Foundation Crack Repair, Basement Waterproofing Blog

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Reflections of the Crackman - Why He Loves this Business

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 26, 2018

I used to be a school teacher, and how I got into basement crack repair wasn't a straight line for me. As a kid I always loved having a business going, may it be lawn mowing jobs. I got too many jobs and had kids mowing lawns for me. That was when I was about 11.

I started buying apartment buildings and started doing flips before the word even came into play. We bought a house that had a fire and we knocked the house down but kept the foundation. The people wanted a finished basement, but the basement foundation had cracks in it. So, I talked to chemists, suppliers, and engineers and I fixed it. I had breakfast with a friend of mine who builds houses and he said, he had a bunch of homes that had cracks in the foundations and he asked if I could fix them. I said yes.

It dawned on me: there are a lot of homes with cracks in the foundations that no one is really addressing. So that is how I started. Then I started marketing it and it blossomed to MA, NH, CT and RI.

I love this business. What I think I love about this business is that I can see this business grow. I enjoy making the relationships with my customers, with other businesses that refer business to me. I enjoy solving a problem and getting it fixed. Problems that are annoying to people and that can also be a health issue. Not only that, I have seen my employees flourish with me in their personal lives and financial lives. It strikes me as unusual to see people who have a passion about this business like I have, fixing foundation cracks. Now I have second generation people working for me, which brings me a whole other avenue of enjoyment.

I have nurtured relationships in other industries. I start out marketing to realtors and other industries that deal with houses like pest control companies. We get referred to them by their customers. We always find out how people have heard of us, we do a survey about "how did we do" and we get back to those people. Then they have more faith in referring business to us.

We have done seminars to educate realtors and structural engineers so they can have an expert on their team who can deal with these problems. Everything is about service today. one thing that makes us different is that we answer the phone so you get to talk to a live person.

I also like to give back to the community. We do a lot with Habitat with Humanity. I'm asked to go into high schools and talk to kids who are taking business management courses or entrepreneurial course and we talk about success, what is success. I talk about my story. One thing I see is that a lot of these young adults have no idea that they can open their eyes, see an opportunity and take action to have a career out of solving somebody else's problems. There is also a huge need for people going into the trades. With supply and demand, labor rates going up, if someone wants to start a business in the trades they can be the next blue collar millionaire. I've had lots of kids shadow me and I have a great time doing that.

Landlords, Will Your Lally Columns Pass Section 8 Inspection?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 20, 2018

I recently got a call from a landlord who had his yearly inspection for his section 8 tenants. For the first time in all these years the inspector picked on the temporary lally columns. This is a Boston Section 8 apartment and they had to change them.

First of all, what a lally column looks like is a piece of metal that is hollow and it usually has a screw jack on top. Being hollow, it is not as strong. If there is a fire, it can bend on you. The inspectors want solid lally columns. They are metal and filled with concrete, with a thick metal plate on top. They also don't want it just sitting on a 2" or 3" inch cement floor. We have to actually break the floor, dig down, pour a footing, come back and cut the lally column to the right size. We did that, the inspector was happy, and the landlord can continue his section 8 rentals.

Landlords beware, take care of your temporary lally columns. If you need more information, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Is a Sump Pump Necessary in this Home in Franklin, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, April 13, 2018

We went out to do a repair on a poured foundation crack that was leaking. We did our injection because it was a wet crack that was leaking, we stopped the water.

About 3 weeks later we got a call from the homeowner. She was so happy that the crack had stopped leaking, but she was getting water on the floor of her basement. I stopped in, she showed me where it was.

There was a crack in the floor, but no water was there. I was looking around, and all of a sudden some water showed up in the middle of the floor. I felt the water, it was warm.

I asked her if anyone upstairs was doing anything with water. Her husband was washing dishes. So, we put some food coloring in some water and sent it down the drain. It was not that the water table was coming up and would require a sump pump. It was that there was a crack in the sewer line under her floor.

So, she called a plumber who opened the floor or ran a line above the floor and ran a line to the sewer in the street.

I was happy to help her solve her problem.

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

5 Prep Steps to Prevent Basement Water During a Nor-Easter

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New England got pounded by Nor 'Esters this past March. The first thing homeowners should do to be prepared is to go outside and check on their gutters and downspouts and be sure they are in good working order. Downspouts help water run away from the foundation, they may need to add extenders to them. Next is to be sure your sump pump is working correctly. A sump pump that does not work is no good at all.

If you know you have a bulkhead that is leaking, at least put a tarp over it to prevent at least some of the leaking. Get some towels ready if you have cracks in the walls and start a towel brigade. Or, get some of that spray insulation and spray it on the floor around the crack. That foam will create a moat and hold the wate that you can remove with a wet vac.

Also, always take note on where the water is coming in from so you can then talk to a professional.

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

The Crackman Saves RI Homeowner from a Costly Perimeter Drain

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 04, 2018

I had an interesting call from a homeowner who is also a contractor. He called to find out if I put perimeter drains in. He was pretty instent that he need one, so I asked him why he thought he needed perimeter drains.

He said he had water coming in between where the concrete wall and the foundation floor meet. I asked if it was in one area and he said yes. I asked if he had a sump pump installed near that area, and he also said yes.

He said that the sump pump was only about 3 yards away from the area. I asked him to describe the area, or pit, that the sump pump is in. The pump sits in a hole with cement walls and a soil floor.

I made a better suggestion. Instead of a perimeter drain at the expense of $6000 or $12,000, I suggested he drill some homes in the cement walls of the sump pump pit and let me know what happens. In no time he called me back to let me know that fingers of water were draining into the sump pump pit instead of into his basement. He didn't need perimeter drains. If you have basement waterproofing issues, contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

The Crackman offers Great Advice to Desperate Homeowner

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today we present a customer review. The review reads:

"I had concerns about my bulkhead. I called Rich, sent him some pictures and within minutes he knew what the issue was, what had to be done to fix my problem, and who to call because it had nothing related to concrete or foundation. Rich is honest, professional and understanding. A rare find these days."

One of things I enjoy doing is if I don't do the work I try to put the customer on the right path to do it. This customer had just had poured a concrete patio within an inch of his bulkhead door, the metal door. The concrete was pitched towards it. With all the rain we had, the water was flying in over the bulkhead door. I put him in the direction of removing the metal door and raising the concrete that it is sitting on about 8" so that next time, the water won't get in.

Why is Water Squirting out of a Tiny Hole in my Basement?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, March 09, 2018

First of all, we need to understand what this small hole is. I am assuming this is a poured concreted foundation. Those holes, or dimples, are from tie-rods. When concrete is poured, it is poured between two pieces of wood. The wood doesn't just stand there through gravity. They are held together with metal rods. Once the concrete sets up, the metal is snapped off, which is why they are referred to as snap-ties or tie-rods.

Because they metal, they can rust. They rust because of the moist air and soil. When they rust they get smaller. With the water pressure, the water can leak into the basement, or in some cases squirt. Oftentimes, you'll see the rust line running down the foundation.

These have to be fixed. We have seen all kinds of contractor and homeowner attempts with sealants and hydraulic cement to fix this, they don't work.

The way to do this is to drill next to the tie-rod, put our port in, tighten up the port, and inject it with closed polymer resin which will encapsulate it and prevent leaking. Now you' ll have a tie-rod that is not going to leak, with a warranty.

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

Does FlexSeal work on basement wall cracks?

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Q. I have some small cracks in my basement that have started to leak. Can I just use FlexSeal to keep the water out?

A. I get calls from people all the time that say they have tried FlexSeal. That's the the product you see advertised on TV. But, I've repaired a ton of cracks in basements that have had FlexSeal. Maybe a crack in the wall, tie-rod, bulkhead, or where a floor and a wall meet. If you think about it, how can you spray something onto a crack and then expect it to withstand the pressure of the water as it wants to come through. Recently we have had a lot of calls with the weather that we have had, the freeze/thaw rain cycle where there have been a lot of FlexSeal failures. If you look at my website, you can see a lot of pictures of these failures.

The Crackman Saves a Home from a Water Volcano

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 07, 2018

We have had a ton of rain this winter; warm weather with heavy, heavy rain and snow melt. We got a call from a past customer. He had a leaking bulkhead problem. The bulkhead was leaking from the seam where the steps meet the house. This is a very common problem.

He was keeping a wet vac there because the water was just flowing in. He called in a state of panic. We sent in a guy who was on his way home. We did a combination of things. We cleaned out some of the old caulking that was in between the bulkhead and the steps. We had to soak oakum in a polymer resin and work it in there. That slowed it down. We were then able to inject a polymer resin to slow it down even more. We had to put plenty of additive into the polymer resin so that it would react quicker.

But it was still leaking.

We have a high-bred product that we use on masonry material that has a crystallized quartz-based material that we used and were able to stop this geyser of a bulkhead leak. We were there for about 4 hours. He called us the next day as well because he was so appreciative.

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

Jordan-Gunter Basement Tie Rod Leak

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Here's a photo from the Jordan-Gunter Basement. The photo shows lots of water coming from the tie rod.

A1 Foundation Crack Repair - Tie Rod Leak

For wall cracks and tie rod leak repair. Contact A1 Foundation Crack Repair.

Call Us Today at 866-929-3171

A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, Inc. is a fully registered home improvement contractor. Contact us today to talk to a knowledgeable, master waterproofing professional.