If you have ever had the disaster of a flooded basement, you know how much time and money it takes to clean up the mess. If you haven’t had a wet basement, count your blessings. There are many homes that haven’t been waterproofed and in most cases, it is only a matter of time before they experience some type of water damage. Many insurance policies don’t even cover damage or clean up caused by flooding. It’s too common for the insurance companies to remain profitable, so they don’t usually cover flood damage on a standard homeowner’s policy.
The most important thing to do if you get water in your basement is to immediately begin working on getting it dried up and cleaned. It may not seem like a wet basement is really a big deal, especially if your basement is unfinished. The truth is a wet basement can cause a lot of damage to the structure of your home, along with any belongings that may be stored in the basement. The physical health of you and your family are also in danger if your basement is wet.
The longer a basement is left with water or high moisture content, the costlier it will be to repair and remediate the damage. Even if you jump on the problem as soon as it happens, the wet carpet will probably have to be torn out and thrown away. Discarding the damaged carpet is usually cheaper than trying to thoroughly clean it. Damaged drywall and woodwork will have to be torn out and replaced. If any electrical systems were touched by the water, it would be a good idea to have it inspected and then replaced, if it is damaged. You don’t need a fire or accidental electrocution due to water damaging wiring or breaker boxes.
Even if the water seems to be clean, it can quickly become contaminated with chemicals or bacteria. The bacteria can cause serious health problems and no one needs to deal with that. If bacteria begins to grow, you will have to have the area decontaminated, adding to the cost, hassle, and time of cleaning and repairing your flooded basement. Most experts state that bacteria growth can begin in less than 24-48 hours, so you don’t have a very big window to extricate any water that may be in your basement.
Groundwater or flood waters can be very dangerous and should be treated carefully. Try to limit any direct exposure to the water to minimize the chance of bacteria or other contaminants causing you health issues. We can’t express how very important it is that you have flood-damaged basements decontaminated and sanitized by a professional outfit. Until it is sanitized, it is unsafe to enter the area. A basement that isn’t properly dried out will be the perfect home for mold and pest infestations. The mold can damage furniture and any wood structures. Pests like ants and termites can also damage belongings and woodwork. Over 50% of the air you breathe in your home comes from the basement, so if there is mold there, you and your family are in danger of breathing in the mold spores, causing a wide variety of health issues, some serious.
Rotted wood supports endanger the structure of your home. Joists and beams can weaken, causing floors to sag or even collapse. If the structural integrity of your home is compromised, the costs and time to have it repaired and to make your home safe again are exponentially higher.
There are many causes of basement flooding:
A professional company, like Matthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing, can help prevent your basement from flooding. You can do some things like making sure your gutters are clean and the downspouts are draining away from the foundation. Other things take an expert like sump pump installation, crack repair, foundation repair, interior and exterior waterproofing, and dehumidifier installation.
If you notice flooding or pooling water, water stains, water damage, rotting wood, musty odors, or other signs of a wet basement, make sure you contact someone you trust for basement wall repair and basement waterproofing. Keeping your home safe and stable is important, along with keeping your family safe and your home’s value strong. Contact us today to learn more about Matthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing can do for you.
1. Extend your downspout discharge lines away from your foundation and out into the yard or into an underground dry well. Downspout lines often fail even in newer homes so making sure that the roof water is being properly diverted is essential.
2. Use Drylok on walls that only have minor dampness. This product, and some that are like it, can be an effective short-term solution to keeping dampness isolated. They only work for a few years in some instances and can chip and flake if the water problem becomes worse.
3. Adjust the grade so the outside soil line by the home’s foundation wall slopes away from the house.
4. Make sure that you don’t have any plumbing issues. Upstairs leaks and those that are occurring inside of walls are often hard to diagnose and can appear as basement waterproofing issues since water flows down and tends to accumulate in unpredictable places. A professional plumber should be consulted where this may be in question.
5. Check your gutters at the roof line to make sure that the downspouts are fitted correctly and are fully sealed. Leaks can occur at the roof and water can sometimes find it’s way up underneath the shingles and down through the walls of the home. That will often find it’s way down to the basement’s footing wall joint and appear as basement seepage.
6. Control your interior airspace by closing and sealing any wall cracks or places that are exposed to the outside. Clean and dehumidify the basement’s air quality with a high-performance unit.
7. Make sure the exterior soil level outside the home is below the top of the wall on the inside of the basement. That is otherwise known as where the sill plate is. If the outside mulch bed is higher than the top of the inside basement wall, water can seep through and wash down over the wall. Telltale signs are mulch colored stains on the inside walls.
8. Expose any finished basement wall sections that are showing signs of water damage. This could be spotted on wooden baseboards or on the drywall itself. Another sign of problems with finished basements is bad smells. Insulation can absorb water and lead to mold issues behind finished walls that don’t have sealed vapor barriers and proper drainage prior to their installation. Identifying bad sections should be done by a professional if there is any doubt at all.
9. Create a Curtain Drain in the yard where water is accumulating. This is a non-warranted job by professionals because they nearly always become clogged after a time. They can provide temporary relief of basement water issues by collecting and diverting the marshy wet places to lower sections of the yard.
10. The construction of a new house is the time to properly seal the house for life. The old standby of plastic wrap and Styrofoam sheeting to protect does work. But it is almost always destroyed during the back-filling of the foundation, causing it to leak. This way of sealing no longer meets the international building code, along with many state, country, or city building codes. If you’re building a new home, it’s wise to have a good interior and exterior drain system put in place during the initial building process.
Disclaimer… The above information is intended for informational purposes only. Matthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing Services does not warrant or imply that these basement waterproofing tips will solve the common issues described. A professional waterproofing expert is always recommended before attempting any remediation work.
We’ve been pretty fortunate so far this fall, with some very nice weather, but we know that the winter months are just over the horizon. What can you do now to protect your home and its foundation from the harsh cold and ice for the next few months?
Your concrete foundation can be impacted by freezing temperatures and moisture. If your foundation already has a crack, water inside it can freeze, making the crack even bigger. The soil around your foundation will also expand when the water in the earth freezes. This will put pressure on the foundation and can either cause damage or make problems even worse. Protect your home against the oncoming blast of winter!
Below are a few things to do outside of your home to protect the foundation during the winter months.
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts: If melting snow or ice has nowhere to go, it will pool around your foundation, causing a wide variety of problems. If your gutters are full of leaves and other debris, the water will spill over the sides and straight down alongside your home. Clogged or missing downspouts will also cause problems for you. If the downspout isn’t draining the water at least 10 feet away from your home, the water can find its way back to the soil next to the foundation.
Clear the Snow: Once it snows, you should keep the accumulation away from your foundation. This is especially important once it starts to melt. The baseline ratio of snow to rain is 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of rain. The average snowfall in Pennsylvania is between 30-45 inches, so around 3-5 inches of rain will be waiting to run down your foundation walls. Drifting snow can be even deeper, so keep that in mind. Use a snow thrower or shovel and keep snow away from your foundation before it melts.
Check Egress Windows: If you have egress windows with a window well make sure that there is no water in the hole after a rain. Also, make sure that there is no water inside of the window, as that can be a sign of a crack or leak. Make sure window drains are clear and free-flowing.
Seal Up Cracks: If there are already cracks in your foundation, you need to have them sealed before the snow falls. If melting snow or ice gets into the cracks, it can cause them to expand, causing more problems and bigger repairs. Don’t get a DIY crack repair kit from your local hardware or big box store, only a professional can make sure that the cracks are completely sealed. A partial seal is worse than no seal, because you may not know that there is water behind the “fix”.
Prepare Your Plumbing: Make sure that any pipes that are on outside walls are protected, especially if the wall is not insulated. If pipes are inside a cabinet or closet, open the doors to allow the heat of the house to keep pipes from freezing and bursting.
Inspect Your Sump Pump: Make sure that your sump pump is in working condition. You may think of a sump pump system as being a summer thunderstorm necessity, but it is also important during the winter. A huge snowfall followed by a warm spell can equal a lot of water in a short time. Make sure your sump pump can handle the amount of water. We also recommend a battery back-up. If the power goes out, you don’t want to be stuck without a working sump pump.
Keep Basement Humidity Low: Most people think of humidifiers in the winter time, as opposed to dehumidifiers. However, you want your basement to remain dry. Running a dehumidifier, encapsulating your crawl space, and installing other waterproofing methods can protect your foundation from damage due to melting snow and ice.
Taking care of your foundation is a year-round task, but we all tend to put it out of our minds during the winter. If you have any questions about preparing your home for the winter, give Matthews Wall Anchor and Waterproofing Services a call and let us help you protect your foundation from the winter weather.
When people think of wet basements, they may think of standing water and soggy carpeting. And, while a flooded basement is not a treat, even a little water can cause problems for your home and family.
High humidity and unseen water seepage can do as much damage, if not more, than a basement full of water. When you see that you have standing water, you know that you have to do something immediately, so you probably call in a waterproofing expert right away. If you are dealing with just a small trickle, you may not even notice that there is anything wrong.
There are a variety of problems that can occur if your home is experiencing water seepage. If it is a small trickle that you don’t notice, it could be inside your walls, weakening your supports and foundation walls. Another possible problem is that the water can cause a fire hazard if it comes into contact with electrical systems. It can cause cracks, wood rot, or mold growth.
A little bit of water or high humidity can cause mold and mildew to grow and spread. The spores are released into the air and can cause a wide variety of health problems. Over 40% of the air we breathe in our homes comes from our basement or crawlspace, so it is important that we are breathing healthy air. Spores can cause everything from runny eyes and noses to breathing problems and there are even studies that say that they can cause cancer. Children and elderly people are most susceptible to mold and mildew growth.
You may not notice actual mold growth, as this can happen behind walls or in air ducts. You may find that your home has a musty or stale odor and this is usually a sign of mold and mildew growth.
It is very important that you get your home tested for mold if you see any signs of growth or are noticing health issues in your family. The sooner you address the situation, the quicker and less costly the cleanup will be. Most companies will give you a free inspection and estimate for mold removal.
Your home is most likely resting on wood beams and a brick or concrete foundation. Water can wreak havoc on both materials. Your wooden supports can soften due to moisture or develop wood rot, causing them to weaken. You may notice your floors warping or sinking or doors and windows sticking or not staying open. Wood will swell with exposure to water, causing all kinds of problems.
Concrete can also fall victim to water seepage. Water can quickly erode concrete, weakening it. It only takes a crack as wide as a hair to allow water in and the water will take advantage and widen that crack even more. You may only see a small dribble on this side of the wall, but on the other side could be an extreme amount of water putting a lot of pressure on your foundation walls.
There are some small things you can do to keep water out of your basement. Make sure that your gutters are clear and that your downspouts are draining well away from your foundation. Trees and other landscaping should be away from your home, allowing water to drain properly. You may be tempted to go to your favorite DIY store and find something to seal your basement yourself. That usually doesn’t work out well for anyone.
Eventually, there comes a time where you just can’t (or shouldn’t) do repairs yourself. A reputable waterproofing contractor, like Matthews Wall Anchor & Waterproofing Services, will look for cracks in your ceilings, floors, or walls. They will be able to determine the cause of the cracks and the best solution for repairing them, in addition to making sure that they do not reoccur.
Solutions range from installing a dehumidifier to interior and exterior waterproofing, including the installation of sump pumps. If you have a crawl space, you may want to have the area encapsulated, in effect, sealing off the crawl space from the water source.
Before you start any waterproofing project, you need to make sure all gaps and cracks are sealed. It won’t do any good to install a waterproofing system if you don’t control the water to begin with.
Some interior waterproofing methods that are tried and true include commercial grade waterproofing coatings. These applications are thick and will bond with your concrete or masonry work. The sealers are silicate-based and will chemically react with the concrete, creating a permanent seal.
A step up from a waterproof coating may be needed. The installation of an interior drainage system will collect the water and send it away from your home. Some methods include vapor barriers, dehumidifiers, and sump pumps.
Your gutters and downspouts are the first lines of defense when it comes to exterior waterproofing. Make sure they are running clear and away from the foundation. The next step is to make sure the surface drainage is working. Check that the ground around your home is graded properly and drains away from the foundation.
Exterior waterproofing involves excavation, but the payoff is worth it. The installed drainage system doesn’t prevent flooding, but it will work with the interior waterproofing system to keep your basement or crawl space dry.
With a little work, you can protect your basement and home from damage caused by water seepage. You can reduce the chances of wall and floor cracks, weakened foundations, and mold growth. Contact the professionals today at Matthews Wall Anchor and let us help you with your water seepage problems.
There are a variety of ways that a dehumidifier can help and benefit homes and businesses in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Dehumidifiers keep your home cool, dry, and more comfortable and safe for your home and possessions. Humidity can destroy your possessions and create problems in your foundation and around your home. It can cause mold and mildew to grow, as well as cause rust and water stains. Not only will a dehumidifier keep your possessions and home safe, it will prevent other problems such as dust mites, dust and allergens, bacteria, and musty odors. Your home will be a cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable place with our dehumidifiers. Our dehumidifiers prevent or help to prevent all of the following, including:
The problems listed above can lower the value of your home and possessions. We know that your home and many of your possessions are large investments; a dehumidifier can help protect those investments so you can maintain the value of your property. It will also keep your family or employees healthy. The air will be cleaner and safer to breathe. Sometimes, our dehumidifiers can even help a home or business become more energy efficient. We have seen some of our customers report lower energy costs.
At Matthews Wall Anchor we sell and install Santa Fe Dehumidifiers which have been known to save homes and businesses about $40 per month on operating costs. These products are all made in the United States, as well. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of a dehumidifier in your Ohio or Pennsylvania home. We want to help you keep your home or business safe, clean, healthy, and comfortable. Give us here at Matthews Wall Anchor a call today!