Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repairs
289-880-7988
info@basementworx.ca


Foundation Problems

What To Do About Foundation Cracks

Have you taken the time to look for cracks around your basement lately?  Many Hamilton homeowners, especially those with unfinished basements may never look past the boxes that are stacked up against their foundation.  Even so, it’s a good idea to check out your basement walls once in a while because you just never know when you’re going to find a crack.

And if you find a basement crack in your Hamilton home, what should you do about it?  Well, it all depends on your situation – are you about to sell or finish the basement? Perhaps you’re concerned that crack may get bigger…

Foundation Cracks in Hamilton – Should You Repair Them Now or Wait to See if They Get Worse?

So, you found a crack in your basement wall.  What do you do now, fix it right away or wait and see?  Before you do anything you should consider the different types of basement wall cracks and the type of foundation you have:

Thin Cracks – When you find a crack in the basement wall, get a ruler or tape measure and measure its width.  If the crack is less than 1/8” wide, it probably does not represent a structural problem with your foundation BUT it could be a source of seepage into your basement.

Wide Cracks – If the crack measures more than 1/8”, there is a strong possibility that it is compromising the structural integrity of your foundation wall.  If you find one of these foundation cracks in your Hamilton home, keep searching because there’s a chance there are more like it.

Cracks That Are Dry – If there is no sign of water in or around the crack that means that it is not seeping…right now.  Once you have spotted the crack, check it periodically, especially during periods of heavy rain or snowmelt when the soil around your foundation is most saturated.

Damp or Leaking Cracks – Obviously, if the basement crack is wet or shows signs of leaking onto the floor, it’s a problem.  Both narrow and wide cracks can allow seepage.

If the foundation in your Hamilton home is poured concrete, cracks in the wall can run in any direction – up & down, straight across or on an angle.  Non-structural cracks are the most common and are usually due to the shrinkage of concrete as it cures.  Structural cracks typically show up in pairs typically indicating a sagging foundation.

Concrete block foundations are very common in Hamilton homes.  Typically, cracks in concrete block walls occur in the mortar joints between the block and often follow a “stair step” pattern.  Other times one will see a horizontal crack along the same mortar joint indicating a bowed wall.  This is a structural concern and you will want to deal with it properly.

These cracks have one thing in common – they are worsened by the lateral pressure exerted on foundation walls when the soil outside the foundation expands when it is saturated with water either from a heavy rainfall or during spring thaw. 

The good thing is that all of these cracks are repairable.  Non-structural seeping cracks in poured concrete walls can be permanently repaired using both inside and outside methods.  Similar cracks in concrete block walls require an outside repair, applying an exterior waterproofing system to the foundation that channels water down to exterior weeping tile.

The repairs indicated by structural cracks go beyond the cracks themselves and sometimes into the soil on which the foundation stands.  Most structural cracks can be repaired by applying engineered carbon fiber straps to the wall; severe ones require a more advanced structural repair that will need to be reviewed by an engineer.

So back to the question of “fix it or wait & see” only a narrow crack that isn’t seeping falls into the “Wait and See” category.  Some cracks just happen and they never leak or get bigger but they shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you are going to finish the basement.  The others mentioned above require repair to avoid a wet basement in your Hamilton home or even worse, significant structural damage.

When you discover a basement crack in your Hamilton home after looking behind those stacks of boxes, you’ll want an expert opinion from a professional who knows the difference between a structural and a non-structural crack and how repairing a concrete block foundation differs from fixing a poured concrete one.  H&N Basement Worx has repaired hundreds of cracks in the Greater Hamilton area…so doesn’t it make sense to ask for our free advice?

If you want to know more about basement cracks in and around Hamilton, please feel free to post your questions in the Comments box below, call us at 289-880-7988 or by clicking here.

Interior Waterproofing vs. Exterior Waterproofing – Which System is Better?

If your home has a wet basement we know it isn’t a fun thing to deal with, in fact it’s pretty much a big pain in the butt!  In most cases the repair can be somewhat conservative in nature, as like a poured concrete foundation where the issue is likely a foundation crack or tie snap that’s seeping.  Other times as with block foundations the problem requires a more evasive approach which is what we will help you understand below.

If you’ve been doing your homework online or even talked with a waterproofing contractor you may have come to grips with the fact that you need some form of waterproofing to solve your leakage problem. If this is true than this particular blog is dedicated to you.

An “Interior Waterproofing System” is really a Drain Tile / Weeping Tile System, or what we like to call a De-watering System that is installed at the lowest point of the structure, alongside the footing of your foundation inside your basement.  It isn’t really water”proofing” it is more like managing the water that passes through or under your foundation.

Exterior Waterproofing is a system that provides your foundation with multiple benefits – it stops water from coming into contact with your bare foundation walls, it fast tracks water to the weeping tile that is installed beside the footing – when installed properly it disallows hydrostatic pressure to build up against your foundation walls and most importantly it moves all this water away from the base of your foundation so your basement remains dry!

So I’m sure you’re thinking which method best meets your needs?  The following comparison describes the differences between Interior and Exterior Waterproofing Systems, based on functionality and installation factors.  We hope this helps you to make the best decision for you and your home.

Interior Waterproofing – De-watering System

Interior System Picture 2

Advantages:

  • Avoids disruption on exterior: Exterior waterproofing requires removal of landscaping and paved surfaces & decks etc. that are within 3 feet of the foundation
  • Captures floor and wall seepage without the need to completely remove finished walls to rid your basement of leakage
  • More economical: This system is less labor intensive, resulting in lower costs
  • Relieves hydrostatic pressure: Because a continuous piping system runs along the inside of your footing, water pressure from beneath the floor or outside of your foundation is relieved and water is routed to a discharge pump
  • Not weather permitting: The installation can be performed all year round even when the ground outside is frozen
  • Protected from outside issues: Interior systems are not subject to the elements, soil conditions or tree roots growing into the drainage system

 Disadvantages:

  • Bottom 2 feet of foundation at the floor must be exposed – requires removal of drywall, studs, insulation, flooring etc.
  • Stored items, built in shelving or cabinets may need to be moved away from the exterior walls.
  • Basement cannot be used at the time of system installation
  • Brick or stone foundations: Without installation of exterior sealant, water may continue to leach through some masonry foundations

Exterior Waterproofing System

External Waterproofing Picture

Advantages:

  • Little disruption to basement interior: Most of the work is performed on the exterior so if you cannot give up your internal space this option is for you.
  • Little or no preparation required on your behalf: The exception being landscaping or anything else you want moved.
  • Helps drain soil: Our exterior waterproofing system includes new weeping tile with silt sock that will drain the saturated earth next to your house and relieve lateral water pressure against the foundation – excellent choice if you have a cinder block foundation
  • Exterior sealant: Full excavation allows for application of exterior rubber membrane & Delta MS foundation wrap (especially helpful for cinder block foundations)

 Disadvantages:

  • Exterior work is more labor intensive than interior installation, especially for full depth basements
  • Any landscaping, pavement or large fixtures like decks or concrete steps close to the house generally need to be removed and replaced
  • Exterior waterproofing cannot be installed where there are home additions, attached garages and other buildings that are too close
  • An exterior system does not drain water from beneath  the basement floor unless there is an existing sump pit properly installed
  • Exterior construction projects can last 2 to 3 times longer than an interior installation

Both Interior and Exterior Waterproofing Systems have proven to provide lasting results for thousands of homeowners, just like you.  This is why it is a good idea to consult with a reputable & ethical waterproofing contractor who will give you the advice and guidance you need to make the best decision possible. 

Truth be told we install more Interior systems for two reasons – First is the difference in costs, it requires a lot less labor to break through a couple inches of concrete inside your home than it does to excavate through 6 or 7 feet of soil on the outside.  Second is because of our climate, we cannot excavate soil very well in the winter and aside from that the products that we use to seal your foundation will not cure properly below zero and would  leave you with a sub-standard repair.

Now, if you have a highly finished basement which requires a lot of job preparations, the economics at hand may change and it would make more sense to waterproof your foundation on the outside.  In the end we will provide you with enough information and advice so you can make a decision that is right for you.

Need more information to help you decide on which one would work best for you?  Call 289-880-7988 now or click here for a free evaluation.  Also feel free to post your question in the Comments section below.  Our experience within this geographical area gives us plenty of perspective and helps us guide you down the right path.

How To Select The Right Basement Waterproofing Company

As you take the last step down the stairs into your basement your foot hits the floor and “splat” your sock is instantly soaked.  Now what… Looks like it’s time to find yourself a competent contractor to diagnose the problem and provide a solution that suits your comfort level and your price range.  Heck it can’t be that difficult can it? 

Before we go any further let me ask you this…how many waterproofing contractors do you have on your contact list?  If you are here reading this post I am going to guess none.  At this point you have probably talked to your neighbours, your co-workers, your close friends and have come up empty handed.  So the next step is what…to do some web surfing in order to educate yourself on basement waterproofing and foundation repair contractors. 

After doing some research you quickly find that there are multiple companies offering many different solutions to repair your foundation so it doesn’t leak anymore.  Question is how do you know which company is any better, any different or any worse than any of the others.  This one says you should do it this way and that one says that their way is the best way to do it but how are you to choose??

If you’ve never had to deal with a waterproofing contractor you may find the task of choosing the right one rather difficult.  Like many other trades the waterproofing industry has a negative stigma attached to it as there are many “fly by night” or “pick up truck renegades” running around offering uninsured, discounted services.  In order to protect yourself you will want to stay away from these types of companies and deal with legitamate contractors that will stand behind their work. 

For starters, before you hire the right contractor for the task at hand make sure the contractor you choose:

  • Has a valid Business License in the province of Ontario
  • Has been an independent waterproofing contractor for at least 3 years
  • Has at least $2 Million Liability Insurance policy and WSIB Insurance coverage
  • Has a valid HST/CRA Number
  • Has passed the following background checks (credit, criminal, driver’s license, education, employment if applicable)
  • Provides you with excellent customer references
  • Provides you with satisfactory evidence of its implementation and adherence to minimum operational systems and standards

In conjunction with the above the contractor should be able to present to you a solution much like an attorney supplies to the court its case.  It should be backed up with experience, evidence of prior work performed and successful testimonial to verify his/her true character.  If a problem should arise during the project is the person or company you hired easy to work with or is it difficult to come to a resolve?

You will find it easier to deal with a small to medium sized company than a large franchised type company when it comes to basement waterproofing.  Having direct contact with the owner of the company who has his finger on every facet of the business and is able to make a quick decision is really what you want.  Dealing with an employee who only cares about getting paid at the end of the week can lead to long delays of your project should a problem pop up.

That being said, H&N Basement Worx works closely with each home owner to ensure the project runs smoothly from beginning to end.  We treat each home as it were our own and provide each home owner with a written guarantee at the end of each project.  If you are looking for a first class contractor to help resolve your wet basement issues feel free to put us to the test.  You’ll be glad you did!