Foundation Crack Repair, Basement Waterproofing Blog

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Home Inspection Saves Home Seller from Lally Column Disaster

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, October 26, 2017

I was called to take a look at some lally columns at a beautiful house in South Yarmouth that had been in the family for many many years, a second generation home. It was right on the water, it has a swimming pool and next to the swimming pool is a private beach on the ocean.

The seller had a pre-inspection done by a home inspector that I know. The homeowner said that "some of the floors seem a little soft, like if you jump they move a little bit." The inspector went downstairs, it was a crawl space. He discovered a whole history of lally column there. There were temporary ones, those have a screw jack on them and they were rusted. In fact, if I kicked them, they would fall right off. There were some which were on footings that were steel filled with concrete, but they were sitting on sand. There were some that did have footings but they were rusted on the bottom because of all the humidity in the basement. This was the big problem. We had to go in there and address the lally column replacement. Not only that, but there were a lot of cracks which were letting the humid sea air in.

This was all caused by moisture. It was a good thing that these folks had a pre-inspection. The solution: We installed new lally columns, we fixed the cracks, and next we are putting in a real good, high-end dehumidifier in to take the moisture away.

For more information, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Are the Downspouts in your House Properly Installed?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 20, 2017

We are seeing, especially in new construction, that the downspout ends about 6" from the foundation. This is a problem because when they excavate for a cellar hole, they excavate about 6' to 8' larger than they need because guys have to get in there and work.

They fill that soil back in, but they don't compact it. When the soil is not compacted, the water can peculate through it. This means that the water can saturate it, then freeze and cause lateral pressure which will push against the foundation and can cause cracking.

You want the downspouts and the soil to be pointing away from the house. That 6'-10' area is known as the "zone of failure" because that soil often alows the water to peculate through, it "fails" to have the water run away.

We recommend that homeowners move the downspouts to about 6' to 10' away from the house. You also want to be sure that your gutters and downspouts are free of debris so that water can easily flow.

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

The Top 3 Most Common Problems with Stone Foundations

Joseph Coupal - Monday, October 16, 2017

We see stone foundations all over New England, from MA to RI, CT, it doesn't matter. From Hartford to Boston we see these stone foundations. There are 3 primary problems that we see.

The first is that there is mortar missing or crumbling from in between the stones. That's when you go in the basement and you see a powdery material on the floor, or when you touch it it just comes off. The mortar is put there to keep the stones in place. You want to keep the structural integrity intact, so we "re-point" or "put-back" the mortar that is missing. This is a maintenance issue, if you let it go, eventually you are going to have structural issues.

The second common problem with stone foundations is if the stone seems to be wet, deteriorating, or has excessive moisture. In this case there are a couple things to be checked. Make sure your gutters are clean and the downspouts run away from the foundation and be sure the soil is pitched away from the foundation. Also, put a true dehumidifier in your basement, not just a little one, but one that removes about 105 pints of water a day.

The third most common problem is when there is parging over the stone years ago or paint over the parging that appears to be trapping water or loose. You need to remove all the loose cement or paint and let the rest flake off over-time. This allows the stones to breathe.

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

Three Inexpensive Ways to Keep your Basement Dry - Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 06, 2017

Everyone likes saving a buck when possible and most homeowners have a DIY instinct when it comes to home repairs. So we have a few tips today for keeping your basement dry.

The first tip is to take care of your gutters and downspouts. By that we mean make sure your gutters are clean, that there are no trees growing out of them, and that downspouts are clear. Also, you want to be sure they are far enough away from the house that the water runs away from your house and not toward it. Oftentimes, you have to put a gutter extension on them to be sure.

The second tip is inside the basement. You want to get rid of excess humidity. There are three areas to work on, very inexpensively, to take care of that. Be sure your dryer vent is hooked up and sealed. Also, by code you want to be sure that the pipe is solid, not plastic or foil. You want to make sure it is aluminum and that all the sections are sealed with aluminum tape. Drying clothes removed about 1 1/2 gallons of water, so if that pipe is not sealed, that water is entering the basement.

If you have a bathroom in the basement, you want to be sure that the bathroom is vented outside. You also want to be sure that the vent is insulated. If you have warm air going through the pipe and cold air outside, you have condensation. Speaking of pipes, you want to be sure your cold water pipes are insulated too.

The last tip would be to keep you cold, below-grade walls insulated. Styrofoam insulation boards work well for this.

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

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