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DIY Flex Seal repair on basement wall crack nearly kills Real Estate deal

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 23, 2020

In this episode, Rich discusses another sad tale of a homeowner trying to do a basement wall crack repair with a product that doesn't quite hold up to the test of time.  Hopefully, homeowners will take heed and realize they need to leave their foundation crack repair job to an expert like the Crackman.

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: DIY Flex Seal repair on basement wall crack nearly kills real estate deal in Franklin, MA.

Narrator:  So Rich, it looks like you have another sad tale of a homeowner trying to do a basement wall crack repair job with a product that doesn’t quite hold up to the test of time. Why don’t you tell us about it.

Rich: I got a call from a homeowner that was in panic. Actually prior to that I got a call from a realtor on the same house she had listed. And I guess it was a crack in the wall and they had a Flex Seal, you know that product that they advertise on TV. You know the guy who kept putting it on a boat and rides across the water, well that’s the product. And they put it on the crack, and then there was going to be a walk through. It was raining and the foundation crack that was sealed with Flex Seal was leaking and they wanted a permanent fix. They wanted a warrantied fix. So, we hear this story all the time about people putting that product and other products on basement walls when they leak.

So we come out on that one. We drilled an angle to the crack every 6 to 8 inches. So we intersected the crack, put our mechanical ports in the small holes we drilled, tightened up those ports, and then we injected a cool cell polymer resin material that worked its way towards the outside and solved the problem. Then we gave a warranty sheet to the new buyer, with the transfers, and everybody was happy. And we have got a whole deal rolling up on happy realtors, on happy buyers, on happy sellers, and everybody was satisfied. It sounds good to do that.

Narrator: Awesome. Well thanks Rich, for another interesting case study. Hopefully homeowners will take heed to realize they need to leave their foundation crack repair jobs to an expert, like the Crackman.

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.

Help! My stone foundation is squirting water!

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 20, 2020

So, when water is squirting out of your stone foundation, it’s not a good sign that everything is well, right? The Crackman shares a case study.

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: Help! My stone foundation is squirting water! A case study in Sudbury, MA.

Narrator: So, Rich, I take it that when water is squirting out of your stone foundation, it’s not a good thing, right?

Rich: Well it could be a good thing if you want to have an indoor swimming pool, I guess. But most people don’t want an indoor swimming pool in a stone foundation. I got this call from the gentleman in Sudbury, and he got a video of it. He said, take a look at the video. I took a look and, in fact, the video, you’ll be able to see that on the screen. It wasn’t just seeping out, it was squirting out, with all the rain that we have had, and with a stone foundation that was in need of repointing, this was really squirting out really well. So we went over there, we fixed it.

We have a technique to fix that using a polymer resin that we call Oakum and some crystallized material. We got it to stop, and we ran water to double check that it did. And then we had even a better test. We had probably three inches of rain the other day, really quick, and it held up in the way I know what “held up” is. The guy called me up to thank me for taking care of that leak.

I’m always happy to get those calls, happy to help people. And I asked him, how did you originally hear of us? And he goes, well I was talking to a friend of ours, and you had done work for them. His sister said, they you did work for us too, and she was in Norwell. And so he called me, and he’s just happy he did. We’re more than happy to help people that do have these issues that might be good for their investment, their house.

Narrator: Very interesting, Rich. Thanks for sharing this case study on a squirting foundation in Sudbury, MA. 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 to monitor suspicious, leaking basement wall cracks and avoid disaster

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, November 19, 2020
A1 Foundation Crack Repair - Temporary Lally Columns

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 to monitor suspicious, leaking basement wall cracks and avoid disaster? A case study in Weston, MA.

Narrator: So Rich, if you’ve got a suspicious wall crack and don’t want to invest in fixing it right now, how do you monitor it for leaking without sitting right in front of it and watching it?

Rich: Well, there’s a few different ways. One is to run a garden hose. Put a garden hose outside, turn it on if you can see where that area is. If it’s leaking, oftentimes you’ll see a crack on the outside above grade. And when you run the water, by the way, run it for 45 minutes, turn it off for 15 minutes, do it once, twice, or three times. It could show up in five minutes, maybe much longer. That’s one way.

The second way, is to set up a monitor camera. You could set that up, set it up near that crack and keep an eye on it and you’ll see if water comes in. Now, a third way to do it would be to put a little device, an alarm on the foundation floor. You can pick them up at Home Depot. It will ring if there’s moisture or water touching it.

This reminds me of a situation we ran into in Weston, MA. A woman had a crack in the foundation which we fixed. No problem, stopped that water from coming in. And as my technician was there, he noticed that there was another crack about eight yards away or so. And he had mentioned that it was a good idea to get it repaired because water can move. She didn’t want to spend the money to do it.

So my technician told her, you could do one of these things and see if it leaks. So, she got one of those alarms over at Home Depot that you put on the floor, and lo and behold, she was upstairs, it had gone off. She called me and wanted us to come back out to fix that crack. Well if you get one crack done and there’s another one fairly close to it, it may be a good idea to get the second one done.

Narrator: Thanks for that information, Rich. I don’t think you’ve ever covered this subject in your six plus years of podcasting. Thanks for that. 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.

Temporary Lally Columns - why the word “Temporary” is so critical -- West Roxbury Mass

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 16, 2020
A1 Foundation Crack Repair - Temporary Lally Columns

In this episode, we have the Crackdaddy, Adam Tracy, the Engineer, himself, here to talk to us about temporary lally columns. Adam explains why it is critically important to make your temporary lally columns permanent as soon as practical.

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, Adam Comeras. Adam 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: Temporary Lally Columns - why the word “Temporary” is so critical. A case study in West Roxbury, MA.

Narrator: Today we are blessed with royalty, we have The Crack Daddy, Adam Tracy, the Engineer himself, is here to talk to us about temporary lally columns. So Adam, for those who don’t know, what exactly is a lally column and why is it so important?

Adam: Lally columns are a critical piece to the home support structure. They keep all the rest of the house standing up. You’ll notice them in basements when you go downstairs, they look like these steel posts that when you knock on it, it’s usually solid and they go directly into the floor. They usually attach to the underside of the main beams of the house. So, it’s a critical element of the structural design, every new house has them, every older house has them.

As you start to peel back the years of construction, they go from a steel column with concrete inside back to wooden columns which would be more like tree trunks, and you may even see tree trunks in older homes, somewhere in the pre-1920 eras. Temporary columns are a little bit different. These are the ones that you can go get at the big hardware stores, they have the screw tops on them, and they usually have a bunch of holes up the side that you can adjust to install there.

Narrator: So, Adam, why is it so important then that temporary lally columns be replaced as soon as possible?

Adam: So as you would imagine, temporary lally columns were never meant to be fixed in a house permanently, hence the name “temporary columns”. You may also find them by the name of “screw jacks” or “temp columns”, all common names. What they are is a hollow steel tube, typically, a tube inside of another steel tube. It looks like a telescoping tube with a screw on the top. And they could be used post-construction for added support to beams, or if somebody knocked out one of those old wooden ones, they put in these steel ones. Now, per code, a temporary structure like this can’t be up for more than 180 days, but we constantly find ourselves in this particular case. Like in West Roxbury, the home inspector pointed out to potential buyers of the house that they had 3 or 4 temporary columns on the main support beam of the house, and that they’re not supposed to be like this.

We have people reach out to us directly and ask why, why can’t they be in there for more than a temporary period, and what is the temporary period? Well these ones happened to be in there since, probably about the 70s or 80s. So, the questioner says, well they’ve been in there for a long time, who cares, why do they need to be out, they’re doing fine? But the problem is, with these temporary columns, it isn’t just the name of them, it’s how they’re constructed. They are hollow like I discussed, and they’re also very thin. So, they’re great for adding quick support to an area, maybe there for construction purposes, or if you’re trying to level out some floors, they can be used to quickly lift up the beam a little bit.

But the problem is with these, is that they were never intended to take permanent weight for sustained periods of time. So, the question usually comes up, well these have been in here for 20 years, who cares, it doesn’t matter, these will be fine. Well the problem is with these, is that they’re not fire retardant, so if you happen to have a fire in the basement, that steel becomes flexible. Because there’s no concrete inside, it will not stand up to any sort of fire conditions in the basement. So you getting your family out safely, and firefighters coming in safely becomes a very big question mark. So the reason why we have to get these removed and to go with a permanent installation is, primarily for that reason.

So yes, they have been up there for a long time, but you’re really rolling the dice in terms of whether or not your house is properly supported on these main beams. Now, the right choice for something like this is to go with the permanent lally column. A permanent lally column is like I talked about, half concrete inside and they’re wrapped in steel, like a steel pipe. There are other options that are out in the market that are hollow pipes, but they’re a lot thicker steel and they offer a little less fire resistance in a fire event.

So when we install these permanent lally columns, the other critical part to this that most people miss is that the floor that these temporary columns are on may only be 2-3 inches thick, which is not strong enough to support the weight of the house. Which is usually why when you see an older house, it starts to settle and sag in towards the middle. This is because the floor is not strong enough to support the weight that’s being passed to these temporary or wooden columns. So the right thing to do in these situations, even if they have been there for a while, is to break the floor, dig out and put in a rebar reinforced footing, and then put in a permanent lally column that’s filled with concrete. That way, you have proper support for the house regardless of the age, and it’s going to give you and your family a little bit of peace of mind.

Narrator: Well, excellent information and thanks for explaining why it’s critically important to make your temporary lally columns permanent as soon as practical.

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 Adam at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Adam at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


How a disconnected downspout can do serious damage to your foundation

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 04, 2020

In this episode, we have Adam Tracy -- AKA The Crack Daddy -- with us to share an important case study and wake-up call for homeowners. The foot stomp couldn’t be any louder. Check those downspouts today!

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, Adam Comeras. Adam 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 a disconnected downspout can do serious damage to your foundation. A case study in Watertown, MA.

Narrator: Today we have Adam Tracy, A.K.A. The Crack Daddy with us, to share an interesting case study. What do you have for us today, Adam? Adam: Yeah, we had an interesting call come in a couple of weeks ago. A guy in Watertown called us up, he was doing some landscaping in his front yard and was pulling out some shrubs around his property, around the foundation there. He found that there was a little hole in the foundation right where the downspout came down. And so he called us and said, hey I have a hole in my foundation. Now a lot of people will call us and say they have a hole in their foundation. Sometimes they do this when they’re describing a crack, or they’re describing a sewer pipe penetration. So I wasn’t exactly sure what the situation was. So, I said, no I think there’s a little hole that’s developed from maybe where the downspout is.

So, I asked him, is your downspout from the gutter disconnected? Do you have a shoot that goes out into your yard? He goes, no it’s just the pipe that ends a few inches above the ground. I said, okay I think I know what you have going on there, why don’t you send a photo over. I said, do me a favor, dig out some of the holes you have there, just a little bit, just to get down a few inches to see kind of the scope of the issue. As he did that, he sent the photo over and said, I think this issue is bigger than what we initially thought.

We found it was a hole about the size of a softball, maybe a little bit bigger, in the corner of the foundation. Now his house was a concrete block construction, and when they do this, nowadays they fill all the cells if they’re doing new construction. But prior to that, in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, it’s very common for the cells of the cinder blocks to be empty. And as they stagger up the blocks, they basically just stack them on one another and just have the mortar that holds everything together. The disconnected downspout really did a number on this corner, and it put a hole right into the masonry unit and you had a 4 foot down into the dirt on the inside of the foundation, so water could get in there. Ice could form in there and cause issues, and then obviously any sort of animals and insects could get in there as well.

So the issue that we had to resolve is actually a pretty critical one because if this one were left to go for maybe even another season, he could’ve lost the whole corner of that house. It was a major structural concern. So after going out and taking a look at it, getting to discuss the full scope of the job, what we’re able to do is we’re able to basically fill that entire corner section up with a high strength concrete and then we’re able to rebuild that corner for him. And of course we provided the pre-servicer thing, make sure you have the downspout connected all the way out into the grass, so that way any water that does come off the roof flows into the dirt and doesn’t undermine your foundation.

Narrator: Wow, thanks Adam. This is an important wakeup call for homeowners. The message couldn’t be any louder, check those downspouts today.

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 Adam at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Adam at info@a1foundationcrackrepair.com. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.


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