FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

AREAS SERVICED:

  • Ontario
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland

Are estimates free?
Estimates are generally free within the service area. Assessments or “inspections” are generally extra. If you’ve experienced a flood contact your insurance company first.

How long will a crack repair last?

Crack injections, when property and professionally installed will typically last the life of the structure.

How can I tell if the crack needs a structural repair?

Signs of structural cracks include horizontal cracks, cracks of 1/2″ or greater, those significantly wider at the top than bottom, and offset cracks.

What if the crack is very small?

It is rare a crack is too small to be injection with our Wise Seal*. Cracks barely visible to the eye still require repair as often times a small crack can still allow a good amount of water inside.

Why does concrete crack?

Cracks in concrete are primarily due to shrinkage during cure and other construction practices when a house is built. Settling, structural overload, and other movements are other examples. Almost all basements will eventually develop a crack in the foundation wall.

When do cracks in concrete occur?

Most cracks develop within the first two years after the structure is poured.

Can a crack grow in size?

Yes. Freezing, thawing, pressures from expansive soils and changes in surrounding moisture content are a few reasons that can cause cracks to grow.

I have two vertical cracks in my basement wall and was told by a repair company that I need a parimeter drain tile system. Do I have to spend thousands of dollars to keep my basement dry?

If a company says this right away, without proper assessment, run don’t walk! While there are times when a perimeter drain system is required, typically if there are obvious cracks that are leaking, that will be the first thing to repair if you have a poured concrete wall and not a concrete block wall.

Will low-pressure injection work on my crack blocked foundation wall?

No; blocks are typically hollow and porous. We would recommend alternate methods of repair, or calling a qualified stone mason.

Do you recommend injecting the leaking joint between the foundation wall and concrete floor slab?

No; the floor cove typically will not leak unless the drain tile is blocked and your sump pump is not working. Occasionally short distances along the cove might be injected with urethane to try and divert water back into the drain field, but if the drain tile is blocked or non-existent, this will not work.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

Winter-wise water tips

 

Burst water pipes

Make sure you’ve done your home’s winter maintenance and preparation. There are also steps you should take to help keep your home prepared for the wintry weather. Although we are well into the season, a few reminders may be helpful even at this later stage.

Here are a few tips:

  •  Burst water pipes cause damage and waste water; turn off the outdoor water supply and drain taps before the first freeze.
  • Seal window wells and have any cracks professionally repaired in basement walls which may cause leaks.
  • Clear eaves troughs and downspouts of debris.
  • Insulate the pipes most susceptible to freezing especially near outer walls, in crawl spaces, and in the attic.
  • Keep rain and snow away from the foundation.
  • Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system; in most municipalities it is illegal to tie into them, check your local bylaws

 

WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS

  • winterprep-538x218

Winter is hard on houses. You can however, reduce your risk of property damage from the hazards of cold weather with these home maintenance tips from Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

“With an increase in extreme weather events causing more property damage, it’s important to follow a home maintenance schedule all year round. In winter, there are several measures you can take to safeguard your home against the dangers of cold conditions. This can help protect you against potentially urgent and costly home repairs,” says Amanda Dean, Director External and Government Relations, IBC Atlantic.  

You can protect your property with these tips:

  • Keep floor drains clear of obstructions.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.
  • Check all faucets for dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent replacement of washers may be in need of repair.
  • If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
  • If you will be away from home during the winter for more than three days, drain the plumbing or arrange to have someone come in and check your home to ensure that your heat is on.
  • Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, make a note to repair or replace in the spring.
  • Examine attic for frost accumulation. Check roof for ice dams or icicles. If there is excessive frost or staining of the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface, consult the tips from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for practical solutions.
  • Keep snow clear of oil tanks, gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents, basement windows and chimneys. Consult with an appropriate contractor or your gas utility for information on how to safely deal with any ice problems you may discover.
  • Ensure tree and shrub branches are well away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home.

What makes a good Waterproofing Company?

best waterproofing company

customer service good waterproofing company

Wise Cracks® loves helping people and we’re passionate about. This shows from our first contact with the client to the clean up after the job. The health of your home starts in your basement! So, how can you tell what makes a good waterproofing company?

We wish homeowners would call and ask questions (ask questions and book a free initial consultation or assessment) regarding basement leaks and whether the

Some think that repairs have to be done on the outside only, which is not true. However, if it is better considering all the circumstances, we will advise them. We always offer the homeowner what would be their best choice, (even if we are not involved), and “in their best interest”. We also direct them to good honest plumbers, electricians, whatever, if we are able.

We want people to know that you don’t always have to dig around the house and rip out the old plugged drain, put in  new drains, and if they fail that is an expensive undertaking and most times no warranty from an excavation contractor.  Our Wise Dry® Interior drain system is usually less than half the price and comes with a lifetime warranty. That’s like 4 times the value!

Honesty and integrity, quality in product and workmanship and decades of knowledge and wisdom are our building blocks f

or success. Success is making the world a better (and dryer) place to live.

There hasn’t been one basement yet that we couldn’t fix.

We also can trouble shoot landscape errors, structural defects, etc. Advice is free and can save you thousands.

We wish people knew that we do this effectively all year around, from simple crack injections to interior drain systems.

Two Main points: 

Customer service from a basement “waterproofing company” should be nothing short of top notch; the work should be able to be done

all year round wet or dry.

Also, check for BBB affiliation and other awards such as Consumer Choice Award Winners etc.to see if that helps you choose a good waterproofing company.

If you think it can’t be fixed-call us!  All we want is the best for you ™.