RSS - Grab A1 Foundation Crack Repair RSS Feed"/>

Foundation Crack Repair, Basement Waterproofing Blog

Why are my lally columns rusting out?

- Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Lally columns are pretty important to a home.  In this episode, the Crackman explains what a lally column is, why it would start rusting, and what can happen if you don’t deal with it.


A1 Foundation Crack Repair - Bad Lally Column RepairNarrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Why are my Lally columns rusting out?

Narrator:  So Rich, Lally columns are pretty important to a home, why would they be rusting out and what can happen if you don’t deal with it?

Rich: Well, first of all, Lally columns are the poles that go up and down from the floor on up, usually to a main support beam. In the old days they used tree trunks or whatever they had available. They’ve replaced those with metal Lally columns. The correct ones are the ones that have metal and concrete filled on the inside.

We’ve been getting calls all the time now about them. Just got one yesterday from Lexington. I think a few days ago, I got another one from Manchester, New Hampshire. We’re getting them all over - New England, Rhode Island, that people’s Lally columns, especially the metal ones, they’re rusting. Maybe because people are more concerned about the structure after what had happened in Florida with the collapse. What I’m told by the engineers is, you will lose a third of the strength. That’s right, a third of the strength of the Lally columns, if it’s rusted. When you’re selling a house, or you want to maintain your structure, if you don’t want to lose a third of the strength, or you want to sell your house, you need to make sure that those Lally columns are not rusted.

So, what we would do, and the correct way to install a Lally column is you need to break the floor, the proper dimensions, and also you have to dig down where you break the floor, and we put high strength concrete. We put steel rebar in it, we let that set up. And then what we do is we put a barrier on top of the footing, which is a piece of concrete that equals out the pressure so that water won’t come up because moisture works right up inside concrete When moisture works up it will rust from the inside out. Sometimes it’s so bad, it looks like metal is bubbling off.

So, we replace those with permanent Lally columns that have a way to stop the moisture from working up. Also, if you have those temporary ones, those are the ones with the screw jack, by code they’re only supposed to be there 180 days. So, if you do run into a Lally column issue or concern, feel free to get a hold of us.

Narrator: Very good, Rich. Thanks for explaining why a Lally column will start rusting and what can happen if they don’t deal with it.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


Where did my basement utility leak come from?

- Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Crackman has been getting a lot of calls from homeowners complaining about basement utility rooms leaks. What could be causing that?  The Crackman explains.


A1 Foundation Crack Repair - Condensation Pump

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Where did my basement utility leak come from?

Narrator:  So, Rich, I understand you’re getting a lot of calls from homeowners complaining about basement utility room leaks, what could be causing that?

Rich: Yes we have, in fact this past Sunday, I got a text from a fellow that said, could you please call me? You’ve done work for one of his buddies and I got water coming into my finished room from my utility room. That was in Shrewsbury, MA, around eight, nine o’clock. So, I called the guy and I talked him off of a ledge. I thought he was going to cry.

I said, first look up, see if there’s any pipes that are dripping from this humidity that we have, and there wasn’t. I said, put your hand underneath the hot water tank where it has the overflow pipe, which is a pipe that goes down the side, and see if there’s any moisture there. He said, no. And I asked him what type of heat does he have and he told me he has a furnace, which is the hot air system. So I said, do you have a, it looks like a shoebox either attached to the furnace or on the floor with a pipe going into it and another one coming out? He goes, yes I do. But I said put your finger in one of the holes there and see if there’s water right up to the top. He said, yes there is.

What that box is, is a condensate pump and during air-conditioning, heating season what happens is that condensate pump takes the moisture that it makes from the furnace, and it pumps it outside. Well, I asked the gentleman, is there a water right near that condensate pump? He said, yeah there is. I said, well go upstairs and get a pitcher of water and see if you can pour some more water in it and see if any sound happens or if the water gets pumped out. Well, it didn’t. And so, I knew right away, especially we didn’t have any rain for quite a few days, what it was.

I knew it wasn’t coming in, that it was a condensate pump. They said, you can go grab one at Home Depot. It’s about a $50 item, put a new one in and, you know, they have a life to them, and this does happen. Sometimes, I can diagnose things right over the phone. Sometimes, it’s a crack right in the wall, and water’s coming in from that, which we can do a repair warranty, but we feel that part of our service is to help the general public to find out where their water issues are coming from. I just had another call, this one was in Shrewsbury, and then we had another one in Newton, all in the same week. They needed a new condensate pump.

Narrator: Well, very interesting Rich. Thanks for explaining why basement utility rooms are leaking during this wet summer.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


The Crack Daddy had water in his basement...WHAT?

- Monday, September 13, 2021

Adam, the Crackdaddy, and the Crackman have been fixing the basement water problems of other people for many, many years.  In this episode, Adam recounts a story where he turned himself into a customer.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcast provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: The Crack Daddy had water in his basement...What?

Narrator: So, Adam, you and the Crackman have been fixing basement water problems of other people for many, many years. Did you really turn yourself into a customer?

Adam: I unfortunately did, and it’s a story we hear a lot. I’ve lived in this house for years and never had water. All of a sudden, I’m getting water and most people don’t know what to do. Sure enough that was the same story that I got to experience myself, except I did know what to do. I’ll kind of go into the story a little bit here.

I’ve lived in my house for the better part of 10 years now, never had a drop of water in there, it’s been a very dry basement, spent all the preventative stuff that we could do in there and it’s been great. Well, it was put to the test this July with the amount of rain that we’ve had. We’ve had a historic amount of rain here in New England, and specifically in the Metro Boston area. It has been a historic month. I think this is the most rainfall and most consistent days of rain that we’ve had for any July on record, so many basements are feeling the pinch of this issue.

So, what happened is, we had one of those two to three inch rain storms like we’ve been having consistently day after day. What we did is, I was downstairs in my basement, getting my kids’ stuff out to the door. I picked up what I thought was a little pile of clothes, of course, kids leave clothes everywhere, and I picked it up and I said, Oh, they were wet. And of course, I’m like, Oh, that’s interesting, they shouldn’t be wet on the floor. So then I felt the ground, and I have a little vinyl tile down by the entryway and I was like, Hmm, it’s a little wet. Did somebody spill some water? Checked in. No, nobody spilled water and sure enough, we had some water on the floor.

So, I had to do the traditional investigation of “Where did it come from.” I was able to hunt down the source, it wasn’t coming from the wall, there wasn’t any crack in the wall, it wasn’t coming in there, it was actually coming up from the floor. What had happened was, is that with all of this rain that we’ve had, there was so much water pressure under the house that there was an old saw cut when they laid in a sewer line after the house was constructed. Probably built two to three years after the house was built, it was an old saw cut there, and the water pressure was so intense that it actually buckled the concrete and heaved it in the space where they put the old saw cut. It was probably about a quarter of an inch. It popped all the tiles and all the water was able to find its way in through there.

So, it was a little bit of medicine that I get to experience as a lot of our customers do. We put a sump pump in there. We’re able to relieve the pressure off the floor, so the sump pump was able to take that water pressure down so that water no longer comes up from underneath and pushes its way through there. I was able to do a little bit of concrete work to help flatten that down so that I can put a tile back down. And it was just a sobering experience to be living the life of some of our customers who are just befuddled that they have water coming in their basement and they’ve never had it before.

Narrator: Well, got a little of your own medicine, huh? Great story, Adam. Thanks for sharing how even the Crack Daddy is subject to the whims of nature.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.        


I’ve never had water in my basement. Why now?

- Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The CrackDaddy and his "crack" team of water remediation experts do a lot of repairs on old homes, especially stone foundations, but with newer construction, homeowners get to enjoy a pristine basement for a number of years before they end up with basement water issues.  That's why it can be quite horrifying when a basement water leak happens the first time.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcast provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home.

Narrator: The topic of today’s podcast: I’ve never had water in my basement. Why now? So, Adam not all foundations are created equally and you’ve probably seen some bad ones as A1’s civil engineer on staff. You have a cautionary tale to share with our listeners about a crumbling foundation, right?

Adam: You’re absolutely right. And you know, it’s a story that we hear unfortunately quite often. We get a phone call coming in, and they’ve lived in the house for 15, 20, 30 years, never had a drop of water and all of a sudden we have an event. And here we go, they’re getting water in there, and that is the essentially “breaking of the dam” for water coming in and it never a fun situation for a homeowner.

Whether it’s the first day you live in the house or the 10,000th day you lived in the house, water in the basement can never be fun. We had a particular case in Arlington just over the past week. The homeowner had lived there for 24 years, and they had a handful of cracks in the foundation walls and in the floor that they just kind of ignored for the past couple decades and never thought that they were an issue. And for 24 years of living there, they never were, they were, well, just there and kind of background noise and nobody had any concerns with it. But unfortunately, we’ve had a historic rain cycle here in New England, and particularly, Massachusetts area, and a lot of issues have started to rear their heads in homes that have never had issues before. So in this particular case where they had floor and wall cracks that will, again, for decades, untouched and no issues whatsoever, they had water coming in both and there are actually two different reasons why water would be coming in both. One reason is for the wall cracks, is that we had a tremendous amount of rain in a very short period of time. For this particular home, they had two roof lines coming together. And when we had four to six inches of rain falling over a 24 to 36-hour period, the amount of rain that was coming off of the roof actually went over the gutters, because it was too much for the gutters to handle, and now you have the entire area of the roof combined into smaller spots in the foundation. And now with these cracks, where happen to line up fairly close to where the two roof lines came together. You had a lot of rain coming in a very short period of time and now it’s waters coming in here.

So, they did everything right. They had gutters on there, they had landscaping where the grass and landscaping was moving away from the foundation wall, but it still doesn’t matter. And even though this crack was fairly innocuous for the entire life of this home ownership, it eventually leaked. And what happens with this particular leak is that the only thing that’s separating water from coming in or not coming in is usually the dirt and mud that gets packed in the outside of the crack when it splits open, and over the years, rain, ice, freezing, thawing, it will eventually start to kind of get rid of the dirt and mud that’s packed in there. And then you add in 4 to 6 inches of rain over a very short period of time and all of a sudden it starts coming in.

The other issue in this particular home was that the water was coming up from the floor. Now usually two very different paths of origin in terms of where the water’s coming from. In this case because we’ve had so much rain over an extended period of time, we’re talking three weeks of rain, no, almost every day. The water table is higher than it’s ever been for this area at this time of year. With the compounding of the short period burst of rain with a rising water table, the water actually forced its way under the house pushing up through the floor cracks and causing the basement to take on water through the floor cracks and also where the floor and the wall met.

For this particular house and many houses like this, the solutions were to repair the cracks so that this doesn’t happen. I know it sounds so simple, but it doesn’t matter how long it’s been dry, eventually, the crack will give way to water. Well, in this case, it took kind of a unique circumstance of events in the middle of the Summer, where we don’t usually get as much rain over a long period of time for it to happen. Luckily, we were able to get out there, repair the cracks and solve the situation and we’re able to keep their basement dry through the continued rains, after all these happened. And they’re very happy and don’t have to worry about anything for hopefully another 24 plus years.

Narrator: All right. Well, excellent information Adam. Thanks for explaining how a basement foundation can suddenly start leaking when it never has before. 

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


Can little pieces of metal sticking out of my foundation wall cause a problem?

- Thursday, July 22, 2021

If a homeowner is a stickler for aesthetics, one might imagine they may have an issue with little pieces of metal sticking out of their foundation wall, but is there a more insidious reason why they might be concerned about this phenomenon? The Crackman answers.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Can little pieces of metal sticking out of my foundation cause a problem?

Narrator: So Rich, if a homeowner is a stickler for aesthetics, I imagine they may have an issue with little pieces of metal sticking out of their foundation wall. But is there a more insidious reason why they might be concerned about this phenomenon?

Rich: Yes, first of all, let’s go over what they are. These are called tie rods or snap ties, and it’s used on the construction phase of a poured concrete foundation. What they do is they put up the wood that’s called forms. Forms just don’t stand up by themselves, they need a little piece of metal to hold them in place. They’re not very big, maybe an eighth of an inch, quarter of an inch, but they do protrude beyond the concrete.

When the forms are up, they pour the concrete and then they’re supposed to snap these metal ties and push the wood apart, so you have a nice concrete wall. But some builders forget to snap these metal rods out and they can stick out about all six inches or so. They can be on the outside or the inside. Now why they’re important to snap off and to address is because these tie rods, if you’re walking by it can cut your leg. And pretty badly too. They usually get rusted, so you got a tetanus situation there. So what you do is re-snap them off on the outside, and on the inside, a good builder will fill them in with a good butyl caulking or something so that air doesn’t get to it.

If air gets to steel that has moisture, it’s going to rust, and when it rusts, it gets smaller, and when it gets smaller, what happens is there’s a void between the concrete and the metal tie rod. This is a great place for water to come in. So, we get this call fairly often, probably four, five times a month anyway, and this month we got one in Shrewsbury and we also got one in Melrose and they actually had these tie rods poking out.

If you take a look at the picture that is going to be on our website, you could take a look at and see if you have that issue, and if they do leak, it’s not the end of the world, we can fix them with a permanent solution and give you a warranty on it. So, watch out for those tie rods.

Narrator: Great information, Rich. Thanks for explaining what these little pieces of metal sticking out of a foundation wall are, and what can be done about them.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


How Do I Fix a Leak Around My Basement Window

- Wednesday, July 14, 2021

This time of year we tend to get a lot of torrential downpours. If you have a leaky basement window, you’re gonna know about it pretty quickly. In this episode, The Crackman explains how to fix a leaky basement window.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: How do I fix a leak around my basement window?

Narrator: So Rich, this time of year, we tend to get a lot of torrential downpours. If you have a leaky basement window, I’m guessing you’re going to know about it pretty quickly, right?

Rich: Yes, you certainly will. And we recently had this conversation with a woman from Worcester Mass., where she had the torrential rain and water is coming in in the basement near her window. First we must find out where is it coming from because there’s a few different areas it can come from. One is around the window frame itself between the concrete and the window, but we got to look at the obvious part first. Is the window closed? And is it closed tight? As it can come through when you open it but as I said it can come through where the concrete meets the frame.

So if it is coming through that area, and the way you can determine where it’s coming from is if you take a garden hose and spray it, like rain would come, or put it on the ground and let the garden hose run, and you’ll see where it’s coming from. If it is coming in around the frame, you can get a good build clocking-in clock around it, but first you have to clean it out really well at that scene. We also see water coming in, don’t forget these windows themselves are not portholes in a submarine, they’re not made to stop standing water. There sometimes is a window well which is a dugout area in front of the window, and those window wells fill up with water. So if that’s the case and it’s resting against your window and water comes in, you may want to dig that window well deeper so that the water has a chance to percolate down.

We also see, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in Worcester or Waltham, we see this everywhere, the most common thing is that there’s a crack off of the corner of the window. And that’s, that would be considered a stellman crack and what you’ll see is water not spurting through the crack, but you’ll see water at the bottom of the crack and on the floor, where the water is coming through. And that we can repair either by an injection, what’s called an injection process where we drill at angles to the crack, every six to eight inches, put our ports in the small holes. We drill, tighten up those ports and then inject the closed cell polymer resin material. Or, we’ll put another material in the crack and then a weave carbon fiber blanket on top of that. And then they get a warranty on it. Now we get a lot of calls, in fact, just this morning we had somebody call that they did have a window crack and they tried to fix it with one of those Home Depot remedies that does advertise on TV that you spray it on like magic and it stops water, and they’re calling us because it’s still leaking. So, if you have a water issue around the window, feel free to use this as a resource to help you out.

Narrator: Thanks Rich for explaining how to fix a leaky basement window.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


A1 Foundation Crack Repair Saves Stone Foundation Repair Job

- Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A1 Foundation Crack Repair is known for saving real estate deals that are on the brink of disaster due to unexpected basement water leaks. The Crackman recounts a recent event where he saved a deal for a grateful Homeowner and real estate agent.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: A1 Foundation Crack Repair saves stone foundation repair job -- Worcester, Mass.

Narrator:  So, Rich, in your 25 years as The Crackman, you’ve seen many DIY jobs gone bad. Butt you’ve also seen professional repair jobs gone bad as well. Am I right?

Rich: I certainly have. We had a good one that came in. A fellow called us up. He had one of the large “waterproofing companies” that can drain systems, French drains or perimeter drains, whatever you want to call it. He had a stone foundation and he actually had called me before. I went out, gave him a price on it. These people had sold them on what they wanted to do and they went with the other company. Which is fine. But he called me back.

And after that job was done these people continued having water come in. He was in the process of court case against this company because they put a perimeter drain in the foundation. They to put some paint, Magic Paint that reportedly will stop water. After he complained that the water’s coming in through the stone, his attorney hired me as an expert witness. So we had gone to court and he won his case. In fact, he had spent about fourteen thousand dollars to hire this company, and the long and the short of it is paint doesn’t stop water from coming in.

The water was coming in between the stones and putting a perimeter drain is when they break the floor, they put gravel in pipe in there and then they connect that to a sump pump. Well, that’s a great thing to do when the water is coming up from below, now water was coming through the wall, through the voids in damaged mortar in between the stones and it doesn’t stop the water. Now they put paint on there, painted it with this “waterproofing paint”, which I see peeling all the time, to think of it, how can paint stop water? And what needed to be done is to repoint properly in between the stones with the right type of mortar, and where it was leaking to use oakum, which is like rope, soak in a polymer resin, put it in between the stones, it will expand, and then especially, mortar over that.

So, this poor guy, the case has been going on for like a year and a half. He finally got restitution from that other company. We went and took care of it and long behold, he doesn’t have water coming in. So, you got to know where it’s coming in, ask the right questions, and do the right thing.  Don’t spend 10, 12 thousand dollars for a perimeter drain when you need a repointing job done. 

Narrator: So what I’m hearing is perimeter drain, Band-Aid; paint on a wall, Band-Aid. And all of that was $14,000, probably in excess of that, plus the court costs fees. When, if they had gone with you to begin with, it’d probably be a fraction of that, am I right?

Rich: Yeah. Perimeter drain is not really a Band-Aid, it’s just given the wrong medicine for what the situation was.

Narrator: Gotcha. Well, great story. A1 Foundation Crack Repair must feel like a life raft for desperate homeowners shipwrecked by a crippling basement water problem. I guess you guys are saving lives one day at a time. Am I right?

Rich: Well, working to have basements dry.

Narrator: All right, well, thanks Rich, great information.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


What can happen if I don’t repoint my stone foundation?

- Thursday, June 17, 2021

A1 Foundation Crack Repair is known for saving real estate deals that are on the brink of disaster due to unexpected basement water leaks. The Crackman recounts a recent event where he saved a deal for a grateful Homeowner and real estate agent.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: What can happen if I don’t repoint my stone foundation?

Narrator:  So, Rich, when the mortar holding your stone foundation starts to crumble, it might be time to repoint it. We’ve talked about it in a lot of previous podcasts, but what if a homeowner decides to be complacent and not fix their stone foundation? What are some of the ramifications of that bad decision?

Rich: Well, it can range. One is, it can create a structural issue because when the mortar breaks down in between the stone, the stone will drop a little bit and then it’s a domino effect.

So, it’s a structural issue. So that’s why you want to put mortar in between the stone if it’s decayed or non-existent anymore.

And speaking of that when you do replace the mortar, we’re taking water out. You want to do it with hand tools. You don’t want to use a pneumatic or a drill or a chisel on the end to do that because it will vibrate and cause more problems of the mortar that’s actually good that’s above it. So that’s why we use hand tools in order to do that.

Also, I’ve seen some people trying to use power washers to take the motor out in between the stones and that causes a problem because the water is absorbed into the concrete floor. Concrete is like a sponge, the moisture is there, even if you suck it up with a wet vac you will get humidity in the air. This will cause mold on the things that you have in your basement, let alone the floor boards and beams. So that’s what you want to look at when you do take water out.

Well there’s another reason, in the winter especially, they got cold air coming in through all those voids, and now that we’re in the spring, I’ve been getting calls. I just got one in North Attleboro and another one in Northborough, people having a problem with pests coming in. Now, these pests range from mice, rats, to snakes. And if you have a cat, these people are telling me that cats catch the snake too. But who wants to have snakes coming into their house, along with cold air and moisture? Also with that, the openings between the stones you get water coming in.

So, to sum up what we’re talking about is, why should you repair a stone foundation? One, is if you’re going to sell the house, home inspectors are going to pick on it. Two, would be structural. Three, would be water. Four, would be rodents, snakes and rats coming through. So, those are the reasons we get calls all over Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, New Hampshire, to come out and repoint stone foundations.

Narrator: Well, you had me at rats and snakes, but I think all those are great reasons to repoint your stone foundation. Well, thanks Rich, great information and a call to action, for homeowners with stone foundations, to take care of these holes.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


Crumbling Concrete Foundation...a cautionary tale in Quincy MA

- Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Not all foundations are created equally and as A1’s Civil Engineer, Adam Tracy has seen some bad ones .  In this episode, Adam shares a cautionary tale with our listeners about a crumbling foundation.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Crumbling concrete foundation...a cautionary tale in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Narrator: The topic of today’s podcast: I have a hairline crack in my foundation wall, how big of an issue is it? So Adam not all foundations are created equally and you’ve probably seen some bad ones as A1’s civil engineer on staff. You have a cautionary tale to share with our listeners about a crumbling foundation, right?

Adam: I do. And this is a very interesting case that we had come up recently here out of Quincy, Mass. This is an early generation foundation. As we’ve talked about in the past, there’s a lot of different types of foundations. They have three main categories. You have a fieldstone foundation, which is typically built anything prior to 1925 and earlier and then you have block and concrete foundations. Block and concrete foundations started, kind of taking over from the older fieldstone foundations somewhere in the 20s, pretty common, and then 30s and 40s, it was mostly concrete and block. So, what’s interesting is that the early version concrete foundations tend to be unique in that they’re more like a hybrid type of foundation. The reason why is that you had all these tradesmen who were used to building mortar-type of foundations with stone, now changing trades into the concrete industry as that took --- as the primary building construction type. And the issue that we had in this particular case is a result I think of that transition. So, this house was built in the early 30s and when we find these older homes that were built in the late 20s and 30s with concrete, we find that the concrete is just very soft, and what we found is that most of the reason why is that there’s a lot of fine aggregate in the concrete mix.

So, with most concrete mixes that we see, you see large aggregate like stones that can be as big as your thumb and then everything down to sand, and part of that mixture creates a nice strong foundation mixed with Portland cement and water, etc. So what we find is that these older foundations are built more like a stone foundation in the mix that they used, so they used far more sand which would be more like a mortar. So as a hundred years passes by, give or take, this foundation acts much more like a real stone foundation than it does a concrete foundation. So, usually when we deal with these types of foundations, they’re still substantially strong and structurally sound, and cracks that are developed in them can be repaired, the same methods that we typically use. But this particular case was an exception.

We had a home inspection that was being done and we worked with our local home inspectors to help guide them through some things that might be tricky and not out of the book and he had sent over an inquiry to us and said, geez, I’ve never seen something this bad. Which immediately got my interest level up quite a bit, so when he sent over the video, we then went out and saw it. The actual foundation was just absolutely crumbling apart, so much so that you could stick a screwdriver directly into the concrete wall and then basically just remove all the aggregate concrete right out of there. In this particular case the actual large size aggregate stones that are mixed into the concrete, which like I said, are most of the time the size of about your thumb. They looked like they dug through the yard and found any side of the size potato rock they could find and mixed it in there. So it was quite unusual where the stones that were mixed into this concrete pour are larger than average. There was way more sand than is typical for this time, and so the Portland concrete cement that actually holds and binds all this stuff together, the glue of the concrete, just never had enough of it to really survive.

But on further investigation on this one, the previous homeowners from way long time ago, made the situation much worse unintentionally, they actually took roofing tar, which was, you know, to tar a roof and waterproof the roof, because I’m sure they have water issues based on the fact that the concrete wasn’t the greatest. And somebody had dug out the entire foundation and tarred the entire foundation with roofing tar, in an effort to hopefully try to keep the water from going through. The problem with doing that happened, is that it trapped the moisture inside the concrete. All foundations naturally have water pass through, you know, most times it’s not active water leaking, but just water vapor. So you do have water transferring in from the outside, to the inside and vice versa. When they put this roofing tar on there, it trapped it and all of that water now accelerated the decay of the concrete. It’s probably one of the worst foundations that we’ve seen in a long time and unfortunately, for this homeowner, they have some major cost to repair it, and potentially remove and replace certain sections that were affected worse than others.

But it’s a cautionary tale that when you see an older foundation, to get a thorough evaluation of it to make sure that it’s strong because they’re not built to today’s standards. Today’s standards are very robust. There’s a lot of rules and regulations around them. There’s plenty of testing standards to make sure that it complies with everything that they’re trying to comply with. Back in the 30s, 40s, it was a little looser. So, when we come into these foundations, we want to make sure when homeowners are buying the home, they know what they’re getting. And for repairs that might need to be needed, the shift is a little bit different because we want to make sure that we match the right repairs to that type of foundation. Because even simple repairs could potentially damage them because they’re not quite to the standard of what we built with today. So, it was a very interesting case, and unfortunately, the homeowners got a little bit of homework to get their foundation up to par to today’s standards. But certainly something that could be resolved, it’s just a matter of time and materials and money.

Narrator: Wow. That’s always very educational Adam, and thanks for sharing this painful story, hopefully help somebody from buying a real money pit in the future.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


A1 Foundation Crack Repair saves Real Estate deal for Frantic Real Estate Agent

- Thursday, May 27, 2021

A1 Foundation Crack Repair is known for saving real estate deals that are on the brink of disaster due to unexpected basement water leaks. The Crackman recounts a recent event where he saved a deal for a grateful Homeowner and real estate agent.

Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Man himself, Rich Comeras. Rich has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry and over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcasts provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: A1 Foundation Crack Repair saves real estate deal for frantic real estate agent.

Narrator:  So Rich, your company is known for saving real estate deals that are on the brink of disaster due to unexpected basement water leaks. Sounds like you have another case study to share with us?

Rich: Yeah, I do. This one is in Stoughton, Mass. I got a frantic call from a real estate broker that was doing a walkthrough with their customer that was ready to buy the house and they’re going to buy it the next day. And the movers came and they took the washer dryer for the people that lived in the house. And there was water coming in through a foundation crack in the cement wall from where the washer and dryer were. And you could tell from that, that it’s been going on quite a while and they had to have it taken care of before the closing.

So we came in and we repaired that foundation crack by drilling an angle to the crack, every six to eight inches putting up ports in, tighten up the ports and injecting a closed cell polymer resin material that actually worked its way towards the outside. It stopped the leak. We were able to give the people a warranty that that foundation crack was not going to leak. And now, these people are happy residents of Stoughton, Mass without a crack in the foundation and it’s nice to make people happy and to stop their basements from leaking on a permanent basis.

So, the moral of the story is, when you’re listing a house for sale, you really want to look at the walls to see if there are any cracks. And also, when you look at the walls, look behind some of the things that you may have stored there along with your washer and dryer and furnace. So that the deal doesn’t blow up in front of you.

Narrator: Awesome, great story Rich, and thanks for sharing.

Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.        




Archive

Call Us Today at 866-929-3171

A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, Inc. is a fully registered home improvement contractor. Contact us today to talk to a knowledgeable, master waterproofing professional.