To Do Before Basement Finishing

before basement finishing

To Do Before Basement Finishing

Many people ask us about what they need to do before basement finishing. Many homes in Ohio are older and have old basements. Finishing the basement can add a lot of livable space to your home. There are a lot of things to consider before basement finishing whether you are going to DIY or hire a professional.

1) Bring in a basement waterproofing company to do an inspection. If you have slight leaks or cracks that could get worse, they could quickly ruin your basement refinishing effort. Always start with an inspection of your foundation walls and flooring.

2) Have the electrical inspected. If you are going to be finishing walls that are currently not finished, now is the time to replace or add any wiring that might need work. It is much easier to do before you finish the basement.

3) Check beams for insect or water damage before basement finishing. You do not want to cover up support beams that might have termite or other types of damage. This kind of damage can weaken the core support of your home and be a serious safety issue.

4) Inspect the entire foundation for cracks, holes or ways that animals, water or dirt can get in. Have these things fixed before you cover the area up. A bee’s nest in the wall is not a welcome find.

5) Clean and fumigate the entire space before basement finishing. Make sure it is dirt, mold and bug free before you begin your project. Mold or mildew growing behind your new walls is going to make the newly refinished basement musty and moldy again if you do not solve these issues.

6) Choose materials wisely. Carpet is most likely not a great choice in the basement. Instead, a tile floor and an area carpet is safer and can be a very similar environment.

7) Replace bowed basement walls before basement finishing. If your walls are bowing, usually due to water issues, you need the walls replaced and supported better. Covering them with a frame and drywall will not stop the basement wall from collapsing. This can be a very serious risk to your home and safety.

Pioneer is an award winning company with over 40 years in the basement waterproofing and foundation repair industry.  Check out reviews by clicking on the logos below


Many basements in Ohio can be refinished to be beautiful extensions of a home. However, make sure you go through our checklist of things to consider and inspect before basement finishing.

Is Your Basement Dangerous?

Depending on where you live in the US, your home may or may not have a basement.  This below ground area under homes is very convenient for storage and as a place to work on things or do laundry.  It can also be finished into a beautiful extension of the home, often having a home theater or rec room.

Basements are more common in the Northern portions of the United States.  We have been in thousands of basements in Northeast Ohio and have seen some great ones, as well as some that are very dangerous to the people living in the home.  If you are in an older home, or even a newer home that might have leaks or dampness, then you could be exposed to risks and dangers in your basement that can be fixed.  Here are some of the common issues.

Rotting Beams – When you have moisture in your basement, it can lead to warping of wood beams and walls.  It can even lead to rotting wood over time if the wood is getting damp enough.  While in the short term this is not an issue, over a longer period of time, it can cause significant danger to the structure of the home.

Black Mold – Any mold and mildew is not pleasant and can damage your belongings.  Black mold is actually toxic to humans and is dangerous for a family living in a home with it.  Sometimes it is out in the open, and other times it can be behind walls or in ceilings when things are damp.  If you are not sure about mold or mildew, call a specialist to take a look.  Basement waterproofing companies can assess the risk but they might not be experts on different types of risks.  Always work with someone who has a lot of experience.

Insects – Insects attract other insects.  Keeping your basement dry and clean will minimize the insects in your home.  The last thing you want is carpenter ants eating your support beams or brown recluse spiders nesting in your walls.  Reducing these risks begins with reducing the moisture and food sources for these pests, and call an exterminator if you see insects in any significant number.

Flooding – If your basement floods, there are all kinds of dangers.  You can have electrical shorts.  You can have damage to walls and belongings.  You can have moisture that will keep things damp, making rot, softness, insects and mold all more common.  The best way to not have this kind of issue it to take care of small leads before they cause a floor.

Foundation Collapsing – Bowing basement walls is a major danger.  At any time, a wall that is bowing or damaged can simply collapse.  Since the basement walls support the house, this puts the whole house at risk and is dangerous to be around for anyone.  If you have bowing basement walls, call a basement waterproofing company that also does foundation repair right away.

Pioneer Basement Solutions is a NE Ohio basement waterproofing company with over 40 years of experience waterproofing basements and repairing home foundations.  If you have any water or foundation problems with your Ohio basement, give us a call today and we will get it inspected.

basement wall repair

Basement Waterproofing in Suffield Ohio

Around Ohio, there are many old residential homes that, eventually, will start to have leaks and foundation issues. A damp basement is most noticeable during the rainier seasons, but it is a serious concern year-round.

A lot of family homes in Suffield, Ohio should have their basement carefully looked at and made waterproof because they are over 10 years old. Even newer family homes can occasionally have basement issues if the foundation was not laid properly or the house has moved.

If you have a Suffield home with basement problems, call Pioneer Basement Solutions at (888) 420-9900 right away and schedule an appointment. Frequently, you can get your basement waterproofed or have the house foundation repaired quickly and your basement will be more safe and pleasant.

Basement Issues To Watch For The house can have increased mold spores that can harm your heath and your family’s health. This can even make allergies worse. The danger could be something as serious as black mold, which is a serious danger, or less serious like basic mold and mildew, which is still not good to be around and can stain things you keep in the basement. If left unaddressed, minor basement leaks can turn into major waterproofing issue or eventually cause an issue with the foundation of the home bowing or becoming a bigger project. Get the leak looked at quickly.

Unexpected larger flooding after there is severe weather might cause water damage to belongings kept in your basement. Frequently it is stuff like board games, photo albums, tax records or expensive furniture that are kept in your basement safely as you assumed you did not have a leak in the basement and you felt it was safe.

You are not the first one. Even a small leak can get worse and you might not know it until it is too late.

Ohio Homes Will Need Waterproofing

Suffield basement waterproofing is important to consider because the Ohio houses in most communities are frequently older and need to have professional basement waterproofing specialists inspect your basement to verify there are not issues that could need to be repaired, and to let you know what could be done to repair any leaks or mustiness. Suffield, Ohio is located in Portage County, Ohio and was founded in 1836, which means there are many old homes around the area and there is no doubt more than a few basements leaking badly. The city is near Mogadore and Randolph and Pioneer provides Mogadore, Ohio and Randolph, Ohio waterproofing services also.

Who Can Help?

If you own a home with basement waterproofing concerns in Suffield township Ohio, contact us by calling 1 (888) 420-9900 and set up a good time for Pioneer Basement Solutions to come inspect your basement. Pioneer has over 40 years of waterproofing experience in Ohio.

Copley, Ohio Basement Waterproofing Company

In the state of Ohio, there are a lot of older homes that, at some point, begin to have water leaks or foundation issues.

A wet, leaky basement will often appear at the beginning of the wet seasons, but is a major issue year-round.

Many family homes in Copley, Ohio should have their basement and foundation carefully looked at and fully waterproofed when it is over twenty years old. Even less old houses can occasionally have issues if the foundation was not laid properly or the home has settled. If you own a home in Copley with water in the basement, contact Pioneer Basement Solutions at 1 (888) 420-9900 while you are thinking about it and schedule an appointment.

Wet basement

Usually, you can get a basement waterproofed or get the basement foundation repaired fairly fast and your house will be more clean and pleasant. There are many problems you can experience if you do not have a flooding basement waterproofed.

You can have increased mold and mildew that might degrade the health of your family. This can sometimes make allergies flair up. The issue could be something as concerning as black mold, or less serious like everyday mildew or mold, which is not good to breath and can stain items you might have boxed up in the basement.

If left unaddressed, small basement leaks can grow into major waterproofing issue or even cause a bigger issue with the foun

dation of the house bowing and becoming dangerous. Have the leak inspected by a professional. Surprise wet basement floors the next time there is severe weather can also get wet and ruin belongings in your basement. This could be valuable things including antiques, family photos, important documents or cherished furniture that are kept in the basement because there was not a any basement issues and you assumed the basement was the best place to put things you did not need at the moment. This can happen to anyone but with some prevention it will not happen to you. Even a small water issue can become worse and you might not know it until it is too late.

Ohio Basements Eventually Need Waterproofing

Copley basement waterproofing is an important thing to pay attention to, considering Ohio residential homes throughout the state are frequently older and need to have professional basement waterproofing specialists inspect the basements to verify there are not problems which might need to be repaired, and to let you know what can be done to repair any water problems or mildew.

Copley, Ohio is is part of Summit County, Ohio and was founded in 1819, which means there are quit a few aging homes in the area and there are certainly more than a few basements needing waterproofing. Copley is around Fairlawn and Medina and Pioneer provides Fairlawn and Medina waterproofing services as well. If you own a home with basement waterproofing issues in Copley Ohio, give us a call at (888) 420-9900 and arrange the best time and date for Pioneer Basement Solutions to come out and have their experts inspect your basement.

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

Alliance Ohio Basement Waterproofing Inspections

Ohio has a lot of beautiful, older family homes which, at some point, will start to have water leaks or foundation issues. A damp basement is most noticeable during the wetter seasons, but keep in mind it is a serious concern all year. A lot of family homes in Alliance, Ohio need to have the basement and foundation reviewed and made waterproof because they are over 10 years old. Also less old houses unfortunately occasionally have basement issues if the foundation was not done properly or the house has moved.

If you have a Alliance home with basement problems, contact Pioneer Basement Solutions by calling 1 (888) 420-9900 right away and talk to an expert. Frequently, you can have a waterproofing completed or have the basement foundation fixed quickly and your basement will be more clean and useful.


The house can see an increased mildew and mold that could impact you and your family’s health. This can often make allergies worse. It could be something as dangerous as black mold, which is a serious danger, or something like everyday mold and mildew, which is not good to breath and will damage things you have boxed up in the basement.

If you do not fix your issue, slight basement leaks can become serious water issues or eventually become a bigger issue concerning the foundation in the basement bowing and ending up dangerous. Get your basement inspected right away.

Unexpected bigger water in basement during or after there is more rain than usual might get wet and ruin items in your home’s basement. Often it’s items such as clothes, photo albums, kids projects or cherished tools that, of course, are stored in your basement without concern as you assumed you did not have a water in your basement and you thought it was a good place for storage. You are not the first one. Even a tiny water problem might rapidly grow worse and you might not know it until things are destroyed.

Many Ohio Homes Will Need a Waterproofing Inspection

Alliance basement waterproofing is important to look into because the Ohio family homes throughout the state are often not new and should request professional basement waterproofing pros inspect the basements to verify there are no problems that will get worse, and to report on what should be done to fix any flooding or mildew.

Alliance, Ohio is in Stark County, Ohio and was founded in 1854, which means there are some older homes in the city and there is no doubt some percentage of basements needing waterproofing. The city is close to Canton and Louisville and Pioneer provides Canton and Louisville waterproofing services those communities. If you have a house with basement waterproofing needs in Alliance Ohio, give us a call at (888) 420-9900 and arrange the best time and date for Pioneer Basement Solutions to come take a look at your basement.

Patch Cracks in Basement Wall

Water precipitation in Northeast Ohio has been pretty heavy this year.  According to the National Weather Service records, the amount of precipitation last year was a bit heavier than 2019, but we still have a pretty wet, pretty humid year.  Last year’s precipitation was 8.43 Inches compared to the 7.42 Inches this year.  Regardless of the precipitation amount, many homeowners feel the rain is never far off this year.

For homeowners with an old basement or a home where the foundation walls have lost their seal and are letting water seep into the basement of the home, any amount of rain is bad news.

After many years, the sealant applied to basements walls wears down and lets water into the foundation walls and basement of the home.  Slowly, but surely, some homes suffer damage to the foundation of the home for many years without the homeowner realizing it.

Early Signs of Water Damage:

  1. Cracks in the walls
  2. Cracks along the seams where the walls meet the floor
  3. Water sitting along the basement walls
  4. Peeling paint
  5. Mold
  6. Musty odor

Those are the early signs that a homeowner can spot and identify easily.  Fixing the problem on the other hand should be done by an expert.  Homeowners that are handy at fixing things, believe they can patch a basement wall or the cracks that have appeared along the walls and the basement floor.

There is also an abundance of YouTube videos showing you how to fix the crack in the basement of your home, making the homeowner believe calling an expert to fix the water problems in their home is not needed.

Those videos, however, do not show you the work that was put into before they show you the end result or the end steps. Patching a crack in the basement wall might be doable for many homeowners, but the problem is not fixed.

Ask yourself:

Did I fix the water seepage that was happening before I “fixed” the crack?

Was the water coming from the outside or is it an inside leak?

Will the water find another spot to leak into the basement?

Is the sealant on the walls gone?

Is water sitting around the foundation and finding a way into the home?

Patching a basement crack in the wall by yourself is only temporary.  The problem will most likely persist, perhaps damaging the foundation as well. An expert will show you know where the water is coming from, whether you have water inside the walls or if you have insects that can probably damage the wood frame of the home.

Patching a crack in the wall should be done by a professional company that will ensure the work is done well with no shortcuts, and with a price that won’t break your bank.

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.


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

Learn more about how to prevent basement flooding by keeping up with our blogs and by following us on our Facebook page!