Mold in the Basement – A Common Concern

Mold in the Basement

Many homeowners are concerned with a common yet worrisome occurrence; mold in the basement.  The following quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains how mold may enter the home:
“Mold spores occur in the indoor and outdoor environments. Spores may enter your house from the outside through open doorways, windows, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with outdoor air intakes. Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, making clothing, shoes, bags, and pets convenient vehicles for carrying mold indoors.

When spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow.”

mold in the basement

Basements are particularly susceptible to mold growth due to excess moisture.  The growth does not have to become widespread to be a threat to your health.  If your basement has a problem with water intrusion, it is quite possible that you may also have a problem with mold.

Many people use bleach in attempt to solve this issue.  While this can be useful on hard surfaces, such as glass, tile, and bathtubs, bleach can not completely kill live spores growing on porous surfaces like drywall, wood, and concrete.  There are various other remediation products on the market.  How can you sort through all of the products and information in order to make the right choice for your family?  A common sense approach can be taken to resolve this issue.

Evaluation by a Specialist

When dealing with such an issue, it is best to respect the potential health risks involved.  Have the problem area inspected by someone who is qualified in mold assessment.  They can perform an evaluation and then recommend the best solution.

Remove the Source of the Problem

Simply removing the mold will not completely solve your problem.  The cause of the problem must also be eliminated.  Even once spores are removed, recontamination can occur if there is still a source of moisture.  If you are dealing with excess moisture or water intrusion in your basement, contact Pioneer Basement Solutions.  We have trained mold assessment specialists that are also qualified to make an evaluation of any basement water issues.  We never use fear mongering in order to “scare” a homeowner into agreeing to a job.  We simply give our honest evaluation and a common sense solution.

Contact us today! to learn more about mold in the basement

How To Compare Basement Waterproofers

How to compare basement waterproofers

If you are new to the experience you may be wondering how to compare basement waterproofers.  I often hear prospective customers tell me they have had three basement waterproofers visit and each one had a different opinion and recommendation.  And with the ease of internet marketing it is difficult to decipher things about contractors like the size and age of the business as well as reputation.  Any business can launch a new website and look experienced and professional in an instant.

National (and franchise based) vs. local basement waterproofers

National waterproofers and franchises are easy to spot.  They brag about how big the network is and if they go out of business the corporate office will still be there.  Actually, national businesses and businesses operating franchises are not immune to going out of business.  These basement waterproofers spend a lot of money on marketing.  TV ads, print ads, large fancy trade show and county fair booths, catalogs mailed out to the home prior to the appointment, and a very large marketing organization consisting of telemarketing associates and highly trained sales people. Sales people trained on a word for word step by step process to sell they “patented” product.  Oh, there is another clue.  Patented  systems mean everyone gets the same solution.

These companies are very good at convincing you they do it all.  But look closely at both hands and you will see the sales presentation is designed to point to one final conclusion…the patented system.  They never sell anything else to anybody.

Be careful to look at the credentials of the actual franchise and not the corporate statistics as well.  For example, there are franchise based basement waterproofers that had a franchisee go out of business with bad BBB complaints in our area within the last five years.  A new franchise owner has popped up, all new employees etc…  So in effect this is a brand new business with no experience.  But the image the brand holds is what the new guy is selling even though he has no track record.

Local basement waterproofers are also easy to spot because they often advertise “locally owned and operated since …”  Local contractors spend a fraction of the marketing dollars of national companies.  Look for how many employees the company has.  Small business owners in this business are trending towards temporary labor and day labor.  This can be risky for their customers.  If anyone gets injured or causes damage to the property and they are not insured it will be your responsibility to cover damages & costs.

Many local basement waterproofers offer one solution not unlike the big national and franchise operations.  There are those who only do exterior basement waterproofing and those who only do interior basement waterproofing.  Again, in these scenarios every customer gets the same solution whether that is the best fix for your specific basement problems or not. There are very few basement waterproofers who do it all.

Reputation

It is not as easy as it used to be to do a quick glance at whether a company is listed with the Better Business Bureau and determine if they are solid or not.  Almost every basement waterproofer in our area has an A+ rating and I don’t think anyone has less than an A-.  That’s not because they are all great.  You have to look at the number of complaints listed on the contractor’s profile.  They can have over 30 complaints listed and have an A+ while others have zero complaints and an A+.  As long as the contractor responds to the constant barrage of complaints they get an A+.  In the meanwhile they have a pattern of very dissatisfied customers.  You can read the actual complaints and contractor responses on the BBB site to get a good feel for how they do business.

So look for zero complaints, and look at things like when the business was established.  If you hear from a contractor “25 years experience” it should be a red flag to look at the age of the business.  There could be five employees with five years experience each and the business is one year old in this scenario.  There is very good info on the BBB site, you just have to take a few minutes to dig into it.

BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating and ZERO complaints

Twelve Time "Super Service Award" Winners from Angie's List

Home Advisor Screened and Approved

Another very good resource is Angie’s List.  Angie’s List contains consumer driven information for their ratings.  You’ll see not everyone gets an A there!  Angie’s List sends homeowners a report card for each service performed by contractors on their list.  Things graded are price, punctuality, responsiveness, quality and professionalism.  These grades are then averaged for the contractors overall grade.  You can click through actual report cards and read customer feedback on each interaction.

Do a google search for complaints.

Look at their website for content…is there quality information on a variety of topics or a simple landing page with a phone number and the basics?  How about Facebook and Google + ?

Do they show picture of their actual work?

interior basement waterproofers

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Exterior basement waterproofiers

Neat and clean job site after full excavation!

Call Pioneer Basement Solutions for a free no obligation consultation (for homeowners only) today! get-arrow

Certainly there are other things to consider…hope these tips helped you compare basement waterproofers!

 

Angie's List Super Service Award

Basement Waterproofing Company Reviews, What To Look For

Basement Waterproofing Company Reviews, What To Look For

Searching for basement waterproofing company reviews may not result in a clear picture. So how do you know which basement waterproofing companies will be a good fit for your basement problems?  As in any business there are different models out there.  There is the sales and marketing organization that offers a product or service, usually “unique to only them”.  There is the one trick pony that touts “there is only one way to fix a problem”.  There is the cafeteria style offering many options to choose from.  Then of course there are variations in size and age: working out of the home to national franchise and newbie to decades old.

The sales and marketing organization basement waterproofing company usually trains a team of sales people (we’re skipping the marketing team that gets the sales person in your door for sake of this conversation) on just enough of a few things to be convincing when selling their unique system.  Funny thing is, every customer they meet is a perfect fit for their unique system.  So they sell that system to every customer regardless of the need.  And there is the agreement the company had to sign on a corporate level to sell that system…and only that system to every customer.  If you hear “franchise” or “national” you know you are dealing with this type of company.

The one trick pony basement waterproofing company is similar in nature to the sales and marketing organization in that they sell the same thing to every customer they meet.  After all, there is only one way to really fix the problem…right?  Why then do you get different opinions from each company?  Confusing to most people without construction knowledge.  The truth is there are different types/ sources of basement water seepage and they require different solutions.

So if you have wet basement walls, the outside solution will stop water from entering the foundation.  But the interior system company says that by draining all the water from the bottom that will dry out the foundation…problem, solved a lot cheaper and easier.  But the water is still going through your foundation to get to the drain.

If you have ground water under your floor, installing drainage under your floor will stop the water from ever building up again.  But sealing the walls on the outside is the “right way to fix it” according to some.  Problem is new drains on the outside of the foundation will not get the water building up under the basement floor and no company will guarantee it will.

The cafeteria style basement waterproofing company will offer exterior only, interior only, combinations of both etc…  BUT BEWARE there are companies in the other categories that want to look like a cafeteria style so they walk you through the different solutions in a way that manipulates you to believe their “system” is the best one.  Common sense tells most homeowners if they have wet basement walls the best way fix that is to stop the seepage on the outside.  But they also have areas where water is seeping in at the floor level that is behind a garage or front porch, enclosed patio and you are not going to tear those out!  this is where combining solutions makes sense.  Or maybe all walls are dry and the original seal to the foundation does not need to be redone.  or maybe there is evidence of water under the basement floor.

So when looking through basement waterproofing company reviews you will undoubtedly look for reports like Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, The Attorney General etc…  What you want to look for is actual complaint records.  Organizations that give a letter grade A through F have criteria for those grades that might not align with your criteria.  For example, a basement waterproofing company may have an A+ with the Better Business Bureau but have over 30 complaints.  There is no excuse for a pattern of complaints whether there are 5 or 30.  Read the complaints for a good idea on how companies respond.

You will be able to find basement waterproofing with not only no complaints but positive reviews as well.  You will have to dig to get to them though but the search is worth the effort to get a reputable company that will solve your basement leaking, and have a record of standing behind their work.

Call Pioneer Basement Solutions for a free evaluation and project quote.  Pioneer is a “cafeteria style” basement waterproofing company offering all solutions and combinations.  And we use employee labor, we do not work out of the home and are not held to any restricting contract from a franchise or national agreement.  Since 1979 Pioneer has a record of perfect customer service. 

BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating and ZERO complaints

Twelve Time "Super Service Award" Winners from Angie's List

Home Advisor Screened and Approved

water under basement floor

Water under basement floor best fixed from inside

 

exterior basement waterproofing

Wet basement wall best fixed from the outside

Hope this article helped you with basement waterproofing company reviews, what to look for

foundation settlement repair

Foundation Settlement Repair

Foundation Settlement Repair

Foundation settlement repair consists of installing support below the foundation to stop it from sinking into poor soil conditions.  The Stabil-Loc Foundation Pier System is installed directly under the concrete or mason wall that needs to be lifted or stabilized. The pier is driven deep within the earth into bedrock or stable, load-bearing strata which is verifiable with load-testing. As the home is lifted, a mechanism allows part of the piering system that makes contact with the bottom of the footer to be rotated to prevent breaking the footer- a feature not found anywhere else. Installation can be done quickly, and with minimal excavation required. This system is designed to re-stabilize the sinking structure by shifting the weight of the home off of the foundation and onto themselves, redirecting the load to more reliable earth layers underground.

Stabil-Loc Foundation Piering Systems are patented piers for virtually any foundation settlement repair. What separates them from any other pier systems is the unique method of installation and how the system was designed. Engineers created a new method and started from scratch using a piering system that places the bracket directly underneath your home and the pile (the pole of the pier) attached to the center of the bracket. This gives a much stronger and durable system that no other pier can provide- withstanding any shifts of soil conditions or pressure. These piers are also designed to drill deeper than any other system, resting the structure’s weight on bedrock or load-bearing strata (the most stable of earth’s crust layers).

foundation settlement repair

The Difference of Stabil-Loc Piers for Foundation Settlement Repair

Using traditional brackets along the side of your structure (often called offset piers) proved to be an inadequate technique for foundation repair. Lifting the structure with piers and brackets at an angle (helical piers) or offset to the side of your home would eventually bend, break, or improperly raise the foundation. In the diagram to the left you can see the instability of other systems that lead to foundation failure. Your investment in a Stabil-Loc Foundation Pier system is reliable using linear lifting instead of angular, offset, or using concrete materials. This provides a more stable and natural method of leveling your foundation.

So how do you know if you have a foundation settlement problem?  A settling foundation is very different from other foundation problems so for reference we’ll briefly look at the common foundation problems.  Horizontal cracks in basement walls lead to basement walls bowing in.  Poor attachment of the structure above can lead to basement walls tipping in at top / in effect sliding out from underneath the house above.  Bad foundation drainage can lead to water soaking into the block weakening the mortar joints and causing the basement wall to sheer off or slide off of itself.  Water damage to a basement wall can also lead to decay or rotting basement walls.  None of these issues qualify for foundation settlement repair, each issue having its own solution.

Basement settling cracks are typically vertical or they follow the mortar joints in a stair step pattern.  The soft soil underneath the footing of the wall causes the footing to settle.  The result being the wall that sits on the footing to drop causing the cracking.  So if you have the following: vertical cracks in your basement walls, stair step cracks in your basement walls, large cracks in the basement floor which is becoming uneven chances are you need foundation settlement repair.  Other tell tale signs are walls cracking in living space above, uneven floors and doors and windows that do not operate normally.

A professionally trained structural evaluator will be able to confirm weather you have a settling basement.  Measurement should be taken to identify where the foundation breaks are and how much movement there has been.  At Pioneer Basement Solutions our straight forward no sales nonsense approach can help you determine what if any needs you may have.  We never attempt to sell anything to any customer that they do not need unlike many national or franchised companies which are large marketing and sales organizations that train sales people how to sell thier products to every prospective customer they get in front of.

Contact Pioneer Basement Solutions today get-arrowto schedule your foundation evaluation and get the information you need for your foundation settlement repair.

Wet basement walls

Exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?

Exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?

So many people want to know if they should choose exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing to stop their basement water seepage.  Some people want to know what solution will truly fix their problem where others just want the cheapest solution that will give them dry space.  And of course there are those who fall anywhere in between.  Let’s review the differences and what each solution accomplishes to help answer the question: Exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?

exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?

water entering basement walls through the soil=seal failure

If you have wet basement walls, or just damp basement walls that you have to scrape and paint more often than every five years to keep it looking decent then obviously water is getting into your basement foundation walls.  The best “fix” to solve the problem is to stop the water from getting into the foundation walls with exterior basement waterproofing.

The process of exterior basement waterproofing involves excavating down to the bottom of the foundation.  Then the walls are cleaned of debris etc… to prepare for application of a waterproof coating.  All cracks and gaps are filled in and a waterproof coating is brushed, rolled or sprayed on to the foundation sealing up the porous surface. Then a waterproof membrane is applied to completely waterproof the foundation.  At Pioneer we apply a dimpled membrane which gives added benefits of air gap technology and a bit of cushion against the soil pressure.

New foundation drainage is installed.  This step is as critical as the sealing of the foundation.  The new foundation drainage should be 4″ PVC perforated pipe and it should have a pitch, or downhill slope, towards the evacuation point.  The evacuation point is either a sump pump system or a gravity drain that either exits the surface somewhere away from the foundation, or ties to a city drainage system. Many contractors do not ensure proper flow of the drains away from the foundation because most municipalities do not require it.  I know that sounds crazy and it is.  This problem of drains not flowing properly is very prevalent in new construction.

After drainage is installed properly a back fill of gravel is installed over the foundation drains.  Top soil is then installed over the gravel with a positive slope away from the foundation.

If your basement walls are in good shape other than the bottom and you are getting seepage coming from the wall floor seam under heavy rain events an interior basement waterproofing system will give you a dry basement.  But the question is what will actually fix the problem, exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?  If the seepage is due to your exterior foundation drains failing, then replacing them on the outside will put you back to like new.  However, if you see signs of water under your basement floor, like floor cracks that are discolored or white powder on the floor in areas…or even actual water seepage from weak points in the floor itself, an interior basement waterproofing system is the only way to truly fix your problem.  We see people who have this problem and have hired other contractors to excavate their basement and waterproof from the outside only to continue leaking.  The reason is ground water build up under a foundation will get trapped under your floor and not make it to the outside drainage.

water under basement floor

white powder build up around floor cracks = water under the floor

Ground water problems usually show only after sustained periods of rain or fast heavy downpours.  The leaking appears at the wall – floor seams after these sustained conditions occur and may even continue to seep even after the rains stop.  This is because the ground water is building up around your foundation from below and has nowhere to go other than in to your basement until the water subsides to below your floor level.  In this scenario an interior basement waterproofing system will catch the water from below the floor level and prevent the buildup, relieving the hydrostatic pressure that pushes the water in.  Ok, so to call it “waterproofing” is not the best definition since it is actually a ground water control system also called a hydrostatic pressure relief system.  The term interior basement waterproofing has become the generic label for these systems although technically it does not consist of a waterproof membrane.  Nonetheless, you will have a guaranteed dry basement with an interior drainage system if you have a ground water problem.

Beware that not all interior basement waterproofing systems are equal.  Some systems are channels that are installed level under the floor or on top of the footer.  Level is the operative word here, level means water lays in there and creepy bugs love water.  Look for systems that consist of a true footer drain installed below the floor and is pitched to run downhill to the evacuation point. Furthermore, any water that is building up under the floor has to push up into the drain on top of the footer to get to the drain maintaining the water level at a very high point.

So do you think you are figuring out whether you need exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?  Give Pioneer a call for a free no obligation inspection and estimate.  All options are reviewed with pros and cons for your specific foundation.  No sales games, no pressure, just straightforward conversation.

get-arrow

Exterior basement waterproofing or interior basement waterproofing?

basement waterproofing systems

Frustrated by Comparing Basement Waterproofing Systems

Frustrated by Comparing Basement Waterproofing Systems

frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systemsMany customers tell me they are confused that they hear different recommendations from different basement waterproofing contractors and frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems. The frustration is that they feel if they interview three contractors they should have similar recommendations.  The problem is they don’t.  Each contractor can potentially suggest a different solution.  That can be very confusing for a homeowner who isn’t familiar with the different basement waterproofing systems and how they function.

What can cause you to be frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems is most basement waterproofing contractors are set up to “sell a system”.  They have a solution they like to promote, easy to train the field labor to install the same thing over and over.  And it is easy to train salespeople how to sell that system.  Or maybe you get a contractor that has a personal preference and they simply only want to do the one solution.

Let’s first discuss the contractor who simply has a preference for one solution.  Obviously they want to have work to do so every customer they visit gets a very convincing story of why their solution is the one for them.  For example, basement waterproofing contractors who only do exterior basement waterproofing tell their prospective clients that it is the only way to fix the problem “the right way”.  It make sense that restoring the original basement waterproofing system would solve the problem.  In a lot of cases that is true.  But depending on the problem it may not be necessary. (Hang with me and we’ll look at how to diagnose your problem and point to the best fix for your basement…which is probably why you are reading this.)

Another factor that can cause you to be frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems is many basement waterproofing companies have strategically constructed a unique “system” that no one else can offer (so they say).  They have a great sales pitch about how it works better than all the rest like “no clogging” “water table lowering” “super duper…”etc… and they have patents!  The patented system should be a red flag.   You can go to any manufacturer and have your drain pipe made a special color or shape, patent it and say no one else can offer the same thing.  But its still a drain.

Many basement waterproofing companies are really good at convincing their prospects they are “full service”.  They go through the routine of describing different options making two out of three either sound ridiculously expensive or inadequate.  So logically their “fill in the blank SYSTEM” is the best choice.  Its a card trick.

exterior basement waterproofing

Exterior basement waterproofing with dimpled membrane

Let’s talk problem = solution. If you have wet basement walls up high at or around ground level and or signs of water running down basement walls, exterior basement waterproofing may be the solution that is best for your foundation.  If you have chronic paint bubbling/ failure on your basement walls or chronically damp basement walls your best option may be exterior basement waterproofing.  These are signs your original coating on the exterior of the foundation walls is failing and dampness or actual water is seeping into the foundation itself.  Stopping that process from the outside is the best way to actually fix the problem. If your basement walls are dry for the most part or show signs of dampness in lower areas only, if you have water seepage up through the floor, exterior waterproofing may not be the best solution for your basement issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Typical signs that indicate an interior basement waterproofing system would be a good solution are if you have basement floor leaks, cracks in your basement floor that are heaved up, and or water seeps in through the seam where the wall meets the floor. Interior basement waterproofing drainage installed under the basement floor relieve the “hydrostatic pressure” or water pressure in the ground that builds up around your foundation when the water has no where to go. There are mixed feelings from homeowners on whether waterproofing a basement from the inside actually fixes the problem.  After all, water comes from outside, right? Well not all basement water seepage can be fixed from the outside.  If your basement has water under the floor, interior basement waterproofing may be the only fix.  Water under the floor gets stuck there with out interior drains because the inside and outside are separated by your foundation.

Some customers choose a combination of some exterior and some interior basement waterproofing systems.  Maybe there is a wet wall or two that need exterior work but the wall between the basement and garage is leaking too.  Or maybe there is a large enclosed patio outside, deck or the like.  In these cases the garage, patio etc… block all surface water from getting to the foundation so the walls are dry. So no need to tear up the garage or pull the enclosed patio in most cases in order to end up with a smart fix by using a combination of solutions.

 

Hopefully thins information will help you be less frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems.

 

Pioneer basement solutions takes a diagnostic approach to first identify the cause of your basement’s problem(s).  get-arrow We will then review with you what we recommend to fix the problem along with any alternative solutions that will give you the desired result.  Then the ball is in your court to choose from the basement waterproofing systems which best fits your goals and your budget.

BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating and ZERO complaints

Twelve Time "Super Service Award" Winners from Angie's List

Home Advisor Screened and Approved

Click on logo above to read Angie’s List reviews

No need to be frustrated by comparing basement waterproofing systems!

sump pump battery backup

Sump pump battery backup system

Sump pump battery backup system

Sump pump battery backup system now available from PumpSpy is newest addition in smart home technology

sump pump battery backup system

If you have a sump pump in your basement or crawl space then you have probably wondered about the need to install a sump pump battery backup system. The thought of a power outage during a heavy rain or snow melt (or even worse both!) and a sump pump that doesn’t work resulting in a flooded space is a real nightmare.  Sump pumps will eventually fail simply due to mechanical issues too… and you never know when that will happen.

So how do you protect yourself from a sump pump failure whether it is a power outage or mechanical failure?  Consider the PumpSpy smart sump pump battery backup system. PumpSpy’s smart backup pump is a system that constantly monitors your primary sump pump, backup pump and battery. If any problem is detected, homeowners receive alerts through text messages, email and the PumpSpy app on your phone.

So How Does it Work?

The PumpSpy battery backup sump pump uses cellular technology to constantly monitor your entire sump pump system and uses predictive maintenance to alert you of any potential problem. This is also known as “model based” condition monitoring. This method involves spectral analysis on your pump(s) current and voltage signals and then compares the measured parameters to a known and learned model of the pump(s) to diagnose various electrical and mechanical anomalies. This process of “model based” condition monitoring was originally designed and used on NASA’s space shuttle to monitor and detect developing faults in the space shuttle’s main engine.

pumpspy sump pump battery backup systemMany people ask about how long the battery will last before needing to be replaced.  Just like the battery in your car your backup battery will eventually need to be replaced, and often times we do that after our car doesn’t start!  The PumpSpy monitors the battery output during routine self-testing.  This information will help you to know when your battery is still okay, but is ready to be replaced.  Your typical off the shelf battery backup systems do not do this… so what can happen is when you experience a pump failure your basic off the shelf system switches to battery mode but a dead battery means no back up!

In the event your primary pump fails due to a mechanical issue, the PumpSpy system automatically switches over to the backup pump allowing you the time you need to fix the problem.  But again, being a smart system…the PumpSpy actually monitors the output of your primary sump pump.  So you will be able to see when your pump is starting to go bad buying you the time to replace it before it fails!

Again, your typical “off the shelf” smart home / connected home products use your Wi-Fi to report data.  This is great, except when there is a power outage!  So when you are relaxing on a warm sunny beach somewhere and back at home there is rain on top of snow melting with a power outage, PumpSpy’s cellular technology is still alive and well giving you the data you need when you need it.

Let’s review the benefits of PumpSpy’s sump pump battery backup system

  • PumpSpy monitors your primary pump, backup pump and battery – testing them three times a week!
  • Text message, email, and PumpSpy app alerts
  • Smart Predictive Maintenance feature alerts you to the end of life expectancy of your primary sump pump based on its performance history
  • Going out of town? Great! Send alerts to your house sitter, neighbor, handyman, or whoever and however many people you like
  • Cellular data works when Wi-Fi doesn’t
  • PumpSpy has a support line where you speak to a real waterproofing expert 7:30am-7:30pm weekdays, just call the toll free number printed on the backup system
  • When you activate your PumpSpy Monitoring, Pioneer Basement Solutions can log into your system as a contractor and see your history, allowing us to better serve you!
  • PumpSpy pumps more water and lasts longer than  “off the shelf” backup systems
pumpspy data

Sump pump battery backup self monitors giving you reports on performance

Call Pioneer get-arrow for more info on installing your sump pump battery backup system today!

basement wall mortar rot

Foundation repair methods

Foundation repair methods

There are different foundation repair methods used depending on your foundation problem.  Once you determine if you have bowing basement walls, a settling foundation, a shifting foundation or your basement walls are deteriorating (or some combination of the aforementioned) you can then explore the method that fits your problem.

settling foundation requiring foundation repair methods

settling foundation can cause step cracks

Settling foundations occur due to poor soil conditions underneath the foundation footing.  The weight of the structure causes the footing to crack allowing the foundation to settle / sink down into the poor / soft soil.  this can cause a ripple effect of cracking in walls above in living areas, doors that rub or won’t close and floors that slope.  Installing piers underneath the footing and driving down into solid substrate will stop settling and can even lift the structure back into original position.  Our method of installing concentrically loaded foundation piers comes with an engineer’s certification and lifetime guarantee.

Concentrically loaded foundation piers are installed directly under the wall being lifted and use the foundation as resistance to push the pier into the ground.  Other methods such as helical piers or offset piers are more limited and are nut installed directly underneath the structure.

Settling cracks in basement walls can be in a stair step pattern or almost straight vertical cracks that are open wider at top and narrow towards the floor.

 

mortar rotting to point of wall shifting & near collapse requiring foundation repair methods

mortar rotting to point of wall shifting & near collapse

If your basement wall has rotted mortar joints and blocks are shifting then most likely it is a matter of time before a major problem or collapse occurs.  Walls with mortar rot are weak from the inside so applying foundation repair methods to the wall will not ensure a stable foundation.  In that case foundation replacement may be warranted.

 

 

 

 

bowing basement wall requiring foundation repair methods

bowing basement walls with horizontal cracks that are open due to soil pressure

If you have bowing basement walls with open horizontal cracks you may be able to stabilize it from further movement or even straighten it back into original position.  Today’s latest foundation repair method for bowing basement walls is carbon fiber mesh “straps” which are embedded into the face of your foundation walls. Fortress Stabilization 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. Once installed your wall becomes stronger than it was originally and will have a lifetime structural guarantee.

To properly straighten bowing basement walls you must first excavate the soil away from the outside.  Once the soil is removed and the soil pressure is relieved the wall can be pushed back into position.  If the cracks have been filled in with mortar or caulking then the wall will only go back as far as the crack will close.  So be weary of foundation repair contractors who want to install clamps through your wall to the dirt outside (wall anchor) without digging it and tell you they can crank it back into position… especially if there are no open cracks!

After the walls are restored to their best position, then the stabilization straps must be applied to the face of the basement wall inside to prevent them from opening right back up.  The wall is then waterproofed and back filled with gravel to protect it from further pressure or damage.

Some foundations require a combination of foundation repair methods or replacement to solve all the issues.  To learn even more contact Pioneer Basement Solutions and have one of our foundation experts evaluate your specific foundation needs with you.  We offer a straight forward evaluation with straight forward pricing and no games or gimmicks.  Established in 1979, Pioneer is the only foundation repair contractor in business with a perfect spotless record since day one because we always treat our customer the way we want to be treated.

get-arrow  Contact Pioneer today for an ion person review of the foundation repair methods available for your basement!

exterior basement waterproofing

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

Exterior Basement Waterproofing Membrane

An exterior basement waterproofing membrane or an interior basement waterproofing system?  That is the question!  Many people I visit tell me in so many words, “I want to know what will fix my problem”.  I hear from potential customers they have had a couple basement waterproofing contractors in to look at their basement and they get different opinions from each one.  That is very frustrating to the consumer and to me quite frankly.  Almost all basement waterproofing companies have a “system” they prefer and they sell it to everyone they meet. There is no one solution that solves all basement water seepage problems.  Let’s take a look at what type of problem exterior basement waterproofing solves.

exterior basement waterproofing

Wet basement walls are a result of failed seal on exterior of foundation

If you have wet basement walls, wet higher that the bottom row or two of block, this means water is seeping into your foundation at ground level or at some point mid way.  How water seeps into the foundation is through cracks and through failed foundation sealing.  What causes this can be a variety of issues such as gutter and downspout issues, bad grading, sloping patios etc… However, fixing the cause usually doesn’t dry up the basement wall because the damage is done.

There are two ways to achieve a dry basement, with an interior solution or with an exterior solution.  But for those who want actually fix the problem of water seeping into the foundation wall, you have to stop the water from getting into the wall in the first place with exterior basement waterproofing.

The process of exterior basement waterproofing involves excavating down to the bottom of the foundation.  Then the walls are cleaned of debris etc… to prepare for application of a waterproof coating.  All cracks and gaps are filled in and a waterproof coating is brushed, rolled or sprayed on to the foundation sealing up the porous surface. Then a waterproof membrane is applied to completely waterproof the foundation.  At Pioneer we apply a dimpled membrane which gives added benefits of air gap technology and a bit of cushion against the soil pressure.

 

 

exterior basement waterproofing membrane

Exterior basement waterproofing with dimpled membrane

New foundation drainage is installed.  This step is as critical as the sealing of the foundation.  The new foundation drainage should be 4″ PVC perforated pipe and it should have a pitch, or downhill slope, towards the evacuation point.  The evacuation point is either a sump pump system or a gravity drain that either exits the surface somewhere away from the foundation, or ties to a city drainage system. Many contractors do not ensure proper flow of the drains away from the foundation because most municipalities do not require it.  I know that sounds crazy and it is.  This problem of drains not flowing properly is very prevalent in new construction.

After drainage is installed properly a back fill of gravel is installed over the foundation drains.  Top soil is then installed over the gravel with a positive slope away from the foundation.

 

 

 

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System

So how do you achieve a dry basement on the interior? Interior drainage can be installed below the floor along the footer to collect and direct ground water away from foundation.  Interior waterproof panels can be applied to the basement walls giving you a waterproof, dry and maintenance free basement wall surface.  This is a good solution for some people who may not want to dig up the exterior for what ever reason, or they simply do not want to invest in the exterior method.  Weep holes are installed in the foundation to drain water that may get into it allowing the wall to drain, dry up as well as breathe.  There may still be dampness in the foundation with this method like using waterproofing paint, but it is sealed off from the basement giving the homeowner a dry basement space and the foundation can drain and dry through the weep holes.  Using waterproofing paint can dam up water inside the foundation.  Water laying in the foundation will lead to paint failure and can also lead to decay.

If your basement walls are mostly dry but have a few areas of dampness, a combination of interior basement waterproofing and an exterior basement waterproofing membrane can be installed to give you a dry and healthy basement.

Call Pioneer Basement Solutions today for a free, no obligation review of your foundation.  We will evaluate the overall condition structurally and review the condition of the foundation waterproofing and drainage system.  Once issues are identified we will review causes and all potential solutions.  We take the approach of educating and advising our potential customers so they can make the best possible decision about their basement concerns.  No sales games, no sales pressure.  Straightforward answers and straightforward pricing.

get-arrowGet in touch today to explore an exterior basement waterproofing membrane and other options for your home.

basement waterproofing contractor ohio

basement waterproofing warranty

Waterproofing a basement

Waterproofing a basement

When looking at options for waterproofing a basement there are only three.  You can waterproof your basement from the outside, from the inside or a combination of both to some degree.

You should start by identifying what type of problem you have.  Most basements have either a problem with surface water getting to the walls or ground water building up from below.  The symptoms of each are quite different.  For the most part surface water problems will lead to wet basement walls and ground water problems lead to wet basement floors.

If you have wet basement walls that are wet more than just at the bottom row or two you likely have a surface water intrusion into the basement wall from the outside.  This causes bubbling paint, white powder on the walls, mortar rot and can lead to weakness and cracking of the foundation. Waterproofing a basement from the outside will restore the exterior seal of the basement / foundation wall preventing water and dampness from getting to it.  Our multi step process starts with excavation of the basement walls to the bottom of the footer exposing the entire foundation.  Next we clean the surfaces for a thorough inspection looking for weak points and cracks. We them repair the basement foundation cracks and weak points before applying a full seal coating to your basement walls.   The “icing on the cake” is the unique dimpled air gap basement waterproofing membrane that is bonded to your foundation walls resulting in a guaranteed dry foundation wall.  New PVC footer drains are installed with gravel and the soil is put back with a nice positive grade away from the foundation walls.

Waterproofing a basement from the outside

Exterior basement waterproofing membrane for permanently dry foundation

 

Note: It is very important that your roof water is directed away from the foundation.  Overflowing gutters and improperly draining downspouts are major contributors to wet basements and wet basement walls.

You may not need exterior basement waterproofing if you have paint on your basement walls that is more than a year old and it still looks like it did when you painted it.  Basements that leak water on to the floor through the seam where the wall meets the floor typically are a result of ground water build up.  These issues may result in wet basement walls at the bottom row or two but the remainder of the wall is all or mostly dry.  Waterproofing a basement from the inside may be a great option if this is your basement.  In fact, if you have water under the basement floor the only way to dry that up is from the inside.  Exterior drains will not get water under the floor since the foundation separates the two areas.

On top of footer gutter

Level water trough installed on top of footer has no slope to drainage point and holds water

Waterproofing a basement from the inside, commonly called interior basement systems, involve drainage installed under the basement floor relieve the “hydro-static pressure” or water pressure in the ground that builds up around your foundation. There are many companies that offer this type of solution for wet basements but they can vary greatly in design and performance.  Look out for systems that are level.  Level water trough systems that are installed on top of the footer or next to the footer hold water.  Only when water fills the trough can it build up movement as it seeks a level and make its way to the drain point.

Look for a system that is a true interior footer drain.  A true interior footer drain is installed in a trench down next to the footer and it slopes down hill towards the drainage point, usually a sump pump system.  There should be about 1/2″ fall for every 10 feet of drain pipe to promote a good flowing drain and many municipalities actually require this method.

 

 

 

If your basement has mostly ground water issue and some areas of the basement walls are wet, a combination of interior and exterior basement waterproofing may be a good solution.  In some cases there is a wet spot on a basement wall that is not reasonably accessible from the outside.  An interior waterproofing system for the wall may be a good alternative in this case.  Interior basement waterproofing panels are non permeable, meaning non porous.  So they will not grow mold or mildew in them and they are a vapor barrier as well.  This stops any wicking or transmission of exterior dampness into your basement space and it is a permanent, maintenance free solution.

Waterproofing a basement from the inside with waterproof wall panels

Interior Full Wall Basement Waterproofing System brightens up your space and is maintenance free!

 

No two basements are identical and there is no one size fits all solutions for wet basements.  Be on the look out for basement waterproofing companies that have a “system” that they are promoting.  Typically they are patented or the sales person says they are the only ones who install a particular product or technique.  This is a marketing ploy to attempt to stand out in the crowd. The best companies will have capability to customize any solution to fit your needs and solve your wet basement problems whether waterproofing a basement from the inside or the outside.

Call Pioneer today for a free consultation with no sales pressure and no gimmicks. get-arrow

Award winning service since 1979.  No other basement waterproofing company has a better reputation than Pioneer when it comes to waterproofing a basement