Basement Solutions Frequently Asked Questions.
During the course of assisting customers, there are many questions we hear regularly. We’ve tried to answer most of those in the list below. If you have a question that isn’t on the list, please feel free to contact us.
- How do I know if I actually have water, mold, or structural problems?
- I don’t see any cracks or holes in my walls. How is water getting in my basement?
- Where does mold come from? Is the mold treatment harmful?
- What are some other ways water can get into my basement?
- What can I do to prevent musty odors, mold and mildew problems in my basement?
- Water comes into my basement only some of the time when it rains. Should I be concerned?
- How will you stop water from coming into my basement?
- Can’t I just use one of these do-it-yourself kits?
- What is the white chalky powder on my basement wall?
- If we sell our house, what happens to the lifetime warranty?
- How long does it take to complete the job?
- Musty odor – your basement doesn’t have to “smell like a basement”
- A fine white powder on unfinished walls
- Puddles of water
- High humidity
- Dark spots on drywall
- Visible cracks in the floor or walls
- Damp areas on the walls or floor
- Bubbling or peeling paint or wallpaper
- Windows or doors that stick when opening and/or closing
- Window or door sills that separate from the frame.
Many construction materials, including poured concrete, cinderblock, and brick, are porous materials. This means that, like a sponge, they will absorb water allowing it to pass from the outside of the foundation to the inside of the basement walls. This becomes a problem when water is allowed to collect against the outside of the foundation. Both hydrostatic and lateral pressure (pressure from the side and from underneath the floor) will build up. Eventually the water will follow the path of least resistance and seep through the walls. Another contributing factor is the pH level of the groundwater. Most groundwater has a low pH meaning that it is very acidic. The acidic water will erode cinder blocks, concrete walls, and mortar over time, providing a path for even more water to get in.
Mold occurs naturally as spores in the air. It thrives in cool, dark, wet areas like your basement. Any space that has a relative humidity level of 55% or higher is a breeding ground for mold. Once mold growth begins in an area, it can spread to the rest of the house, causing issues ranging from mild allergies to serious health problems. By installing a system called Humidex which provides a continuous flow of fresh, dry air throughout your home, we can prevent future mold problems. If mold has already begun to grow in your home, we will apply a spray to kill the existing mold before installing the Humidex system.
No! We only use FDA approved sanitizers and deodorizers to remove the mold and mildew and odors. We wouldn’t bring anything into your homes that we didn’t use in ours!
- Beneath the footer – If an exterior drainage system is clogged, water in that system may be redirected toward the house.
- Wall Cracks – water will enter cracks in the walls and, in block walls, fill the cores of the blocks.
- Floor Cracks – water built up beneath a home can seep up through the floor.
- Cold Seams – Cold seams occur when fresh concrete is poured over concrete that has already dried. These commonly occur between the footer, the floor, and the walls of a basement and they create a potential weak spot in the foundation.
- Cracks in mortar joints – Like cold seams, these cracks present potential weak points in the foundation and may allow water to enter the basement.
According to a report from the University of Minnesota, “the simplest and least costly techniques are to remove excessive internal moisture sources in the basement (humidifiers, cooking) and ventilate other sources (clothes dryer, bathroom).” This will help to keep your basement drier, reducing the possibility of mold proliferation. The report also recommends ventilation with an air conditioner instead of using warm, humid outside air. After removing the interior sources of moisture, you should examine gutters and downspouts as well as exterior surface grading. If any of these seem to be functioning improperly (i.e. they are not directing water away from the house) those problems should be remedied. If the above steps have been taken and water is still entering the basement, contact us for a free estimate. We will examine your problem and present to you the best possible solution.
Any amount of water inside your basement is a problem. Even if water only enters your basement once every few years, it could be introducing mold and other contaminants into your home, creating a health risk for you and your family. Tackle the problem as soon as you become aware of it. The longer you wait, the more involved and costly the repair will be. Contact us today for a free estimate. A clean, dry basement may be closer than you think.
There are two basic approaches to keeping water out of a basement:
1. Exterior – Control the water before it can penetrate the outside of the foundation. This method requires excavating around the perimeter of the house down to the base of the foundation. A membrane is used to seal the outside walls in order to keep water from being absorbed into the walls. A perforated pipe is placed next to the footer of the foundation and water is drained away from the house. The exterior method of waterproofing is very effective but can also be quite costly depending on the application
2. Interior – Water is allowed to enter the basement but its direction of flow is controlled. Water is diverted to a sub-floor drainage system. At the end of this drainage system is a sump pump which pumps the water back outside and away from the house. When properly executed, the interior method is equally effective as the exterior method, often at a fraction of the cost.
Most DIY basement waterproofing solutions consist of a waterproof membrane sheet or spray. These may initially prevent water from getting inside the basement but they are not providing a permanent solution. Water gets trapped behind the membrane with no drainage system to relieve the pressure and get the water away from the house. Pressure builds up and eventually the membrane will fail.
It is called Efflorescence. It is caused by moisture in the cement block or wall dissolving the calcium and lime that bonds the masonry together. The minerals leech out of the masonry and are left as residue as the water evaporates.
It can be transferred to the new owners. It can even be transferred a 3rd or 4th time for a small fee.
The average job requires 100 feet of installation and takes 2 days. Sometimes we can complete the job in 1 day but even if it takes 5 days, the cost remains the same to you.