leak and toilets can shift off their sealing gaskets. Generally, these are do-it-yourself fixes. If you’re not handy with copper, call a licensed plumber, but for the most part sink drains, toilets and tap fittings can be replaced or tightened with a wrench and screw driver.

Roofing

A roof leak is a big issue, because, not only will it damage any fibreglass insulation in the walls and attic nearby, it’s also the most likely place to get mould. It will also weaken the home’s structure with rot. They’re also the hardest for homeowners to fix, not just because of they’re up high and you are working on a roof, but because of the skill required. Get it wrong and you could make it worse! Roof leaks are usually easy to spot, because the drywall will blister and flake.

See if you can inspect the roof in that area! If it is 20 years old or more, it’s probably time for a new one. If there are any missing, cracked or damaged shingles in the area and the rest of the roof is good, a repair could do the trick. If you can’t see anything, get up in the attic if you can and inspect the location above the leak. It may be there’s a leak around a roof or drain vent which is to blame. This will mean getting to the location and refitting the flange seal or replacing it.

If you can’t find it, then you may have to resort to some infra-red or thermal scanning technology to isolate the sources. Call local roofers and get estimates!

Sump pump

Some homes sit on top of underground waterways and have chronic issues with the water constantly flowing around or under their home which finds its way inside. Other houses are in low-lying areas which may not drain as quickly after a storm. In those cases, a sump pump is a solution. A sump pump is a self-contained system which sits in a pit in the basement floor. As water enters, a float-switch kicks on the motor which pumps the water out and away from the house.

Weeping Tile

Weeping tile is a system of small pebbles and perforated pipe laid along the perimeter of the house at the footings. Water drains down, through the small aggregate and into the pipe, where it drains away from the house. If your basement is constantly leaking from the bottom of the foundation, it may be the weeping tiles have failed, because they’re blocked with debris or have broken. Fixing it isn’t easy or cheap. It’ll require digging up the perimeter down to the footings and installing a new system of weeping tiles.

An easier, faster and less invasive way to repair this is by hiring a company that specializes in interior drain systems.

Windows

Basement windows can leak if they are old and rotten or if the caulking at grade has failed. More likely is dirt has piled up outside and caused water to drain back towards them or the slope of the yard is forcing water back to the house.

A common cause of basement leaking is window wells. These are for windows sunk below the grade in a basement and are half-oval depressions with gravel in them to allow water to drain. It’s a good idea to shovel out snow in the springtime from window wells to minimize the melt. There should be a drain under all those stones to collects the water. Dirt and debris collects in there over time and blocks the drain, so there’s no place for water to go but back into the foundation through the wall, that is. Keeping window wells clean and ensuring the drain is working will head off leaks and may fix that leak you already have.

Sewer backups

Sewer backups are the worst of all leaks. Flooding of this nature if usually caused by heavy rains which overwhelms sewer systems. If it’s not a storm, it’s usually a blockage emanating from the house. Where that blockage is — it can be caused by debris in the pipe or tree roots — will determine who pays to fix it. If it’s on your side of the property line, you’re on the hook. The municipality or city will fix it if it’s on their side. Whether it is storm water or a blocked pipe, the net effect is the same. Toxic sewage backs up into the basement, destroying flooring, drywall and furniture and pretty well anything it comes in contact with. Restoration is expensive and, even with insurance, the deductible is often around $1,000.

There is a solution if you’re in an area with chronic sewer back-up and that’s a backwater valve, which can be installed on your sewage system between your floor drain and exit pipe. It’s essentially a one-way valve. The sewage and waste water drains out, but the valve will swing back and stop liquid that wants to flow back into the house. It could be an expensive installation as the basement will have to be dug up in that location, the main drain cut and the valve installed. The price will vary according to where that location is and how accessible it is.

Many cities in Canada have programs which encourages single-family home owners to install a backwater valve. Often there are programs in place to offset some of the cost. In Toronto for example, it will pay up to 80 per cent of the cost of installation, to a maximum of $1, 250, if the City approves the application.