Foundation Crack Repair, Basement Waterproofing Blog

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Is Your Sump Pump Ready for Winter?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Winter is right around the corner and that often means that your sump pumps will get a workout. We have a quick four step process that people can do at home to ensure their sump pump is ready for action.

The first step is to make sure it is plugged in. Then, raise the float in the sump pump and make sure it turns on.

The second step is to check and make sure that the discharge line outside is not cracked, broken, or clogged.

The third step in the process is to make sure that it flows, that water actually goes out. This may mean that you have to put a garden hose in the sump pump, make sure the float rises, and make sure it is working properly.

The fourth and final step. Make sure there are no leaks in the discharge line. You want to get all the water out of the basement, you don't want the water in the basement.

If you perform this four-step check and have a problem with your sump pump, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Do I Need to Repair Exterior Foundation Walls that are Damaged, Pitted, or Spalled?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, October 18, 2018

We got a call because a customer was concerned about the exterior surface of their foundation wall, it showed signs of excessive pitting and spalling. Why does this happen anyway? Is it just poor concrete or is it something else?

It could be poor concrete. It could be how it was mixed, when it was poured, or when they pulled the forms. Concrete is supposed to be vibrated to get the air out, and sometimes they don't do that or maybe the home got the end of the batch. What normally causes this though, is the water sitting on the concrete and then freezing. It then breaks the concrete a little bit and then it gets these spall or pock marks. More water then sits on it and freezes again, and this can further damage the concrete. You do want to take care of it so that it does not deteriorate the foundation anymore.

So, the questions are: "Should your repair it, and when do you know it is time to repair it?"

It's a preventative maintenance issue. The sooner your repair it the better off you are and the less damage you will have. To answer the second question, to repair it we have to wire brush it and see how much we take off. Then we have to put additional adhesive material on it, called Milk. Then, we put a special masonry material over that which makes it smooth and the rain can't penetrate it. A crystallized quartz based material is then put over that and you're all set.

For more information on basement water proofing or foundation crack repairs, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Do I Need to Worry About Replacing a Rusted Lally Column?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

How do you know it is time to worry about replacing a lally column that shows signs of corrosion. These pictures are from a home in Lexington, MA. They came from a homeowner who had just bought the home and they had the home inspection. The home inspector said the lally columns need to be replaced because of all the rust. The facts are, according to structural engineers, if a lally column is rusted it loses about 1/3 of its strength. As you can see in these pictures, this lally column has probably lost more strength than that because it is rusted so terribly. This needs to be replaced.

A1 Foundation Crack Repair - Replacing Rusted Lally Column, Boston, MA

Now, you don't just put a lally column in; you have to make sure there is a footing. A footing is a nice piece of concrete that we pour by breaking the floor, digging down, pouring the concrete and then we come back and cut the lally column to size. The lally columns we use are concrete filled steel with a thick piece of steel top plate that goes against the beam. Then that plate is bolted into the beam.

They rust because in the basement or garage there is humidity. Metal rusts; even though it is coated with a paint it is still going to rust. Oftentimes, the lally column is put into the concrete and not on it. The concrete never fully cures, there is always moisture, so that moisture will wick up and will cause the metal to rust overtime. However, I think the one in the picture has an imperfection because it actually split.

For more information on lally columns, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Dehumidification When it Comes to Concrete?

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 03, 2018

We got called to a home in Beverly, MA. A gentleman was considering buying a house and he wanted me to be there while the home inspection was going on because there were a lot of cracks in the foundation floor. It was a very large house.

There were expansion joints in the floor, those are the lines you see in concrete so that it can expand and contract. Everything looked fine, I didn't see any water or anything like that. But, I noticed he had three high end dehumidifiers running down there. I asked the owner how long those had been running. He told me, "all summer." I then asked him when the cracks started to appear. His response: "midway through the summer."

I asked the home inspector if he had a moisture meter with him, some have them. We checked the moisture level of the concrete and it was the driest concrete that I have every seen. With that information, we figured out that he had dried the concrete out too much to cause cracks in the floor.

This was the first time I had seen this in 20 years.

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

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