Signs of a Bad Foundation

Signs of a Bad Foundation

In some cases, the signs of a bad foundation may be very obvious.  You may have been in a house or a building before where all of a sudden you feel like you are walking downhill. In most cases however, the warning signs may go unnoticed for a time.  It is important to pay attention if a warning sign presents itself.  What exactly are some of the signs of a bad foundation?  This blog will focus on some things to look for in your home that can indicate a foundation problem.

Stair Step Cracks

signs of a bad foundation

When a section of a house is settling, it pulls the basement wall down with it, separating it and causing a “stair step” or zig zag crack to occur along the seam of the blocks.  Stair step cracks are typically found near corners.  If your basement ONLY has stair step cracks, it is usually indicative of a settlement issue.  However, if there is also a horizontal crack leading up to the stair step crack(s), this is a different story.  The next point discusses this.

Horizontal Cracks

Cracks that travel horizontally down the basement wall are caused by external pressure of soil.  In Northeast Ohio, soil frequently freezes and then thaws, freezes and then thaws.  Then in the summer it is dry and then wet, dry and then wet.  Soil constantly expands and contracts.  When gutters are clogged or not working properly, it makes the foundation vulnerable because the soil right next to the foundation will be heavier and wetter.  The way a foundation is constructed also plays a part.

A horizontal crack is likely to be accompanied by stair step cracks near the corners.  If you have a horizontal crack, take steps to have it inspected by a reputable foundation repair expert.  Do your homework on foundation repair companies and look into their suggested repair techniques.  Some companies will recommend a beam or some other method, even if the structural integrity of the wall is compromised and it cannot be repaired.  Always ask the company if they pull a permit.  If not, they are not adhering to standard building codes.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks that go straight up and down indicate sinking or settling of the foundation.  The soil underneath of your foundation also goes through the expanding and contracting process.  If you have a vertical crack on one wall, you will almost always have a vertical crack on another wall.  During summer when soil tends to be dryer, houses may settle and sink faster than during colder times of the year.  For companies that offer foundation repair, this is a busier time of the year simply because more houses are settling during this time.

Basement Floor Cracks

What if you have cracks in the basement floor but no cracks in any of the basement walls?  Is this a sign of a bad foundation?  Possibly.  This could be caused by hydrostatic pressure or water pressure.  As water builds up, if it has no where to go, it creates pressure, and may crack a basement floor.  A basement water issue could lead to a foundation issue and should be monitored.

Doors and Windows That Will Not Close Properly

When a foundation shifts or moves, it affects not only the basement walls, but also all of the construction that sits on top of them.  If doors and windows stick when you try to open and close them, this is an indication that the foundation has shifted.

Cracks in Drywall

If you have noticed settlement cracks in your basement, take time to inspect the rest of your home.  Look at the drywall throughout the house to see if you can find any cracks.  Cracks in drywall often go hand in hand with foundation settlement cracks.  These types of cracks may not stand out as much because they may be hairline cracks close to the ceiling that simply go unnoticed.

So You Have the Signs of a Bad Foundation.  Now What?

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, don’t procrastinate!  Take immediate action.  If you catch a foundation problem early, you may be able to stop the damage in its tracks. If you put it off, the issue may become worse and therefore more costly to fix.

Are you concerned about your foundation?  Feel free to contact us for a free estimate.  If you truly do have all the signs of a bad foundation, we can present you with the solutions to fix your foundation permanently.

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Water in Basement After Rain? Now What?

Water in Basement After Rain? Now What?

You walk downstairs only to realize that there is water in your basement after a rain storm.  How frustrating!  Now what should you do?  Knowing how best to fix the problem can be tough if you haven’t done your homework before sitting down with basement waterproofing contractors.  The purpose of this blog is to help educate the homeowner to be prepared for interviewing potential contractors.

Water in basement after rain

Generally, if your basement is only leaking after a rain storm, this is a good indication that surface water is entering your foundation from top to bottom.  Some people will try to build up the soil around the home to slope the water away.  This may or may not improve the situation.  Exercise caution and make sure to raise the waterproof coating outside as well.  Otherwise the problem may become worse.  Most likely, water in the basement after rain means the original foundation seal is damaged.  Contractors that only install interior basement waterproofing may recommend that interior is the best fix.  Granted, you may achieve a dry basement by installing an interior system.  HOWEVER, to fix the cause of the problem in this case, the best solution is to stop the water from the outside.  You can do so by installing a new exterior basement waterproofing system.

How Does Exterior Basement Waterproofing Work?

The purpose of exterior basement waterproofing is to stop water from entering your foundation from the outside.  The process starts with excavating dirt away from the basement walls.  We dig to the bottom of the footer to expose the entire foundation.  We then repair any basement foundation cracks and/or weak points.  Afterward, we apply a full seal coating to your basement walls along with a unique dimpled air gap membrane that is bonded to your foundation walls.  The result is a guaranteed dry foundation wall.  To top it off, we install new PVC footer drains and cover them with gravel.  Once drains are installed, the soil is put back and graded away from the foundation walls.

Water in basement after rain

Water in Basement After Rain

When an Interior System May be the Right Answer

What if water only leaks into the basement after heavy rain storms that have persisted for a while?  What if the walls are mostly dry especially up high and the seepage happens around the bottom of the wall?  If this is the case, an interior basement waterproofing system may indeed be the best solution.  Under this scenario, ground water rises after a heavy precipitation event or a heavy snow melt to the point that it builds up around the base of your foundation.  Interior basement waterproofing will catch ground water as it builds and prevent it from ever seeping in.  Many homes do not have drains under the basement floor to carry this water away.  Homes that have drains may have been installed without proper sloping and water cannot flow.  Homes built in the 1970’s through the early 2000’s may have black corrugated drain pipes.  These can become easily clogged.  In fact, current building codes no longer allow this type of pipe to be used.

How Pioneer Can Help

At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we do not believe in a one size fits all solution.  No two basements are identical.  We thoroughly review each basement before making recommendations.  We have been doing business since 1979 with a long track record of customer satisfaction.  Check our our company on the Better Business Bureau.  We are ten time Super Service Award winners on Angie’s List.  That water in the basement after rain may be frustrating, but don’t let it scare you!

Basement Waterproofing Products and Systems

Basement Waterproofing Products and Systems

If you have done a simple google search for basement waterproofing products, you may find that the options are overwhelming.  There are many types of products on the market that claim to eliminate basement water intrusion.  There are various types of systems all with the goal of eliminating water seepage or channeling water away from the foundation.  It can be quite difficult to sift through all of the different products and systems available.  The purpose of this blog is to cover some of the more common approaches to basement waterproofing.  We will explain how certain basement waterproofing products work, which ones make the most sense, and which ones to avoid.

Dehumidifiers and Ventilation Systems

A dehumidifier works by drawing air into the unit, removing moisture, and then expelling the dry air back into the room. The excess moisture typically gets discharged into a bucket or directly into a drainage system, or may be pumped out of the unit.  There are many different models and brands of dehumidifiers and ventilation systems. They can range in price anywhere from $200 to $1,500 or more.  You can purchase a basic, free standing dehumidifier for a small area of a few hundred square feet.  Or you may choose a “whole home” style moisture control/ventilation system.  Such units tend to have more options and additional add-ons and features for more advanced settings.  You can purchase an independent unit as well as units that connect to your existing furnace system.  Dehumidifiers and ventilation systems are beneficial to have for chronically damp basements.

You can learn more about humidity control and ventilation here.

Waterproofing Paints

Waterproofing paints are made to be applied to the interior of basement walls.  The idea behind these products is that they are supposed to keep water from penetrating the foundation wall and entering into the basement.  Many of these products make all kinds of crazy claims.  They also market that their product is a permanent solution.  The issue with these types of products is that it doesn’t actually get to the root of the problem.  It does not eliminate nor does it redirect water away from the foundation.  Certain basement waterproofing paints also attract mold growth.  Many of them contain warning labels on the container advising of this.  Although it may mask the issue for a time, it does not actually fix the problem.  Therefore, using this product is not really basement waterproofing.  It is a temporary bandaid at best.

Sump Pumps

basement waterproofing productsSump pumps are typically used hand-in-hand with an interior basement waterproofing system.  How does this type of system work?  A trench is dug alongside the home’s footer and drainage is installed to direct water to the sump pump.  The sump pump then takes water out and away from the basement.  For such a system to work properly, the footer drains must have appropriate sloping so that the water can flow properly.

When it comes to sump pumps, the old adage “you get what you pay for” proves true.  Therefore, Pioneer makes it a priority to select only high quality basement waterproofing products.  We choose quality sump pumps from reliable manufacturers.  A quality sump pump can make the difference between a bone dry basement during a heavy rain and a flooded basement!  Additionally, sump pumps are available with a battery backup system which is useful in the event of a power outage.  It is also important to check sump pumps periodically to make sure they are in good working order.

We have written a detailed breakdown of an interior basement waterproofing system in a previous blog post.

Basement Wall Membrane

This product works best along with an exterior basement waterproofing system.  Pioneer uses Delta MS, a high quality, time tested dimpled membrane board.  The process begins with excavation around the exterior of the foundation.  We place the membrane on the outside of the foundation wall.  Then, we install drainage around the bottom of the foundation and cover it with gravel.  The drainage carries the water away from the foundation.  The membrane is what keeps water from penetrating the basement wall.

You can learn more about exterior basement waterproofing and basement wall membrane here.

Crack Repair Kits

basement waterproofing products and systemsThese kits typically require injection of polyurethane or a similar material with a caulking gun.  Such kits are geared toward the DIY homeowner.  Sealing a crack can prevent a small amount of water from entering and may reduce the unsightly appearance of a basement crack.  However, sealants such as the ones used in these kits will break down over time.  Thus, this product is not a permanent basement waterproofing solution. Also, it is important to examine the reason why there is a crack in the first place.  If there are settlement issues, these need to be addressed to prevent further damage. Small cracks could be indicative of a bigger problem and should be closely monitored for changes.  If you notice cracking in your basement, do not cover them up and forget about them.  A qualified foundation expert should inspect the problem to determine whether or not to stabilize the foundation.

Patented Basement Systems

If something is “patented”, it must be pretty special, right?  Just because a product has a patent, it doesn’t mean that it is the best on the market.  Nor does it mean that the product is the right fit for your home.  Contractors that offer such systems state that their product “sets them apart” from the competition.  How do these systems work?  They are intended to be installed on top of a house’s footer.  What is the problem with this?  Your home’s footer is level.  Water cannot flow properly when it is level.  This means that water builds up in the channel, remaining stagnant.  These systems are much more susceptible to problems and failure.  Particularly during a heavy rain when you need it to work the most!

Additionally, interior basement waterproofing is not always the best fit for every home.  Most companies that offer such patented systems are not equipped to perform basement waterproofing with any other method.  If a company only offers one solution, of course they are going to tell you that the solution they offer is the best!  They have nothing else to offer.

In Conclusion

At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we have nothing to hide about the basement waterproofing products that we offer.  Our basement inspectors always thoroughly explain the pros and cons.  We are honest about what works and what doesn’t.  We take an individual approach to each home and will only offer a solution that fits your exact problem.  Our goal is to educate the homeowner so that they can make the best decision.  If you would like to learn more about what we have to offer, please feel free to contact us to speak with a basement and foundation specialist.

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Damp Basement? Steps You Can Take

Damp Basement? Steps You Can Take

Various things can cause a damp basement.  Where exactly the dampness is coming from can be tricky to pinpoint.  Therefore, we have created this quick and simple guide of basic things that you as a homeowner can check for.

Fix Gutters and Downspouts

An important first step to preventing a damp basement is to make sure that your house has appropriate gutters and downspouts. Gutters catch the rain and channel it to the downspouts, which direct it away from the house. Make sure the downspouts have 4- to 6-ft. horizontal extensions to move the water away from the house. If you already have them, make sure that they are regularly cleaned out. A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. How often you need to clean your gutters will greatly depend on how many trees you have in your yard. But a good rule of thumb is to clean them at least every spring and fall.

Damp basement

Gutters and Downspouts Serve an Important Purpose in Keeping Your Basement Dry

Use a dehumidifier

Eliminating the sources of humid air will help dry out your damp basement. Many times the first thing to come to mind is to run a dehumidifier to lower the indoor humidity. But there are also some other good tips to keep your basement from getting damp.

  1. Seal leaky dryer vents with foil tape to prevent unwanted humid air from entering your basement. Make sure to not use duct tape, this will eventually fall off.
  2. Add a vent fan to your basement bathroom and make sure your family turns it on during showers.
  3. Keep your basement windows closed during humid weather.
  4. Run air conditioning upstairs when it is humid outside.  Humidity from upstairs is heavy in the air and will fall and cause a damp basement.  Air conditioning will keep your air upstairs drier making it much easier to achieve drier basement air.

Check for plumbing leaks

Routinely inspect the visible pipes in your house. If you see rust, buckling, or drops of water, this is a good sign that something is wrong. Catching an issue with the plumbing in your house early can save you time and money and help keep your basement from being damp and damaging any valuables in your basement.

DIY Options to Avoid

Thanks to effective marketing and scare tactics, many homeowners turn to waterproof paint.  The idea of this product is to paint it on your basement walls and it will block water from entering.  This method only acts as a bandaid.  It does not actually get to the root of the problem and will not divert water away from your walls.  The water is still going to be there.  Waterproof paints are not a good investment of time or expense.

If All Else Fails

If your efforts to dry up your basement on your own have not gone well, contact us for a free estimate.  One of our knowledgable basement inspectors will come up with a common sense approach that is easy to understand.  We believe in our waterproofing methods enough that we do not resort to high pressure sales or gimmicks.  Give us a call and we can solve your damp basement problem for good!

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Foundation Wall Replacement – What to Expect

Foundation Wall Replacement

Addressing concerns with your foundation can be stressful and overwhelming.  The thought of totally replacing the foundation of your home may seem completely overwhelming and downright scary.  However, we would like to reassure you that such a repair may not be as daunting as it seems.  In this blog, we will discuss foundation wall replacement and go over some factors to take into consideration.

Foundation wall replacement

Is Your Wall Severely Cracked/Bowed?

Many types of foundation cracks or a bowed basement wall can be fixed with methods such as carbon fiber/kevlar mesh straps or structural piering.  But if the wall is too severely damaged, it may make more sense to replace it.  What are some signs that a wall replacement is necessary?

  • The second row of block from the bottom is sliding off the bottom row.
  • The mortar is rotting and/or crumbling.
  • The foundation blocks are separating one from another or pulling away from each other

Do these things mean always mean that the wall needs replaced?  Not necessarily.  There are many things to take into consideration.  Your best bet is to have the foundation inspected by a qualified basement specialist.

What About Cost?

The internet would have you believe that you will be further ahead taking a wrecking ball to your house and starting all over somewhere new.  There are various articles online that state that replacing a foundation is not a cost effective option.  But foundation wall replacement may be more affordable than you think.  In fact, depending on the problem and work needed, sometimes the cost of repairing a basement wall is comparable with the cost of simply replacing it.  Sometimes only a section needs replaced, not the entire thing.  It is beneficial to explore your options as to foundation wall replacement and/or foundation repair.

How Does it Work?

First, we completely stabilize your house.  Second, we dig around the foundation from the outside and remove all dirt from the side of the basement.  This relieves all the pressure from the foundation.  This keeps your house from moving and acts as a “temporary foundation.”  Once everything is totally stable, we begin removing the bad sections of the foundation.  Next, we lay the block for your new foundation.  We examine every detail to ensure that your new foundation is complete and ready to hold the weight of your home.  A foundation replacement comes with a 20 year limited warranty.  Additionally, you normally do not need to vacate your home while the work is being done.  We try to make the inconvenience as minimal as possible.

foundation replacement

Don’t Procrastinate!

If your foundation is cracked or bowed, putting off getting it fixed will only make the problem worse.  Foundations that need replaced could have been salvaged if the problem was caught early enough.  Make sure you address your foundation problem as soon as possible.  Doing so may save you from a future foundation wall replacement.  Whether your foundation is in need of some minor repair or a full foundation wall replacement, contact us for a free* inspection. We have been in business since 1979 with the good reputation to back it up!

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Interior Basement Waterproofing Systems

 Interior Basement Waterproofing Systems

There are different types of interior basement waterproofing systems on the market.  All types of patented products and fancy drain systems exist only to the confusion of many homeowners.  Some companies don’t really make it clear exactly how their system works.  Some contractors offer “patented” system which can be a way of eliminating comparisons.  But it is important for you to know exactly what you are getting and why it works.

Interior basement waterproofing is necessary when water is coming in from around the bottom of the basement.  Interior waterproofing relieves hydrostatic pressure.  This is caused by groundwater that builds up around the bottom of the foundation with no where for it to go.  In truth, interior waterproofing is more of a water control method.  But it is the best option to prevent water from entering around the bottom of your foundation.

The Pioneer method

We install a true interior footer drain around the perimeter of the foundation.  By installing a true footer drain we can install it with a slope.  This slope, or “fall” allows water to run towards the evacuation point and drain out.  Makes sense right?  Not all basement waterproofing companies install drains with slope.

Below is a step by step of our process for installation.

Before any work has been completed:

interior basement waterproofing systems

Next, we trench around the foundation wall and install perforated PVC drain tile.  The drain tile must be sloped properly so that the water flows to the drainage area.

The next step is to lay gravel over top of the drain tile.

Finally, we cement the trench.  This particular basement also has vinyl wall covering, which gives the basement a clean, finished look.

The drain tile is routed to the to a sump pump.

This type of a system is simple and time tested.  It is your home’s best line of defense against water intrusion from hydrostatic pressure.

Other Interior Basement Waterproofing Systems

There are many contractors with the patented systems that lay either on top of the footer or next to the footer.  Many of these systems are channel drains instead of round drains. This type of drain is installed level because it is sitting on on your foundation which is level.  This type of system requires water to build up in the drain.

As the water builds up it works on the fact that water always seeks a level.  As water lays in the drain it builds up to the point where it will eventually push out at the evacuation point. This also requires the overall water level around your foundation to build up to the floor level instead of draining at the bottom of the foundation which is about eight inches lower.

Water builds up in the channels and can not flow properly.  Ideally, a pipe should slope 1/2″ for every 10 feet.  This ensures proper flow to the drain area.  Many municipalities actually require this.  Look out for companies that ONLY offers their specific system.  It doesn’t matter what individual problem your basement has because they offer the same solution to every person.  Is interior basement waterproofing ALWAYS the right solution though?

Interior vs. Exterior

Interior basement waterproofing systems are not appropriate for every home.  Exterior basement waterproofing may be a better fit depending on where the water is coming in.  Every basement is different. Ground water may be a problem for one basement, whereas another basement may have more of a surface water problem.

If you aren’t sure which is right for you, contact us for a free estimate.  We can have a basement inspector examine your basement and make a recommendation for the best solution.

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For more information regarding our interior basement waterproofing systems, visit our website here.

Foundation Piers – How Do They Work?

Foundation Piers – How Do They Work?

What are foundation piers?  Most homeowners have never even heard of the term until they started experiencing foundation problems.  Of course, there are various remedies for different types of foundation movement.  You can learn more about them HERE.  The purpose of this article is to discuss the concept and technique of foundation piering to give you a better understanding of how the system works.

Foundation piers

What is Foundation Piering?

Piering is the process of driving sections of steel pipe or concrete pilings underneath of a foundation in order to stabilize it and prevent further movement.  The piers are pushed into the ground with a hydraulic pump.  Concentrically loaded foundation piers are installed directly under the center of the wall being lifted and use the foundation as resistance to push the pier into the ground.  The piers must be driven deep enough to hit bedrock or other stable strata in order to be effective.  This serves as the strong base needed to support the piers which in turn support the foundation.  Piering is the strongest and most dependable method of stabilizing a foundation that is settling or sinking.

There are various types of foundation piers on the market.  The most dependable method of structural piering is the patented Stabil-Loc piering system.  This is because Stabil-Loc piers are installed directly underneath the footer (base of the foundation) of the home, which is where all of the weight of the house is.  The pier is also constructed of a patented double wall interlocking system preventing failure between the segments.  This method comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty and full stamped and certified structural engineer documentation.

Other types of piers are installed next to the footer and attached to the side of it with a bracket.  These types of piers are susceptible to offset pressures that can bind and snap the bolts or brackets causing failure of the pier.

 Are They Strong Enough to Work?

Note the following information, which can be found directly on the Stabil-Loc website:

Our double walled heat extruded steel tube positioned directly under the center of the wall to be lifted or stabilized and driven hydraulically all the way to bedrock or stable strata provides the deepest, strongest foundation support available.

The Stabil-Loc Foundation Piering System segmented the shaft of the pier into 12-inch interlocking segments so the pier could be installed directly under the center line of the weight of the wall being lifted. The bracket was then inverted and rides against the bottom of the footing as a load bearing plate that rotates as the structure is lifted. The location and configuration of the pier combined with the highest compressive load carrying capacity in the industry makes it obvious– THIS PIER CANNOT FAIL!

Stabil Loc Foundation Piers

Is Piering Right for Your Home?

If your foundation is sinking or settling, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Stairstep cracks in the basement wall
  • Drywall cracks
  • Misaligned windows or doors
  • Foundation Cracks

If you would like to find out whether or not your house would be a good candidate for piering, contact us today!  We can perform a free* foundation inspection and make a recommendation that is tailored to your house’s unique needs.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has been in business since 1979.  We serve homeowners in the following areas and more:

Stark County, Summit County, Portage County, and Medina County.

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*Free for homeowners

Foundation piers

 

foundation piers

Foundation Piers During Installation.

Basement Repair Contractors – How to Find the Right One

Basement Repair Contractors – How to Find the Right One

Finding the right basement repair contractors can be challenging.  Of course, this is true in all trades, not just basement waterproofing or foundation repair.  It takes time, research, going through reviews, and making sure the contractor is reputable.  And then there is the interviewing process where you have the contractor come out to your home.  The process can seem overwhelming.  We will review some things to help you along the way so that you can make the right decision.  Although the focus of this article is for basement repair contractors, the same principles can be applied for any type of contractor.

Online Reviews

The first thing to look at is the contractor’s reputation.  Thankfully, the internet is a valuable resource for this.  The Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Facebook are good places to start.  Are the majority of the reviews good or are there mixed reviews?  Do the reviews look legitimate?  Believe it or not, some companies spend lots of time and money fabricating good reviews.  Websites like Angie’s List and the BBB make it difficult or impossible to do this.  Look for legitimate reviews from trustworthy sources.  You can also do a Google search to learn more about the company.

References

Does the company have a list of satisfied customers that can be contacted?  Good reviews are a start, but if a past customer is willing to vouch for the company to a total stranger, this speaks volumes about the company’s reputation.

Years in Business

A company may claim that they have many years of experience. But how long have they been in business? A company of four guys may have each been working in basement waterproofing for 5 years and claim that the company has 20 years of experience. But maybe the actual business has only been open for a few years. If they give you a lifetime guarantee, can you count on them still being around 5 or 10 years down the road?  A company that has been around for many years and has a solid reputation is the best bet.

National Companies vs. Local Businesses

National waterproofing companies are easy to spot. They spend a fortune on various forms of advertising and booths at trade shows. They have a highly trained sales staff that are required to use high pressure in their sales presentations, even going so far as demanding that all homeowners be present for an estimate, simply because they want to close a deal. National Companies usually have a “patented” system, which means every customer gets the same solution, regardless of what their problem is. They may claim to offer other solutions, but always lead back to their patented product. Local basement repair contractors are easy to spot as well because they will often advertise “locally owned and operated.” Smaller, local companies may utilize subcontractors for the majority of their labor, which means they are not insured against damages. Make sure the company has employees and is insured. Reputable companies will advertise that they are “bonded and insured” and can even provide a certificate to back up their claim.

Sales Presentation

Does the sales person take the time to explain everything to you and answer your questions? Or do they give the impression that you should just “trust the expert”? Are they using high pressure sales techniques? Do they use scare tactics, telling you that if you truly care about your family’s health, you will fix this problem immediately? Beware of these bad sales practices. If a company is reputable and trustworthy, they will not need to resort to these tactics.

A Final Word

Choosing the right basement repair contractors doesn’t have to be scary. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you dive in to doing the right research, you will be able to separate the good from the bad and choose a few that you will invite to your home for an estimate.

If you would like to learn more about our company, please visit our about page.
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Basement Repair Contractors

foundation wall repair

Foundation Wall Repair

Foundation Wall Repair

If you have foundation problems, you may be wondering what your options are for foundation wall repair.  Here are some of the most common symptoms of a foundation issue, and what those symptoms could mean:

  • Stair step cracks in basement wall, which may indicate settling or shifting.
  • Horizontal cracks may mean your basement wall is beginning to bow in.
  • Cracks in the floor of your basement could indicate settling.
  • Difficulty opening/closing doors and windows may mean the foundation is sinking.

There is good news though!  Most common foundation issues can be resolved.  There are several solutions to the different causes of these problems.  Therefore, we are going to review some of the methods we offer for foundation wall repair.

Carbon Fiber / Kevlar Mesh

We use the advanced technology of Fortress Stabilization for bowing basement walls.  The carbon fiber and Kevlar straps are meshed together and applied vertically to the basement wall.  This combination provides incredible strength to stop basement wall movement in its tracks.  The straps are flat to the wall and paintable.  This method comes with a lifetime warranty.

foundation wall repair

Structural Piering 

The most dependable method of structural piering is the patented Stabil-Loc piering system.  We install the piers directly under the footer of the home.  Each section of pier is driven into the ground under your foundation with a hydraulic pump until it hits bedrock or other stable strata.  This is the strongest and most dependable form of stabilizing a settling structure.  To learn more about the Stabil-Loc pier as well as other piering systems, please visit our foundation piering page.

foundation wall repair

Traditional Steel I Beams

 In some cases, a traditional steel I beam can be installed against the basement wall.  The beam is attached to the structure above as well as cemented in under the floor.  This method offers a limited warranty.

Basement Wall Replacement

 If a basement foundation wall is totally beyond repair, we offer complete replacement of the wall itself.  We stabilize the house and remove the wall and then replace it with all new block.  We can replace the entire foundation or just a section, depending on the severity.

Foundation wall repair

If you would like to learn more about the foundation wall repair methods we use, contact our office.  We can have a foundation specialist evaluate your basement and present the best options for your specific situation.

Our warranties come standard with the work that is performed.  No extra charges or yearly maintenance fees.  We believe in our products and solutions enough that we don’t have to put conditions in our guarantees or charge a fee to continue them.  We feel confident that we can offer a solution for whatever foundation wall repair needs you have.

Leaky Basement? Should You Put Off Waterproofing It?

Leaky Basement?  Should You Put Off Waterproofing It?

A leaky basement is quite an annoyance.  Basement leakage and excess moisture at the very least can cause a stinky mildew smell, mold growth, and the inability to use some or all of your basement for storage.  At the worst, it can lead to ruined personal property, worsening of basement wall cracks, a heaved up basement floor, or foundation problems.

No one WANTS a leaky basement.  But taking the time to research, interview, and hire a contractor is no picnic either.  Various contractors may all present different options to fix the problem and leave you more confused than you were before you started.  Or a high pressure sales pitch or fear mongering tactics that some companies use will make you wish you never opened your door.  Be that as it may, there are certainly downsides to putting off a basement waterproofing project and many reasons for doing so.  Let us consider just a few common reasons and try to dispel some of the hesitation you may have.

Reasons for Procrastinating

Waterproofing is really expensive – Waterproofing your basement may not be quite as expensive as you think.  Maybe only a portion of your basement needs waterproofed.  It may be possible to waterproof the part of your basement that is worst and waterproof the rest on a future date, if needed.  If a basement is consistently leaking over a period of time, the problem can and will only get worse.  When the problem gets worse, it gets more costly to fix it.  Spending the money to fix it before the problem becomes serious can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.  You may even find out that your leaky basement is caused by something simple, such as a gutter issue.

Using a waterproofing “paint” or coating will temporarily fix the problem and buy some time – In reality, waterproof paints and coatings will only mask the problem.  They will not keep water out, but they may keep you from having to look at it for a short time.  Water intrusion can cause basement wall cracks to progressively get worse.  A coat of paint will not prevent this from happening.

The leak isn’t that bad – Maybe your basement only leaks on occasion and it’s not that bad.  It would probably still be best to have a professional take a look at it just to make sure that it will not lead to any future problems.  Again, it may be best to fix the problem early and “nip it in the bud” so to speak.  This may prevent a small problem from turning into a big problem down the road.

leaky basement

Damp basement walls

What is that white powder?

That white powder on your basement walls or floor is lime.  Lime is the bonding agent in concrete.  When concrete gets wet and dries out the lime leaches out of it.  This process is called efflorescence.  Over time the loss of lime weakens the block and or floor and will cause it to get crumbly.  This decay if left unchecked will lead to structural integrity issues such as blocks shifting out of place or mortar joint rot to the point of the wall moving.

Take Action

If you are on the fence about what to do or unsure if you even have a problem, we can perform an inspection and give you a diagnosis.  We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity.  We will not try to sell you something that you don’t need.  Contact us for a free* estimate.  (*Free for homeowners)

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