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Structural Foundation Repairs Reasons To Get Them Fixed Today!

Structural Foundation Repairs Reasons To Get Them Fixed Today!
The number of things we put off until tomorrow makes it seem like delaying is a human behavior. It almost is? Procrastination is in our nature. If our mechanic or a roofer tells us that a repair can wait, we let it wait. And most often, we forget about it until it?s too late. Whether it?s the cost required, time needed or just simply a hassle for us, our reasons for delaying only increase with time until we finally put our foot down. When it comes to basement or structured foundation repair, we recommend getting it fixed immediately.

Why treat structural foundation repairs as your first priority?

Any damage to foundation walls can result instability and put the life and safety of your property at risk. Getting it properly repaired and in time, is important if you want to make the property last longer.

The damage worsens with time

Most often, structural foundation damage don?t occur as a single event. In fact, it occurs over time, gradually deteriorating, until it?s bad enough to become noticeable. The signs usually include jammed doors or foundation wall cracks. The walls will start moving inward, if the damage is caused by lateral pressure. This happens when soil around the foundation walls begin to expand. In poured concrete foundations, angle cracks will appear in the corners while vertical cracks will appear down the center of damaged wall. Ignoring these cracks will result in pressure, ultimately letting the cracks spread wider. It will then cause seepage problems, apart from foundation damage. In concrete block or other masonry?foundations, you?ll notice bowing or bulging right in the center of the wall. This will be resent along with the mortar joints cracks. When left unrepaired, these stones, bricks or blocks will start moving independently of each other. This will make the wall vulnerable to collapse. In both cases, the continuation of movement will result in the top of the wall turning inward. In severe cases, the wall may even separate from the main framing of the house, leaving it unsupported.

The cost also goes up

Over time, the cost of material required for damage repair increases significantly. The economy will also drive the labor costs upward. The situation is simply whether you pay for the repair now or later. Also note that the damage increases with time, so it might not be fixable at a similar cost as it is today. For instance, the foundation wall detachment can cost a lot more if the movement exceeds two inches. Getting the walls repaired sooner will help you save costs and achieve a more permanent repair solution. At Apex Waterproofing, our damage repair experts can examine the foundation to determine the most viable repair solution. Form small cracks in the foundation walls to displaced walls, we can fix everything. Here are a few exterior and interior signs?of structured foundation damage. If you notice any of these signs, call us immediately at 800-656-4604.

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Winter Is Coming! Waterproofing Your Basement Against The Cold

drainWinters are the best and the worst of weathers. From the snowy Christmas to freezing New Year, winters always leave us some exhilarating memories. With the temperature dropping, homeowners are starting to worry about house damages and repairs. From flooded basement to foundation wall cracks, there are so many things that could go wrong! Fret not though, we still have time. Waterproofing your basement can help avoid these problems. So, let?s take the winter heads on and not let it damper the festivities. Here are a few ways to waterproof the basement:

Drain systems?

Most basements are designed in a way that makes the corners susceptible to moisture. It is specifically more common in the area where the floor and wall intersects. Installing an efficient drain system by the wall can help you prevent moisture troubles. The drain system catches water at the common point of entry and prevents it from reaching the center of the floor.

Sump pumps

Along with basement drains, sump pumps can be installed to further prevent moisture from entering and damaging the structure. Working in combination with the drain, it removes the accumulated water. However, its function depends on its proper installation. Any problems with the installation can render it dysfunctional. It is therefore recommended that you seek the help of our waterproofing experts.

Wall systems

Wall systems help separate high traffic indoor spaces from the moisture present in the inner foundation walls. This helps keep them clean and free of moisture. Moisture also creates other problems. More importantly, it can result in mold growth which can further damage the structure. Hence, wall systems are there to offer a mold-resistant insulation to these living spaces, keeping the indoor environment clean and healthy.

Dehumidifier

Basements are particularly susceptible to humidity. Dehumidifiers can help you in controlling moisture without causing high energy bills. Waterproofing the basement doesn?t only save the foundation from structural damage, but also ensures that the house is safe to live in for you and your family. Children are especially susceptible to respiratory problems and allergies caused by mold spores. Waterproofing allows you to keep moisture away; the mold is prevented this way. If you want to ensure high quality waterproofing?for your basement, call our experts with their vast experience. They are well equipped with latest tools and techniques to offer you latest solutions to keep your house safe. Call us today at (800) 540-2135!

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The Role of the Structural Engineer

When is a Structural Engineer Needed for Basement Renovation?

Structural Work Will Require a Permit Although Apex and our crews have performed thousands of structural repairs, and we know what we are doing, what the fix is and how to fix them, these are structural issues and an engineer is required so that any work which is done is not only certified, but legal. If a structural issue exists, (like a bowed wall which may need rebuilding, or underpinning, or I-Beams to restrict any further bowing or movement), in order to perform the necessary work, a permit must be pulled. To pull a permit, the city, county, or municipality will require a Professional Engineer's Report from a State Licensed Engineer, which will determine the extent of the damage, and the scope of the work to be performed. This report would also carry the Engineer's Certification / License Stamp. An engineer, licensed in Virginia, can only perform work in Virginia.? An engineer's stamp also warrants the work for three years from failure. Apex warrants structural repairs for up to ten years.

What is Involved in Structural Engineering?

Structural engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the design and construction of structures to withstand physical forces or displacements without danger of collapse or without loss of serviceability or function. Structural engineers must ensure their designs satisfy given design criteria, predicated on safety (e.g. structures must not collapse without due warning) or serviceability and performance (e.g. building sway must not cause discomfort to the occupants). The complexity of modern structures often requires a great deal of creativity from the engineer in order to ensure the structure's support and resist the loads they are subjected to. A structural engineer will typically have a four or five year undergraduate degree, followed by a minimum of three years of professional practice before being considered fully qualified.

Do You Need a Structural Engineer in Northern Virginia or Maryland?

Whether you are thinking about renovating your basement or you're in the middle of a big project, recognizing and fixing any structural issues is imperative. ?This process requires experienced professionals who will help protect your investment, and even the lives of the people who live at the home.

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Why Structural Repair is Both Necessary and Advantageous

Many people opt to delay structural repairs on their homes, due to the perceived expense. However, if not addressed, some issues can cause costly repair work that threatens the well being of your family. Here are some of the problems that you may encounter, and why it is important to tackle them promptly.

Structural Repair for Cracks in Your Home's Foundation

Not every crack is problematic, but some can require expensive repairs. In all likelihood, a hairline crack will have been caused by minor settling or concrete curing. You can use an epoxy injection to fill this. Only structural engineers should deal with vertical cracks, or cracks broader than 3/16 in. Usually, the repair bill amount will depend on how much time elapsed before the problem was corrected.

Prevent Unwanted Pests

Rotten wood and moist soil are magnets for carpenter ants and termites. This is why it is important to use correctly graded soil around your foundation, and keep your gutters in good repair. After your home is infiltrated by termites, they can destroy the structure relatively quickly. Moreover, termites blight your home by shedding their wings on walls, windowsills and other points of entry. Here's an example of termite damage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5cHYVSdKOs

Stop Leaking Roofs

Roofing repairs protect your home from leaks. This is an important thing to invest in, because roofs are highly exposed to the elements. During the daytime, you can identify missing, curled or cracked shingles using binoculars. Any one of these signs will indicate that your roof is in a bad state of repair. Water can infiltrate the siding as well, particularly near to doors and windows. You could spare yourself an expensive home repair bill by investing in a container of caulk. Furthermore, you can reduce your utility bills and stop future damming by insulating your attic and sealing the gaps surrounding the ducts, recessed lighting and pipes in this area.

Protect Your Home From Mold

Mold can be caused by warm?outdoor?temperatures, which condense trapped water in your building onto cool indoor surfaces. This results in structural damage to your home's groundwork, such as breaking, shifting or sinking concrete. Also, mold causes dank air, musty smells and congestion problems for building occupants. Inspect windows and beneath carpets for warning signs.

Additional Structural Repair Benefits

Other benefits of making structural repairs to your home include:
  • Making your home a safer place to live;
  • cutting costs by reducing avoidable repair work;
  • enhancing your home's curb appeal;
  • increasing the resale value of your home.
Undoubtedly, preventative maintenance is an effective way of lowering your home ownership costs. Both the US government and many Fortune 500 firms have benefited tremendously from implementing preventative maintenance plans. These structural repair plans have been used for generations to deliver increased efficiency and incredible savings for US government agencies and big corporations alike.

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Important Facts to Know About Basement Waterproofing

One of the worst situations that a?home owner?can get into is severe water damage in the foundation of a house. Water in a basement is not normal, and it must be taken care of immediately to stop costly damage from occurring and?dangerous mold from forming. Some common warning signs that you may have a leak in your basement are cracks in the foundation and dampness in the room. If you have any of these symptoms and believe you may have a water leak in your basement, then you may need the expertise of an experienced contractor who specializes in waterproofing basements.

Finding the Source of the Leak Is the Key to Basement Waterproofing

If you have a leak in your basement, the logical source of water for this problem is usually outside of the home. In order to stop further water damage, you must waterproof the exterior of your basement to stop water from entering at the point of origin. One of the most common ways for water to leak into your basement is through the house's downspouts and gutters. You should ensure that your entire drainage system is removing excess water without allowing it to enter the foundation of the house.

Commonly Used Techniques for Basement Waterproofing

The most effective way to stop water from leaking into your home is through exterior excavation waterproofing, also called positive side waterproofing. Due to the large amount of work involved with excavating 6 to 8 feet to the foundation footer, exterior waterproofing can be expensive. Fortunately, this can be offset by the removal of the source of the water leak, and it may actually prevent further waterproofing methods from being necessary. Exterior excavation is the most common job taken by professional waterproofing contractors. There are many other methods for waterproofing a leaking basement. Cracks in the walls of a foundation made from concrete that was poured can be patched using chemicals like polyurethane. This is only a temporary solution though. Some contractors offer waterproofing paint and primers, but many experts say that this is merely a cosmetic change, and it does not stop water from leaking. A new method in waterproofing is the interior excavation technique. This method is gaining in popularity because it is cheaper than exterior excavation methods. This technique controls water once it has already entered your basement.

Don't Wait to Waterproof Your Home's Basement

Whether you choose to hire a waterproofing contractor for interior or exterior excavation, you should not wait to take action. The longer water is allowed to enter your basement, the higher the risk for harmful mold spores, significant water damage and foundation instability. Before the worst happens, you should contact a local contractor to find out more information about the benefits and advantages of waterproofing your home. Source: http://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-expect-basement-waterproofing.htm

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5 Amazing Things You Probably Didn't Know About Basement Renovation

One of the best ways to increase your home's value is through basement renovation. With the current economic situation and the number of people losing their jobs, it is becoming harder than ever to sell houses in today's real estate market. Also, considering the fact that the market is currently filled with cheap foreclosed homes, one is forced to put in more effort in order to get the best deals.

Benefits Of Home Renovation Before a Sale

One good way to make your home stand out is to renovate it. There are various renovations that can be done in your basement to increase the value of your property. Finding a buyer after you've fixed up your home is easier and will help you net more money once the sale is complete.

Basement Bathroom

The basement bathroom is one of the most neglected parts of the home when it comes to renovation. Going out of your way to renovate this part of your home will have a positive impact on your home's resale value. In most cases, the money you spend on basement bathroom renovation is made back once you find a buyer.

Cost Of Basement Renovation

The amount of money to be spent on basement renovation will depend on: the type of job being carried out, the construction company offering the service and whether you are completely transforming the current layout and blueprint of your home.
  • Type of Project: Different renovation projects require different budgets to complete. Some renovation projects such as changing the basement ceiling and floor might not cost you as much as bathroom renovations.
  • The Renovation Company: Renovation companies offer services at different prices based on factors such as demand for the service, availability of building material and competition. The increase in the number of building contractors has helped to reduce this cost. Companies are trying to attract more traffic and will lower their prices.
  • Layouts and Blueprints: You will pay more money on basement renovation if you completely transform your current layout and blueprint. This is mainly because you are forced to relocate plumbing fixtures and at the same time order new and customized equipment for the project.

Consider Future Projects When Renovating Your Basement

The basement is the heart of most people's homes. The plumbing and electrical system go through the basement. Before renovating your basement, consider future projects and make sure your current projects won't conflict with them. The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds of dollars on renovations only to undo everything simply because there is a new project at hand.

Green Building Will Save You Money

Green building is a great way to save money and add to your property's value. The materials used are not only cheap but are usually recycled, saving you money and preserving the environment during basement renovation.

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10 Questions Home Owners Should Ask Foundation Repair Professionals Before Hiring

Beautiful home design will mean nothing if the foundation is in shambles. If cracks, leaks, and tilts are becoming apparent in your home, then?you?must act quickly to address the situation if you want to avoid major problems and unnecessarily?high costs. Conducting foundational repairs is usually best left to professionals?due to the sensitive nature of this part of the house. Before hiring a contractor, be sure to ask them the following questions:

1. What types of services do you offer?

Some contractors have a limited set of expertise, so they offer a narrow range of services. Others are prepared to take on jobs of a wider scope, such as a mix of foundation repair and kitchen renovation. Be sure to hire someone who is an expert in what you need.

2. What is the extent of your experience?

It is always best to go for a reputable contractor that has proven his or her worth in the industry with decades of experience. The foundation is too important. It simply cannot be left to inexperienced builders.

3. Can you cite examples of previous projects?

Your particular problem may have unique constraints. Ask the candidates if they have tried to repair a similar kind of situation before. Concrete examples would be best.

4. Could you send me a written itemized proposal?

After you describe the situation, contractors will make their assessment and provide you with a quote. It can be confusing to see varied quotes for the same project, so request a written itemized proposal to know what is actually included in the budget.

5. How much training do your workers receive?

The workers will be coming into your house for a while so it is perfectly fine to want them to be clean, courteous, and thoroughly adept at their jobs.

6. How much will it cost me?

Inquire as to whether the candidates offer fixed pricing to prevent surprises along the way. Another thing that you might be interested in is the modes of payment accepted and the possibility of paying in installments.

7. Could you give me some references?

One of the best ways to erase any lingering doubts and learn more about a contractor is to talk to previous clients. Get a few references and try to contact these people before making your final choice. They may be able to provide valuable insight that you would have otherwise missed.

8. Do you employ subcontractors?

While there is really nothing wrong with hiring subcontractors, it is usually better to deal directly with the people you know. It is less stressful when you have the confidence that they can deliver results as promised.

9. Is there a warranty on your work?

Unexpected issues can come up after the repairs have been made. Make certain to find a contractor who offers a good warranty on the work or else you might have to spend twice as much to fix the problem.

10. How long will it take to finish the project?

Every home owner wants to minimize the disturbance created by foundation repair. The sooner these get completed, the better for the household.

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What is a Crawl Space and Why It'll Help You for the Future

A crawl space is a type of foundation that is primarily characterized by its low height. It keeps the floor of the house closer to the ground compared to basements such that people who try to enter the space will typically have to crawl their way around it, hence the name. In certain areas, it is preferable to slab foundations and basements due to its numerous advantages, including the following:

Protection Against the Damp Ground

Homes with a slab foundation sit very close to the ground. In places that get a lot of rain and snow, the soil's dampness underneath can cause a lot of problems. Wood may begin to rot away which will weaken the structure. Foul odors may begin to make their way to the living spaces above. If the water rises then the flooding may get inside quickly. On the other hand, homes with a crawl space are slightly elevated so damp ground will have little effect on the flooring. Floods, unless severe, are unlikely to reach the house.

Protection Against Insects

Insects and rodents can burrow underground and end up beneath the house where they can cause much damage. Termites, for instance, may eat the supporting wooden beams and cause them to buckle over time. This may result in a slight tilt of the floor due to imbalance. Hairline cracks may appear on the walls. An encapsulated crawl space makes these issues insignificant as the pests will not be able to make their way through to the inside. Homeowners can rest easy about their foundation knowing that these small yet dangerous creatures will be kept at bay.

More Economical Compared to a Basement

Basements are bigger and can be used for various purposes depending on the need of the household. They could be converted into additional bedrooms for a growing family, a playroom for the kids, a mini bar for entertaining guests, or even a home theater for relaxation. However, basements also tend to be expensive to build as they require a lot more work. Crawl spaces are smaller, simpler and cheaper by comparison. Those do not see the need for future expansion or are just trying to bring down the cost of construction should opt for a crawl space instead.

Easier to Service Ductwork and Plumbing

Another great thing about crawl spaces is that they make it easy for technicians to access vital lines for servicing. The ductwork is usually exposed underneath the floor so it is just a matter of getting inside the space to reach the ducts for the HVAC system and the pipes for the plumbing. This makes regular maintenance and repair straightforward affairs. Service technicians could come in and finish their job in no time. Since they are generally paid by the hour, homeowners can keep the cost to a minimum.

Crawl Space as Storage Space

Sure, a crawl space offers less storage space than basements but it is certainly better than none in the case of a slab foundation. The area can accommodate all manner of items as long as it is kept clean and low in humidity. Instead of dumping everything into the garage, put some boxes inside the crawlspace and free up precious square feet for another car. There might even be enough room for a home office or a personal workshop. Crawl spaces are clearly beneficial but they do need to be maintained and improved in some cases. Adding a dehumidifier helps in preventing mold growth and improving the air quality inside. Complete encapsulation systems keep out the water and the rodents with an impenetrable barrier. Ask crawl space specialists about these options to enhance your foundation.

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Is it Neccesary for a Crawlspace to be Encapsulated for a Dry Crawlspace?

An encapsulated crawl space may be a vital part of the home.? When a crawl space is left unsealed, it can negatively affect the whole house because it is always damp. Often, this is an area that goes ignored by homeowners. However, it is important to consider the space and the reasons why it is best to encapsulate the area.

How a Crawl Space Affects the Home

As hot air rises throughout the house, cool air is sucked up from the crawl space. This will have a large effect on the air quality that residents breathe. When a crawl space goes ignored, gases may enter the home along with unwanted bugs and rodents. There may also be higher heating costs to deal with as well. Finally, structural damage may occur from rotting and mold in the area. This will be expensive to repair.

What Exactly is an Encapsulated Crawl Space

When a crawl space is encapsulated, it usually means that a vapor barrier has been installed over the walls and floors. Supports and plumbing are sealed as well. The entire process is meant to create a controlled environment.

Is it Necessary to Have an Encapsulated Crawl Space in the Home??

In past years, most contractors did not feel that it was necessary to encapsulate a crawl space. The traditional thought was to keep the area vented. However, these vents almost always caused the area to get wet and remain damp. In fact, contractors who were hired to waterproof these parts of the home would lay plastic on the floors and add drain tiles while maintaining the venting. No one viewed the vents as a problem. However, by 2005, people began to recognize the problem, and encapsulation became very common. In 2005, a building science research team studied what would happen when a crawl space was completely closed, waterproofed, and insulated. In effect, this made the space an additional part of the home. Results were extremely positive and proved that encapsulation would keep this part of the home dry. Due to this research, building codes were changed in favor of closing crawl spaces. Therefore, all new construction included encapsulated crawl spaces.

What Happens to Older Homes?

Even though new building practices encapsulate crawl spaces, it is important to understand how to treat existing homes with vents. Retrofitting contractors are now abundant and are hired to close crawl spaces. They treat the area like it is a true part of the home. Besides providing a dry area, there are other benefits that come with an encapsulated space. With the crawl space encapsulated, indoor air will be cleaner and fresher. Also, electric bills will be lowered, and every room will feel more comfortable. Overall, it will make a vast improvement within the house.

Is Encapsulation the End to Problems?

Encapsulating a crawl space is the last phase of creating a dry area. Before the area can be retrofitted, it is essential to solve any underlying water problems. If leaks or other water issues are not properly dealt with, closing vents and lining the space will only add to the problems by trapping water. However, after all water issues are resolved, and the space is encapsulated, everything will be dry and improved. Even though it was not always a common practice, encapsulating a crawl space and resolving all water issues will be necessary to ensure a dry place. After cracks are filled and leaks are fixed, the encapsulation process can begin. An encapsulated crawl space will improve the overall comfort level in the home, keep the space dry, lower electric bills, and make the air healthier to breathe.

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Is Your Crawlspace Contaminating Your Home?

CrawlspaceHomeowners should remember that well maintained property is likely to fetch a higher price, so every area of your house should be marketable, and this brings us to the subject of your crawlspace contaminating your home. The aftereffects of the financial crisis that shook the global economy in 2008 are slowly being erased. Property prices that fell to an all-time low during that period are gradually increasing. This is an opportune moment for individuals interested in selling their property.
An improperly built basement may lead to ground water seeping in the basement and contaminating it. Neglecting this issue can cause problems to the entire structure. If the basement of your building is damp, even during the summer season, and if you find termites in other parts of your house, then you can be sure it is due to your crawlspace contaminating your home. Check the walls of your house for cracks or dampness. A damp foundation can even cause your house to tilt, and in severe cases, the entire structure may collapse.

Crawlspace Renovating & Waterproofing

The cost of renovating your crawlspace depends on the severity of the damage. Serious cases might require an alteration in the current layout and even structure of your house. You should also remember that the electric and plumbing system pass through your property's basement. You will have to pay much more if you need to renovate them as well. At the same time, neglecting them can prove to be hazardous. In such a scenario, it is best to get in touch with a company that specializes in basement waterproofing and renovation. Searching online will provide you with details of many local companies that specialize in basement repair. Get in touch with a few of them and request that they send personnel to check the basement of your house. Once you receive confirmation that they can fix the problem, request that they provide you with an estimate along with details of any related jobs they have done recently.

Check The Terms And Conditions

It is not a fact that the company that gives the highest quote is best suited for fixing your basement, especially if it hardly has any experience in this field. You should also request that the company provide an itemized quote instead of a comprehensive one. This will make it easy for you to tally their proposal with that of others. The completion time is another important factor. If you have a prospective client waiting to purchase your property, you should get it fixed up as soon as possible. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure that there are no hidden costs. You should also make sure that the basement restoration company allows you to settle any dues in installments. This is vital if your basement has to be rebuilt from top to bottom and requires lots of money. Ensure that the terms and conditions of the agreement contain a compensation clause detailing the amount the company will pay if they fail to complete the work by the date agreed. Insist on a warranty covering the repaired area for a certain number of years. If any problems arise while it is under warranty, then the company should take care of them free of charge. Typically, a professional company should dig your crawlspace, remove termite damaged floor joists / beams and replace them with new ones. They should also replace faulty seal plates, level the flooring, use chemicals to treat all the wood and encapsulate your crawlspace to prevent moisture related problems in the future. They should also provide extra protection to your basement if you live in an area that is subject to flooding on a regular basis. They can do this by installing a proper drainage and encapsulation system in the basement. This will take care of any worries of your crawlspace contaminating your home and causing related problems for year<

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5 Beautiful Examples of Egress Windows

Basement-Egress-WindowsOur homes come installed with all the things we need to including bathrooms, kitchen areas, and windows. All of these different areas and fixtures are beneficial to our homes, but do you know what value they bring?

What Exactly Is An Egress Window?

An egress window is a window that is designed to act as an emergency exit window. This sort of window is strategically placed throughout one's home. Let's say there is a fire and you need to get out, you can escape through this sort of window. In order for a window to be classified as egress, it must meet specific requirements. It is noted that in order to be classified as an egress window, a window must be capable of opening at a width of 20in and height of 24in. The window must be raised at least 44in above the floor, and have a net clear opening of 5.7 sq. ft. These requirements are set to ensure a person will be able to crawl out of the window in cases of emergencies.

Where Are Egress Windows Placed

It is typical for an egress window to be placed within bedrooms, and basement areas of the home.? Regulations state an egress window must be placed in every room where a person could sleep.

Do Your Windows Meet The Egress Requirements?

If your home is an older one, you may not have egress windows. This is true because the requirement for such a window may not have existed at the time your home was constructed.

Why Egress Windows Are Beneficial

Installing egress windows can be beneficial in many ways to include:
  • Protecting families
  • Increased fire safety
  • Acting as an emergency exit
  • Adding value to your home

Common Types of Egress Windows

Double hung egress windows- This window has two sides that overlaps in the middle of the window. Such a window typically opens up upward, but some offer the luckier of opening from the top and bottom. such windows must meet the egress requirements to be installed in your home. Sliding windows- Such windows open from one side to another, just like a sliding glass door.? In order for a sliding window to meet egress standards, it must reach 41 inches high and 40 inches wide. Casement windows- These windows work like a hinged window, opening in an out. The windows usually open with the help of handles or a rotating lever. We all think we know a lot about our homes, but the truth is we don't know how all the different fixtures; to include our windows can benefit us. Egress windows act as an emergency exit and add extra safety to your home.?If your windows are not up to standard Apex Waterproofing is your solution. Not only will we update your windows to meet egress standards, we will also provide you with other services such as basement waterproofing.

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5 Tips to Prevent Basement Leaks

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ready-for-cement-basement-waterproofingBasement leaks can cause serious structural problems to any residential or commercial building. Water leaking into your home's basement can also cause dampness and consequently mold growth. With that in mind, here are five tips to prevent basement leaks:

Keep Gutters Clean

Clogged gutters are likely to overflow leading to water pooling around your home's foundation. Therefore, make sure you regularly remove debris such as tree leaves that might have accumulated in your gutters. Better yet, install leaf guards to prevent leaves from clogging your gutters. In addition, install downspout extenders to direct water away from the foundation of your home. For the best results, downspout extenders should be at least six feet long.

Landscaping

The ground around your home should pitch away at a slope of about ? inch per foot. This will allow water to drain away from the foundation of your home towards the yard or drainage trench. Take note that the ground around a newly built house takes time to settle. This means it will likely sink and slope towards the house. In such a case, use fresh soil to create ground that slopes away from the foundation and additionally, plant grass to keep the soil in place and prevent erosion during the rainy season.

Trees

Planting large trees with aggressive root systems such as silver maples near your home is not a good idea. This is because over time, the roots of such trees can cause cracks to develop in the walls of your basement and cause water to seep into your basement through these cracks. As such, it is advisable to plant large trees at least 20 feet from the foundation of your home. Smaller trees and shrubs such as white firs require about 10 to 15 feet of clearance from your home's foundation. However, you would not have to worry much about small plants such as flowers and grass because they are unlikely to cause structural damage to the walls of your basement.

Waterproof Your Basement

Besides the measures described above, check your basement for cracks that could allow water to leak into your basement. If you come across any cracks, use waterproof sealers or special hydraulic cement to repair them. Make sure you seal and repair basement wall cracks immediately because water that accumulates and freezes in them will expand and make the cracks even bigger. You can use hydraulic cement because it dries quickly even when applied on wet basement walls. Alternatively, use a waterproof sealer. When carrying out these repairs, remove dust and debris from the area surrounding a crack. Use a hammer and chisel to open the crack and create space for hydraulic cement or waterproof sealer. You could also use perforated tiles or waterproof membranes to prevent water from leaking into your basement.

Install Driveway and Patio Drainage Systems

Raindrops that fall on soil seep into the ground. The opposite is true for raindrops that fall on pavements and driveways covered with concrete or tiles. If your driveway or patio slopes towards your home, rainwater will flow and accumulate around the foundation of your home. Eventually, it will seep into the basement. To ensure this does not happen, consider installing a drainage system to channel water from the foundation of your home. Hire a building contractor to install the system along the sides of your driveway. In summary, some of the steps you can take to prevent basement leaks include cleaning your gutters regularly, waterproofing your basement, planting large trees 20 feet or so from your home, as well as ensuring the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation.

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Can Waterproofing Your Basement Save you Money?

digging-for-interior-basement-waterproofingWhen a person is considering a basement waterproofing system, it is a welcome relief to know that it will be a worthwhile investment and help save money down the road. However, it is worth noting that waterproofing your basement will cost you. Here are some ways that the project will pay back the initial investment and bring other positive benefits.

Basement Waterproofing Lowers Insurance Costs

Many insurance companies consider a waterproof basement to be an attractive asset. Waterproofing keeps leaks to a minimum, so there is a lower chance for damage that leads to costly insurance claims. To take advantage of this perk, it is important to notify an insurance broker about the home improvement. In the end, it may result in a lower premium each month.

Reduction in Energy Costs

When a basement is made waterproof, the outside elements do not penetrate inside. This means that the area will retain heat much better, especially during cold winter months. The same can be said during the summer when cold air does not escape. It will be unnecessary to adjust the heat or air conditioning as often. Both of these benefits will help a homeowner lower monthly electric bills.

No Need for Repairs

When a basement floods, it can be a complete nightmare.? Furniture, or valuable items being stored may be damaged. It will take money to repair or replace things that were harmed by the water. To prevent this hassle and expense, having a basement waterproofed will be wise.

Less Health Problems

When a basement is left moist and damp, it is a prime location for mold to grow and multiply. Mold is known to cause a multitude of health problems including allergies, asthma, and lung damage. The best way to prevent high medical bills associated with these issues is to waterproof the area. It will eliminate the need to visit the doctor and take unnecessary medication. Not only will residents feel better, they will have saved money as well.

Basement Waterproofing Can Raise Overall Home Value

Anytime a homeowner renovates or improves a house, property value rises. This is especially true for a basement. When a basement is free from leaks, it adds more space that can be used as a family room, office, home gym, or an extra bedroom. This brings more livable square footage to the house, which increases value. When it comes time to sell the property, the homeowner is sure to enjoy a higher profit.

What is the Best Way to Waterproof a Basement?

A person may choose to waterproof a basement from both the interior and exterior space. There are numerous coating systems on the market that adhere to concrete walls and seal hidden cracks. These are not very complicated to apply and can be completed without help. On the other hand, exterior waterproofing may be more difficult and require professional assistance. A team of waterproofing experts will be able to keep water from pooling near a foundation by sloping the land away from the home. They may also apply new gutters and downspouts to correct roof drainage as well. In severe cases, it may be necessary to excavate around the entire home and coat the foundation with a waterproof material. When people invest in a home, renovations are usually completed above ground. However, it may be smart to consider a waterproofing system in the basement. Although costly, it may be a great way to save money on electric bills and insurance premiums. It may improve health as well. In many respects, basement waterproofing is a hidden way to raise a home's overall value.

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A Brief Guide to Mold and Your Home

MoldA mold home guide is essential to understand the basics of the substance, how it forms in the home, and the best ways to get rid of it. Besides being ugly and dangerous to the home's structure, it can also cause negative effects on a person's health. Here are some key things to comprehend about mold.

Why Mold Grows in the Home

Mold, a fungus, is part of nature. Out in the elements, it serves as a way to break down dead items like old leaves and trees. However, a home becomes affected as spores enter, float through the air, and land on a wet surface. There are numerous types of mold, but none can grow without moisture. The most common places where mold forms include basements, attics, or where leaks occur. Mold may grow on:
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Rugs
  • Wood
  • Duct work
  • Drywall
Homes with central heating systems are most likely to suffer with mold issues because spores are constantly circulated through the air.

Health Problems from Mold

There has been an increase with concerns that indoor mold exposure leads to a variety of health problems, especially allergic reactions. When mold is present in a home, residents may suffer from itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing. In severe cases, it may lead to asthma or permanent lung damage.

Signs of a Mold Problem

  • Water stains on walls, floors, or ceilings
  • Cracked, peeling, bubbled paint or wallpaper
  • Bowed or Warped walls

Mold Prevention and Removal

There are many steps a person can take to prevent mold from forming:
  • Dry wet areas quickly. If there is a leaky pipe or a spill on the floor, it is essential to dry the site immediately.
  • Install Proper Ventilation. Anywhere that moisture develops should have a place to ventilate out of the home. For example, showers, stoves, and clothes dryers should properly vent outside of the house.
  • Direct Water Away from the House. Outside, the ground should slope away from a home's foundation. This keeps water from collecting and seeping into the basement.
  • Use mold resistant products. When building a new house or repairing an older home, things like mold resistant drywall and paint should be used. These products contain ingredients like fiberglass that prevent moisture absorption.
  • Monitor Roof Gutters. Cleaning gutters and repairing problems may prevent leaks from occurring on the roof.
When mold is not severe, it is possible to clean the problem without external help. However, it is essential to wear a mask, gloves, and goggles to keep spores from entering the eyes or lungs. A person should use soap and water to scrub mold off hard surfaces. All areas should be dried completely as well. Porous materials that are filled with mold may not be salvageable, so they should be eliminated and replaced. When mold has become out of control, it may be necessary to call in professional assistance. These experts know where to look for mold and how to safely remove it. The air of the space will be filtered to remove spores, and all nooks and crannies will be thoroughly cleaned as well. Many times, these companies will be able to help prevent new mold problems by waterproofing basements, fixing foundation cracks, and performing other procedures.  

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Basement Waterproofing and Cove Seepage

Basement waterproofingAs a homeowner, you should have a good grasp of terms such as basement waterproofing and cove seepage. This is because water leaking into the basement of a building can compromise its structural integrity. Some potential causes of such water leaks include natural deterioration of concrete over time. In short, you should waterproof your basement to prevent possibly catastrophic leaks.
The cove is the joint formed at the point where the basement floor and wall meet. Therefore, cove seepage is water that leaks into a building's basement through this joint. In most cases, cove seepage occurs during the wet (rain or snow) season. This is because a prolonged wet season is likely to cause ground water level to rise due to increased hydrostatic pressure and consequently seep inside buildings through cove joints. Thankfully, waterproofing your basement can prevent water from seeping into your home through cove joints.

Basement Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing entails the use of various construction techniques to prevent ground water from seeping into a building. This is particularly important for any structure built below ground level or at ground level. There are three main ways of waterproofing a basement: interior waterproofing, exterior waterproofing, and installing interior wall and floor sealers.

Interior Basement Waterproofing

The majority of interior water drainage systems work by draining underground water underneath the basement floor and alongside foundation footers. For instance, you can waterproof your basement from the inside by installing interior drain tiles. It is worth noting that these are not real tiles but perforated plastic pipes that building contractors usually bury beneath basement floors and next to foundation footings. To install these tiles, a building contractor removes about 12 inches of concrete flooring around the inside perimeter of a basement. After this, the contractor digs a trench that goes all the way to the foundation footing and then lays a bed of washed gravel throughout the trench. After doing this, the contractor lays perforated pipes wrapped in "filtration fabric" around the basement connected to a sump pump. Before pouring concrete to cover the drain tiles, the contractor may add more washed gravel. With such drain tiles in place, underground water will seep into them and flow to the sump pump instead of seeping into the basement.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

You can hire a professional to install an exterior waterproof membrane to prevent water from seeping into your home's basement. In general, such a membrane consists of asphalt modified urethane that completely seals foundation walls. Building contractors usually cover waterproof membranes with heavy duty plastic drainage boards to help channel water away from the foundation of a building. Exterior drain tiles offer another effective way to waterproof a basement. These tiles function in the same way as interior drain tiles. However, contractors lay exterior drain tiles around the outer perimeter of a building's foundation.

Interior Wall and Floor Sealers

If you do not fancy digging trenches for laying drainpipes inside or outside the foundation of your home, you could opt for interior wall and floor sealers. Waterproofing sealers are chemically formulated mixes. After application, these mixes create insulating layers that are impermeable to water. It is worth noting that these mixes are available in different forms including spray on sealers and paint on sealers. In summary, unless you have the necessary skillset, you should probably hire a building contractor to waterproof your basement. Depending on the location of your home and soil topology, your contractor could install interior or exterior pipes to waterproof your basement as well as prevent cove seepage.  

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The Importance of Basement Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing is a must-have installation for any home or property owner. Keeping water out is the number one concern for property owners and anyone who had to deal with a basement flood knows how big of a nightmare it is. If you've noticed a few cracks on your wall it's inevitable for leaking to occur during a rainy day or after a few feet of snow has melted. Here's Apex Waterproofing's infographic on the importance of basement waterproofing The Importance of Basement Waterproofing

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Why Basements Leak Water

Did you know that basements don't have to leak water? That might be a novel thought to some homeowners who seem resigned to the fate that if you have a room below grade, water is a natural accompaniment. There are various ways of preventing water from entering the basement, ranging from fixing foundation cracks with $10 spray foam to unearthing the soil around the property and digging out trenches, which would set you back about $15,000. In order to establish how to fix the problem of water in the basement, the first step is to understand the different reasons why a man cave might suddenly become a tidal wave.

Insufficient Gutter System

Ironically, the first place contractors inspecting basement water damage look is not the ground, but rather the sky. Specifically, an inferior gutter system could actually be more of a root cause of water leaking in the basement than a damaged foundation. What's so frustrating is that the problems could have easily been fixed before a leak. When leaves and debris pile up in the gutters, it prevents water from flowing freely to the downspout, therefore billowing over and running down the side of the house. All this water falling near the foundation over the years will eventually wreak havoc on the surrounding soil and can make a basement fragile. Likewise, a downspout pointing directly at the corner of a house instead of four feet or more out into the yard creates a recipe for disaster.?

Lack of Drainage Around Foundation Walls

Even with proper gutter installation, blowing rain will soak near the foundation. Therefore, you need proper drainage around the walls. Most often this is accomplished by grading the property at a slope away from the house. Other features such as a French drain (aka weeping tile) can be implemented to whisk water away from foundation footings and to a spot on a hill in the yard or out into the street. If a property slopes towards the house or is flat, it's basically catching rain and directing it towards the house and as you can imagine that water eventually makes its way to the bear skin rug in your basement.? [caption id="attachment_1398" align="aligncenter" width="500"]weeping tile Weeping tile
Image source: haggaret[/caption]

Cracks in Foundation?

Another reason basements leak water is because of cracks and other damage in the foundation, something that is almost inevitable as years pass. The concrete that a home is built on is essentially always changing. The ground around your house shifts, as does the wood of the home itself, causing cracks in the foundation. These cracks generally aren't a problem but can become one if they continue to split or aren't treated within a reasonable time. Likewise, if the concrete wasn't allowed to cure or was poured too dry, problems can arise that will eventually lead to leaks through your basement walls.?

Clogged Drain Pipe

In most cases the water that leaks into your basement originates from outside the home via a heavy rainstorm or an agitated neighbour with poor sprinkler aim. That being said, water that forms in the middle of the basement could be caused by a clogged drain pipe. If your basement has a designated utility room, it probably has a drain that collects water from the washing machine and pushes it outside. If this drain gets backed up, that water will eventually have nowhere to go and will stay in your dwelling. Most new homes have foundation drains equipped as part of modern building codes. If the output of these pipes gets clogged, water will fail to be dispersed around the footings and may enter the basement.?

Sump Pump Inefficiencies

Part of the foundation drain pipes includes a sump pump that forcibly shoots water out of a pipe away from the home. If this pump stops working, water is liable to back up and thus enter the basement.?

Window Well Damage

It can be convenient to have a window in the basement but putting part of a window below grade requires the installation of a window well. These wells will fill up with water in heavy storms or after snow is melting and will need to have proper drainage. Likewise, if the caulking around the window has cracked, it can lead to water in the interior as well.? Most of the causes of water in the basement can be detected with a simple visual test. Make sure the gutters are clean, the downspouts are pointing away from the house, and the slope of the ground is at an angle. After that, inspect the foundation for cracks and finally test out the sump pump and drainage. You'll usually be able to find the cause of the water and develop a strategy to revoke the soak.

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3 Methods for Waterproofing a Basement

Basements are a nice luxury to have in a home, whether the area is finished or not. That being said, extra care must be taken because underground rooms are so prone to moisture. Wetness will form naturally inside the basement and while that can be eradicated with the use of a dehumidifier, there are a number of things that should be done to the walls, floor, and surrounding property to waterproof the room as much as possible.? [caption id="attachment_1404" align="aligncenter" width="500"]avoid flooding in your home by waterproofing Avoid a flooded basement with these waterproofing tips
Image source: CR Artist[/caption] The following 3 methods have proven the most successful in helping combat water that seeps into a basement.?

1. Exterior Drainage Combined With Waterproof Coatings

There are methods discussed later that cover how to seal and protect the interior of the basement but it'll be a never ending battle if the water is not dispelled at the source. It's surprising to learn how many basements around the world are just inviting water inside due to improper grading around the house or with downspouts that point directly into the foundation. There are 3 basic things to do for exterior drainage:
  • Disperse the Water Away from the Home ? The first step in exterior drainage for protecting basements and foundation is to get the water as far away from the house as possible. This is typically done with downspouts that pour into an underground pipe and empty somewhere out in the yard.
  • Grade the Soil ? Downspouts and gutters collect water from the roof but heavy rains all around still presents a potential threat. In this sense, the soil around the basement must be graded so that it slopes away from the home.
  • Repair Cracks ? If there are cracks in the foundation, they should be sealed with caulk, spray foam, or quick drying cement. A foundation specialist should also inspect the area, because the cracks could be signs of latent problems.?
After properly adjusting the soil around the home and installing an underground drain, the next step in waterproofing a basement from the exterior is applying a sealant. Ideally, the builder of the home will have applied a tar or paint that waterproofs the foundation before putting in the backfill, but the same type of materials can be painted or sprayed on above grade as well.

2. Interior Wall and Floor Sealers

Much as waterproof paints or hydraulic cements can be painted on the exterior of a basement walls, similar products can be applied to the interior as well. These types of materials are unique because instead of applying like a paint, they actually bond to the concrete and brick of the basement and create a sealant wall. It generally takes two coats, and the second coat is applied in a swirling motion to give the wall a finished look.? Moisture in the basement can also emanate from underneath the concrete slab the home is built on. Because of this a sealant should be applied to the floor for maximum basement waterproofing. The application method is the same but the basement floor should be degreased first so the seal soaks in more efficiently. There are even decorative sealers and paints that can give the floor the look of tile, stone, or marble.?

3. Interior Water Drainage

The final step in waterproofing the basement is to take precautions against water that may evade the first two methods. This could be anything from a storm of the century to somebody upstairs starting to run a bath and then passing out for three hours. Basement floor drains are installed when the house is first built because the concrete needs to be sloped slightly towards the holes.? Sump pumps on the other hand can be installed post-construction. The process involves jackhammering a hole in the basement floor to create a sump to collect water and installing a pump and pipe that will discharge the water outside away from the home. Sump pump installation can be an expensive job but many home owners say that the extra sense of security that the device offers is priceless.? Water in the basement can be a nightmare but a homeowner shouldn't feel helpless. The time to develop a strategy is proactively, before a huge rain storm, so that the home is protected when it needs to be. Most waterproofing companies would agree that a stop works better than a mop.

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Waterproofing vs. Water Management - Think Before You Act!

Basement waterproofingWaterproofing or water management helps address water retention and seepage in buildings, especially in basements? Their effectiveness actually varies depending on the type of problem being addressed. While there are several factors that work in favor of water management or water control, waterproofing definitely has its fair share of benefits. Though both of these techniques offer respite from water stagnation within buildings, they are distinctly different. Let's take a look at how exactly they differ from each other.

Differences Between Waterproofing And Water Management

The key difference between these two approaches is that waterproofing works to prevent water from entering into the structure, while water management works to prevent damage by water after it has entered the structure. Waterproofing prevents ground water from seeping into the basement and possibly causing damage to the structure. There are, in fact, different ways in which basement walls are waterproofed:
  • Injecting cracks in the walls with polyurethane or epoxy compounds usually helps seal gaps in concrete walls.
  • Exterior excavation waterproofing is a tried and tested method to waterproof basements. The entire basement wall is exposed after excavating the surrounding soil, drain pipes installed to draw out any water that may stand in the basement, and a waterproof coating is applied on the outer surface of the basement wall to complete the process.
  • Applying waterproof coating on interior walls, however, is not a permanent solution, though prevalent.
Depending on the type of waterproofing, quality of materials and the reliability and expertise of the service provider, exterior waterproofing can go without any ongoing maintenance for years together. Water management or water control, however, does not attempt to prevent water seepage, but is focused on preventing water stagnation in the basement. This process involves digging a small trench on the floor of the basement to collect water entering the structure, and installing a sump pump to remove the water from the interiors. Water management will prove effective only when the sump pump is in working condition.

Waterproofing vs. Water Management

  • Waterproofing is prevention and water management, a cure!
  • Waterproofing is both time- and effort-intensive; it is expensive when compared to water control. Costs tend to escalate based on the nature and the extent of the problem.
  • Exterior excavations often affect the surrounding landscape or other external structures, such as porticos and sit-outs, and demand careful comprehensive planning. Water management, on the other hand, though minimally invasive, involves breaking the floor of the basement and impacts the stability and integrity of the structure.
  • Water management process totally relies on the effective functioning of the sump pump and clog-free drainage systems. Backup power to operate the pump is mandatory to avoid any flash floods in the basement!
Water logging and seepage are common problems, which when left untreated can cause progressive structural damage in buildings. In fact, water is not the real problem. It simply is a symptom of a greater problem - usually weak walls, faulty pipes and drainage systems, gradation, etc. It is important for home owners to make a well-informed decision on whether to opt for water management or waterproofing treatments to prevent damage caused by water. An apt combination of multiple solutions can also help treat specific problems. Opting for waterproofing services from professional companies will help ensure quality services at competitive prices, and steer clear of water management solutions that occasionally get marketed as waterproofing services. Looking up for more information on waterproofing vs. water management is bound to enable homeowners better understand the problem and settle for a suitable remedy.

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The Damaging Effects of Snow and Ice on Your Foundation

Snow Shoveling
Many homeowners dread the winter period for many reasons, whether it is the damage effects of snow on foundation, the hassle of shoveling, the burden of additional heating costs, or the freezing of water pipes, it is understandable why not everyone is a fan of winter. In fact, for most homeowners, the effect of ice and snow on the foundation of their property is the most worrying aspect of winter.
Homeowners should know the negative impacts of snow and ice to safeguard their homes against long term or permanent damage. Homeowners should be proactive and take the necessary steps to protect their homes in winter, since most home insurance policies may not cover damage to a home if the homeowner could have prevented it through proper maintenance.

Cracks on the Foundation

All year round, hairline cracks appear on the foundation; however, snow and ice in the winter months accelerate and enlarge the cracks, making the situation worse. Frost heave, a condition resulting from ice forming below the surface of the soil, places enormous pressure on the foundation walls. This additional pressure accelerates the formation of both large and small cracks on the foundation. As the cracks widen, they weaken the structural integrity of the foundation. Additionally, properties with cracks on the foundation experience toxic mold, pest infestation, and seepage; therefore, property owners should seek the services of an experienced foundation repair professional before the damage becomes even worse.

Frozen Discharge Line

One of the first things that a property owner must look out for in the winter period is a frozen discharge line. The heart of any interior waterproofing system is the sump pump; therefore, basement flooding occurs when the sump pump malfunctions or stops working properly. The discharge line is the pipe that connects to the sump pump and channels water away from the basement or crawl space. Homeowners need to make sure that the discharge line is clear, and water is able to flow out uninterrupted. The pitching of the line should be on a downward slope to minimize the risk of water resting inside the pipe and freezing, thereby forcing water back into the basement or crawl space. The two sections of the pipe where freezing occurs are where the pipe meets the frost line, and again, where the water disperses. Burying the line at least five inches below the frost line is one of the most efficient ways of guarding against freezing; subsequently, the homeowner should extend the line at least ten feet from the foundation wall.

Water and Moisture Seepage

It is common for homeowners to notice damage to the foundation only after the winter months, when the snow and ice begins to melt. Snow and ice melts introduce huge quantities of water and moisture into the soil around the home, which afterward enters the property through the many cracks in the walls and floor. Moisture may also seep in through the joint where the wall meets the floor, through door and window frames, and through the top of the foundation wall. Some of the common symptoms of water and moisture seepage may manifest even before the water begins to flow into the house. However, actual water flow is an indication of advanced foundation damage. Some of the early indicators of seepage and foundation damage are peeling paint, dark staining, rust, a musty, dump odor, and increased pest and bug infestation. In summary, homeowners who notice any damage effects of snow on foundation should seek the services of a reliable and experienced basement repair and waterproofing expert. Early detection and repair is essential to maintain the structural integrity of the foundation, and the whole house.

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