Foundation Crack Repair, Basement Waterproofing Blog

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How do I Fix Damp or Wet Corners in my Basement?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 24, 2018

Spring is here after a very long winter, but while the flowers are blooming and birds are chirping there can still be hidden water problems in your basement. Especially in the spring and summer when there hasn't been any rain. We get calls from homeowners who tell us that the corners of their basement are damp or there are little puddles of water. They want us to fix the problem.

There are two things that could be going on. One is condensation because concrete never dries. Condensation is when a cold surface, the concrete, hits a warmer surface that has moisture in it, the air. This makes condensation. Why a corner? Because you have the left, right, and floor of the corners that are all made of concrete. So, these areas tend to get condensation.

Or, is there water coming through? We know outside a lot of times in the corners of a home there are downspouts and they could be letting water in. So, you run a hose outside on the ground for about 45 minutes turn it off for 15, do it a couple times. If no water comes in, it's condensation.

Homeowners can eliminate or reduce condensation in the basement by installing a dehumidifier that will take the moist air out for less condensation. But, some people make the mistake, on a nice spring day, of opening up a window to get some air in the basement. Well, they are getting nice fresh air in, but they are also getting more condensation. Don't open your basement windows.

Clothes dryers also let out a gallon and a half of moisture into the air when they are drying clothes. So, it is important to be sure your dryer is properly vented to the outside.

For more information on basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

What is the Purpose of a Sump Pump?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Before we get into the purpose of a sump pump first we should talk about why you need one. We see a lot of basements where a sump pump should be installed. When you have cracks in the basement floor and water is coming up, or if you have water coming in from all around from all four sides you might consider putting a sump pump in. Or, if your ground is all clay, there may be a reason to put one in as well.

The purpose of the sump pump is to take water from underneath your cement floor, from below. That way as the water rises it doesn't reach the bottom of your cement floor.

Essentially with a sump pump you have a basin at the bottom of your floor that water drains into. The sump pump is designed to suck that water out and put it someplace else. The water wants to take the path of least resistance, and that least resistance is in the hole that we have dug in your foundation from which the water is then pumped out.

To install one, you need to break the concrete by jack hammering or cutting it. What is very interesting is that what we find when we cut the concrete is that there is no soil directly underneath. There is usually 3 or 4 inches of air space. This is because the soil or gravel compacts down and creates this gap which is a place where water can flow to with least resistance.

Once the floor is cut we have to dig down, often 2 or 3 feet. This depends on the type of soil or what the water lines show us. Then we put a basin in and that basin has holes so the water can get into it. We put landscape paper around the basin and maybe some gravel so that when the water comes to it and brings along soil the holes in the basin don't just clog. We then put the sump pump in. I prefer a submersible sump pump rather than one that stands up out of the basin because those can fall over and become inoperable.

Then, there needs to be PVC pipe coming out with a check-valve, which is a valve that does not allow water to flow back into the basin. That pipe is plumbed outside. We recommend PVC because it won't break with the freeze/thaw cycle like black flexible pipe will. A cover is then installed for safety reasons. Often people choose a sealed cover so that radon or moisture can't get into the home.

More often than not, this is not a DIY task because it involves jack hammering, plumbing and knowledge of the water levels. For more information on basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Water Leak in Leicester MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Here's a video of the water leak in 169a Chapel Street Leicester MA. You can see the floor behind it. For quality basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Why Does My Basement Look Like a Murder Scene?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 11, 2018

It almost looked like a murder scene. They took pictures, and they were so great I posted them. The homeowners were telling me they had water coming in from little dimples in the foundation walls; I knew they were the tie rods. They sent me pictures and the leaking water looked almost red, like blood. But, it was really the tie-rods that were leaking.

Tie-rods are metal rods that go right through the foundation. Water gets to the metal and they rust; in this case the leaking water was red! We were able to stop the water leaking in through the tie-rods by injecting them with a polymer resin using an electric pump. Now those tie rods are all sealed up.

For more information on basement waterproofing contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

How does Frozen Soil Affect Foundations?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 04, 2018

With all this wacky weather we've had this year in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, the soil has done a lot of freezing and thawing that doesn't bode too well for concrete. But it doesn't just affect concrete, but block and stone walls as well.

You have to remember that most soils retains water to begin with, they're moist. But then we have the rain, snow, melt, and freeze. Then the rain, snow, melt and freeze again. We all know water freezes, and when it freezes it expands.

Well, concrete and block are very strong when you push down on them. But, when you push in on them, they're not quite as strong. In residential construction there is no requirement to put re-bar in it. So, when you have this freeze thaw cycle happening and it pushes against the foundation you are going to get cracks.

These foundation cracks are caused by the freeze thaw, but it is also caused by the pipes running through the foundation walls. If the pipes are not located below the 4' freeze line, and we have a deeper freeze than that, those pipes are going to push up on the concrete. This can cause cracks too.

We see a lot of do-it-yourself situations where people try to fix foundation cracks with Flex Seal that they see on TV or with hydraulic cement. With the weather, concrete expands and contracts itself and hydraulic cement does not. So we get calls from homeowners who have tried to fix the cracks but it just doesn't work.

This cycle is a natural thing that happens, but there are some preventative steps you can take. Make sure the gutters are clean and the downspouts run away from the house. Make sure the landscaping is pitched away from the house. If you have a crack, the water gets in there and freezes and expands the crack, or the soil pushes against the crack and expands it and you are going to have water come in.

What we do is we either inject the with a closed polymer resin by drilling at angles to the crack every six to eight inches, putting ports in, and then injecting the resin. Or we may look at it and use another method where we put another material into the crack and then a weave carbon fiber blanket on top of that. Then the customer gets a transferable warranty on that.

For any questions about basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.


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