It is important to make sure that your basement is kept dry, safe, and healthy. Doing so can help to preserve the home's structural integrity and it can help to prevent additional problems in and around the home. Water is able to get into the basement in a variety of ways, including over the top of the foundation, through the cove joint (where the wall and floor meet), through leaking wall or floor cracks, through the basement window, or the problem could be related to a plumbing issue.
Moisture here can cause a lot of expensive damage, including wood rot to support beams and floor joists. This decaying wood doesn't just endanger the home's structural integrity, but it can also be very attractive to unwanted pests, including termites and roaches. Furthermore, moisture in this area of the home can lead to the growth of dangerous mold or mildew. This is a fungus that can grow on walls, floors, or ceilings, and it can make the home smell very musty. Additionally, it can cause a variety of serious health problems. These issues can all be avoided by making sure that an effective waterproofing system is installed below the home to help keep it moisture-free.
Follow the links below to see the three main types of waterproofing services we provide or scroll down further to find the different waterproofing issues that we can repair.
Having a properly designed and installed waterproofing system will ensure the specific location where the water is entering your home is being focused on. This way we can properly collect, control, divert, and remove the water from your basement without it causing any problems.
Wall Crack Repair
Whether the cracks in your walls are inside the basement or on the outside of the foundation, we have a repair solution that can both seal off the crack and prevent it from growing any more. This will help seal that area from having any future leak issues.
Entire Wall Solutions
We can install an interior liner that covers the entire wall to guarantee the water is controlled and diverted before it can get into your basement area. We can also install an exterior collection system to stop the water before it has a chance to enter the basement.
There are a number of places where water can enter your home and we have a tried and true method for taking care of any of these problems. Please read about the potential issues below and if you have any of them, you can view more information about the repair or you can contact us to get a consultation scheduled with one of our experts.
Leaking Wall Cracks
Wall cracks are the most common type of basement seepage problem, especially with poured concrete walls, which foundations are generally built with today. A poured concrete foundation is vastly superior to walls constructed out of masonry block or bricks because it is inherently stronger and it is much easier to diagnose and repair when cracked. However, all concrete mixtures contain water, which evaporates during the curing process; this drying causes cracks to develop usually within the first three months of construction. The other cause of cracking is poor building techniques (improper backfilling, cold-weather pouring, inadequate reinforcement, etc).
This is GOOD NEWS! It means that your foundation walls have all the cracks that they will ever have, unless there’s an underlying structural problem . There are many other theories that say hard winters, heavy rainstorms and “continued settling” can continue to cause cracks, but unless you have movement in your foundation, you can put these tales aside. Think about it, there would be no sense in repairing cracks if they were going to continue to develop.
Most cracks in basement walls are less than an 1/8” wide and run vertically or diagonally from top to the bottom of the wall, although they may visibly taper off toward the bottom. Cracks also run throughout the entire wall, inside to out. The BAD NEWS is that the cracks you have are getting worse! Even hairline cracks that aren’t leaking now are likely to leak at some point in the future. Why?
- Water is erosive and will continue to deteriorate the crack until it works its way to the inside of your home.
- When a wall cracks, there are two pieces of concrete that are tightly wedged together. This is significant because the expansion-contraction cycle of the ground can move those two pieces in opposing directions, causing the crack to open and most patches to fail.
The main way we can solve this problem is by implementing a wall crack repair method that will both seal the crack and prevent it from getting any larger.
Another common type of below grade seepage consists of water entering your basement from the cove joint (where the wall and floor meet). When the ground gets saturated from heavy rainstorms, the water table under your foundation starts to rise, often called hydrostatic pressure. This increase in pressure can force water through the cove joint and then will recede after the storm, leaving no trail or clue to where the water came in your basement. If you aren’t standing there watching it enter, you might not every figure this one out. This type of seepage is often the most difficult type of seepage to diagnose.
When water is entering this part of your home, the best thing to do is to install some sort of drainage system that collects the water and sends it to a sump pump to remove it from the home.
Sump Pump Issues
At the heart of your basement waterproofing system is a sump pump. The sump pump keeps water flowing away from your home. When your sump pump fails, the drain tile and window well drains will back up and the result could be several inches of water in your basement. That is why it is important to have a quality sump pump that will be reliable when you need it most.
Leaking Mortar Joints
Many homes in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana have foundation walls constructed of something other than poured concrete, such as cinder block, brick, stone, or even wood. Masonry foundations, whether they’re made of block, brick or stone, always pose more of a challenge when it comes to keeping your basement dry because these walls are not solid. Instead these walls are constructed using mortar to hold the individual blocks or stones in place. Over time, this mortar will deteriorate and become less water resistant, letting water seep into your basement through the open joints between the blocks. Another major drawback with block walls is water can enter one area of the foundation, run through the hollows of the blocks and enter the basement on the interior several feet away from the point of exterior entry. This makes the seepage point very difficult to diagnose.
These other types of foundations are more commonly susceptible to structural problems. Despite their predisposition to having problems, we have drainage systems that work well with block walls and can prevent water from getting into your home.
Most basement windows are the original ones installed by the builder of your home, which likely means they are cheap, single pane glass that are now drafty, rusty and difficult, if not impossible to open and close. Basement windows are exposed to much more moisture than windows higher up on the house, which causes steel or wood-framed windows to rust or rot.
Cheap windows were not designed with energy efficiency in mind. Eventually they will lose the ability to seal and may start letting in moisture, humidity and outdoor pollutants, which will affect the air quality in your home and your monthly utility bills. They may even allow water to start leaking in, which typically occurs when water accumulates in the window well because they either have no drain, or they become clogged with leaves and debris, causing water to remain in the well and proceed to enter the basement. If the drain is clogged, the entire window well can fill up with water, and eventually, the pressure of the water can break the window and cause water damage in your basement.
Imagine how much nicer your basement would be if you could easily open and close your windows for ventilation, had a better source of natural light and if they were energy efficient thermal pane windows just like the ones you have upstairs. We have great replacement basement windows that are designed for the basement environment. We can also help you keep water from leaking or breaking through your windows with new window wells, drains and covers.
Water Filling Window Well
Windows in the basement can be great for allowing natural sunlight to enter into the basement, and they're necessary for escape if the basement is used for living space, however they can become more a nuisance than anything if they are filling up with water. Some of the reasons why a window well might fill up with water are because it is not properly covered, and rain water is allowed to pour into the well, or the well has a dirt floor or dirt walls that allow ground water to seep into it. These conditions are worsened when the well either does not have a drain or the drain becomes clogged by debris that falls into the well. The serious concern with the basement window well filling with water is that it is likely to leak into the basement and cause big problems. We have products and solutions to so that you don't have to have a flooded window well or wet basement.
There are two main ways to deal with this issue. One is to install new window wells to disperse the water, another is to install window well covers to prevent the rain from entering, and the third is to install a drainage system in the window well to get the water out before it can build up.
Wet Floor Cracks
It is very common for basement floors to crack during the building process or as the floor dries, just like poured concrete walls. This cracking does not usually cause any structural issues, it just may be an eyesore if you have an unfinished basement. If the floor is settling or sinking, however, that may be a sign that you have an underlying structural problem and you should have it looked at by one of our Certified Foundation Consultants right away.
When the ground becomes saturated, hydrostatic pressure can build up under the basement floors and force water up through the cracks in the floor or through the cove joint, creating a mess in your basement. Most people think: Let’s just seal up the floor crack and cove joint (where the wall and floor meet)! However, this is a very common mistake and is not recommended. By sealing up those cracks and cove joint you are damming up the water, which causes more pressure to build under the floor. That pressure can lead to a buckled floor and some nasty cleanup and repair after the ensuing flood.
The permanent solution to this problem is to install a drainage system system as well as a sump pump systems to control the water table beneath the floor. One of our experts can provide you with a recommendation on whether or not an interior or exterior drain tile system will be better for your basement. Also, in some cases if your floor in terrible condition you could ask us about replacing it with a new concrete floor.
Water Over Top of Foundation
Should you see water coming in over your basement walls, the first thing to do is to determine whether the source is below or above-grade (ground) level. Water in the basement isn’t necessarily getting in through the basement. Many times when water comes in at the top of the wall, it’s often caused by deteriorated caulking, tuckpointing or even a roofing issue. If water penetrates the exterior of your home, it will likely run down through the hollow of your walls and spill over into your basement, without leaving a trace in your upstairs.
The most common way to determine if it’s a below-grade issue is to look at the spillover joint, where the top of the foundation wall meets the joists of the main floor. If the spillover joint is below grade, or under ground, any time it rains and the ground becomes saturated water can enter the spillover joint and end up right in your basement.
The best way to determine whether you have a below-grade issue is to perform a water test. On a dry day, lay a hose on the ground (so nothing above ground gets wet) and run it for five to ten minutes. If seepage occurs, we can provide solutions to you in order to solve this problem.
Generally the best way to take care of this type of problem is to implement a plan to improve the grading of the yard to drain the water away from the home before it can spill over the top of the foundation.
A lot of homeowners call and e-mail us on a regular basis wanting to know what this common basement problem even is and what causes it. It shows up on your walls as layers of a white, flaky deposit. It's powdery, and it's found in all types of basement and crawl space environments.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Cement is a porous material and it absorbs moisture from the soil surrounding your home. It slowly releases this moisture into the space below your home through wall cracks. As this moisture moves through the concrete foundation, it also brings with it small bits of minerals from the soil, as well as lime from the cement material itself. When it evaporates in your basement, it will leave this sediment behind. As time passes, it will create a white-colored, flaky, powdery substance on your walls.
The only real solution to this problem is to prevent it from happening again. There are cleaners you can buy from the store, or DIY bleach mixtures you can make to clean the material off the wall. However, this isn't going to stop the problem from happening again and again. To put a stop to the problem once and for all, you will need to have us stop the moisture from being able to get inside your home. If you have concrete walls, this can be done using a drainage system to control the water, if you have block walls we will recommend one of our entire wall solutions to prevent it from happening.