Keeping Your Basement Dry This Summer

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Keeping your basement dry and free of mold is something that as a homeowner  are constantly battling. Humidifiers are a great way to get the moisture out of the air, and prevent the mustiness that comes along with too much humidity.  Keeping your basement dry after a storm is usually easy if the drainage in your home is good.  Making sure the water does not sit by the foundation of your home, and eventually finding a way to your basement, is something we can do every year with no cost. Keeping your basement shouldn’t be difficult, read the following articles below for more information about this topic.


So, You Want to… Waterproof Your Basement

Basement waterproofing can be a confusing (and expensive) process. But if you’re dealing with leaky foundation walls or water welling up from the floor, finding an effective means of managing these problems could save you a lot in the long run. Here’s a quick rundown of your options for keeping downstairs dry.

Unless your plan is to install a swimming pool in your basement, you probably cringe at the idea of water trickling in beneath your house. While the best time to waterproof is during new construction, if you live in an older structure, you don’t have that luxury. There are, however, a few measures you can take to protect your home from water, running the gamut from inexpensive safeguards to high-dollar professional remedies. Here’s all the information you need to choose the best solution for your basement.

EXTERIOR REMEDIESThe most effective way to waterproof a basement is from the outside. Doing so, however, involves excavating the soil away from the exterior of the foundation on all sides and installing drain tile (a flexible perforated pipe covered with mesh or fabric) at the base of the foundation.

You’ll most likely need a permit before starting, and some building authorities will allow only a licensed contractor to do the job. Digging a 7- or 8-foot-deep trench around your foundation is dangerous; it comes with a high risk of collapse, so it’s usually better to seek out an excavation contractor who employs safe digging techniques and trench bracing, anyway. Timing is essential: Schedule your contractor during a relatively dry season, or you could end up with a trench full of water that will have to be pumped out before work can continue.


Proper drain installation will keep your basement dryMy last house had a basement that leaked water. I’m building a new home and want my basement as dry as the Atacama Desert. I’m confident that my drain tile was not put in correctly at my last house. What are the best practices when installing drain tile around a foundation? What materials would you use? What are the biggest mistakes you can make when installing foundation drain tile? — Beverly H., Fall River, Mass.

You’ve touched on a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. My college degree is in geology with a special interest in two things: geomorphology and hydrogeology. Those are fancy words for the study of the surface of the earth and the study of groundwater. Both of those disciplines are in play when it comes to foundation drain tile.


How to Keep Rain Out of Your Basement

Last May was one for the record books, when severe storms slammed the Front Range, bringing snow, hail, tornado warnings and heavy spring rains. More than eight inches of rain fell, making for the wettest single month ever recorded in Colorado Springs.

Those who suffered landslides, sink holes and flooding in their basements won’t soon forget this experience. Yet, despite 2015’s unrelenting rainfall, many Front Range homeowners remain unprepared to deal with the consequences of outsize storms.

“We had an unprecedented amount of rain last year and chances are high we’ll be hit hard again this year,” says Dave Correa, supervisor at Peak Structural, a waterproofing and foundation repair contractor in Palmer Lake, Colorado.

Basement flooding is a problem that does not go away on its own, he points out. “Once water finds its way into a basement or crawlspace, it creates a path that excess water can follow for years to come,” says Correa. “Unless you take steps to address the problem, you’ll be stuck battling the rainfall, and fearing the nightly weather report, year after year.”


 

Controlling The Allergens in Your Home

pioneer (13)According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology  – Acaai.orgasthma affects more than 17 million adults and more than 7 million children in the United States.  Allergies are the 6th. Leading cause of chronic illness in the United States with a cost that exceeds $18 billion every year, and there are more than 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies every year.

Spring is a nice season for most of us, but for allergy sufferers, it is a season of tremendous discomfort and pain. The sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, runny nose that pollen brings to allergy sufferers is tremendous.  Preparing your family for this allergy season begins with you.  Keeping a home free of mold and allergens, can provide the clean air that your family needs this allergy season.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


10 Steps to Control Allergens in Your Home

Allergens such as mold, dust and pollen will always be present in your home but there are steps that you can take to get them under control. These 10 easy tips will help reduce allergens in your home as well as your exposure to them. Try three or four or implement all ten.  You’ll see a difference in the health, and happiness, in your home.

  1. Use the bathroom fan                                                                                                                        Mold and mildew, shown here growing on the underside of a roof, can be a major source of household allergies.The bathroom can be the most humid place in the home because showers and baths produce steam. Excess moisture plus heat causes mold. If you don’t have a fan make sure that your bathroom is well ventilated by leaving the door open or cracking a window.
  2. Stay organized
    Keep your home and closets organized. Clutter collects dust and dust contains allergens. Stacks of magazines and knick-knacks are some of the worst offenders for trapping hidden and unwanted dust.

 

How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Use the right products in the right way to prevent sneezing and wheezing during pollen season and beyond.

The simplest way to keep allergy symptoms at bay? Avoid exposure to the substances that provoke your sneezing, wheezing, and itchiness. But how? We looked at the research, spoke to leading experts, and reviewed our own product tests to determine what can help and what to skip when you’re trying to allergy-proof your home. Read on to find out which of the five following strategies really work.

Anti-Allergy Bedding

Swathing mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergen-impermeable covers can entrap dust mites and animal dander as long as you use covers that are made from woven fabrics, according to research studies. Non-woven covers are less durable and won’t protect you from dust mites long-term. Plus, their dimpled surface can allow a variety of allergens to collect there. So before you buy, check product labels for a fabric pore size (the size of openings in the weave) no greater than 6 micrometers or microns, and for words such as “woven fabric.”


 

Are you allergic to your home?

Homes are places of comfort, security and rejuvenation. But what happens when your home makes you sick (literally!)? When not cared for correctly, homes can become the very reason you fall ill and stress levels will skyrocket. One obvious reason for this is the hidden allergens in your home. Common symptoms of allergies include wheezing, rash, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, itchy throat, runny nose, coughing, redness of the eye and itchy eyes.

Does your home have these allergens?

Dust

Dust is the most common culprit behind most allergies. If not cleaned regularly, dust mites and cobwebs can trigger respiratory problems. The best way to tackle dust is to set up a daily cleaning routine. Perhaps, investing in a good vacuum cleaner can help. Using microfiber clothes, brooms and mops for cleaning can also help.


Stop Mold Growth Before it Starts

pioneer (3)Mold occurs naturally in our environment, both indoors and outdoors.  Outdoors it plays a key role in vegetation decomposition, it’s beneficial.  But, indoors it’s undesirable and should be avoided.

Mold reproduces through spores that float through the air.  They’re invisible to our eyes and are always present.  Mold starts to grow when the spores land on a wet or damp surface — no water, no growth.  Therefore, it can only become an indoor problem, and a health hazard, when the situation is right for it to grow.

It’s impossible to get rid of all indoor mold spores, remember they’ll always be in the air.  However, a little bit of knowledge and work goes a long way toward limiting or stopping them from growing into an active mold culture.   

There are places in our homes more prone to humidity than others (basement, bathroom and the kitchen depending how often it’s used).  Humidity is water and it takes water for the spores to take hold.  Limiting or eliminating humidity is key to curtailing or getting rid of mold.

The ideal indoor humidity, for personal comfort and mold control, is between 30% to 50%.  It’s best to not let it go above 60%.  A basic, inexpensive humidity meter can tell you what the levels are in your home.  It’s important to move the meter from room to room as levels can change drastically from one to the other.

Of course, you may not need a meter.  If you can see the mold on the ceiling of your shower or the walls of your basement you know you have a problem.  But, a meter provides a helpful guideline, especially when you’re interested in maximizing personal comfort, as well as mold control. 

There are many common sense ways to reduce humidity: increase ventilation (open doors and windows, run exhaust fans), decrease condensation and it’s “hidden” sources (empty air conditioning and dehumidifier drip pans, insulate cold water pipes, cover sump pumps), wipe moisture from surfaces (windows and sills, walls, pipes), air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

Most people don’t know that many appliances produce moisture, especially in Northeast Ohio where we live in closed up houses for so much of the year.  Whenever possible, vent clothes dryers, stoves and kerosene heaters outside.   

It’s hard to have a completely mold free home.  There are just too many places in the average home for moisture and spores to join.  But, with some diligence you can go a long way toward limiting its impact on you and your family. 


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 150 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes. 

Basement Waterproofing: Finding The Right Company

pioneer (14)We all have heard about the terrible job some waterproofing companies do when you hire them to waterproof your basement.  From the outrageous prices they quote, to the poor job they do and the mess they leave behind when finishing the job, some companies are not equipped to do a good job in your home.  There are many questions that as a homeowner you are entitled to ask before signing any papers with these so called contractors.

  • Are you insured, bonded, and have a license to do the job required?                           

Making sure that the company you hire has insurance that protect you from a lawsuit if anything should go wrong with the job, is a prerequisite you should not take lightly.  If any permits are required, you need to know they can take care of it without hesitation.

  • How long have you been in business?

The history of the company matters.  There are some companies that open for business, make some money doing bad jobs, close their doors and begin someplace else.  A company that has been in business for a long time and can provide you with a clean record, plus great references, is a company that you can trust and you can do business with, without too much concern.

  • Is this the best method and price for my particular problem?

IF the job they explain they are going to do seems “shady,” maybe you need to look someplace else.  The job they are proposing to do, materials needed and time frame should be explain to you easily. Any questions you have should be addressed and answered promptly.  If you do not understand the process and the materials they are using, you should look into a second opinion to make sure you understand what they are doing.

Having a good grasp on the information the contractors are telling you, requires that you do your homework too.  Knowing the problem your basement has, researching the methods, materials and companies doing these kind of jobs can mean saving money while having a job well done. 

If you have questions or need more information about basement waterproofing and foundation repair contact us.  We will be happy to offer a solution that makes sense to you and is kind to your wallet.


A Safe Home For 2016

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Basic remodeling projects are a good way to keep your home “healthy” and looking nice without costing you a fortune.  Other remodeling projects you may do in your home are not as exciting or visible to the friends you invite over but, are necessary to your home.  Foundation repairs are not something you can postpone till later.  Being proactive and looking at the health of your foundation in your home is financially responsible.  If you notice a crack in the foundation of your home and do not take measures to get it fixed, eventually the cost of fixing it can be a bit more than you anticipated. Call us with any questions you may have about foundation repairs and basement waterproofing in northeast Ohio.


Small cracks can mean big problems

Most homes have doors that stick or small cracks in the walls. Even though it’s common, cracks are not something to be ignored.

Homes and the soil underneath them move with the temperature and moisture of our Louisiana weather. Given the type of soil that makes up the Red River Valley and our Louisiana weather patterns offering river flooding and drought at the same time, we have dynamic soil. This can cause serious structural damage to our homes over time.

Soil and concrete slabs are subject to temperature change, which means a house will move and “settle” throughout the year. Foundation settlement issues are standard for our area, experts and homeowners agree, but when should a homeowner be concerned that a crack is more than just a crack?

“All structures and buildings move to some extent,” said Matt Wallace, a professional engineer, registered structural engineer and president at local firm Aillet, Fenner, Jolly, and McClelland, Inc.

Homeowners should be aware of warning signs for a possible cracked foundation, such as doors failing to latch, cracks in walls – over doorways, ceilings – cracks in the flooring, or windows failing to operate properly.


Cheryl Parson: Nine tips to protect your home

BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU

We’ve been very fortunate to have an amazingly gentle entrance to our winter season thus far, so many of us have put off (or forgotten) some vital tasks around our homes. Old Man Winter can take a huge toll on the value of your biggest investment.

Here are things you should do, while it is still relatively warm, to prepare your home against his attacks!

1. The most important thing to make sure is service yourheating system. Have a certified HVAC technician inspect your furnace or heat pump to make sure your system is clean and in good repair. The service tech can also check for damage to the system that could cause carbon-monoxide leaks.

2. Almost as important as your furnace is your roof. Check and repair loose, damaged or missing shingles. Also inspect the metal flashing in the valleys and aroundchimneys. Winter storms and melting snow can destroy and cause leaks leading to costly repairs and mold.


How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Foundation?

Foundation settlement can lead to major structural problems within your home. There are ways to repair a concrete foundation without having to tear it out and start from scratch. Repairing a foundation can be a costly job, but the better educated you are about types of foundations and how best to repair your foundation, the better you can work with your contractor to find a solution you can afford.

With major foundation repairs involving hydraulic piers costing $10,000 or more, and minor cracks costing as low as $500, most homeowners will pay around $3,774 to repair foundation issues.
Here are a few things that can influence the cost of a foundation repair.

Foundation Problems

Foundations that have been built on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, or have been poorly maintained can have serious damage as the foundation settles and moves.


Protecting Your Home Against Disasters

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomHomes are probably one of the biggest assets most americans have.  Guarding it against disasters is not only important but necessary.  Moldy basements, leaky roofs, foundation problems, and scams concerning your home are dangers that you have to protect yourself against, and take care of them when they arise. Follow the articles below for more news concerning your home.


When severe weather strikes, make sure your home is ready

Our homes provide shelter from the extremes of Michiana weather, but only if we take steps to protect them, too.

Living in northern Indiana, our homes are hammered each year by frigid polar vortexes, straight-line winds, “thunder-snow,” sudden downpours and the occasional tornado.

Spring is when the weather is at its most unpredictable. The ground saturates with April rains, only for it all to freeze when winter makes an unwelcome return 12 hours later.

Our houses provide shelter from these all-too-common extremes, but only if homeowners take steps to protect their homes, as well. Taking preventative measures can save thousands when it comes to the potential cost of fixing water damage and mold.

FLOODING AND MOISTURE PREVENTIONDampness, water seepage and flooding inside the basement or crawlspace is the most common problem homeowners run into during the spring, said Jared McQueen, president and owner of A&M Home Services in South Bend and Lakeville.


Mold habits die hard, so here’s what to do

Q. Is there any kind of professional certification for people who claim to locate and remove mold in private houses? I asked the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, but they didn’t know.

Our house (which was built in 1973) has had a moldy smell in the summer for as long as we’ve lived here (almost 16 years). I’ve cleaned everything in sight, but that didn’t help. I think there is something inside the walls. There are people who claim to be able to find and fix these problems, but I’d like to be sure they really know what they’re doing before I pay them a lot of money.

A. There is no official organization in Massachusetts that I’m aware of. There is the National Association of Mold Professionals (www.moldpro.org), which is a nonprofit that develops and promotes the mold inspection and remediation industry. The association has been around a long time and has a reputation for developing best practice-training and public mold education.


The 9 Biggest Home Repair Scams

From watered-down house paint to unnecessary termite treatments.

From time to time we bring you posts from our partners that may not be new but contain advice that bears repeating. Look for these classics on the weekends.

I’ve had numerous people come to my house offering “great deals” on home repair services over the years.

One hustler knocked on my door recently. This was our exchange:

“Good afternoon, sir! I’m with Speedy’s Chimney Sweep. When was the last time your chimney was inspected?”

“Hmmm … good question,” I said, scratching my chin and looking towards the heavens. “I think it was about 85 years ago.”


Home Flooding Tips and Advice

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomSpring and summer are the seasons where most people think about buying a home or renovating. Water during the spring season that find a way to your basement, is a clear giveaway when you are selling your home, that your basement needs to be waterproofed.  If you are showing a beautiful home with a wet or moldy basement, the chances are very slim that potential buyers will be inclined to make you an offer.  If you need to waterproof your basement, or have problems with the foundation of your home, contact us, we will be happy to work with you.  Call or check the BBB before you hire any company to work in your home.


Clean-up experts offer advice on home flooding

Weber County and other areas of Utah continue to receive higher than usual rainfall, in some cases leading to flooded basements and clean-up bills.

Representatives from local disaster clean-up services have said they have been swamped with calls in the last week, mostly answering questions about what to do and how to do it.

The areas most affected by flooding have been Farr West, Plain City and West Haven with only a few areas east of Interstate 15. Heavy rainfall hit the areas again Tuesday morning with 0.05 inches by 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

One of the major causes have been overflowing canals and runoff channels, as well as blocked drains.


Flooding tips

What a crazy two weeks we have had regarding rain. A friend of mine posted on facebook that there is three feet of water throughout her house. She is no doubt overwhelmed and food safety may not be what is foremost on her mind, but it is an important part of safety.

 When flood waters have receded and it is safe to enter your home discard all foods, including garden produce, that have come in contact with flood water. Food can become contaminated with it is covered with flood water or if the water drips or seeps into the food. Only food in sealed, airtight metal cans that are not bulging or damaged and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) that have been properly sanitized can be saved. If there is any doubt, the food should be thrown out.

Foods in the refrigerator and freezer should be discarded if the equipment was in flood water. If the equipment was above the water, but the power was out, contact our office for the fact sheet on what to keep or discard. Food packed in foil, cellophane, paper, cloth or cardboard that came in contact with flood water should also be tossed. Even if contents seem dry, they may be unsafe. Don’t risk it.


4 things to consider when buying an older home

More than an updated kitchen, these factors can make or break a deal.

We are well into the spring home shopping season and in many markets, would-be buyers are having to compete for properties. Inventories of available homes remain tight in many metros.

So when you come across the cute “mid-century” rancher in a good neighborhood at an attractive price you may be ready to pounce. But before you do, there are four parts of the home you should closely examine. They can be the difference between a good deal and a money pit.

They are, in order of importance, the roof, the basement or crawlspace, the heating and cooling system (HVAC) and the electrical service.

Roof

The roof protects the integrity of the structure. If it leaks, moisture is getting inside and causing all sorts of damage.

If shingles are missing or are cracked and peeling, the roof may already be leaking. If the shingles are intact but are curling or torn, they are on their way to failing.

Discolored shingles can be a sign of mold or algae growth on the roof. That holds moisture and can cause rapid deterioration.


Many foundation repair companies waterproof basements…who can you trust?

Many foundation repair companies waterproof basements and it may be difficult to determine who you can trust.  If you have interviewed basement waterproofing companies you likely have a difference of opinions and solutions which confuse your decision making process.

People often ask what the best way to waterproof basements is and the answer is really more complicated that it seems like it should be.  If someone is looking to solve their leak in basement or wet basement mold for example it will depend on what the real problem is.  If the original exterior basement waterproofing system is bad and there are wet basement walls then the best way to waterproofing basements like that would be exterior basement waterproofing to restore the seal and stop penetration.

If the basement water leaks are through the floor or up through seams where the basement walls meet the floor the best way may be an interior basement waterproofing system to prevent the build up of ground water around the foundation from underneath.

It is important to have a thorough inspection by a reputable basement waterproofing contractor who offers all basement systems and can recommend the best solution as well as some alternatives that may better fit your budget and goals for the home.

Visit your local BBB website and look at the complaint history before hiring a  basement waterproofing contractor and if you are a member review reports on Angie’s list.

For a no obligation from a full service basement waterproofing company in the Akron, Canton, Medina, Kent and surrounding areas call Pioneer Basement Solutions at 1-877-321-4889

Waterproofing basement walls in Ohio

If you have wet basement walls you have likely looked at a can of waterproofing paint for waterproofing basement walls.  There are a few ways to waterproof basement walls and defining the term “waterproof” is good place to start.

Building codes require “damp proofing” not “waterproofing” for basement foundations.  Damp proofing involves a coating on the foundation below the soil line with footer drains to carry water away from the foundation.  Any new home warranty will clearly state that dampness is normal and not covered under the warranty, only actual water seepage is covered.

So, if you want  waterproofing basement walls you will need to install actual waterproof materials to the outside of the basement wall via exterior basement waterproofing methods.  This involves fully excavating your foundation to the bottom and installing a waterproof membrane, like a swimming pool liner in reverse, to your basement foundation. 

If that is not in the budget or not feasible, such as you have a patio or something outside the foundation you do not want to remove, you may need to consider interior basement waterproofing which is more like water control.  Installing interior basement waterproofing will give you a dry basement because it stops water from building up in your basement walls and around your foundation.  Waterproofing paint acts like a dam that allows water to build up in your foundation.  This will cause damage over time due to the soaking and rotting from the inside out that can occur.  

Many basement waterproofing companies offer a panelled system for waterproofing basement walls that will tie to the interior basement waterproofing underneath you basement floor.  This gives you a maintenance free dry basement wall surface and it protects your foundation from water build up that is caused by waterproofing paint.

For more information about waterproofing basement walls in northeast Ohio visit:  waterproof basements 

The right way to waterproof basements

 

People often ask me what is the right way to waterproof basements and it is out of a response to the different basement systems available; which all claim they will solve your basement water leaks once and for all.

The answer to the question is not so easy because it is situational.  Although most companies that waterproof basements take a one size fits all basement systems approach and they will stop the presence of water in your basement, the one size fits all solution will only be the best solution if the cause of  basement water leaks and results are a match to the specific basement solutions.

To make it simple, there are two types of water that cause a leak in basement and they are surface water and ground water.  Surface water problems will result in wet basement walls up high or mid wall and very little if any dampness at the bottoms of the basement walls.  This type of issue will come on very quickly after a rain and stop very quickly after the rain has stopped.  The best way to fix surface water problems that result in wet basement walls is exterior basement waterproofing.  Having new exterior basement waterproofing installed will ensure a dry foundation wall.

If you have water seepage coming out at the bottom of your basement walls and or heaved basement floor cracks you have a ground water problem.  In this case you will not likely see a leak in basement after a normal rain that passes by in a couple hours.  You would need a heavy rain and maybe one that lasts awhile.  The leak will not start right away either.  This is because it takes some time for the ground water to build up around the foundation.  Installing interior basement waterproofing will stop this problem dead in its tracks by draining the water away from underneath your basement before it is allowed to build up.  Digging and sealing the walls on the outside will not guarantee a dry basement wall just as installing  interior basement waterproofing will not guarantee dry basement walls if nothing is done to address the walls.

For more info visit: how to waterproof basements