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Case Study: Snow Banks and Sill Plates...Do I need to Worry about Basement Water?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 09, 2020

In this episode, we have Crack Daddy, Adam, with us to talk about a particularly pesky basement water problem a lot of people contact him about. Adam explains how freezing water around your home's sill plate can cause basement water problems.

Narrator:  It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. We’re here with the Crackdaddy, Adam Tracy. This podcasts provides expert basement water proofing, 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 within the basement, and protect your biggest investment….your home. The topic of today’s podcast: Snow Banks and Sill Plates...Do I need to Worry about Basement Water?

Narrator: Do I Need to Worry About Basement Water? Today we have Crack Daddy Adam with us to talk about a particularly pesky basement water problem a lot of people contact him about. Why don’t you tell us about them, Adam. 

Adam: Yeah since we are in the winter months and snow appears right here in the northeast, sometimes we have a very short section of concrete that’s above the ground level. A lot of times in the wintertime people will start pushing snow against their house to clear their paths, and all of a sudden find out during the warmer days in the winter that they’re starting to get water in the basement. Whether it’s a finished basement or unfinished basement, I try to figure out where it’s coming from.

When we get this call, often it’s diagnosing where the water is actually trying to come in from. Now we know that if it’s coming in from a crack or a tie rod or a pipe penetration, that’s something that’s easily repaired under the things we normally do. What a lot of times we’ll see the water coming up and over the top of the concrete from the basement. So, when you’re in your basement, you’re looking at the top of the concrete. You’ll see water coming down from the top of the concrete or the wood.

Now the wood that attaches to the concrete is called your sill plate. That basically is the bottom structure of the lumber for the house so everything that is built on top of that gets anchored into the sill plate which gets anchored into the concrete foundation. Now on the outside of the house, that’s supposed to be properly flashed, and the flashing is supposed to be able to direct the water away from the house and not meet that sill. Because you have wood in contact with concrete there’s an actual little gap there, and so any water that’s able to get underneath and into that gap will eventually come through that sill plate and into the foundation.

So, we direct people that see the sill plate starting to be compromised, water coming up and over the edge there, they’ll ask us “What do you do”? The direction from us is to consult with a handyman or a carpenter or a siding company to evaluate the flashing on the outside first, because that’s your first line of defense. The other thing they would want to do is to obviously, not pile snow off right up against the foundation walls in the house itself. And the third thing is, for a longer-term application, is to see what you can do about grading so that you give yourself enough space between the wall and the siding.

Narrator: Well thanks Adam. Those are excellent tips and appreciate you explaining how freezing water around your home’s sill plate can cause basement water problems.  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.


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