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What Can I do about a Leaky Coal Chute? - Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, January 26, 2018

A-1 Foundation Crack Repair - MA, RIQ.I've got a leaking coal chute and everything I have tried has failed. Is there anything the crackman can do to fix it?

A. Yes. First, I'd like to explain what a coal chute is. In the old days, people heated their homes with coal. And, rather than bring the coal to the basement where the furnace is in buckets, there was a little hole on the outside of the house. It's like a little tunnel and people would shovel the coal into the hole and it would go into the coal bin and from there it would get shoveled into the furnace.

Now, we don't use coal for heat anymore and these coal chutes need to be sealed so they don't leak. We got a call from a customer with a leaking coal chute. I asked him to take a picture of it and have of the metal plate that was over it was missing, it was broken. We had him get a welder to replace the plate, and that worked for a number of years. But, he just called back, and over the years it started leaking again. We have developed a some techniques to fix these leaking coal chutes that can be found all over the Boston area.

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

How Repointing Stone Foundations Solves Rat and Water Problems - Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 25, 2018

I recently did a repointing job in Quincy. I was referred to them by a pest control company who will take care of the rats once they are inside. But, they do not stop the rats or mice from coming in through the foundation. Especially with stone foundations where there is mortar between the stones. Rats can gnaw on this and make larger holes.

We went into Quincy, where they have such a problem, there are actually grants to help homeowners take care of the problem, even in the nicer areas.

We went in and took out the mortar that was loose or non-existent and put new mortar back in between the stones to stop the rats. With our trucks out there, we had other people in the neighborhood come over and ask us for work, so needless to say we have worked with quite a few pest control companies.

I also learned that rats can reproduce very quickly. Just two rats can have up to 12,050 pups a year. Not only are we repairing stone foundations and repointing them for water infiltration, we are also helping to stop rat and mouse infiltration into a house. This stops the diseases they carry and the damage they can cause.

For more information on solving rodent problems or basement waterpoofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Another Flexseal Failure

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Here is another flexseal failure from Arlington, MA.

    "The first picture which shows the side view you can see the gap where the precast stairs meet the foundation wall. The gap runs the whole width of the stairs. That's where the water is percolating up from due to our high water table.

    When they cut the door opening there is a 6 inch height of the foundation wall still there. The interior door (taken off for now) sits on the basement floor so when you open it, you step up to the foundation step before stepping up to the first precast stair.

    I have french drains on the interior of the basement (put in long before I moved in). I think we discussed that the grate drain would sit between the gap between the precast stair and foundation "step" which would then tie into the interior french drain.

    We want to make sure that the water doesn't percolate up in fed into the interior french drain.

    We'd also want to seal around the lag bolts holding the stairs to the foundation.

    The end result is we want to make sure water never enters the basement through the gap or walls so we can finish our basement."

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What is the Difference Between Concrete and Mortar?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 22, 2018

There are actually quite a few differences between mortar and concrete. When you think of cement, you think of those big trucks that keep turning the body. Now if you think of cement as a binder, similar to a recipe with flour, the cement is the flour. The purpose of cement is to hold other materials together. But, you can't use cement alone, you have to use other materials mixed into the cement, such as limestone, calcium, silica, iron, aluminum, among other ingredients. This mixture is heated in a real large kiln to 2700 degrees. This produces clinkers, a solid material like solid pieces of stone. This is then ground down and mixed with more materials such as gypsum to create the gray concrete substance. That gray substance is then added to water to make foundations and sidewalks and other things that need strength.

Mortar is used to hold building materials together, such as bricks and stone. Think of mortar as glue. Mortar is made out of water, sand, and some of the cement material we talked about above. You mix it with water to get to the strength you want and it is then used to hold building materials together. There is an age to mortar. If you go into some old houses with stone foundations, you'll see powdering of the mortar. That's just a function of age. We can take that old mortar out and put new mortar in to maintain the structural integrity. To sum it up, mortar is the glue that holds materials together.

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

Why do I have a Foundation Crack After 20 Years?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sometimes, when you have a home for 20 years and have never gotten a crack in the foundation you can get lulled into a false sense of security in thinking you will never have a problem. However, this is not always the case and it seems to happen to people as they are getting ready to sell their house.

Some of the reasons why foundations crack after such a long period of time can be something as simple as a heavy piece of equipment going down the road causing vibrations in the soil.

Since we are in the midst of winter, we should talk about the soil which can contain water. The soil absorbs the water, when it freezes it can push up against the foundation and which can cause it to crack.

We are also concerned about drainage. If you are in clay soil, or a downspout that has broken off, the pressures of the soil can cause a crack in the foundation.

Also, age simple age. Just like you and me, concrete can get old and not be as strong as it was before. But the good news is that these foundation cracks can be repaired and can be repaired from the inside with a warranty.

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

Top Reasons to Repoint your Stone Foundation

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Most people don't really look at the details of the foundation. Why would the homeowners be concerned about how it looks?

Oftentimes when homeowners are selling their house, which is the number one reason, we know a home inspector is going to check the foundation. If they see crumbling concrete or mortar in between the stones or powder on the floor, they know that the mortar needs to be repointed in the basement.

The first reason to repoint a stone foundation is to get the most for their house and to sell it in the least amount of time.

The second reason is structural. A stone foundation is made like a triangle in most cases. If you threw stones in a triangle, the tall angle of the triangle is what you are looking for from the inside. You want to make sure that is intact.

The third reason, especially in New England where we get some heavy rains, is to stop water from coming in the basement.

The fourth reason would be because each little hole you have allows cold air to come in. People notice a big difference one a basement is repointed, that it gets much warmer upstairs.

The last reason is to stop the holes so that animals, rodents or snakes can't get in.

For more information on basement water proofing topics, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

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