Summertime, when a dry basement is easy

SUMMERIn those lazy hazy days of summer, a leaky basement is probably the furthest thing from your mind. When you do go into the basement does it feel cool and comfortable – or damp and moldy? If damp and moldy, you could very easily just have condensation (sweating because warm humid air is meeting the cold concrete wall) or perhaps water seeping in through your foundation walls. Just because you don’t see water pouring into the basement in the middle of August, doesn’t mean you don’t need a foundation repair. It is however, the best time to prepare for the wet seasons ahead. If you’ve had water in the past, chances are it will happen again when the water table rises.

Should you call a professional?

Hydrostatic water pressure pushing against your foundation walls can enter into your home if your drains are not functioning. Settling, plus seasonal freezing and thawing can contribute to or open up existing cracks in the foundation that could leak. If you have a finished basement, you may not be able to see any problem areas, but you’ll probably notice a musty smell or feel heavy or damp air as you walk down the stairs. You may also notice discoloration on concrete walls or floor where water may have entered. Even worse, you may notice extra ground water around the perimeter of your home or flooding inside. This could be a sign of blocked or broken weeping tiles, and a definite sign you should contact the experts.

Interior or exterior waterproofing ?

Simple interior cracks and gaps can be filled with a polyurethane resin. Interior or “negative side waterproofing” is generally done when water has already entered, and you have a wet basement. An interior drainage system may be required to redirect excess water through new pipes to a sump pump. While this work can be completed any time, handling this during a drier season will make the job go faster and more efficiently.

Exterior issues can sometimes be identified and corrected with simple re-grading, or some may require more extensive and disruptive work. Exterior repairs are generally more expensive than interior options though, because of landscaping and other costly expenses. Also, exterior options often do not carry any warranty.

Sump pump installation

One of the most effective and efficient way to help prevent basement leaking is through the installation of proper sump pump and pit. This appliance should be professionally installed in an approved pit in the basement floor. Water is directed through the drainage around the inside perimeter of your basement to the sump pump pit. When the water level rises, it activates the pump to safely move water to an outlet pipe and then outside the home. If your drains are clogged, plugged or non-existent, than this is the perfect time to have an interior drain system installed. It’s a good idea to add a battery back-up unit to protect against power outages during unexpected summer storms. They are well worth the protection they offer.

Preventative maintenance ?

Summertime provides the best opportunity to tackle yard work and exterior maintenance to your home. There’s no better time to clean out your gutters, add extensions if necessary, clean out window wells and ensure storm drains are free of debris. While you’re doing yard work, remember to take the time to observe and ensure that the ground is sloped away from the foundation and not toward it. A few hours of preventative maintenance now will save problems from occurring later. Now go ahead, and enjoy that little bit of summer we have left.

 

Removing Moisture from your Basement

Basement PicMusty odors and dampness in basements are common summer problems in many houses. Sometimes, the dampness comes from summer rains that result in storm water finding its way into the basement. Sometimes, it doesn’t enter as water, but as water vapor coming through the basement wall from saturated soil on the outside of the wall. More often, it comes from condensation against cool surfaces in the basement. Because basement walls are in contact with the soil, and soil temperature several feet below the surface remains at a constant temperature of 15.5 degrees C. or less, basement walls and floors tend to remain cool.

While walls in newer basements are insulated, floors generally are not. Cool air can hold less water vapor than warm air. When outside air at 26.6 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity as low as 60 % enters a basement and cools to 18.3 degrees C., condensation begins to occur on cool surfaces. The higher the outside temperature and relative humidity, the more moisture will be available to condense. Similarly, the cooler the basement, the more moisture is available for condensation. You might think opening windows and letting more warm air into the basement will warm the air and decrease the condensation problem. Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide enough warm air to increase the surface temperatures of uninsulated basement walls and floors.

The earth behind the walls absorb whatever warmth the added air provides, with little increase in the temperature of the walls and floors. What the added air does provide is an increased supply of moisture, which can actually make condensation worse. If the moisture problem results primarily from condensation, the best solution is to close the basement off as much as practical to minimize the amount of warm humid air that enters it. Then, use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture level of the basement air.

Dehumidifiers work like air conditioners. A blower circulates the warm, humid air over refrigerated coils. Some of the moisture in the air condenses on the coils and is collected in a water tank or is discharged through a hose to a floor drain. Dehumidifiers are rated by the number of pints of water they collect per day. Small ones remove 20 to 25 pints per day, while large ones can remove 40 to 50 pints a day. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers provides recommendations for selecting the appropriate size dehumidifier. For moderately damp basements of less than 1,500 square feet that have a musty smell all summer and damp spots on walls, a dehumidifier rated at 25 pints per day should do the job. Consumer Reports, on the other hand, suggests there is no advantage in going with the minimum size to do the job since some of the small ones it tested were less efficient than the larger ones. The larger ones would also operate less to do the same job, which could be an advantage since many models are quite noisy.

Conventional dehumidifiers are meant to operate with temperatures at 18.3 degrees C. and warmer and only drop humidity levels to about 50%, which should be fine for summer basement conditions. When the temperatures drop much below 18 degrees, the coils freeze and the units cease to operate. Dehumidifiers are relatively expensive to operate, so you should do what you can to minimize their use.

Check to be sure there isn’t any water leaking in or coming through the walls. Check your grading around the house so that water clearly flows away from the foundation. Down spouts that don’t direct the roof runoff away from the house should also be corrected.

If you are running air conditioning in your home, you should turn off the dehumidifier. The air conditioning should do an adequate job of dehumidifying, and it is likely that the air conditioning may drop basement air temperatures to the point where the dehumidifier will freeze up.

Finally, try to keep warm humid air from leaking into the basement. This means keeping doors and windows closed and caulking or otherwise sealing any obvious air leaks.

Floods are number one in property damage

Flooded street halifaxNext to spring thaw, heavy storm rainfall is the most common cause of flooding. Heavy rains caused by thunderstorms — or warm, moist air rising rapidly — can produce flash floods. The tropical storms and hurricanes of eastern Canada also carry the risk of heavy precipitation. Hurricane Hazel, in October 1954, deposited more than 100 millimetres of rain on the Toronto area in less than 12 hours. More than 80 people died.

In western Canada’s mountains, heavy rain on steep slopes often results in flooding. Rain and melting snow in the mountains can cause channels to overflow — or cause mud or debris flows — as loose debris is swept up. Flash floods can also happen when water breaks out from a lake that was blocked by a glacier, earthen mass or a human-made structure. Prairie flood severity depends on depth of snow, snow water content when it starts to melt, how much moisture was in the soil in the fall and the extent of ground frost. Spring rainfalls and sudden warming can increase the potential of flooding.

Most Yukon and Northwest Territories floods follow spring ice break-up. Many communities in the Mackenzie River basin are subject to flooding because of geography and climate. The Mackenzie flows north. Spring break-up begins in its southern tributaries. Broken ice and warmer waters rush north on the Mackenzie to where winter is still in control and the river is frozen solid. The result is severe ice jams and floods.

The potential for flooding exists in many urban areas because Canadian cities developed along rivers, lakes and harbours due to the convenience of commerce and transportation. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have designated a number of flood prone areas in Canada. This was done to map out areas of high flood risk, to restrict development or redevelopment in these areas and to encourage local authorities to zone on the basis of flood risk.

 

 

The Most Trusted Basement Repair Franchise That Cares

Owl HeartA sad fact is that if you own a home with a basement, at some point in time, you’re probably going to have to deal with water getting in from somewhere. Wet basements are a big subject with many problems that can happen, and for the most part tend to cause concern and worry for most homeowners and many contractors alike.
There are ways you can protect your foundation AND save yourself a lot of money by applying a few simple yet very effective methods of re-directing water away from your basement. Wise Cracks has locations across Canada, and are a unique group of Franchisees. They work hard at their craft and truly care about the customers that they serve.

It really is about more than just a paycheck. They take pride in what they do. A big reason they do what they do is because they honestly want to help their neighbour. Sounds romantic, I know….but it’s true. Most of Wise Cracks’ advertising comes by word of mouth. Winning several customer service awards, year after year is a true testament to how we perform our business.

Leaky basement? Give Wise Cracks a call. Wise Cracks has several locations across Canada to serve you; with locations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland,  Ontario and Alberta. Visit us today at www.wisecracks.com

 

Spring Rains and Leaky Basements

There’s a simple reason why rain in the early new year months floods so many basements. There are a number of events that all come together likebasement wall leak a perfect storm. The conditions are as follows;

1/. The ground outside is frozen. Perhaps from 4-16 inches depending on how cold it’s been. Right now in HRM it’s at least 8 inches minimum and more in some areas.

2/. There’s existing snow on the ground.

3/. Then you get mild temperatures and rain along with it.

4/. At this point, you know what’s going to happen. None of the rain is going to penetrate into the ground because it’s frozen. So it just lays there and builds up, and because it will always take the ” path of least resistance”, it drains and runs to the lowest places, running right along your foundation.

5/. The heat in your basement warms up the concrete wall and transfers some of that heat to the exterior, just slightly and enough to keep the frost away ever so slightly by about an inch from your foundation.

6/.When you get rain, and melting snow, this water runs along the top of the frozen ground until it hits your foundation……where there’s an inch of unfrozen ground and will enter in through any cracks or deficiencies in your foundation, around lower level windows, even sometimes over the top of the actual foundation wall.

7/. The results of any leaking into your basement will not be good. Sometimes even relatively healthy exterior drains can be overloaded. It’s like having a small stream or river pouring next to your wall. Then water enters from under the floor or hydrostatically between your floor and the concrete wall.

So in a perfect world, you would have the ground running away from the foundation and all downspouts as well, and ensure this has been done prior to Old Man Winter making his visit.

Wet or Leaky Basement Tips

Wet or LeakyWet-DrywallBasement Tips

When it comes to wet or leaky basements, everyone knows the old saying “An ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure”. Yet the majority of us it seems live our lives under the philosophy of,  “Why do today when we can put off until tomorrow.”

With your homes foundation or basements, this is fine and dandy….until…we have a rain storm like we did not that long ago.

You, as the homeowner, know your basement better than anyone else. You know places in the basement where:

-there is mold on gyproc, wall board or the baseboards
-areas where the sub-floors sag or are rotten
– when the basement begins to smell “musty”
– how often & how long the sump pump runs if you have one
– where you put the towels down when it “rains real heavy”
– areas you yourself may have repaired several times already but they still leak

So here’s some tips if you have a wet or leaky basement;

Ensure the downspouts are directed away from the foundation and that your ground or landscaping around your home slopes away from the foundation.

“Have a Leaky basement Professional give your basement/foundation a FREE Inspection so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at to have it professionally repaired. It is likely not as expensive as you may think. It can be repaired correctly the first time and you’ll no longer have to guess about the problem or subsequent solution. Lastly, you’ll now be able to leave your home and not worry because there is rain in the forecast.
Tips for finding a great leaky/wet basement professional:

  • How long have they been in business (check with companies registry)
  • Are they bonded and adequately insured, including workers compensation for their workers
  • Do they have references?
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they are a member in good standing
  • Are they winners of any consumer type awards or business awards?
  • Ask around. Ask your friends and neighbors, or go to your local coffee shop and ask a few strangers.

 

What You Should Know about Foundation Crack Injection

Injection 9Typical Applications for Waterproofing Using Injection

Injection is commonly used in many waterproofing applications for poured concrete foundations and/or solid concrete structures. Examples are:

1. Crack repair and waterproofing of any poured concrete structure such as foundations, parking garages, concrete swimming pools, etc.;
2. Form ties, tie rod ends or snap rods;
3. Honeycombed areas in foundation walls;
4. Around pipes through poured concrete walls;
5. Waterproofing leaking I-beam pockets in basements;
6. Waterproofing seams between connected concrete structures;
7. Waterproofing voids between layered concrete structures;
8. Waterproofing subway tunnels; and
9. Water stopping in deep underground mining applications.
The Benefits of Injection for Fixing Foundation Cracks
Injecting basement leaks is not only effective; it also has other very interesting benefits:
1. It is done without the need for external excavation!
2. It is completed within a matter of hours!
3. It is, by far, the least expensive way to waterproof a basement or a parking garage;
4. Foundation cracks are repaired permanently;
5. The integrity of the foundation is completely restored; and
6. It is a highly reliable waterproofing method (when done properly).

Tip:
A successful injection requires a technician to be trained, skilled and experienced. If you shop around for the cheapest price in town you run the risk of getting poor workmanship and materials. This should matter to you because the repair may not last long and you could end up with property damage down the road, far in excess of the money that you saved.
In addition to a technician’s qualifications, successful waterproofing injections require job appropriate resins (typically available only to specialized companies), equipment, and time tested procedures. If you demand excellent results you must select a waterproofing contractor that specializes in injection.

Does your foundation or basement seem musty or moldy?

Basement mold or mildew is a common problem in homes. If you basement smells moldy or musty and you can see visible mold growth, it’s possible that you could have a mold infestation that can effect the health of your family.

Even if you can’t see it, mold could be hiding behind finished walls, ceilings or flooring. Air conditioning and heating ducts can also hide mold. Other common areas for mold to grow are near leaking pipes or pmold (1)ipes that are continually damp with condensation, leaking basement cracks, ties or other deficiencies or faulty weeping tile around the foundation.

Controlling dampness is the most effective way to prevent mold growth in your home. Mold growth cannot begin without water. That’s why it’s important to keep your home clean and dry. Once there is water or moisture present, the conventional construction materials used in basements provide a great source of nutrition for all types of mold.

Here are some tips to prevent mold from growing in your basement:

1. Make sure the ground outside your home slopes away, so that water is directed away from the house instead of collecting near the basement.

2. Make sure other sources of water are not deposited near the basement. This includes water from downspouts and outdoor sprinkler sprays that could hit the outside basement walls and windows. Make sure windows are caulked and if necessary have a window well professionally installed.

3. Keep the basement free of water. Clean up any spills right away, and dry out any wet building materials within 24 hours.

4. Don’t use carpeting in the basement or in any bathrooms (even your upstairs bathrooms).

5. Condensation on your basement pipes or windows are a danger sign of high humidity. Wrap cold surfaces (such as basement water pipes) with insulation to prevent condensation.

6. Keep your basement humidity below 60 percent. If necessary, run a dehumidifier in your basement. You won’t likely have to run it all year round, just during the summer months.

7. Make sure your clothes dryer vents to the outside of your home.

8. Install an exhaust fan to pull moist air out of the bathroom (in the basement or upstairs) while running the shower. After finishing, allow the exhaust fan to run another 20 minutes.

9. Keep your basement well ventilated. Fans can be used to keep the air moving.

10. If necessary, increase the temperature of your basement. Warmer air can hold more moisture without causing condensation on cold surfaces.

11. Make sure any cracks, drainage problems or other deficiencies and potentials for water infiltration are professionally repaired.

If you suspect mold, consider having a professional company that deals with mold available if you’re looking for mold in the basement, as when looking even pulling away drywall or pulling up carpeting or flooring could release mold spores into the air.

Service Business Franchises Experience Fast Growth

Service Franchise heading

 

Wise Cracks® has been serving clients with leaky basements for 23 years. At Wise Cracks® nothing is more important than helping people reclaim much needed living space in their basement and protect their most valuable asset, their home.

Wise Cracks® is one of those opportunities that our Franchisees usually say they wish they had found sooner! It’s a business that is always needed. Service related businesses have enjoyed significant growth, not to mention no expensive store front is required and minimal staffing requirements. No one wants water in their basement regardless of whether it is finished living space or not. Most clients are so very relieved when we can help them reclaim their basement.

When you join Wise Cracks® you become part of a network with full training. Franchisees have ongoing support and the strength of nationally recognized organization.

To learn more about the Wise Cracks® franchise opportunity contact us today!

 

Award winner second year in a row!

Halifax_2015_3_year2
Wise Cracks in Halifax was very proud to receive the 2014 Consumer’s Choice Award last night at the Westin Hotel in Halifax. Thank you everyone for your continued support, our fabulous staff, Franchisees, and special thank you to our wonderful customers, who voted us number one in the industry again this year, two years in a row!