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Three Ways to Protect Your Home From Damage This Winter

exterior basement waterproofingWinter is quickly approaching, and if weather predictions are correct, it’s shaping up to be another rough one. This means more ice and snow this winter, which in turn can mean problems for homeowners.

Accumulating snow and ice can have devastating effects on home structures, and when they begin to melt, extensive water damage can occur. It is important for homeowners to take care of their homes throughout the winter months in order to avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Ways to Protect Your Home During Winter

What are some of the things you can do to protect your home during this cold, snowy winter?

  1. Clear Snow Away From the Foundation – While it may look pretty, snow around your home can mean trouble. When snow melts, it can result in big pools of water around your foundation and can leak into the basement. This can mean water damage and expensive home foundation repairs. To avoid this problem, homeowners should use exterior basement waterproofing techniques to keep melting snow at bay. Some exterior basement waterproofing methods include using basement window well covers to keep snow from collecting and melting in wells around the foundation, and shoveling snow that accumulates around the house to keep it from leaking into the basement.
  2. Beware of Snow Accumulation on the Roof – Sometimes the weight of snow is too much for gutters and roofing structures to hold, and this results in them breaking or cracking. Cracks in the roof can let water seep through to the ceiling and damage walls and other interior structures. Gutters are designed to distribute water away from a home’s foundation, but when they become damaged, they can let water sit around the foundation and lead to costly basement foundation repairs. To ensure your roof and gutters don’t cave under the pressure of snow this winter, consider hiring a snow removal service, and keep an eye on the amount of snow accumulating on your roof.
  3. Keep Pipes From Freezing – When temperatures drop below freezing it can cause interior pipes to freeze. Pipes expand when they freeze and can burst under too much pressure, causing water damage inside your home. There are a few things you can do to keep pipes from freezing this winter. First, you can wrap exposed pipes in an insulating material. This is particularly important in rooms that don’t receive any heat. Second, keep a small amount of water running through pipes when temperatures are below freezing, because water in motion is less likely to freeze. Finally, if you plan on leaving your home for an extended period of time this winter, leave the heat on just high enough to keep pipes warm.

The coming winter may be a cold one, but that doesn’t mean your house has to suffer the consequences. Remember to use exterior basement waterproofing techniques to keep snow away from your foundation, keep an eye on the snow accumulating on your roof and take precautionary steps to keep your pipes from freezing.

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Four of the Most Common Basement Sump Pump Problems

basement sump pumpOf all of the rooms in a house, the basement is one of the rooms most likely to experience water damage. When water leaks into the basement it can wreak havoc on a homeowner’s personal belongings, and it can even lead to health issues.

Water can seep into furniture and carpets, destroy expensive electronic equipment and encourage the growth of harmful molds in the house. Many homeowners make use of a basement sump pump to combat the damaging effects of water in the basement, and for the most part these devices make great wet basement solutions.

However, when a sump pump stops working, water can build up and troubles can arise.

Common Issue With Sump Pumps

Below are some of the most common issues with sump pumps to prepare homeowners for issues in the future.

  1. Power Outage – Sump pumps run on electricity, and when the power goes out, they stop working just like any other electronic device in a home. This can be particularly problematic if the reason for the power outage is an intense storm, because water could easily flow into the basement with no way to stop it. Installing a battery backup sump pump is a great way to ensure that water is taken out of the basement even when the power goes out.
  2. Overwhelmed Pump – Another common issue with basement sump pumps is that they can become overwhelmed from working too hard. Not all sump pumps are designed to handle the same amount of water, so it is easy for a less powerful one to get overworked. When this happens, the pump can’t keep up with the amount of water coming into the basement and the room can flood. Homeowners should get a pump that can handle up to 35 gallons of water a minute to ensure that they don’t run into this problem.
  3. Frozen Pipes – Anyone who lives in the northern parts of the country is familiar with the issue of freezing pipes when the temperatures plummet during the cold winter months. When the pipe that is meant to lead water out of the basement freezes, it can create a blockage in the system. Since water from the pump can’t get through the frozen pipes, it goes back down into the pump pit, which eventually can overflow into the rest of the basement.
  4. Old Pump – Just like the rest of the appliances in someone’s home, a basement sump pump doesn’t last forever. If a pump doesn’t seem to be working properly, and the issues listed above don’t seem to be the problem, odds are the pump has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced.

Homeowners should regularly check and test their basement sump pump to see if sump pump repairs are required. This can help extend the life of the sump pump and help to avoid issues like those mentioned above down the road.

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Keep Your Eyes Open for These Signs of Foundation Damage to Avoid Costly Repairs

structural foundation repairMost people don’t give much thought to their home’s foundation until a problem arises. At this point, however, homeowners are likely to be looking at expensive structural foundation repairs. Knowing the signs of a damaged foundation and how to prevent foundation damage can save homeowners time, stress and money.

Signs of Foundation Damage

  1. Cracked Walls – Cracks are one of the telltale signs of foundation damage. Cracks usually appear in walls above doors and where the walls and ceiling meet.
  2. Wall Separation – Another sign that the foundation is stressed is when the exterior walls of the house begin to pull away from the window frames. The walls can also pull away from the house, creating a bulge, due to expanding and shrinking soil.
  3. Sticky Doors – When the foundation starts to shift, doors and cabinets can start to stick, making them difficult to open and close.

How to Prevent Foundation Damage

  1. Water the Lawn – Foundation damage can come from shrinking and expanding soil. When heavy rains fall down on soil that has gotten too dry, the soil can swell more than usual and stress foundation walls. A soaker hose is a good way to keep soil moist during a drought.
  2. Fix Lot Grading – A lawn is supposed to drain water away from the house, and if it doesn’t, water can accumulate around the home and cause water damage to the foundation. The yard should be graded six inches in 10 feet to ensure water is draining properly. Installing a French drain system may be necessary for yards that still tend to flood despite proper grading.
  3. Plant Trees Away From House – Tree and plant roots are another cause of foundation trouble. When soil around the foundation competes with roots for water, the soil often loses and dries out. This can cause a foundation to settle and sink. Make sure to plant trees and shrubs with deep roots away from the house.
  4. Stop Basement Leaks – A wet basement can also lead to foundation damage, and nearly 90% of basements will suffer from some form of water damage. Fix basement leaks as soon as they show up to prevent moisture from building up and creating cracks in the walls.


Signs of Foundation Problems and How to Fix Them

It is important to keep an eye out for signs of foundation damage and to know how to keep them from showing up. Homeowners that neglect signs of trouble could end up with expensive structural foundation repair.

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Basement Waterproofing Systems Help Keep Your Home Dry

Whether you have been suffering from a wet basement or you are looking to take precautionary measures to keep basement flooding and leakages at bay, one thing you should know is that you need to get basement waterproofing done immediately.

It is a very good idea and an intelligent choice to invest in basement waterproofing systems in homes so that you can keep your property protected against and also prevent any further damage that might occur because of basement flooding. There are a number of ways you can choose to dry or have your basement dried. Your contractor will be able to guide you better but here is a little insight on what you ought to know regarding basement waterproofing systems.

Waterproofing Your Basement With Interior Sealants

Water commonly enters your basement through cracks in the cemented foundations. You can easily get these cracks and lines sealed from the inside and protect seepage and basement flooding. There are a number of special sealant products available in the market that are injected into the cracks sealing off the path for moisture and leaks. If you don’t have a very strong water pressure pushing against the cracks in your foundation, getting them sealed with interior sealants is a great option.

You can also use waterproof coatings on the insides to protect it against flooding. Waterproof coatings are long lasting and some even adhere to concrete walls permanently. If you have minor condensation or dampness issues, waterproof coatings are a great option. However they aren’t feasible against major leaks.

Exterior Waterproofing

This system seals off any cracks or lines in the exterior foundations that might let in your basement. Exterior waterproofing might be a very long and troublesome procedure as it needs to fully excavate the ground around the house till the foundations. Once the excavation is done, the walls of the foundation can be sealed using waterproof coatings. This will thus prevent water from entering your basement and will direct leaking water to drains connected to sump pumps or down slopes that lead away from the property’s foundations. Although very long, this method efficiently stops water from entering the basement through the cracks in interior foundation or the walls.

Comprehensive Drainage Systems

These systems focus on interior and exterior drainage so that even if water enters the house, there is a drainage system that will drive it away from the basement. One of the best methods to drain water away from the basement is to have sump pumps installed inside that collect water and pumps it away from the house. This system will work by draining all underground water from the surrounding areas of your home and will then pump it away from your basement. Advanced systems today are prepared to work with power outages, catastrophic rainfalls, snowstorms and also snow melts.

Drainage systems are great to keep water out of your basements. These can be made airtight and safe against mould and mildew growth.

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Options in Basement Waterproofing Materials

Anyone who has a leaky basement has only one thing on his mind: how to plug the leaks and keep the basement water-free. There is an array of products that are available on the market for waterproofing purposes. These products can be used as do it yourself tools, but some require meticulous installation by someone who is knowledgeable in the area of waterproofing. Some items can be bought off the shelf at hardware stores, while others might need to be ordered, depending on the scale of project. The focus here, however, is concentrated on DIY basement waterproofing materials.

Do It Yourself Waterproofing Material Options

Acrylic coatings

Acrylic coatings, such as Tuffcrete, can be used on the walls and floor of the basement, plus the walls of the foundations where such foundations are found above the ground. The coating is applied onto the surfaces through painting or alternatively being sprayed onto it.

This acrylic coating builds an impermeable surface around the surface of application. It effectively prevents moisture content from flowing through the walls and into the basement. The seepage of water through the walls is stopped. This paint coating is easily available from a hardware store near you. Its application is just like any other paint. You don’t have to be a professional to do it.

Liquid Tubber

Liquid rubber coating and sealants, such as Drylock, come in handy when applied onto the basement surfaces. This type of sealant can be applied on inner and outer surface and also for low grade and high grade. It is ideal for waterproofing homes that are frequently prone to flooding, or wet, damp conditions.

These sealants are more advocated for as they perform dual functions of preventing the water from seeping through, and also seals any cracks that might manifest themselves on these walls. Application is done normally, just like you would with any paint. Good ventilation is advised when applying these sealants, as they have a strong odor that can have a nauseating effect if not enough fresh air is around.

Drainage Systems

An interior drainage system is recommended as well. This is much easier to install than exterior drainage when a house is already built. This system is instrumental in capturing seepage within walls before it reaches the surface in cases where blocks were used for construction. It involves drilling holes in the blocks and connecting the holes to a drainage pipe at the floor of the basement at the point at which the basement wall meets the floor as this is also the most common area in which seepage occurs in which a waterproofing company or a company specializing in residential landscaping will accomplish this task. A trench is dug on the floor and a drainage pipe is installed that collects all water directing it to one central collection point, which can be emptied with a suction pump. When water collects in this sump pit, a sump pump is used to pump out the water that has collected. This pump can be automatic or manually installed.

Pipe penetration kits are another type of material that can be used to stop basement seepage. They create a seal around the point for entry of water and gas pipes, which is a common point of entry of water into basements. Applied onto the specific entry points, a gasket is formed around them and further seepage is eliminated.