Downers Grove, IL
September 17, 2008
With the housing market in a slump, more and more homeowners are investing in their existing homes. One of the best, long-term investments for a house is basement waterproofing for added usable space and possible finishing. Emecole claims that it is wiser and healthier to first minimize humidity, prevent deadly soil gases from entering a home, eradicate mold, and stop damaging water leaks before they happen. Roy Spencer, Owner of Perma-Seal Basement Systems in Downers Grove, IL, says, “It is a lot easier and less expensive to fix these problems before than it is after you have finished your basement.” Fortunately, basement waterproofing and prefinishing can be done on a budget while also making the downstairs living space attractive and safe for children.
Failure of the primary sump pump is the number one reason for basement flooding. Although all new homes have sump pumps, guess how many are likely to fail. All of them. Storms and power outages can cause the sump pump to malfunction. Another common reason why pumps fail is because builders often install a lesser quality primary pump to keep costs down. These pumps have lower pumping capacities and may not meet the heavy duty specifications required. If the pump fails, you can have many inches of water in your basement very quickly, ruining everything. For a safe, healthy and dry basement, Spencer says that proper preparations begin with a heavy-duty AC primary pump and backup sump-pump system.
The next step is sealing cracks in block or poured concrete walls and floors. Although poured concrete is less porous than brick and block walls, Spencer says that it comes with two guarantees: it will harden and it will crack. “It’s eight inches of solid concrete, but it will crack and water will find these areas and leak into the basement.”
Patching cracks is not a solution; it’s a temporary fix that will come back to haunt homeowners and contractors. Instead, Spencer seals the cracks and pipe penetration with an epoxy paste. Next, he injects a special liquid epoxy or urethane into the cracks and voids to create a permanent repair. He says that Emecole has perfected these durable products and dispensing tools over the last 20 years, and they come with excellent warranties. The firm teaches proper installation, so that contractors who are new to this type of work can become experts quickly.
Another health hazard found in basements is mold. Data provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proves that mold will grow only where humidity and moisture are present – i.e., basements that have not been prepped safely. Placing a carpet on a concrete floor that has not been sealed is an invitation to mold growth. Avoiding mold in walls is equally important and can be achieved by using the proper insulation. Spencer say that waterproof insulating blankets are the ultimate vapor barrier that outlast and outperforms traditional insulation.
Basement waterproofing and keeping water out is not the only reason for prepping a basement; the basement is the source of 50 percent of the air that circulates in the living area. Preventing deadly soil gases from rising through the concrete is a must, as the quality of the air in the basement and the living area are subject to contamination from the earth below. This is true whether you have an unsealed, porous concrete floor in the basement or a dirt floor in the crawl space. For the basement, Emecole recommends using a deep penetrating concrete sealer to prevent vapor molecules (humidity) and soils gases from passing through the porous concrete and into the home.