Foundation and Basement Problems and Solutions

pioneer (14)Port Canaveral sustained millions of dollars in damages due to hurricane Matthew, North Carolina faired a bit worse with 1.5 billion worth in damages to homes and businesses across the coast.  Flooding is still a problems in those areas, and government officials hope the flood will recede in one more week. It is hard to predict and prepare for catastrophes like this, but for many homeowners our problems are not so significant.  Water seeping into the basement of your home doesn’t seem so huge after reading about the people in North Carolina.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of that problem, it means the problem doesn’t seem so big after all.  If you have problems with the basement or foundation of your home, we will be happy to offer you a hassle free, no obligation consultation to see if we fit your needs.  Contact us, we will be happy to talk to you.


Extreme drought causes home foundation cracks across the Valley

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The crippling drought in North Alabama isn’t just hurting farmers and drying up water sources, it could also threaten your home. Foundation repair experts say this is the busiest they’ve been, in the company’s 15 year history.

“The last time we saw a drought like this was in ‘07,” says Ben Bayless, the owner of AFS.

From afar, the Drach family’s home looks in pristine condition. “Very frustrating,” says Jesse Drach. “Inside, we have several cracks getting bigger and bigger.”

When you take a closer look, you can see major cracks have formed, both inside and outside.

The owner of AFS, a local foundation repair company, says this happens when the rain stays at bay.  “These foundation issues are directly linked to the drought,” says Bayless.

Drought conditions affect foundations because when the soil dries, it actually shrinks, causing the foundation to shift or crack.

Unfortunately for homeowners, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent these foundation issues from popping up.


Wet basement? Here’s what to do

You might not need a waterproofing contractor. You might need to take a few simpler, cheaper steps instead, according to Consumers’ Checkbook.

CONSUMERS’ CHECKBOOK

Wet basement? Thinking about calling a basement-waterproofing contractor? Stop right there.

Many contractors will propose installation of expensive interior drainage systems — even if you don’t need one — when most moisture problems can be solved through less expensive means. You’re more likely to get good results — and save a lot of money — by exploring other possible solutions and hiring a basement-waterproofing contractor only if absolutely needed. If your home was built within the last few years, check the builder’s warranty for clauses on seepage.

Most basements get wet when rainwater runs toward the walls of houses from roofs, yards and driveways. So your first step is to force it to run away from your home.

• Start by cleaning your gutters, repairing holes and making sure the gutters slope toward downspouts and have not come loose from the house, allowing water to fall directly from the roof to the ground. Test downspouts to make sure they spill water at least 4 feet away from the house. You can extend downspouts for less than $15 each; gutter repairs are more expensive. But these improvements are worth the price, even if they do not fully solve your water problem.


Basement and Crawlspace Waterproof Experts Provide Preparation Tips for the Upcoming Season

Waterproof Experts Provide Preparation Tips.
Here are some tips you can observe to help you prevent water damage this coming season. Preparing for the season ahead is best served with the purpose of protecting your home (your family), saving time, and money. Making home investments by taking preparation tips from basement and crawlspace waterproof experts can prevent your finances being dried out in a drought.

. Always check your plumbing – One of the most common reasons for water damage in basements and crawlspaces is a faulty plumbing network. You may have a broken hot water tank system or even a leaking water fixture. And since a great majority of these pipes and water lines run through the basement or other crawlspaces, they tend to get neglected in the process. Take time to review the blueprint of your home and identify where your plumbing is. Otherwise, you can call for experts to try to determine if you have a local plumbing problem.

2. Clean your gutters and downspouts – Your roof is like a large basin that collects water and moisture. If this is not channeled down your spout, then water will eventually have to find a way to go down. And you know where this will lead. Your basement, of course. So, while it is still not snowing and the winds haven’t picked up yet, go up your roof and make sure you don’t have any broken shingles or any roofing material and that your gutters and downspouts are free of any obstruction.


Do You Need Help Buying Your First Home?

stock-photo-17128627-unfinished-basement

Are you trying to buy your first home?  According to The National Association of Realtors, 2015 will be a year for first-time homebuyers.  That said, do you know what to look for when looking for your first home?  There are many pitfalls to avoid when dealing with something this important, after all you will be living and perhaps raising a family there as well.  Below are some articles that could help you in your quest for that home you have always dreamed about, and avoiding some catastrophic mistakes at the same time.


How Contingencies Protect a First-Time Homebuyer

When buying a home, there are seemingly hundreds of details to attend to, especially as a first-time homebuyer. Those details can range from the critical to the merely inconvenient, from property lines to pets. One important matter you’ll encounter is that of the contingency.

“Contingencies are your ‘out’ clause,” says Tim Freund, a real estate broker in the Los Angeles area. “They allow a buyer to get out of an agreement legitimately.”

But you want to buy a house, not get out of a deal. What’s that about?
Common contingencies
Contingencies are your built-in buyer protection plan, placing conditions on the sale that ensure you’re not taken advantage of. The most common contingency is a physical inspection, which allows buyers to determine whether there’s an issue with the home that’s bigger than they’re willing to tackle. That could be a leaky roof, a crumbling foundation — or a transmission line buried in your backyard.


10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

ANAHEIM, Calif.June 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The National Association of Realtors has speculated that 2015 will be the year of the first-time homebuyer, and as many aspiring homeowners begin to dip their toes in real estate, they should prepare themselves for what can sometimes be tricky waters. With careful forethought and planning, newcomers to the real estate realm can make sure that they are ready to buy their dream home as soon as they find it. Here are 10 tips to help first-time homebuyers navigate their way to becoming homeowners.

    1. Know what you can afford  
      When looking for a new home, make your search more effective by knowing how much home you can afford. Carefully calculate the overall monthly payments. Be sure to include additional costs like property taxes, insurance premiums, homeowners insurance, homeowners’ association dues (if applicable), etc. Look at your monthly budget to understand how a mortgage payment will fit into it.

7 Programs That Help First-Time Homebuyers

Buying a home is so hard, they should make it an Olympic event. It’s not just the paperwork; it’s the terminology, the fees and the number of people involved. It’s natural to want to agree to whatever, sign everything and just get through the process as fast as you can. But while that may make you a medalist in downhill skiing, it won’t earn you many style points in life’s uphill battle to financial well-being.

Here are some of the most useful homebuyer programs that you might overlook if you rush the process. They may score you some big savings.
FHA                                                  
This is the go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time homebuyers and those who have a credit history that’s … let’s say shaky. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees a portion of home loans, which frees lenders to broaden their acceptance standards. With FHA backing, borrowers can qualify for loans with as little as 3.5% down. You can search a list of FHA lenders near you at HUD.gov.


How To Prevent Wet Basements

stock-photo-22083798-water-damaged-basementWith the harsh winters and heavy rains that the homes in the Northeast Ohio region deal with every year, it’s no wonder many older homes deal with wet or leaky basements.  Melting snow in the early spring and then the rain that follows, make the ground wet and often too saturated for the water to flow away from the foundation.  The water can find its way into the basement and cause havoc with the foundation of your home, it can cause irreparable damage to storage goods you have in there. Electrical problems are dangerous when you have a flooded basement, and the wooden beams or other wooden support you have in your basement can be jeopardized because of the water leaks.  Take care of a leaky or wet basement sooner rather than later, the cost associated with the damage can increase as the problem is left unattended, and your health can be jeopardized as well. Call us for a hassle free consultation.


Wet basements can be prevented

Heavy storms or steady rain can have the potential to leave homeowners with a wet basement throughout the spring and summer months.

Mark Luba, marketing director at Baker’s Waterproofing and Foundation Repair in Bentleyville, said to help prevent water from entering a basement, homeowners need to make sure their downspouts are open and running away from the house.

The company, owned by Brian Baker, provides services in Fayette, Greene, Washington and surrounding counties.

Also, said Luba, make sure the slope leads away from the house so water doesn’t make its way back toward the foundation.

“When you talk to a homeowner one of their biggest concerns are their (basement) space,” said Luba. “It’s either they want it for dry storage so they can keep valuables, for living space, and they want good air quality.”


Keep your home dry during the spring melt

There are several things homeowners can do to prevent basement flooding this time of year.

As evidence of the harsh winter finally melts into our memories, we’re breathing easier that it’s spring.

But before you sigh with relief and start dragging out the patio furniture, stop to think about where all that snow melt goes. There are several things you can do as a homeowner to prevent basement flooding this spring.

Watch for these common waterproofing problems, often around the interior and exterior of basements. Solutions are available, but early detection is best for your budget.

Wall cracks: Cracks along the interior foundation walls may start out small but expand due to ground settling, hydrostatic pressure and seasonal freeze/thaw cycles.


Beware of cracks & shoddy construction

Jagvir Goyal

Though every house builder tries to take the best preventive measures during the construction yet leakage and seepage are often seen in the houses. The reasons for such occurrences are inadequate workmanship during construction, lack of knowledge of the right preventive measures, not taking proper steps for water-proofing, occurrence of cracks due to structural settlements or differential expansion of materials and lack of post-construction care.

Let’s have a look at the post-construction checks to be made and the treatments to be done to stop a leakage or seepage:

Post construction checks

The following checks should be made from time to time to avoid a leakage or seepage in any part of the house


Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomThe list of things to do before winter comes can become quite long for some homeowners.  The storage of gardening tools, emptying the gas in the lawnmower, cleaning the gutters, among many other things that are very specific for your home can keep you busy for the next few weekends.  The checklist to prepare you and your home are important to keep your home functioning properly all thru the winter, follow the links below for more information.


18 Ways to Immediately Reduce Your Home Energy and Maintenance Costs

So you’ve just moved into your nice new home. You’ve unloaded the boxes, unpacked most of your stuff, and are just starting to settle into your residence.

Right now is the perfect time to walk through a checklist of ways to save money on your home. Starting on these things as early as possible will allow you to start saving money sooner rather than later.

Here are eighteen things to check on or do immediately that will reduce the energy and maintenance costs of your home over the long haul.
1. Check the insulation in your attic – and install more if needed.
If you have an unfinished attic, pop your head up there and take a look around. You should see some insulation up there, and there should be at least six inches of it everywhere (more if you live in the northern part of the United States).


Reduce home heating costs; avoid home maintenance scams

Another way to keep heating bills under control is to compare electricity wholesalers’ prices at www.energizect.com and select a plan before demand and the cost of electricity increase.

State lawmakers have put into place safeguards to stop wholesalers from the past practices of enticing consumers with a low introductory price, and then hitting them with a significant increase without advance notification.

Consumers who can afford to can pre-purchase heating oil to prevent being subjected to market fluctuations. The cost of heating oil may drop during a mild winter, however, heating oil prices typically rise at this time of year as demand increases. BBB recommends consumers research heating oil suppliers in advance, to ensure they are dealing with a reputable business with an established track record.

A dirty furnace is less efficient, so an annual inspection and cleaning is recommended.


Prevent your heating bills from going through the roof

Heating your home can be a costly endeavor. But you don’t have to make your family suffer in shivering silence to save some money. There are plenty of steps you can take to optimize your heating efforts, as well as prep your home for several months of cool weather.

• Check and maintain your insulation. Improperly insulated walls, floors, attics, basements and crawl spaces drain away heat and can encourage mold and mildew.

• Add weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors to prevent drafts which waste energy and money.

• Install a programmable thermostat that shuts itself off during the day when you’re away and at night when you’re asleep. This will keep you comfortable when you’re home and save you money when you’re not.


Basement Waterproofing – Small Leaks Unaddressed Lead to Big Problems

stock-photo-3164773-executive-home-bar-and-entertainment-roomOwning a home can be very expensive, especially if the proper precautions are not taken to ensure that your property will not become damaged due to intense weather conditions. If your home has a basement, you will want to have it waterproofed in order to prevent any damage from floods or excessive rain. A basement that is waterproofed can also add more value to your home while keeping your family safe from unwanted mold or mildew growth.
When you waterproof your basement, you are creating more living space inside your home. A fully protected basement provides you with a dry, secure area to store away your belongings or create an additional bedroom, family room or home office. This will also increase the amount of square footage that is inside your home, so that if you ever want to sell, you will be able to at a much higher price.

High moisture levels inside your basement can cause mold and mildew growth to occur. Waterproofing your basement will help to greatly reduce the moisture levels inside of your home, which will create a much safer environment for everyone who lives there. This process can also help to improve the overall stability and structure of your home. If water happens to enter into your home through your basement, serious structural damage can occur. By waterproofing this area, you can avoid costly damage to your basement floor and structure.

There are many affordable options out there when it comes to waterproofing your basement. Spending a small amount of money today to have this process completed by professionals can help to save you and your family from paying for costly repairs in the future.


7 Techniques For Moisture Control

stock-photo-4258890-interior-abstractRemodeling Your Home? Have You Considered Indoor Air Quality?

Finishing or remodeling your basement can be a very rewarding project for you and your family.  The extra living space your family can enjoy, and the extra room for whatever you choose to use it, is always nice. But before you start putting the drywall in the basement, you must ensure the walls and all crawling spaces in your house are free of mold and mildew.  How do you then control the moisture in your house to avoid those problems?  Here we are bringing you information on moisture control techniques that will certainly help you with those issues.  Please follow the link above for a more detailed explanation on those techniques.

7 Moisture Control Techniques:

1. Manage water outside the foundation walls.

The ground around the home’s foundation should be graded to slope down and away from the house at a rate of 1/2″ to 1″ per linear foot to drain surface water away from the house. Water from down spouts should be directed away from the house, discharging at least a few feet from the foundation.

2. Manage water inside the foundation walls and in the basement or crawl space floor.

If the basement or crawl space has a dirt floor, cover it with 6 mil poly, overlapping edges by at least 12 inches. Seal any cracks or joints in the foundation wall or slab with an elastomeric caulk.

3. Use construction techniques to control water, air movement, vapor diffusion, and condensation. Use construction methods and materials which promote the drying of building assemblies.

Use construction techniques which reduce the likelihood that warm, moist air will come in contact with cold surfaces, leading to condensation, mold growth, and rot.

4. Roofs

It is important that the roof and flashing details and construction effectively keep water out of the house. It is also important that the roof and attic design addresses the issue of moisture in the form of water vapor to avoid condensation in building cavities.

5. Ensure the home is properly ventilated, with at least exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen and preferably a mechanical ventilation system designed to ventilate the entire house.

High relative humidity (RH) can lead to problems with mold, dust mites, and other biological pollutants. Using exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen can remove much of the moisture that builds up from everyday activities and help to keep RH below 50%.

6. Size Air-Conditioning Equipment correctly.

More is not always better. Incorrectly sized equipment can lead to operational and cost problems. Oversized air conditioning systems can “short-cycle” leading to rapid cooling without reducing indoor humidity levels. This can lead to a variety of problems associated with high relative humidity.

7. Low Relative Humidity.

Below 30 percent relative humidity, people can be uncomfortable and can suffer from dry mucus membranes which can lead to nosebleeds and infections. In general, low relative humidity is only a problem during the winter months, when the outside air contains very little moisture.