Basements Cracks in The Wall? Here’s What To Do

2019 spring weather in the Northeast Ohio area was wet and muddy. According to the National Weather Service records, 2018 and 2019 rain precipitation was among the heaviest in recorded history. Last year’s rain precipitation was 8.43 Inches compared to the 7.42 Inches this year, all in all, a very wet year. 

Flood warnings in the Northeast Ohio area were happening almost daily.  Rivers were overflowing, Fire rescue and EMTs were busy pulling people out the Cuyahoga River, and if you happen to live close by a river, your yard and in some cases your basement was flooded.

It has been a very wet spring and early summer, and although many people would be happy to be in this situation, for many homeowners’ basements, too much rain can be catastrophic.

How can you tell whether you have a problem with your basement?

Early Signs of Water Damage:

  1. Cracks in the walls
  2. Cracks along the seams where the walls meet the floor
  3. Water sitting along the basement walls
  4. Peeling paint
  5. Mold
  6. Musty odor
  7. Water in any part of the basement

For some Northeast Ohio homeowners, this spring brought too much water to their homes. If you own an older home, and you found water in the basement this spring, you have a problem.

Many older homes have lost their foundation sealant, and are letting water into the outside walls of the home that will eventually find a way to the inside. The process of water getting into the basement of your home can be slow, and the damage can occur for many years before the homeowner realizes there’s a problem at all. The damage done however can play havoc to the basement, the structure of the home, and more devastatingly, your finances.

If you have discovered a crack in the wall, and believe you can fix it, you may have another problem.  Videos showing you how to fix the crack in the wall does not show you the whole process that took to fix it.  They usually show you the ending project or the middle, but never the whole thing.

There are also many sealants you can buy at HomeDepot or Wal-Mart to apply it to the basement walls, but that’s not all it takes to fix the crack in the wall and you might not fix the problem at all.

You need to ask yourself some questions before trying to fix the crack in the wall:

  1. Am I going to fix the water seepage that’s happening, or will I make it worse?
  2. Is the water seeping from the outside or do I have an inside leak?
  3. Will I be able to fix the problem, or will the water find a better, bigger spot to come in?
  4. Is the sealant on the walls too old? Is it gone?
  5. Do I have water sitting around the foundation and seeping into the home?
  6. Do I need to clean the gutters and the spouting first?

There are many issues that arise when doing a project on your own. Patching the basement crack in the basement of your home should be left to professionals.  Fixing it by yourself means that the problem will persist and the “fixing” you did was only temporary.

An expert will address the problem, find a solution and give you a quote with no strings attached.  They know what they are doing and they know whether there are other damages that you didn’t spot. 

A professional company should be doing the work to ensure the work is done properly, with no shortcuts and to stop the damage in the foundation and basement of your home.

Home Improvements For The Summer-What You Need to Know

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, Americans spent over $400 million in home improvements and repairs in 2017. A 50% increase since 2010, yet many homeowners don’t have a good understanding of the normal home improvement or repair process. 

Any home improvement includes a three-phase process. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. If you watch any home improvement show, they show you the renovation process and the big reveal. Unfortunately, they leave out the most important part; the beginning. The beginning of a renovation project is the most important because it includes finding a good, reputable contractor to do the job. 

The reality of your home improvement or repair project will be very different than the “reality” of what you see on TV.  What happens on the screen isn’t what’s likely to happen in your home.  Many people shrug and say, “Sure, I know that.”  But, do they really?

Unforeseen problems (the middle of the process) are normal for home repairs, and these shows are good at highlighting them.  The hallmarks of any good home improvement show are the “finding the problems” moments (i.e. bees in the wall, rotten sub-floor, leaking pipes, overloaded electrical box).  These problems usually add time and money to the renovation, as well as drama.  

The problems are fixed and there’s a happy ending to the process.  We see a beautiful basement, bathroom, house, yard, kitchen, etc.  The time, money and drama paid off and most of the home owners are happy.

But, what’s left out of these shows is the beginning.  A good beginning to any project is what makes the difference between a successful one and one from hell.  They’ve left out the part where you have to find a good contractor.  They already have a capable contractor, because they know that’s the key.  

The start of a renovation is not when the crew first digs a hole, paints a wall or hammers a nail.  It starts with your job – with you doing the work of finding a competent contractor.  Because, the reality of any project is that one of the most difficult parts of it, often the most difficult, is finding one.  

Reality home improvement shows do the beginning of the process off camera; they already have a reliable contractor and crew in place.  They’re the real heroes of the show, as anyone who has ever done any renovations or repairs knows.  So, if you want a successful renovation, adjust your perception of “reality” and first do the work of finding your own real world star.

Are You Ready For Home Improvements This Summer?

Spring and summer months are for many homeowners ideal for home improvement and maintenance projects in and around the home.

Many of the home improvements are very personal to the homeowner, but some of them are just a necessity.  A home improvement project can be as little as $100 dollars or as expensive as adding a new room to the existing home.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s 2016 report, homeowners spent $361 billion in home improvements, repairs, and maintenance of their home that year. And although many home improvements won’t pay back the whole investment, there are necessary improvements that can give you back most of what you spend.

According to the home improvement that can pay you back more than any other home improvement in the house is loose-fill fiberglass insulation in the attic. Not even you will be able to see the home improvement after is done, but you will feel it in your wallet.  This home improvement along with a nice replacement door for the front of the home will give you a nice ROI and are consistently the home improvements that give you back year after year.

Basement waterproofing in itself is not an improvement that will impress your friends either, but it is a necessity that will save your home and the investment you have made over the years.

Even though waterproofing your basement can be a big financial commitment to you and your budget, there are many waterproofing companies that work with a bank to offer financing to their clients. If the company you choose to make the home improvement does not offer financing, you need to come up with a solution on your own. Thankfully, a homeowner has the leverage to come up with the financing on their own.

According to the website, the best companies offering loans at the best rates can offer you a loan to begin your project.  Shopping around to find a good rate for a loan is time-consuming but worth it.  The first step for doing any project is finding the right company to do the job well. For a waterproofing company, we have the solution for you. There are many basement waterproofing companies around the Northeast Ohio region that claim they can do the job, and they can do it cheaply. Beware of those claims. Pioneer Basement Waterproofing company has even around since 1979.  Yes, we have a long history in the community and a good history with customer satisfaction.

If you need to waterproof your basement, we are the right company to do it.

Contact us today. We can give you a FREE Written Basement Evaluation and Quote For Homeowners.

Things To Do When Your Basement Gets Wet

2017 and 2018 were two of the wettest years in recorded history in the Northeast Ohio region. According to the National Weather Service Office, the 2018 annual precipitation total for the year was 48.46 inches and in 2017 the annual precipitation total was 48.52 inches. 

For many households in the Northeast Ohio area with older homes and basements that are no longer keeping the water at bay, a wet or flooded basement is a common problem.  The accumulation around the foundation eventually finds a way to the basement of their homes causing damage to the walls, floors, and if not properly sealed, to structural damage to the foundation.

The longer there’s moisture in the basement, the higher the possibility of health risks.  For the protection of your family’s health, here are some steps to take if this spring you find your basement flooded or with water sitting on the basement floor.

Dry it out – The basement and all the items in it should be dried out as quickly as possible.  Use fans and dehumidifiers, as well as open doors and windows.  Even if it’s cold outside, when circumstances allow, open them anyway.  The faster it’s dried the better chance you have of saving possessions and decreasing the health (mold) risk.

Clean it up – The best way to avoid or eliminate mold growth is to immediately clean the things which can be disinfected.  Many porous items (i.e., clothes, carpet and padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation, paper, wood products, toys, food) can’t be effectively sanitized.

Mold thrives in and on these surfaces, and the longer they’re wet the more difficult it is to kill all the spores.  This is the time to be ruthless – your kid’s school projects, pictures, and the stuffed tiger may not be salvageable. The Center for Disease Control recommends erring on the side of caution; even dead mold can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Throw it away – Triage is vital and decisions must be made in a timely manner.  Mold spreads fast and the longer you take to get rid of unsalvageable items the better chance it has of taking hold.

Items that can’t be cleaned should be immediately thrown away in receptacles outside the house (including the garage).  If you need to store something for an insurance claim, do so out of the house.  In extreme cases, you may have to temporarily move out while damaged floors and walls are removed by professionals.

Take appropriate caution – Use strong, disinfecting cleaners and wear the proper equipment (gloves, face masks, and protective clothing) while using them.  Try to avoid cross contamination – don’t wear your shoes on the wet, damaged basement carpet and then walk through the rest of the house with them on, spreading spores as you go.

Waterproofing your basement when the problem hasn’t escalated too far is the best time and the right time to do it.  Don’t procrastinate too long, your home is a huge investment for you and your family.

Home Remodeling Cost vs. Value

The cost associated with doing home projects increases every year, and the recouped costs are very different depending on the project you are doing, especially, when you do those projects with the intention to sell your home.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report, the price you pay for those remodeling jobs will not be recouped entirely when you sell your home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s data, a midrange bathroom addition will cost you between  $45,980  and  $44,717, and you will recoup about 52.7% of the cost when you sell your home.  A garage door replacement, on the other hand, will cost you about $3,497  to $3,470, and you will probably recoup 96.6% to  98.3% of the cost.  Here are four different projects, their costs, and their recouped cost for you to see.

Every home is different and it needs different projects to spruce it up to make it more sellable or to enjoy with your family. If your intention is to sell your home and get as much value as you can from the sale, consider the projects that will make the home look better-an entry door for example-without spending too much money with the project.

There are many projects that will make the home look better to sell or for purely aesthetic reasons, but keep in mind a wet, moldy or unkept basement will not help you sell the home no matter how pretty the new bathroom is.

Basement waterproofing is not something we have to do every year.  Basement waterproofing is an investment we need to do to keep the value of the home increasing.

If you need to waterproof the basement before selling the home, or to remodel the basement to enjoy, remember we do not need to do it every year and we do not need to wait till the spring and summer months to do it.  Waterproofing the basement in the winter is something that can be done as easily as during the summer months.

If you need to contact us, do not hesitate to do so, we’ll be happy to come and offer you a hassle free consultation to waterproof the basement of your home.


A Dry Basement For the New Year

The idea of having a wet, mold-infested basement is long gone.  Families now expect to have a dry basement for extra livable space, a place where they can entertain, store personal items or as a playroom for their children. 

Extra livable space or extra storage should not be the only factors when considering waterproofing the basement of your home.  The health of your family should be the primary concern when considering this home project.

The Institute of Medicine’s research found the strong likelihood that mold is linked to serious respiratory system illnesses such as upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in healthy people. These symptoms can be acerbated with people suffering from asthma or other respiratory illnesses as well.  If you have small children or children that are susceptible to develop asthma, a wet and moldy basement cannot only accelerate but prolonged their illness and symptoms.

For many families with older homes, the tar around the foundation of their home might be gone or severely diminished. Water might be slowly, but surely seeping into the walls and foundation of your home causing damage or making the basement unlivable.

If the basement of your home is wet, has water sediments, or puddles on the basement of your floor, chances are you have mold as well.  Mold typically grows in wet places or places with a lot of moisture. Mold can grow on the drywall, furniture, fabrics, carpet, and insulation.  If you have water in the basement of your home, chances are the items you have stored there are moldy, rusty and need to be thrown away.

How can you prevent mold from growing in the basement of your home?  The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) offers three very easy steps to follow for controlling the mold in your home.

  1. Control the humidity levels in the home. Kitchen and bathroom fans should be used to help control humidity levels when cooking and showering.
  2. Fixing leaky basements, roofs, windows, and pipes of your home can help you control the humidity in your home.
  3. Cleaning and drying the basement after a flood is paramount to keep mold for growing unchecked in the basement of your home

Mold is dangerous if left unchecked.  Preventing it from growing in the basement should be our first step in becoming healthy.

So, if you were thinking about a new bathroom or kitchen remodeling for a project this year, check the basement of your home and see if that is needed first and foremost.  It is not sexy and perhaps not what you wanted, but if it is needed, you will be happy and healthy in the end.

Safety Tips For Your Home This Holiday Season

The National Fire Protection Association safety tips for this holiday season are common sense for many of us, yet we insist on doing many of the things that are dangerous to the safety of our families.

According to The National Fire Protection Association, more than 1/3 of home decoration fires started by candles, and almost half of the home decoration fires started because decorations were placed too close to a heating source.

We enjoy the lights and decorations around the home to help us celebrate the holiday season so much so, that we neglect safety tips that can prevent fires and damages done to our homes.

Safety during the holiday season should be your most important concern, and it’s not very difficult to read safety labels and follow them accordingly. Keep your home safe by following these common-sense safety tips.

  1. Test ALL the smoke detectors in your home.  Replace the batteries and replace the old smoke detectors that are not working properly
  2. Buy a small fire extinguisher.  It can cost you less than $15 dollars and save you thousands.
  3. Keep the fire extinguisher close to the kitchen.  Fires that begin in the kitchen are numerous during the holiday season and can get out of control in a matter of seconds
  4. If cooking extensively during the holidays, make sure children are protected from oil burns, or other stove-related injuries by talking to them ahead of time.  Baking cookies should not be the beginning of a trip to the emergency room
  5. Place the Christmas tree away from the fireplace and any other heating sources
  6. Place candles away from flammables decorations, walls, curtains, or any item that can catch fire quickly.
  7. Indoor lights should not be placed outdoors and vice versa.  Follow the safety instructions from the manufacturer.
  8. Test the Christmas lights before using them.  If the cords are damaged or the lights are old and unreliable, buy a new set.  They are very inexpensive all other expenses considered.
  9. DON’T leave any candles lighted or Christmas tree on if you leave the home.
  10. Books, magazines or newspapers should never be left close to candles or other heating sources

Remember the holiday season is a time of joy.  Keep your loved ones safe during this time of year.

Fall and Winter Chores To Maintain A Beautiful Home

Affordable housing is not a joke.  Many people around the country cannot afford to own their own home or rent a home without spending a large portion of their income paying rent. 

Owning a home is without a doubt a huge expense, but for many families, it’s a stabilizing force that gives them a sense of security. Homeownership allows communities to grow and be safe, and to create an environment where children feel safe and thrive.

But, for many families owning a home and maintaining a home can be a struggle. A good rule of thumb says a homeowner should set aside 1% of the purchase price for the yearly maintenance of their home. If you stretched your finances to the maximum buying the home of your dreams, the yearly maintenance of the home might be a bit difficult to accomplish.

Keeping with the maintenance of your home means taking care of the problems that arise in a timely matter.  Ignoring a problem or procrastinating can cost the homeowner more the longer he waits.

From easy chores to prepare your home for the changing seasons to extensive work your home might need, yearly checkup maintenance is key in maintaining and keeping your home beautiful

Are you now getting ready for the fall and winter chores your home needs to keep it running efficiently? Here is a checklist for you to go through. 

  1. Replace/test smoke detectors around your home
  2. Schedule a winter maintenance check for your furnace
  3. Change the filters in the furnace
  4. Check windows and doors to make sure the seals are intact
  5. Buy a carbon monoxide detector or test the one you have at home
  6. Clean the gutters from all leaves or debris
  7. Cut or trim all branches close to the home
  8. Shut off sprinklers and store away any gardening supplies
  9. Empty the gasoline tank from your lawn mower
  10. Make sure your shovels and rakes are handy for this fall and winter

5 big ticket items you might need to check and price before this year is over.

  1. Basement waterproofing
  2. Replace windows or doors
  3. Upgrade or replace an old heating system
  4. Replace the water tank
  5. Replace your AC unit

These are big-ticket items that you might need to do some research or call contractors or companies for pricing.  If you do the research first and call different companies to compare prices, you can get a good price and a good company to do the job.

Interior vs. Exterior Basement Waterproofing

When a homeowner is faced with water issues in their basements, there are many questions that begin to take place in the homeowners’ mind.  Is the sump pump working? Can I salvage anything? How long will it take me to dry out the basement? Can I waterproof the basement myself?

Depending on the problem in a basement, every homeowner should contact a qualified professional before attempting to waterproof the basement themselves, but also to learn the options available to them, the pros and cons of a particular method, and pricing.

There are many available options when waterproofing the basement of your home. Interior basement waterproofing is one of these options.

When is it advisable for you to adopt this option? 

When the walls of your basement are dry and the water seeping is coming from where the floor meets the wall, the only solution to fix this problem is an interior basement waterproofing system.  A basement waterproofing company can install a “channel” drain system on top of the floor that will take the water to a draining point and out of your basement. As with all systems, installing a “channel” drain system comes with its issues as well. Water sits on the trough till there is enough water to begin moving and taking it to a drain point, but on the bright side, this solution can be much cheaper than other systems since it requires less labor and trenching to install.

When Is it necessary to dig around the foundation of your home?

In older homes, it is common to find problems in the basement.  From water sitting on the floor, foundation issues or structural damage, a homeowner can find himself with issues that can be very expensive if not taking them seriously.

Wet basement walls high or at ground level can be an indicator water is running down the basement walls, or water deposits high or on the middle of the walls.  The “white” deposits you see on the basement walls are a big indicator of water from the exterior is finding a way into the interior of your home.  If the drainage outside your home is not taking the rainwater away from the foundation, or the original seal on the exterior of your home has deteriorated, water is finding a way to the inside and an exterior basement waterproofing job might be the only and best option for your home.

There are many waterproofing companies around your home, but if you are looking to waterproof your basement you need to contact different companies that have a good reputation before making a decision. Compare the solutions they give you as well as the prices.  Hiring a company to waterproof the basement of your home usually requires diligence.  New companies will promise you a lifetime warranty for the work they do at your home, then go out of business within a few years.  Hiring a company with a long history in the community is not only advisable but perhaps your only alternative.


Energy Saving Tips for Your Home

Heating and cooling bills are two major expenses during the summer and winter months that can put a dent in your budget. According to the US Department of Energy, the typical American household spends $2,200 a year in electric and gas bills. That’s a big percentage of your annual income considering the energy expenditures are only a very small part of your total expenses.

The EEI ( Edison Electric Institute) recommends many heating and cooling tips for you that will help you save energy and money. Here are some of them for you:

Heating and Cooling

  1. Setting your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter can lower the cost of your electric bill by 2%
  2. If you need to replace your air conditioning unit or your furnace choose one that is an ENERGY STAR unit.  These units are more efficient than other units by 5-10%
  3. Sealing and weatherstripping your doors and windows can reduce the cool air leaving the home.  It can also save you more than 10% of the total usage for the year.
  4. If using a window unit to cool your house, place it on a window that is not directly under the sun, otherwise your unit will be working more to cool your home.
  5. Closing vents and rooms that are unused can lower your air conditioning bill and keep other parts of your home cooler. During the winter months, the house will seem warmer if unused bedrooms and the basement door are kept closed, and the furnace filter is changed regularly to allow the warm air to circulate better.
  6. Opening windows and doors to cool your home during comfortable days not only helps refresh your home, it can save you money too.
  7. Make sure all bushes and trees are away from the unit outside the home to keep it working efficiently.

The amount of energy many households use yearly can be considerable. The amount of energy we use and the cost we pay go hand in hand.  The more energy wasted, the more money will be needed to pay for it. But, if the financial repercussions do not bother you, saving energy helps save the planet.

If you want to find more ways to save energy go to the EEI website to learn more.