Damp Basement Walls? What is Your Best Waterproofing Option?

Damp Basement Walls? What is Your Best Waterproofing Option?

Damp basement walls can cause a lot of headaches.  If your basement includes a finished living area, excess moisture can ruin drywall, carpet, and more.  Dampness can contribute to mold growth, musty odors, and/or loss of use of certain areas of your basement.

damp basement walls

What Can You Do?

Damp basement walls can have many causes.  The cause may be as simple as clogged gutters or it may be as serious as a severe surface water problem that requires a full waterproofing system.  Assuming that you have done your basic home maintenance and despite your best efforts, your basement is still consistently damp, you may need to call in some professionals.

While most basement waterproofing contractors would love to have you think that there is some fancy patented system required to banish dampness for good, basement waterproofing is actually quite simple.  There are really only two ways that a house can be waterproofed.  From the inside of the house or from the outside.  So which one is best?

Interior Waterproofing or Exterior Waterproofing?

Whether your house should be waterproofed on the inside or outside depends on where the water is coming from.  If you have damp basement walls, chances are you have a surface water problem.  Other symptoms may include:

  • Paint bubbling
  • Water running down walls
  • Basement wall dampness soon after rain or snow melting

If your house fits this description, an exterior basement waterproofing system may be the best option.

How Does It Work?

We begin by digging up around the outside of your foundation, down to the footer.  We clean the walls of any debris and apply a waterproof coating to the exterior basement walls. The next step is to hang a dimpled membrane, which guarantees a dry foundation wall. Then, we install PVC foundation drainage along the footing, top it with gravel, then backfill with soil to slope away from the foundation. These steps ensure that the water is diverted away from your foundation, keeping your basement walls nice and dry.
If your basement walls are dry for the most part, or only damp around the bottom of the foundation, interior basement waterproofing may be a better option. You can learn more about that by clicking here.
Pioneer Basement Solutions has been solving basement problems since 1979.  We can confirm whether an exterior basement waterproofing system is right for you and explain the pros and cons of interior vs. exterior methods.

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Contact us and we can help you get rid of your damp basement walls for good!

Clogged gutters

Clogged Gutters – How They Affect Your Basement

Clogged Gutters – How They Affect Your Basement

We regularly meet customers that have a basement water problem that is simply caused by issues with their gutters.  We have briefly discussed clogged gutters in previous blog posts.  But spring is in the air and heavy rains have already begun.  We thought now would be a good time to review how your gutters affect your basement and why it is so important to keep them in tip top shape.

Why Are Gutters Important?

Gutters are an often overlooked but nonetheless important aspect of home maintenance.  The purpose of gutters is to catch rain water and channel it to a downspout and away from your home.  Gutters serve the important purpose of keeping excess water away from your foundation and out of your basement.

When a Problem Arises

Leaves and debris from surrounding trees can cause clogged gutters any time of the year, but gutters are especially vulnerable to clogging during fall time.  When gutters are clogged, rain water may pool around the edge of your foundation.  If this is left unchecked over a period of time, several things can happen:

  • The extra moisture and weight against the foundation could lead to cracking or bowing.
  • The soil around the foundation can erode and cause settlement issues.
  • Water can enter into the basement, which can cause many problems on its own, including mold growth.

These same problems can occur when gutters don’t have proper pitch.  Sometimes gutters become loose and are not fastened properly to the house.

How to Keep Gutters Maintained

Experts recommend checking and cleaning gutters twice per year.  If your house is surrounded by large trees, you may need to do so more often.  A ladder is really all that you need, but a leaf blower may be a big help also.

If you do not have the time or equipment to clean your gutters, many gutter contractors also perform cleaning services.  They could also inspect your gutters to make sure they are properly directing water to the downspout.  Also, various types of caps and screens are available to keep leaves out of gutters, but even these still require some maintenance.  Regardless of HOW you clean your gutters, keeping them properly cleaned and maintained goes a long way in protecting your foundation and basement.

At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we are not in the business of fixing gutters.  But we want our customers to be informed as to all the causes of basement water issues.  If you have water in your basement, contact us for an estimate, free for homeowners!

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sump pump battery backup

Sump Pump Battery Backup- Do I Need it?

Sump Pump Battery Backup- Do I Need it?

If you are planning to waterproof your basement or replace an existing sump pump, you may be considering a sump pump battery backup system.  There is of course a lot of benefit to having a backup system.  Sump pumps do not last forever.  Just like everything, with wear and tear over time, they will need to be replaced.  But you may not know that it needs to be replaced until you have a flood.  When and if your sump pump fails, isn’t it worth it to have a backup?

Is It Worth the Investment?

During what event may you need a backup?

  • The float switch on your primary sump pump fails, gets stuck, or doesn’t activate.
  • A fuse or circuit breaker is tripped.
  • The cord on your primary sump pump accidentally gets pulled out.
  • Your primary sump pump experiences mechanical failure.
  • Your electricity goes out.

Electricity failure can happen because of a storm.  But when it is storming, that is NOT the time that you want your sump pump to stop functioning.  That is when you need it the most!

We recommend the PumpSpy Battery Backup Sump Pump.

sump pump battery backup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features of the PumpSpy Battery Backup

24/7 Remote Monitoring. PumpSpy’s servers constantly watch over your sump pumps automatically. PumpSpy instantly detects problems before flooding can occur!

Monitors your main sump pump. PumpSpy is the only system that constantly checks your main sump pump!

Automatic backup pump. In the event of a main sump pump problem or power outage, PumpSpy automatically activates the battery back-up pump.

Notifications and alerts. When a problem happens, PumpSpy sends you instant alerts via text message, email and PumpSpy App.

PumpSpy products connect to computers that watch over your sump pump system automatically, 24/7. PumpSpy computers constantly collect and analyze incoming data from your sump pumps, checking for potential issues. When an issue is detected, PumpSpy automatically sends alerts via text message, email and push notifications via the FREE PumpSpy App.  PumpSpy is the only system that alerts homeowners that their sump pump has a problem BEFORE flooding can occur.

sump pump battery backup

Having a sump pump battery backup is like having insurance.  You hope you never have to use it, but when you DO need it, you’re glad you have it.

Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest blogs. If you would like to know if we can install a sump pump battery backup system where you live, check our service area.

 

Flooded Basement? What Steps Should You Take Next?

Flooded Basement?

A flooded basement can be overwhelmingly stressful and downright devastating.  If your basement is finished, thousands of dollars in building materials can be lost.  Irreplaceable photographs or priceless family heirlooms may be affected.  Once you get through the mess of cleaning everything up, no doubt you will want to take the necessary steps to not only figure out what caused the flooding, but also to prevent it from happening again.

Possible Causes

Ground Water – Hydrostatic pressure can push water in through cracks in the basement floor.

Surface Water – Sources of surface water, such as gutters or improper grading, can lead to excess water around the perimeter of the home.

Storm Water Backup – Water from municipal storm sewers can back up into the basement.

Sanitary Sewer – Sanitary Sewer water can back up due to a clog in your home’s sewer lines.

Steps to Take

  • Check gutters for proper drainage.  If gutters are clogged and overflowing, this can lead to significant water intrusion during a very heavy rainfall.  Also, make sure that your downspout is draining far enough away from the foundation.
  • Check the slope or grade of the areas around your home.  Make sure the ground or a concrete pad is not sloped toward your home.  This is an open invitation for water to enter.
  • What if your flooded basement is due to storm water or sewer water?  A licensed plumber can determine what is the best course of action.  They may suggest installing a backflow preventer or recommend snaking your drains.

Flooded basement

When the Problem is Ground Water or Surface Water…

If the flooding is due to ground water or surface water that cannot be controlled, a basement waterproofing system is probably the best option.  An exterior basement waterproofing system will redirect water away from your foundation and prevent it from entering through the basement walls and into the home.  An interior basement waterproofing system can help to keep ground water under control by draining it to a sump pump.  We offer both interior and exterior basement waterproofing as well as a combination of the two.  We can determine where the water is coming from and recommend which type of system will work best for your home.  You can learn more about basement waterproofing by clicking here.

Our service area includes the following areas of Northeast Ohio:

  • Stark County, including Canton, Massillon, and Alliance.
  • Summit County, including Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, and Stow.
  • Wayne County, including Wooster and Orrville.
  • Medina County, including Medina, Brunswick, and Wadsworth.

Contact Pioneer for a basement evaluation (free for homeowners).  We can come up with a solution to relieve your basement problems permanently so that you never have to deal with a flooded basement again!  Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest blogs.

Foundation Piering Systems – A Basic Overview

Foundation Piering Systems – A Basic Overview

If you have done your research, by now you have realized that there are a variety of foundation piering systems.  The purpose of this blog is to give a basic overview of the most commonly used systems.

There are two ways in which a pier can bear the load of a home’s foundation:

Eccentrically Loaded – This type of pier is attached to the edge of the footer with a large bracket.  The bracket is used as resistance to push the pier into the ground.  Thus, this type of pier creates an offset load.

Concentrically Loaded – This type of pier is installed directly under the footer.  The weight of the building is used as resistance to drive the pier into the ground.  Therefore, this type of pier creates a direct load.

Foundation Piering Systems

Types of Foundation Piering Systems

There are five basic designs and we will go through them one by one.

Offset Steel Pier-

As stated, a bracket is attached to the footer and it is an industry wide practice to cut out part of the footer to get the bracket closer to the wall to reduce the offset load.  The pier is driven into the ground until it hits stable strata.  It is not the course of wisdom to remove a portion of a home’s footer, nor to create an offset load.  The tested and published safety load factor for this type of pier is 2 to 1.

Helical Foundation Anchor-

These are relatively new to the marketplace.  They are also attached with a bracket to the footer.  Helical piers typically must be driven into the ground at an angle, which creates stress on the threads.  This can lead to failure of the pier to bear the load properly.  Additionally, they are not driven deep enough to hit bedrock, or load bearing strata.  And helical piers also create an offset load.

Concrete Piling-

They are 6” in diameter and 12” long. They are concentrically loaded, which is good, and they work well in sandy soils, but they are too large in diameter to go deep enough to be effective in clay soils.

Concrete Shoring Pad-

Fourth, an older technology that is still sometimes used is a concrete shoring pad.  The idea is to dig under the footer to pour a bigger footing under the one you have.  This has not been proven to permanently fix a settling foundation.  The new footing can continue to settle right underneath of the old footing.

Stabil-Loc Pier-

Last but not least, the Stabil-Loc Pier is designed to be installed directly under the foundation wall.  Its unique interlocking high strength steel construction can support up to 300,000 lbs.  Hydraulic pressure is monitored while the pier is being driven into the ground.  There are no bolts, no brackets, no removal of the footing, and no off-set loads. The Stabil-Loc pier carries an Engineer Certified safety factor of more than 10 to 1.

A Final Word

At Pioneer, we only sell and install products that we firmly believe in.  For example, we choose not to use products that create an offset load.  We also avoid piers that feature brackets or pieces that create weak spots and could potentially break.  That is why we use the Stabil-Loc pier.  It has been proven to be a permanent solution to stabilize settling foundations.  We work closely with engineers and local building officials to ensure that we provide the best possible solution for your foundation.  You can learn more about Stabil-Loc piers by clicking here.

Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest blog posts.  Feel free to explore our website to learn more about us.

Foundation Piering Systems

exterior basement waterproofing

Basement Waterproofing DIY – Is it Worth the Time and Money?

Basement Waterproofing DIY – Is it Worth the Time and Money?

This article is not a sales pitch or a scare tactic to try to persuade you from attempting a basement waterproofing DIY project.  Our goal here is for educational purposes only.  I’m about to say something that no other basement waterproofing company will tell you.  Just because your basement is damp doesn’t mean that it needs waterproofed.  We do not want to sell you something you don’t need.  So, are there basement waterproofing DIY methods you can try as a homeowner?  Absolutely.  Are there a few DIY products you should avoid?  Most definitely.

Steps to Take

First of all, there are measures you can take to ensure that the dampness in your basement isn’t caused by preventable sources.  You can read about some things to look for in our blog about basement moisture control.  Many basements that we visit simply have a problem with gutters and downspouts leaking.  In fact, you can spend thousands of dollars on a basement waterproofing system, but if your gutters are not draining properly, basement waterproofing isn’t going to keep the water out.  Make sure gutters are clean and draining effectively.

If your basement is persistently damp, you may want to consider a basement dehumidifier.  This can help if your problem is minor dampness not caused by surface or ground water.

What About Waterproofing Products?

What about basement waterproofing paints and sealers?  How effective are they?  One brand of sealant claims to be “the only basement waterproofing product scientifically proven to work permanently.”  If such a claim were true, waterproofing companies would have all gone out of business years ago.  Another product’s label directly states that the product can cause mold growth!  The truth of the matter is that applying a coat of paint or sealer is merely covering the problem with a bandaid.  Water will still seep in, and it will still have no where to go.  These products use fancy words such as “elastipoxy” or “extreme masonry waterproofer.”  But painting a sealer on your basement walls is a short term solution at best.

What about crack sealants or crack repair kits?  This method will fill an existing crack and may even prevent a small amount of water from coming through.  Also, it can make the appearance of a crack look a bit less unsightly.  However, if your foundation is cracking because it is settling or sinking, sealing the crack isn’t going to prevent further movement.  These products treat the symptoms but not the cause of the problem.

basement waterproofing DIY

The other option that some homeowners consider is basement waterproofing kits.  These kits involve a drainage system that is installed around the perimeter of the basement floor.  These systems can be complicated and costly.  They are also ineffective because your basement floor is level.  A certain amount of pitch is needed in order for water to flow properly.

Keep in mind that if you ever intend to sell your home, these products may cause a measure of devaluation.  They indicate that there is a water seepage problem that hasn’t been resolved.  Additionally, they do not have a warranty that can be passed on to potential buyers.

When You Have Tried Everything Else

If you have taken reasonable measures to prevent water seepage in your basement but it hasn’t fixed your problem, consider calling in an expert to evaluate the situation.  We offer free consultations for homeowners.  We can help you to determine first and foremost if there is a problem, and if so, how to fix it.  Pioneer Basement Solutions is locally owned and operated and we have been in business since 1979.  Feel free to explore our website to learn more about us.

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Basement Waterproofing Methods – A Simple Guide to Different Systems

Basement Waterproofing Methods

If you have been shopping around for a basement waterproofing contractor, by now you may have several proposals that all suggest a different way to “fix” your leaky basement.  Why are there so many conflicting opinions?  Some contractors ONLY offer outside systems and still others only offer inside basement waterproofing methods.  On the other hand, you may come across a contractor or two that only installs their own “patented” product.  They might present a convincing argument as to why their system is superior.  “Patented” simply just means that they can charge a higher price because their claim is that they are the only contractor that can install such a system.  The truth of the matter is that no company wants you to think that what they do is simple or common.

Therefore, lets discuss some basic, common sense basement waterproofing methods that have been proven to be successful for many years.

Exterior Basement Waterproofing

An exterior basement waterproofing system is done in several steps.  First of all, we excavate the foundation down to the footer.  Then, the basement walls are inspected for any weak spots or cracks and repaired accordingly.  A sealer is applied to the outside of the basement walls and then a dimpled membrane is wrapped around the foundation.  A new footer drain is then installed and covered with gravel.  Once the soil is put back into place, the surface is graded to slope away from the house.

Exterior basement waterproofing is the best defense against surface water.

exterior basement waterproofing methods

Interior Basement Waterproofing

A true interior footer drain is installed in a trench around the footer.  The drain slopes down hill which moves the water towards the drainage point.  For this purpose, a sump pump system is usually installed.  There should be about 1/2″ fall for every 10 feet of drain pipe to promote a good flowing drain.  Once installed, the new footer drain is covered with gravel.  Lastly, new cement is poured over top of the gravel to finish off the system.

Interior basement waterproofing is the best defense against ground water.

interior basement waterproofing methods

Combination Systems

As the name suggests, a combination system would be an interior AND exterior system, both installed to work together.  This may be necessary depending on the type of water seepage problem your basement has.  We can utilize this method in certain parts of the basement, or in the entire basement.  It may be necessary to waterproof an interior portion of the basement if the area is not accessible from the outside.  Additionally, some homes may have an issue with both ground water and surface water.  In this case, a combination system may be the best bet.

Which Method is Best for Your Home?

These basement waterproofing methods have been proven to permanently correct water intrusion.  So which of these methods is best for you?  It all depends on where, and how, water is coming in.  Is there a “one size fits all” solution that works for every basement?  No.  Every home is different.  There are different types of soil.  There are various ways in which water can enter a basement.  And there are factors such as age, quality, and structural integrity of basements and foundations.  For these reasons, it is important to assess the problem before determining a solution.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has been employing the above mentioned methods for many years.  We have a proven track record and our common sense solutions work.  Please explore the rest of our website to learn more about us.  Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on our latest blogs.

Please feel free to contact us for a free inspection (homeowners) to discuss basement waterproofing methods.

Basement Moisture – How to Keep it to a Minimum

Basement Moisture – How to Keep it to a Minimum

Keeping basement moisture under control is important for several reasons.  First of all, too much moisture over an extended period of time can lead to structural issues.  Secondly, moisture can cause mold growth, musty smells, and other problems.   Basements naturally have a higher humidity level than the rest of the house.  Concrete is porous and will not prevent outside moisture from seeping through.  Additionally, normal everyday activities, such as cooking, showering, etc. can cause an increase in moisture as well.  While some moisture is natural, it is good to examine your house from time to time for preventable sources of excess moisture.

Possible Causes of Moisture

Plumbing Leaks:

It is easy for small plumbing leaks to go unnoticed for long periods of time.  This is especially true since pipes are usually hidden in walls, under vanities, or behind appliances.  If you notice one particular area of the basement that is always damp, check the plumbing around that area.  It could be that there is a slow leak in one of the pipes.

Dryer Vent:

When a dryer vent is functioning properly, it should discharge the moist air from the dryer to the outside of the home.  If a dryer vent comes loose or unattached, there is no way for that damp air to escape.  Check to make sure that your vent is securely attached and functioning properly.

Leaking Gutters:

A leaky gutter can cause water to settle around the foundation which will seep in and cause excess moisture or dampness.  Make sure that gutters are not clogged and are directing water away from the home.

Improper Grading Around Foundation:

If the ground around your foundation is sloped toward the house, rainwater cannot drain to the proper location and may contribute to basement moisture and dampness.  Even if the pitch is just slightly off, it can cause excessive dampness in the basement.

HVAC System:

Have a heating and cooling contractor check your system to make sure that it is ventilating properly and that the unit is the correct size for your home.

In addition to making sure that all of the above issues are in order, you can use a dehumidifier to keep moisture in check.  You may also want to consider a Humidex system, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

Persistent Dampness

What if you have examined all of the above possibilities and still have dampness?  If you are experiencing persistent dampness that is not reduced by following the above steps, you may need to have your basement evaluated by a basement waterproofing contractor.  Pioneer Basement Solutions has been in business since 1979.  We are locally owned and operated, licensed, bonded, and insured.  We can perform a free* inspection of your basement to determine what the cause is of any basement moisture or dampness.  Click here to contact us!

basement moisture

*Free inspection for homeowners

Humidex System

Basement Dehumidifier – Why Humidex is a Good Alternative

Basement Dehumidifier – Why Humidex is a Good Alternative

First of all, why use a basement dehumidifier in the first place?  Its no secret that excessive basement moisture, if left unchecked, can cause a slew of problems.  For example, basement moisture can contribute to mold growth, musty smells, poor air quality in the home, and even structural problems.  However, it is not difficult to keep moisture under control with proper ventilation.  For this reason, many homeowners will utilize a basement dehumidifier.  While this is undoubtedly better than nothing at all and can certainly help to keep moisture under control, it is not the only option out there.

What is Humidex and How Does it Work?

Humidex is a patented moisture control and ventilation system.  The system works in three steps:

Step 1 – Expel

Moisture naturally seeps in through the foundation and accumulates from normal daily activities.  This heavy, moisture-laden air settles at the floor level of the basement and crawl space.  The Humidex system draws in this stagnant, damp, contaminated air to the bottom vents of the unit by a powerful, yet quiet, ventilation fan.  The air is then expelled to the outside of the house through a dedicated duct.

Step 2 – Replenish

This flushed-out, contaminated air is then replaced with a flow of relatively drier, warmer and fresher air drawn downward from the upper levels. The warmer air will lower the relative humidity and reduce the condensation on the basement surface. The interior upstairs air is then replaced with cleaner, fresher outdoor air entering the home naturally through windows, doors, and cracks.

Step 3 – Ventilate

The Humidex system is automatically controlled by an adjustable humidistat that regulates the flow of air.  The fan will adjust according to the humidity level.  At a high rate, which is only at peak times, it will be equivalent to two bathroom fans. In maintenance mode it’s a fraction of that, enough to meet the minimum air exchange required.

basement dehumidifier

Humidex vs. Dehumidifiers

Consider some of the advantages of Humidex:

  • Cheaper to run.  The average monthly cost for electricity is $3.  Humidex only uses 38 watts, even on the highest setting.  On the other hand, dehumidifier wattage can translate to $40 to $70 per month.
  • Maintenance free.  Unlike a dehumidifier, there are no filters to clean or replace.  Moreover, there are no buckets to empty.
  • Provides ventilation.  Dehumidifiers recirculate the same air, over and over.  Humidex effectively expels all types of contaminants and pollutants in the entire house and replenishes it with fresher and healthier air.
  • Covers a larger area.  A dehumidifier has a limited range.  In fact, multiple units may be required to effectively control moisture in a large area.  One Humidex provides moisture control for the entire basement, crawl space, and the upper levels as well.

If you would like to learn more, you can do so by clicking here to visit the Humidex website.  You may also contact us for a free* estimate.

*Free estimate for homeowners for basement dehumidifier

Cracked wall window

Foundation Repair Contractors – How to Choose Wisely

Foundation Repair Contractors – How to Choose Wisely

When it comes to foundation issues, there are usually telltale signs when there is a problem.  For example, you may notice cracks in the basements walls or floor, settling or sinking, or a bowed wall.  When you begin researching foundation repair contractors, the choices may seem overwhelming.  There is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to available contractors.  Just a quick online search may reveal a dozen or more companies who advertise foundation repair services.  At the same time, when it comes to something as important as the foundation of your home, it is imperative to choose carefully.  This article is designed to help you know what to look for with regard to foundation repair contractors.

Foundation repair contractors

What to Look For

How long has the company been in business?  Just because a company claims to have many years of “experience” does not mean they have actually been in business that long.

What is the company’s reputation?  There are many online resources such as Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and even social media outlets to search for reviews on the company.

Is the company insured?  Any reputable company should be able to easily and quickly provide proof of this information.

Do they offer multiple repair options?  Be leery of contractors that offer the same “one size fits all” solution to every customer, regardless of what the problem is.  For more information on various repair options, click here.

Is a permit required?  An honest company will make the effort to comply with local building codes and standards.

Does the company have references?  References should be readily supplied with contact information for each customer.

Do they offer a warranty?  Any foundation repair work should be backed by a warranty.  Furthermore, the terms of the warranty should be clear and easy to understand.

Who will be on the job site?  Will there be a foreman or supervisor on site?  Are the workers employees of the company or temporary labor and/or subcontractors?

Basement wall cracking

Why it is Important

Although it may be tempting to go with the cheapest proposal, or even try a DIY option, this is not the best course of action.  In fact, this could end up costing you more in the long run.  If you make it your goal to find a contractor that will get the job done right the first time, you can have peace of mind in knowing that your foundation will be strong and structurally sound for years to come.

Pioneer Basement Solutions has been in business since 1979.  We offer various options for foundation repair, stabilization, and replacement, as well as basement waterproofing.  Visit our About to learn more.