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Deal With Wet Basement

The extra costs are what stop the average contractor from offering you , the homeowner, a product that is effective and will last and “stand the test of time”. We have developed and recommend if you plan to re-seal your basement; that you use a  MULTI-STEP EXTERIOR WATERPROOFING SYSTEM which, uses a cement-based fiber re-enforced wall resurfacing system and NO LESS than two waterproof rated sealants. This is by no means the cheapest of methods, however, and it may or may not be the BEST system to put into place. Which system you should use depends entirely on the specific nature of YOUR problem. There are NO miracle systems than can solve ALL basement problems. The thing I can guarantee is if you use a multistep outside waterproof system it will actively drain water away from the foundation, and the water leak will be a thing of the past, not only that, but the sealants will outlast the wood on your house GUARANTEED!

The second solution is an Interior solution which I call the sub-floor water re-directional system. This involves trenching around the interior of the basement wall and installing a drainage system around the perimeter of the inside of the basement. Many companies never explain that the system only works by completely draining the walls and any water under the slab during periods of extended rain or no melt when the water table rises. This system will allow water to be “drained” from the inside of the walls by drilling weep holes into every core of every single block then drained under the floor into a drain pipe and generally to a sump pump to then be pumped out. Other companies will often “explain” that the pipe under the floor takes all the ground water and the outside trench will take away surface water. This outside trench is shallow and worthless. They never even MENTION the drainage holes drilled into the core face of the bottom row of block in the basement, under the level of the floor slab. And folks, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. It is also the step most often “screwed up” by other contractors. You see there are two variables that must be dealt with in ensuring the effectiveness of the “weep holes”. First is that when the mason was laying the blocks different masons “slough off” different amounts of mortar into the bottom course which affects the level of the “bottom” inside the blocks themselves. This means it is important to make sure that you are above the mortar bed and yet remain in the lowest part of the block.

Secondly it is ESSENTIAL to make sure that your men are educated as to the history of the development of concrete blocks, as well as all of the different core patterns that have been incorporated into them over time. You see this work is done by YOUNG men. In their short lifetime concrete blocks have only been made with Two cores. If they drill into the block where they imagine the core is today, in one of the many variations in block design that have occurred over the years, it is entirely possible , no probable that they are drilling into the web rather than the core or pocket of the block. Only by drilling into every single core of every single block does it become possible to drain the entire wall and make the system work effectively. It is entirely possible to install the drain tiles perfectly and… still leave ALL of the water dammed up inside the walls, wasting all that money and still leaving the problem UNSOLVED. In fact many times I get called after the homeowners have spent thousands of dollars to “waterproof ” their basement and even THOUSANDS MOREto turn it into finished space. Only to find mold growing on newly installed drywall. This happened to one of my customers named Bonnie Rembowski. She had hired a big local company and they installed an inside system. She then hired a contractor to remodel her basement. They hung new dry wall and framed new walls. She had new carpeting installed and everything seemed perfect until… Bonnie kept getting sick.

She was treated for recurring bronchitis many times over a period of about six months. Finally one day Bonnie’s doctor suggested to her that she have her house checked for mold. Bonnie called me. I began inspecting the basement and I immediately began to notice mold growing along the bottom several feet on all the newly dry-walled walls that had just been “waterproofed”. I began inspecting the inside system and I discovered that even though a permit was pulled … Even though the drainage pipes were inspected and installed properly… even though there was no puddling or physical seepage the system was NOT WORKING . The reason why became apparent after we broke open the floor and inspected the weep holes- JUST AS I SUSPECTED. The walls were not draining do to improper weep hole placement. Poor Bonnie.

WE HAD TO COMPLETELY GUT THE BRAND NEW BASEMENT …and disinfect everything to stop the mold and help her STOP GETTING SICK. She contacted the waterproofing company who did the job WRONG. They told her there was nothing they could do under the warranty since technically the basement hadn’t leaked (it was just DONE WRONG in the first place). Poor Bonnie then had to hire us to fix the basement problem TOO! Unfortunately this is not the first time this has happened to me and sadly I’m afraid it WON’T be the last.

This inside system however is ideal for situations where water is coming up from under the slab itself; in fact it is the only solution for under-slab water issues. No matter which contractor you call the same basic system is used. There are however many problems with this system as is employed by  “competition” nationwide. The GOOD NEWS however is that we have modified the system to eliminate all of the potential problems and WE EDUCATE OUR WORKERS as to the history of concrete blocks. This education guarantees that this kind of a problem won’t happen to you. We also INSIST on installing CLEAN OUTS which are access points set in the floor. These clean outs means that down the road you can maintain your system and “flush it out” every few years with a garden hose. It also means, heaven forbid, you have a problem with the drainage pipes clogging, that you WONT have to JACKHAMMER your floor you can have them snaked or jetted clean! Contrary to what you might have been told PROPERLY INSTALLED inside drainage systems can be the BEST solution when figuring all factors especially the Return On Investment. A PROPERLY INSTALLED inside system is also the preferred method for keeping concrete block walls from disintegrating, due to the fact that it allows for water drainage and keeps soil acid buildup to a minimum.

The last two systems are what we call “beaver” or dam systems that are installed either on top of the floor or just under the floor but on top of the footer that channels water from the walls to either a sump pump or to a floor drain. These systems are marketed to installers usually under the Basement Systems(TM) , Beaver Technology and Squid gee Dri labels, and in my opinion, offer the least protection to your basement.

The Baseboard systems that sit on top of the slab or on top of the footer have several basic flaws.

FLAW ONE: the slab is poured several inches up the bottom block, this means that when the installer drills the weep holes above the floor level the system allows water to keep sitting in the block up several inches which makes humidity which leads to mold and keeps disintegrating the bottom block from the inside out. The bottom block hold the entire weight of the entire house! The LAST thing that you want is that block to crumble -DISASTER!

FLAW TWO: when the cement finisher was troweling your cement floor X number of years ago the last thing on his mind was sloping the perimeter around the basement so 50 years later some guy could glue a gutter around the edge of the basement! What that means is since the gutter is basically level it allows for pooling along the bottom of the walls and is usually just glued into place without any type of pitch added. When the water lays in it in the low sections over time it will DISINTEGRATE or break down the bond between the floor slab and the wall. Eventually LEAKING again into the living space.

FLAW THREE: This system is still prone to the same weep hole placement errors as described above due to variations in the number of cores used in blocks over time.

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