Foundation Crack Repair, Basement Waterproofing Blog

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Why A1 Foundation Crack Repair Should be on Every Realtor’s Contact List

Joseph Coupal - Friday, July 27, 2018

A lot of work goes into getting a property ready to become the perfect home. No matter the market, every house needs something. Some homes require a little touchup; others may need a lot more work. Top performing realtors have a network of service providers ready to jump on opportunities to get potential listings into SOLD signs. As a realtor, the service partners selected must be trusted and relied upon to make sure the deal closes as quickly as possible. Here are the characteristics that should be considered when building your service company partner network.

Responsiveness and Access

Real Estate can be a 24/7 business, and your service partner network should be as well. Sometimes issues or questions come up that are outside your areas of expertise. In these cases, you would want to speak to a live pro right then and there. Service partners should be expected answer the phone while you are working in the evening and on weekends. Also, the service company should be able to give you a verbal or written proposal for the work within 24 hours of your conversation. Leaving a message and getting a return call after 72 hours with a proposal one week later does not help you. Every day that goes by is a missed opportunity to close the deal. When you are working, your service partners should be as well.

Track Record and Experience

Service businesses come and go, but the ones who stick around have built a track record of success and experience to get the job done right. When selecting a partner, investigate how long they have been performing the work and how knowledgeable they are. Is their website educational and up-to-date or does it look like it was created 25 years ago listing only a fax number and billing address? Next, make sure they stand by their work by checking to see insured and if there is a transferrable warranty on the service they are providing. Finally, check to see if they are a specialized business that will handle your exact needs or a catch-all business with a lot of “bolt-on” services. It’s common for organizations to add different service businesses without any history or knowledge-base of the services being performed. Specialized businesses move fast, have the right solutions for the job, and can leave you and your clients with a peace of mind.

Customer Ratings and Reviews

A company touting their own greatness continues to be met with an increasing consumer resistance. In today’s market, fancy logos and catchy slogans are far less important the independent review. The service company is an extension of your reputation; poor workmanship, rude personalities, untimely responses, and questionable ethics are all examples of pitfalls that could prevent you from closing deals and filling your pipeline with more opportunities. Resources such as the BBB, Google Reviews, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor should be explored for reviews on the performance of the service company. Also, it is always good to check with other brokers to see if they have used the service provider you are researching.

Understands the Real Estate Sales Process

Understanding the pinch points of the real estate sales process and how to get past them elevates your broker status. When aligning with service partners, they should also know how their work fits in the big-picture real estate transaction. The service partner should know how Home Inspectors examine a property and how they identify certain items under service provider’s “jurisdiction”. Specifically, they should know how to avoid the home inspector’s report if addressing the item before the inspection, or to satisfy the report if they are addressing the item after the home inspection. The service partner should also know how their work can affect the lender’s appraisal and underwriting process. Since the property is expected change hands, it is incumbent upon the service provider to tell you and your client how the work will transfer from the seller to the buyer.

Your individual success can be hampered by bad partners or accelerated by great partners. In the end, if you select the right service companies to build your network, you’ll be closing the deal at a much higher rate. Who doesn’t want that?

How to Tell if you have Poured Concrete or a Stone Foundation?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 19, 2018

If you have a finished basement, it may be hard to tell the difference between a poured concrete or stone foundation. But, it's usually not hard to tell at all. Look in the basement; if you see stones you have a stone foundation, if you see smooth cement walls you have poured concrete.

It becomes tricky when people do renovations or rehabs on a house. They'll put in a layer of mortar over the stones to make it smooth so it looks like a poured concrete foundation. That is where you have to be careful.

There is a way you can tell. You have to poke around a little bit. If there are some loose areas poke in there and remove a little bit of mortar and see. Or, you can tap on it with your knuckle or lightly with a hammer; if you hear hollow sounds you can pretty much be sure that it is mortar that has been put on top of a stone foundation. This is done on the inside and sometimes on the outside as well.

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

What Can be Done about Water Leaking in an Elevator Pit?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 05, 2018

This is actually a case study for a residential elevator pit that was being put in by a high-end builder/remodeler in Newton, MA. He had put in a home addition behind where he had put in the elevator pit, which is slightly below the basement. He told me it was leaking where the floor of the elevator pit meets the foundation.

We went in and injected a polymer resin by drilling into the seam, putting our ports in, and injecting the polymer resin. Everything was good. Then we got some very heavy rain and it was leaking again. We went over there next time it was raining, and it was actually not leaking from where we injected, but from about 4" or 5" higher where there was no crack. We had stopped the water from coming in at that seam but there were small fissure cracks that the water found it's way to. As it was coming through, you could see more little areas where the water was coming out. This means that the concrete was either too watery or was not vibrated enough to let these little fissures out. I also found out that there is ledge right behind the pit. This could mean that the concrete may not be very thick.

To address this, we used a crystalized quartz material that penetrates the concrete and then grows microscopically in the pours of the concrete to stop the water.

There have been some good, heavy rains since then and there have been no issues. If you have a leaking elevator pit a basement waterproofing problem, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Should I Hire a Structural Engineer for a Foundation Crack?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 28, 2018

We got a call from a woman in Needham, MA who bought a house a month or two ago. She had a crack off the foundation window in the basement. I asked her all the normal questions that I ask in order to get a good idea if it is structural or not:

Does it leak? How wide is it? Does it go at a great angle or a slight angle? Upstairs are there any windows in that area that are hard to open or close? Is the molding at the miter joints pulled apart? Are there any cracks in he wall? Is the flooring level? The answer to all the questions was no. I told her it is probably just a settlement crack.

She said, I wish I spoke to you sooner. I asked her why.

She had a home inspection and they told her to speak to a structural engineer. She wanted to make sure the house didn't have an issue so she hired one for about $700 or $800 dollars. He wrote up a nice report and at the end of the report, probably to protect themselves from liability, he wrote a statement that said "it depends on how the soils are underneath there if the house is going to settle anymore or not."

This is essentially true, but the house has been there for over 20 years and there have not been any more signs of settling. To protect himself even more he suggested that she talk to a geologist who does boring samples of the soil. After spending $6,000 on a geologist, the geologist report essentially said "it seems to be OK, but we can't say 100% for sure."

When I told her how much it would be under $700 to get the crack repaired she said, "Boy, I wish I had talked to you first. You said exactly what they said and I would have saved almost $7,000".

About two days later I got another structural engineer report from a customer who bought a house, and it said essentially the same thing. I can't say they are ripping people off, they've been hired to do a job. But, as a homeowner, you have options to look at it in a sensible way.

For a second opinion on foundation cracks, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Damage from the Winter Storms

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 07, 2018

Foundation needing repair at 25 Perkins Ave. in Hampton Beach New Hampshire. There are two main areas and then touch up needed on the side of the foundation.











 

Can Irrigation Systems Cause Water in the Basement?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 04, 2018

It's warm outside and people are watering their lawns on a regular basis. Can a rigorous watering cycle cause water in the basement? Well, sometimes it doesn't even have to be rigorous. We have already gotten a couple of calls, one from Dedham and one from Shrewsbury, where people are turning on their irrigation systems, it hadn't rained, and people are calling and saying they have water coming in the basement.

There are pre-existing conditions. One was a crack in the poured concrete foundation and water was coming in through that. The other was a leak around the sewer pipe, between the sewer pipe and the concrete, and water was coming in through that. One home had the sprinkler going up against the crack anc the other there was a line that was broken in the soil and the water was coming in around the sewer pipe.

So to answer the question, these sprinkler systems can help you to identify where water is coming in through a basement. One of the first things I asked people who have water coming in the basement when it is dry out is if they have a sprinkler system.

To fix the problem, if it is a crack in the foundation we can do all the work from the inside. Or, a leak in the sewer pipe, we'll drill into the foundation at angles and put ports into the small holes we drill and fill it with closed polymer resin. Or, we will put another material in the crack and then a weave carbon fiber blanket on top of that. Then we can give them a written warrantly against water coming in the basement.

If you need more information on basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

How do I Fix Damp or Wet Corners in my Basement?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 24, 2018

Spring is here after a very long winter, but while the flowers are blooming and birds are chirping there can still be hidden water problems in your basement. Especially in the spring and summer when there hasn't been any rain. We get calls from homeowners who tell us that the corners of their basement are damp or there are little puddles of water. They want us to fix the problem.

There are two things that could be going on. One is condensation because concrete never dries. Condensation is when a cold surface, the concrete, hits a warmer surface that has moisture in it, the air. This makes condensation. Why a corner? Because you have the left, right, and floor of the corners that are all made of concrete. So, these areas tend to get condensation.

Or, is there water coming through? We know outside a lot of times in the corners of a home there are downspouts and they could be letting water in. So, you run a hose outside on the ground for about 45 minutes turn it off for 15, do it a couple times. If no water comes in, it's condensation.

Homeowners can eliminate or reduce condensation in the basement by installing a dehumidifier that will take the moist air out for less condensation. But, some people make the mistake, on a nice spring day, of opening up a window to get some air in the basement. Well, they are getting nice fresh air in, but they are also getting more condensation. Don't open your basement windows.

Clothes dryers also let out a gallon and a half of moisture into the air when they are drying clothes. So, it is important to be sure your dryer is properly vented to the outside.

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

What is the Purpose of a Sump Pump?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Before we get into the purpose of a sump pump first we should talk about why you need one. We see a lot of basements where a sump pump should be installed. When you have cracks in the basement floor and water is coming up, or if you have water coming in from all around from all four sides you might consider putting a sump pump in. Or, if your ground is all clay, there may be a reason to put one in as well.

The purpose of the sump pump is to take water from underneath your cement floor, from below. That way as the water rises it doesn't reach the bottom of your cement floor.

Essentially with a sump pump you have a basin at the bottom of your floor that water drains into. The sump pump is designed to suck that water out and put it someplace else. The water wants to take the path of least resistance, and that least resistance is in the hole that we have dug in your foundation from which the water is then pumped out.

To install one, you need to break the concrete by jack hammering or cutting it. What is very interesting is that what we find when we cut the concrete is that there is no soil directly underneath. There is usually 3 or 4 inches of air space. This is because the soil or gravel compacts down and creates this gap which is a place where water can flow to with least resistance.

Once the floor is cut we have to dig down, often 2 or 3 feet. This depends on the type of soil or what the water lines show us. Then we put a basin in and that basin has holes so the water can get into it. We put landscape paper around the basin and maybe some gravel so that when the water comes to it and brings along soil the holes in the basin don't just clog. We then put the sump pump in. I prefer a submersible sump pump rather than one that stands up out of the basin because those can fall over and become inoperable.

Then, there needs to be PVC pipe coming out with a check-valve, which is a valve that does not allow water to flow back into the basin. That pipe is plumbed outside. We recommend PVC because it won't break with the freeze/thaw cycle like black flexible pipe will. A cover is then installed for safety reasons. Often people choose a sealed cover so that radon or moisture can't get into the home.

More often than not, this is not a DIY task because it involves jack hammering, plumbing and knowledge of the water levels. For more information on basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Water Leak in Leicester MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Here's a video of the water leak in 169a Chapel Street Leicester MA. You can see the floor behind it. For quality basement waterproofing, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Why Does My Basement Look Like a Murder Scene?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 11, 2018

It almost looked like a murder scene. They took pictures, and they were so great I posted them. The homeowners were telling me they had water coming in from little dimples in the foundation walls; I knew they were the tie rods. They sent me pictures and the leaking water looked almost red, like blood. But, it was really the tie-rods that were leaking.

Tie-rods are metal rods that go right through the foundation. Water gets to the metal and they rust; in this case the leaking water was red! We were able to stop the water leaking in through the tie-rods by injecting them with a polymer resin using an electric pump. Now those tie rods are all sealed up.

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


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