basement wall repair

Basement Wall Repair

Basement Wall Repair

How do you know what the best basement wall repair is for your basement?  There are several types of foundation repair methods available and each is designed to solve a specific issue. There are basement walls that are tipping in at the top and basement walls that are bowing in along a horizontal crack.  Then there are foundations that are crumbling or have severe mortar rot.  Some basements have settling issues which result in vertical cracks in basement walls or stair step cracking in the walls.  And then there are basement walls that have a sheer break in them resulting in the wall sliding inwards along the break.

Danger: Basement foundation problems can be dangerous. Please call 1 (330) 454-8066 to schedule an inspection by a basement professional.

Interviewing foundation repair companies can add to the confusion because you may get differing proposals.  The reason this may happen is due to the numerous foundation repair companies that hire and train salespeople to sell a specific product or method.  Foundation repair contractors that are part of a national chain or franchise will only propose (quote) the solutions they have contractual agreements to sell.  These contractors often present many solutions and go through a sales process to bring you to a conclusion that the one product they install is the one you need.  So look for locally owned and operated foundation repair contractors who can not only offer different solutions but also install any of them when you need basement wall repair.

bowing basement wall needing basement wall repair

Bowing basement walls

basement wall sheering

Basement wall shifting off base / sheering

basement wall collapse

Basement wall collapse

basement wall mortar rot

Basement wall with mortar rotting and block decaying

As a rule of thumb, basement walls that are bowing in can be reinforced to prevent further movement.  Note: up to 2″ of inward bowing or less is required, anything beyond that and your wall is no longer structurally sound and should be replaced. Some basement walls can be straightened, but only if there are open cracks that have never been filled in.  Continuing the thought of straightening bowing basement walls, to do it properly you must excavate the soil away on the outside first to relieve the pressure allowing the wall to go back to its best position.  Walls that have the cracks caulked or filled in will not straighten up.  The filler binds the joint and prevents the crack that opened from closing back up which is what straightening the wall is actually doing.

Back to reinforcing bowing basement walls.  Steel I beams as a basement wall repair method can be used.  Steel I beams are to be buried below the floor and cemented in at the bottom and properly attached to the wood structure above.  In this scenario the floor below and the wood structure above are actually holding the I beam in place.  Steel beams are straight so they only touch the wall where it is bowed out.  The gaps at top and bottom between the wall and beam should be filled in to prevent the wall from shifting behind the beam.  Downsides are steel beams are unsightly, can rust, and still can flex.  Also if the soil conditions outside push on the wall it can cause the beam to put pressure on the wood structure causing it to shift or twist.

The latest basement wall repair method for bowing basement walls is carbon fiber mesh “straps” which are embedded into the face of your foundation walls. And the latest of those are made by Fortress Stabilization who has developed a system made of both carbon fiber and Kevlar meshed together giving them the ultimate in tensile and shear strength. These straps are smooth to the wall and paintable making them barely noticeable.  Carbon fiber / Kevlar mesh straps are embedded into the face of the wall with a two part epoxy becoming part of the structure.  How this method works is that the straps are inflexible / do not stretch so they create tension on the wall preventing movement.  Soil pressure outside is diffused and the wall is permanently stabilized.

If your basement wall has a sheer, meaning a row of block has slid inward off of the row below it a half inch or more, it needs to be replaced.  Some basement walls with a sheer less than a half inch can be stabilized with steel beams to prevent further movement but for the most part this is an indication of severe drainage problems resulting in water build up at the bottom of the basement wall outside.  This build up results in the foundation and or mortar rotting out, becoming weak, and resulting in the shift.  Often times this results in dirt and/or mud coming into the basement through the broken areas.

Tipping basement walls are a result of them not being well attached to the structure above during construction.  This is a wall that is straight from bottom to top but leaning inward at the top.  This is different from bowing as you will not see a horizontal crack that is opened up.  Fixing tipping basement walls involves first removing the soil outside to relieve pressure.  Then a system of steel beams and screws / jacks are used to slowly push the wall back into its best possible position.  The steel beams can be left in place to hold the wall from further movement or other methods can be used to secure the structure above to the foundation to prevent movement.

Obviously if you have a collapsed basement wall, it would need full replacement, enough said.

Crumbling and rotting foundations occur due to the original waterproofing seal failing, allowing water into the basement wall.  In many cases, if this is caught early enough the wall can be excavated, repaired, reinforced, waterproofed, and ultimately saved.  The cost of going through all of that may be getting very close to replacing the basement wall and some walls with rot and decay should simply be replaced.

Settling foundations are those that are sinking into poor soil conditions.  Signs of a sinking foundation include stair-step cracks, vertical cracks, and issues in the living space above such as cracked walls, ceilings, and doors that do not close properly.  To stop a settling foundation it requires installing reinforcement below the foundation installed into a solid substrate.  This method is often called underpinning or piering.  We favor the Stabil-Loc Foundation Piering System. Its patent-pending load-bearing design installs directly under the wall being lifted. Its unique interlocking high strength steel construction can support up to 300,000 lbs. There are no bolts, no brackets, no breaking the footing, and no off-set loads. This pier carries an Engineer Certified safety factor of more than 10 to 1.

Contact Pioneer today to schedule a no-pressure visit to evaluate your foundation and the basement wall repair methods available.

 

 

Basement leaks where the wall meets the floor

Basement leaks where the wall meets the floor

If your basement leaks where the wall meets the floor you could have a few issues.

basement leaks where the wall meets the floor

Roof water is the number one enemy of your basement.  Check your gutters and downspout to be sure they are working properly.  If water is cascading off of your gutters near your foundation it can overwhelm your basement drainage system.

Many people try adding dirt to the side of the foundation to stop basement leaks where the wall meets the floor.  Often times that does not stop the leak.  Fixing the dirt along your foundation may help surface water issues or damp wall issues.  If your foundation walls are dry but you are leaking onto the floor the grade outside is not likely the issue.

Seepage at the base of the walls and or through floor cracks…

Ground water can enter your basement through the seam where the walls meet the floor and up through cracks or weak points in the floor.  These are signs the original foundation drainage has failed and or there is water building up under the floor.

A buildup of water around your foundation due to failing drainage causes water pressure commonly referred to as hydrostatic pressure.  This pressure is what pushes the water through the weakest points which is usually the seam where the wall meets the floor.

Failing foundation drainage occurs when the original drains collapse or fill with soil and or roots.  Foundation drains can also clog around the outside so that no water can enter the pipe.  Improperly or inefficiently installed foundation drainage can also cause water to build up and create pressure resulting in basement leaks where the wall meet the floor.

How to stop leak at wall and  floor seam

There are two ways to dry up your basement.  Either way it involves installing new foundation drainage.  The new drains are either installed outside or inside.  Interior basement waterproofing  systems are installed under the basement floor to relieve “hydrostatic pressure”.  This is water pressure in the ground that builds up around your foundation when water has no where to go. Many homeowners have mixed feelings on whether waterproofing a basement from the inside actually fixes the problem.  After all, water comes from outside, right? True, but it is not always possible to fix basement water seepage from the outside.  If your basement has water under the floor, interior basement waterproofing may be the only fix.  Without interior drains, water gets trapped under the floor.  This is because your foundation separates the inside from the outside.

Exterior basement waterproofing may be overkill for some basement leaks.  If you have wet basement walls up high or at ground level, and/or signs of water running down basement walls, exterior basement waterproofing may be the best solution.  The original seal on the exterior of your foundation deteriorates over time resulting in chronic paint bubbling, wet basement walls or chronically damp basement walls.  If you see these symptoms you should consider exterior basement waterproofing.

Get a few professional evaluations

Getting estimates for basement waterproofing can be frustrating.  Many customers tell us they have three estimates and three different solutions.  The issue is most basement waterproofing contractors only offer one method.  Naturally the one size fits all contractors will be certain their option is best for your basement.  Never the less it is valuable to be educated and explore your options if your basement leaks where the wall meets the floor.

Pioneer offers all solutions.  We start with identifying the cause of your problem.  We will then review the solutions and the costs.

check out or review on these sites:

 

 

Call today at 330-454-8066 and your basement leaks where the wall meets the floor will be a thing of the past

 

The best way to waterproof a basement

The best way to waterproof a basement

Ever wonder what is the best way to waterproof a basement?  If you have googled the question you have seen many DIY products.  You also certainly have seen several ads from basement waterproofing contractors.  It can be a daunting task to identify the best solution for your specific issue.

The answer to the question of the best way to waterproof a basement depends on the specific problem.  There are two components to an original basement waterproofing system.  The builder would have sealed the foundation wall and installed foundation drains during construction.  Therefore all dampness or seepage issue are related to a failure of the original waterproofing system.

The best way to waterproof a basement  Do you have wet basement walls?  Wet basement walls indicate seal failure.  Paint failure and mold on basement walls are also indicators of seal failure.  Because the original coating applied to the foundation eventually erodes away, all basement walls eventually need to be resealed from the outside.

Do you have dry basement walls but water on the floor?  This is an indication of drain failure.  Often times the bottom row of block may get wet with drain failure as well.  These foundation drains are referred to as footer drains because they are installed next to the footer.  The footer is like a cement sidewalk that is installed first.   The foundation blocks are then stacked on top of the footer.  The footer drains collect ground water and moves it away from the footer.

Can you waterproof from the inside?

First identify what type of problem you have and then look for a solution that directly addresses that problem.  The best way to waterproof a basement that has water coming up from the floor may be an interior solution.  Interior basement waterproofing consists of installing interior footer drains.  These drains collect and move the water to a sump pump.  The water that is collected is then pumped up and away from the foundation.

You can achieve a dry basement from the inside even if walls are wet.  Installing full wall waterproof panels keeps the water and dampness out of your basement.

Exterior basement waterproofing

Exterior basement waterproofing is often the best solution.  Installing exterior waterproofing stops the water from getting to your foundation from the outside.  This method involves restoring the seal on your foundation with sealers and a membrane to keep the foundation permanently dry.  New footer drains keep ground water from building up and leaking into your basement.

Either method will result in a dry basement, they just work differently.  Interior systems are often referred to as “pressure relief” systems.  Because theses systems do not keep water out of the foundation from the outside they are not true waterproofing systems.

How to find a good contractor

Check out referral sites. You may have a neighborhood site or forum.  Angie’s List and Home Advisor are great resources.  You can read verified reviews on Home Advisor and Angie’s List.  Ask friends and relatives if they have experience with and waterproofing contractors.  The BBB is a good place to see data on companies like when they opened for business and if there are any complaints against them.  Keep in mind that the BBB gives all contractors A or A+ as long as they abide by the protocols, even after a history of multiple complaints.

Contact Pioneer today for  free consultation

Foundation Repair Companies – How to Find the Right One

Foundation Repair Companies – How to Find the Right One

When it comes to something as crucial as your home’s foundation, no doubt you would agree that it is important to find the right foundation repair company for the job.  Foundation work is tricky and tedious and there are many things to take into consideration when work is being done.  There is also a lot of risk and liability involved.  So, the purpose of this article is to help homeowners know what to look for and help them to choose the right company.  Although this article is geared toward foundation repair companies, the same principles apply when choosing any contractor to work on your home.

Foundation Repair Companies

Years in Business

It is always best to choose a company that has been in business for a while.  Some newer companies try to get around this by advertising “years of experience” instead of the amount of years they have actually been in business.  If a company offers a guarantee, what good is it when they have only been in business for a few years?

Online Reviews

There are many websites now for customers to share their experiences.  Some of the most common are Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.  When looking for reviews, it is important to look at reviews across multiple sites.  Why?  Review sites such as Google and Facebook are helpful, but there is no filtering process, which means ANYONE can leave a review, whether they have had work done or not.  Angie’s List, The BBB, and Yelp are more reliable because they have ethical requirements for businesses.  So make sure to look at reviews on various websites before making a decision.

Industry Reputation

Consider talking to professionals such as engineers, building officials, realtors, etc.  Such individuals are more likely to have heard recommendations for various foundation repair companies.  Many of them are familiar with the reputations of local companies.

Adherence to Local Building Codes

Is the company willing to pull permits for the job if required?  Are they willing to work with an engineer?  These are important questions to ask before you hire a company.  If the sales person dodges the question or doesn’t give you a straight answer, you may not want them to work on your foundation. What is the basement waterproofing service area for the company?

Warranties

Most companies offer a warranty or guarantee on their work.  Make sure you get all the details and fine print. Some contractors charge a yearly fee to keep the warranty active.  Others give a warranty but then do not respond when a customer needs service.  The Better Business Bureau is a good place to look to see if a company has any complaints in this regard.

Insurance and Bonds

Any reputable company should have no problem providing proof of bonding and insurance.  This is very important for liability reasons and is for your protection as much as it is theirs.

Doing the Research Pays Off!

It may take time to filter through so many different companies, but the benefits are priceless!  Once your foundation is serviced, you never want to have to worry about it again.

Please feel free to explore our website to learn more or contact us if you have any questions.

We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

basement waterproofing contractor ohio

We are “Super Service Award” winners from Angie’s List.

We hope this article was informative and helps you make the best decision in choosing a foundation repair company.

Bowed Basement Walls and How to Fix Them

Bowed Basement Walls and How to Fix Them

As a foundation repair contractor, one issue that we see frequently is bowed basement walls.  When a basement wall begins to bow, it causes a horizontal crack that goes down the length of the wall and usually has stair step cracks near the corners.  The purpose of this blog is to discuss what causes basement walls to bow in the first place and our solution to fix bowed basement walls.

bowed basement walls

What Causes Basement Walls to Bow?

There are several factors that cause this problem.  In most parts of the midwest, our weather patterns consist of cold winters and warm summers.  During winter time, the soil directly up against the outside of your foundation wall goes through a freezing and thawing pattern.  When the weather warms up, soil gets soaked with rain and then dries out.  Because of these patterns, soil is constantly expanding and contracting.  This process puts a lot of pressure on foundations.  The way a wall is constructed also has an impact.  If a foundation has weak areas or wasn’t built to current building codes, it may be susceptible to issues later on. Large tree roots nearby can put pressure on a basement wall.  A settling patio, stoop, or concrete steps can also cause pressure on a basement wall.  Gutters that are clogged and spilling over exasperate the problem even more.

How to Fix Bowed Basement Walls

At Pioneer, we utilize carbon fiber technology from Fortress Stabilization.  Fortress manufactures carbon fiber straps that adhere to the basement wall with epoxy.  They are applied to the wall vertically.  The top and bottom of the straps are anchored down to prevent any further movement.  This provides a solution that is stronger than the original wall and it is stronger than steel.  Let us explain how the product works.

The Fortress System

Installing carbon on a wall and making it look good is easy. Having it perform well, however, is an entirely different matter. The forces that cause walls to bow in the first place will most likely return. The difference between a carbon reinforcement system that works and a system that may fail is a multifaceted set of controllable variables. Fortress tests each feature of their system to address the external forces that will continue to work against the basement wall.

Bowed Basement walls

Are All Carbon Fiber Products the Same?

Carbon fiber must be under tension to get the benefit. It is imperative to apply carbon straight to achieve the correct tension. Fortress cures its carbon straight and without wrinkles, making it rigid enough to lay over the mortar and small cracks, not curve into these depressions.  Wrinkled carbon may not continue to hold throughout the life of the home. Over the years, a gradual increase in external pressure on non-tension carbon could cause the carbon to separate from the concrete and fail to hold the wall.

Fortress uses a unique manufacturing process to engineer the carbon wall reinforcement system so that each unit is straight.  Pioneer Basement Solutions can select any product to install but we choose Fortress because their product and manufacturing process is superior to their competitors.  For example, other manufacturer’s carbon fiber product consists of a basic weave pattern that does not allow the strands to remain straight. The strands can elongate and loosen over time.  Thus creating the same problem all over again!

Anchored for Ultimate Strength

Anchoring wall systems at the ends are necessary to utilize the full strength of carbon. Fortress engineers each plate anchor to out-perform the home’s foundation and withstand tremendous shear forces, keeping the carbon straps in place and the basement wall safe. A rigid plate anchor and legs prevent shear forces from moving the wall.

Fortress puts over 1,000 lbs. of tension into their top anchors at the time of installation, preventing future movement. Other systems don’t provide this level of necessary tension. Like a tightly tensioned ratcheted strap, the Fortress top anchor provides the necessary tension to take up any slack and keep the wall true.

Installed with Forever in Mind

Pioneer Basement Solutions offers guarantees on our work.  This means a lot when we have been in business since 1979.  It means that we stand behind our work and the products that we install.  Fortress Stabilization is a U.S. company and offers a lifetime guarantee on their carbon fiber straps.  When we install these straps, they are a permanent solution for bowed basement walls.

For more information on bowed basement walls, click here.

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

The best and most effective way to prevent basement flooding is to first of all waterproof your basement.  Having a waterproofing system in place is your first and best line of defense against basement flooding.  Are there other steps that you can and should take as well?  Absolutely!  Basement flooding can be a devastating event and in Northeast Ohio it is very common for heavy rainfall to occur from time to time.  This article is to help you learn the best ways to keep your basement dry.

Maintain Sump Pump

It is very important to perform routine checks on your sump pump.  Sump pumps do not last forever and as is the case with any small appliance, they can fail mechanically as they age.  Make sure that yours is still pumping properly when water begins to rise in the sump crock.  If you have had past basement flooding, or if your home is susceptible to flooding, you should consider getting a sump pump battery backup system.  Often, storms cause power outages.  Having a battery backup will prevent sump pump failure in the event of a power outage.  Many homeowners choose to install one just for the peace of mind.  Keeping your sump pump in good working order is one of the best things you can do to prevent basement flooding.

Keep Basement Floor Drains Clear

If your home is older or has big trees nearby, you’ll especially want to pay close attention to your basement drains.  Backups are a common cause of basement flooding.  Tree roots can cause blockage in the main line that leaves your home.  A portion of the drain can break and cause a blockage as well.  Heavy rainfalls that temporarily raise the water table can overwhelm drainage systems.  Since the basement is the lowest point in the home, this is normally where a drain line backs up if a blockage occurs.  You can have a plumbing company perform maintenance from time to time by snaking the line as a precautionary measure.  Installing a “backflow preventer” or a “backwater valve” is an effective solution to prevent water or sewage from backing up.  When water tries to flow back into the drain, the valves closes and prevents water from entering.

Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

Prevent basement flooding

If you have read our past blogs, you have probably heard us talk about this one before.  That is because we cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain your downspouts and gutters.  They play an important role in keeping your basement dry.  Your basement can be completely waterproofed, but if your gutters are clogged, your basement is susceptible to flooding.  Make sure to routinely check gutters and downspouts, especially if there are large trees near your home.

Proper Grade

One step you can take to prevent basement flooding is to make sure the soil around your home is graded properly to flow away from the foundation.  For obvious reasons, this preventative measure can help reduce basement moisture from entering.  This is important, but just one aspect of several measures that should be taken.

In Conclusion

As was mentioned, the above suggested maintenance along with basement waterproofing will help keep your basement dry during even the worst storms.  If your basement needs some assistance, feel free to contact us for a free* consultation.  We offer interior basement waterproofing, exterior basement waterproofing, as well as combination systems.  We can help you figure out what is causing your basement problems and fix them for good.

*Free for homeowners

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What to Expect with Basement Waterproofing

What to Expect with Basement Waterproofing

You did your research, found the right basement waterproofing contractor, and signed the contract…now you want to know what to expect with basement waterproofing.  We are here to help!  Many homeowners feel uneasy about their upcoming basement waterproofing project.  Some common concerns that we hear are: How big of a mess will it cause?  How long is this project going to disrupt my home?  Will there be a lot of dust?  How much noise can I expect?  Will the noise scare my dog?  Our goal in this article is to address some of those common concerns and hopefully put your mind at ease so you can feel fully prepared for your upcoming project.

Is It Going to Make a Big Mess?

During any construction process, it is normal for things to be a bit out of sorts for the duration of the project.  If your project involves interior basement waterproofing, as part of the process, we must break up concrete with a jackhammer along the perimeter of the basement.  Therefore, a good amount of dust will be stirred up and unfortunately this cannot be completely avoided.

Keeping the Dust Under Control

What do we do to try to counteract this?  As part of our process, we make efforts to cover your belongings with plastic sheeting.  We also work to keep the areas where we enter and exit the basement clean and free of debris.  This may mean putting plastic or another material down on the floors and steps to properly cover them.  This not only helps keep the floors clean, but also prevents any scratches or damage.  Sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep dust under control, a small amount may be left behind during the process.  If you have high value items in your basement or irreplaceable family heirlooms, it may be best to secure these in a different location for the duration of the project.  We do have a rigorous cleanup process and we try and make sure our customers are fully satisfied before we leave.

To learn about the step by step process of interior basement waterproofing, click here.

what to expect with basement waterproofing

Belongings are covered with protective plastic

Is My Yard Going to Be a Disaster?

What if you have an exterior basement waterproofing project?  What should you expect with basement waterproofing then?  Well, the best first step is familiarizing yourself with the process of exterior waterproofing.  You can learn about exterior basement waterproofing systems by clicking here.  During the course of waterproofing on the exterior, we must dig along your foundation wall on the outside.  We do this with a piece of machinery.  If you have landscaping along the foundation, we will have to move it.  While we cannot guarantee the survival of landscaping, we do make every effort to place them back once we backfill.  During the process, we take all safety precautions necessary to ensure that our customers as well as our employees stay out of harms way.

Why Bother Waterproofing from the Outside?

Some waterproofing companies will tell you that it is not necessary to waterproof from the outside and that it makes too much of a mess.  But when the job is done correctly by a skilled expert, there is no reason why your yard cannot be put properly back in place with little indication that any work was ever done.  Additionally, some basements must be waterproofed on the exterior if you really want to address the root of the problem and keep the basement dry permanently.  So it’s important to remember the reason for doing the waterproofing and the good outcome that will come as a result.

How Much Noise Can I Expect?

Unfortunately, there is no way to break up concrete quietly.  We must use a jackhammer and jackhammers are noisy.  The noise will come and go while our worker’s are completing this portion of the project.  If you have dogs or young children that are highly sensitive to noise, please notify the job foreman and request a warning before they begin jackhammering.

What to Expect with basement waterproofing

Cleaning Up During the Job

What About After the Project is Completed?

Once the project is finished, the job foreman will check in with you to explain any last minute details.  He will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions.  He will leave you with all the necessary paperwork for your project.  You will receive a guarantee to go along with your waterproofing system.  Our company does not charge a yearly maintenance fee.  You do not have to “register” your warranty online or jump through hoops to receive the warranty.

A Final Word

We hope this article helps you to prepare for your project and gives you a better idea of what to expect with basement waterproofing.  We want to assure you that our crew will make every effort to make your project as painless as possible.  Our company has numerous online reviews where we have received commendation for the way we conduct our jobs.  Please feel free to explore our website to learn more about our company as well as our process.

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What to Expect With Basement Waterproofing

Signs of a Bad Foundation

Signs of a Bad Foundation

In some cases, the signs of a bad foundation may be very obvious.  You may have been in a house or a building before where all of a sudden you feel like you are walking downhill. In most cases however, the warning signs may go unnoticed for a time.  It is important to pay attention if a warning sign presents itself.  What exactly are some of the signs of a bad foundation?  This blog will focus on some things to look for in your home that can indicate a foundation problem.

Stair Step Cracks

signs of a bad foundation

When a section of a house is settling, it pulls the basement wall down with it, separating it and causing a “stair step” or zig zag crack to occur along the seam of the blocks.  Stair step cracks are typically found near corners.  If your basement ONLY has stair step cracks, it is usually indicative of a settlement issue.  However, if there is also a horizontal crack leading up to the stair step crack(s), this is a different story.  The next point discusses this.

Horizontal Cracks

Cracks that travel horizontally down the basement wall are caused by external pressure of soil.  In Northeast Ohio, soil frequently freezes and then thaws, freezes and then thaws.  Then in the summer it is dry and then wet, dry and then wet.  Soil constantly expands and contracts.  When gutters are clogged or not working properly, it makes the foundation vulnerable because the soil right next to the foundation will be heavier and wetter.  The way a foundation is constructed also plays a part.

A horizontal crack is likely to be accompanied by stair step cracks near the corners.  If you have a horizontal crack, take steps to have it inspected by a reputable foundation repair expert.  Do your homework on foundation repair companies and look into their suggested repair techniques.  Some companies will recommend a beam or some other method, even if the structural integrity of the wall is compromised and it cannot be repaired.  Always ask the company if they pull a permit.  If not, they are not adhering to standard building codes.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks that go straight up and down indicate sinking or settling of the foundation.  The soil underneath of your foundation also goes through the expanding and contracting process.  If you have a vertical crack on one wall, you will almost always have a vertical crack on another wall.  During summer when soil tends to be dryer, houses may settle and sink faster than during colder times of the year.  For companies that offer foundation repair, this is a busier time of the year simply because more houses are settling during this time.

Basement Floor Cracks

What if you have cracks in the basement floor but no cracks in any of the basement walls?  Is this a sign of a bad foundation?  Possibly.  This could be caused by hydrostatic pressure or water pressure.  As water builds up, if it has no where to go, it creates pressure, and may crack a basement floor.  A basement water issue could lead to a foundation issue and should be monitored.

Doors and Windows That Will Not Close Properly

When a foundation shifts or moves, it affects not only the basement walls, but also all of the construction that sits on top of them.  If doors and windows stick when you try to open and close them, this is an indication that the foundation has shifted.

Cracks in Drywall

If you have noticed settlement cracks in your basement, take time to inspect the rest of your home.  Look at the drywall throughout the house to see if you can find any cracks.  Cracks in drywall often go hand in hand with foundation settlement cracks.  These types of cracks may not stand out as much because they may be hairline cracks close to the ceiling that simply go unnoticed.

So You Have the Signs of a Bad Foundation.  Now What?

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, don’t procrastinate!  Take immediate action.  If you catch a foundation problem early, you may be able to stop the damage in its tracks. If you put it off, the issue may become worse and therefore more costly to fix.

Are you concerned about your foundation?  Feel free to contact us for a free estimate.  If you truly do have all the signs of a bad foundation, we can present you with the solutions to fix your foundation permanently.

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Water in Basement After Rain? Now What?

Water in Basement After Rain? Now What?

You walk downstairs only to realize that there is water in your basement after a rain storm.  How frustrating!  Now what should you do?  Knowing how best to fix the problem can be tough if you haven’t done your homework before sitting down with basement waterproofing contractors.  The purpose of this blog is to help educate the homeowner to be prepared for interviewing potential contractors.

Water in basement after rain

Generally, if your basement is only leaking after a rain storm, this is a good indication that surface water is entering your foundation from top to bottom.  Some people will try to build up the soil around the home to slope the water away.  This may or may not improve the situation.  Exercise caution and make sure to raise the waterproof coating outside as well.  Otherwise the problem may become worse.  Most likely, water in the basement after rain means the original foundation seal is damaged.  Contractors that only install interior basement waterproofing may recommend that interior is the best fix.  Granted, you may achieve a dry basement by installing an interior system.  HOWEVER, to fix the cause of the problem in this case, the best solution is to stop the water from the outside.  You can do so by installing a new exterior basement waterproofing system.

How Does Exterior Basement Waterproofing Work?

The purpose of exterior basement waterproofing is to stop water from entering your foundation from the outside.  The process starts with excavating dirt away from the basement walls.  We dig to the bottom of the footer to expose the entire foundation.  We then repair any basement foundation cracks and/or weak points.  Afterward, we apply a full seal coating to your basement walls along with a unique dimpled air gap membrane that is bonded to your foundation walls.  The result is a guaranteed dry foundation wall.  To top it off, we install new PVC footer drains and cover them with gravel.  Once drains are installed, the soil is put back and graded away from the foundation walls.

Water in basement after rain

Water in Basement After Rain

When an Interior System May be the Right Answer

What if water only leaks into the basement after heavy rain storms that have persisted for a while?  What if the walls are mostly dry especially up high and the seepage happens around the bottom of the wall?  If this is the case, an interior basement waterproofing system may indeed be the best solution.  Under this scenario, ground water rises after a heavy precipitation event or a heavy snow melt to the point that it builds up around the base of your foundation.  Interior basement waterproofing will catch ground water as it builds and prevent it from ever seeping in.  Many homes do not have drains under the basement floor to carry this water away.  Homes that have drains may have been installed without proper sloping and water cannot flow.  Homes built in the 1970’s through the early 2000’s may have black corrugated drain pipes.  These can become easily clogged.  In fact, current building codes no longer allow this type of pipe to be used.

How Pioneer Can Help

At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we do not believe in a one size fits all solution.  No two basements are identical.  We thoroughly review each basement before making recommendations.  We have been doing business since 1979 with a long track record of customer satisfaction.  Check our our company on the Better Business Bureau.  We are ten time Super Service Award winners on Angie’s List.  That water in the basement after rain may be frustrating, but don’t let it scare you!

Basement Waterproofing Products and Systems

Basement Waterproofing Products and Systems

If you have done a simple google search for basement waterproofing products, you may find that the options are overwhelming.  There are many types of products on the market that claim to eliminate basement water intrusion.  There are various types of systems all with the goal of eliminating water seepage or channeling water away from the foundation.  It can be quite difficult to sift through all of the different products and systems available.  The purpose of this blog is to cover some of the more common approaches to basement waterproofing.  We will explain how certain basement waterproofing products work, which ones make the most sense, and which ones to avoid.

Dehumidifiers and Ventilation Systems

A dehumidifier works by drawing air into the unit, removing moisture, and then expelling the dry air back into the room. The excess moisture typically gets discharged into a bucket or directly into a drainage system, or may be pumped out of the unit.  There are many different models and brands of dehumidifiers and ventilation systems. They can range in price anywhere from $200 to $1,500 or more.  You can purchase a basic, free standing dehumidifier for a small area of a few hundred square feet.  Or you may choose a “whole home” style moisture control/ventilation system.  Such units tend to have more options and additional add-ons and features for more advanced settings.  You can purchase an independent unit as well as units that connect to your existing furnace system.  Dehumidifiers and ventilation systems are beneficial to have for chronically damp basements.

You can learn more about humidity control and ventilation here.

Waterproofing Paints

Waterproofing paints are made to be applied to the interior of basement walls.  The idea behind these products is that they are supposed to keep water from penetrating the foundation wall and entering into the basement.  Many of these products make all kinds of crazy claims.  They also market that their product is a permanent solution.  The issue with these types of products is that it doesn’t actually get to the root of the problem.  It does not eliminate nor does it redirect water away from the foundation.  Certain basement waterproofing paints also attract mold growth.  Many of them contain warning labels on the container advising of this.  Although it may mask the issue for a time, it does not actually fix the problem.  Therefore, using this product is not really basement waterproofing.  It is a temporary bandaid at best.

Sump Pumps

basement waterproofing productsSump pumps are typically used hand-in-hand with an interior basement waterproofing system.  How does this type of system work?  A trench is dug alongside the home’s footer and drainage is installed to direct water to the sump pump.  The sump pump then takes water out and away from the basement.  For such a system to work properly, the footer drains must have appropriate sloping so that the water can flow properly.

When it comes to sump pumps, the old adage “you get what you pay for” proves true.  Therefore, Pioneer makes it a priority to select only high quality basement waterproofing products.  We choose quality sump pumps from reliable manufacturers.  A quality sump pump can make the difference between a bone dry basement during a heavy rain and a flooded basement!  Additionally, sump pumps are available with a battery backup system which is useful in the event of a power outage.  It is also important to check sump pumps periodically to make sure they are in good working order.

We have written a detailed breakdown of an interior basement waterproofing system in a previous blog post.

Basement Wall Membrane

This product works best along with an exterior basement waterproofing system.  Pioneer uses Delta MS, a high quality, time tested dimpled membrane board.  The process begins with excavation around the exterior of the foundation.  We place the membrane on the outside of the foundation wall.  Then, we install drainage around the bottom of the foundation and cover it with gravel.  The drainage carries the water away from the foundation.  The membrane is what keeps water from penetrating the basement wall.

You can learn more about exterior basement waterproofing and basement wall membrane here.

Crack Repair Kits

basement waterproofing products and systemsThese kits typically require injection of polyurethane or a similar material with a caulking gun.  Such kits are geared toward the DIY homeowner.  Sealing a crack can prevent a small amount of water from entering and may reduce the unsightly appearance of a basement crack.  However, sealants such as the ones used in these kits will break down over time.  Thus, this product is not a permanent basement waterproofing solution. Also, it is important to examine the reason why there is a crack in the first place.  If there are settlement issues, these need to be addressed to prevent further damage. Small cracks could be indicative of a bigger problem and should be closely monitored for changes.  If you notice cracking in your basement, do not cover them up and forget about them.  A qualified foundation expert should inspect the problem to determine whether or not to stabilize the foundation.

Patented Basement Systems

If something is “patented”, it must be pretty special, right?  Just because a product has a patent, it doesn’t mean that it is the best on the market.  Nor does it mean that the product is the right fit for your home.  Contractors that offer such systems state that their product “sets them apart” from the competition.  How do these systems work?  They are intended to be installed on top of a house’s footer.  What is the problem with this?  Your home’s footer is level.  Water cannot flow properly when it is level.  This means that water builds up in the channel, remaining stagnant.  These systems are much more susceptible to problems and failure.  Particularly during a heavy rain when you need it to work the most!

Additionally, interior basement waterproofing is not always the best fit for every home.  Most companies that offer such patented systems are not equipped to perform basement waterproofing with any other method.  If a company only offers one solution, of course they are going to tell you that the solution they offer is the best!  They have nothing else to offer.

In Conclusion

At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we have nothing to hide about the basement waterproofing products that we offer.  Our basement inspectors always thoroughly explain the pros and cons.  We are honest about what works and what doesn’t.  We take an individual approach to each home and will only offer a solution that fits your exact problem.  Our goal is to educate the homeowner so that they can make the best decision.  If you would like to learn more about what we have to offer, please feel free to contact us to speak with a basement and foundation specialist.

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basement waterproofing products