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Wet Basements

What are the typical basement waterproofing or water-control methods one should consider in basements and crawlspaces?

By | Wet Basements | No Comments

Waterproofing methods are actually water-control methods!  The water must be controlled to prevent it from penetrating the basement foundation or floor or to divert it away from the building.

Popular methods include:

  • Interior wall and floor sealers
  • Interior water drainage
  • Exterior drainage
  • Exterior waterproofing coatings
  • Box-type waterproofing
  • Foundation crack injections
  • Dehumidification systems

Prior to any such systems being installed, all other systems that could be contributing to water intrusions should be identified and addressed.  Poor landscaping, gutters and downspouts, driveway and sidewalk issues, etc., should be addressed.  Water takes the easiest path of entry into basements and crawlspaces.  Building systems such as these were created to control water and keep it out of our buildings.  Once it’s determined that these systems are not enough, then a water-control system should be employed.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

 

What is basement water-control and when should a basement water-control system be considered?

By | Wet Basements | No Comments

Basement water-control simply means that the water in and around the building foundation is being controlled.  Buildings have numerous systems, including gutters and downspouts that are meant to control the water and keep it from entering the building.  A basement water-control system is a system that captures the water and routes it out of and away from the building.

Water in soil causes hydrostatic pressure to be exerted underneath basement floors and walls.  This hydrostatic pressure can force water in cracks, which can cause major structural damage as well as mold, decay, and other moisture-related problems.

Water seepage in basements and crawl spaces usually occurs over long periods of time and can be caused by numerous factors.  A full assessment of the property should be performed prior to considering the installation of a water-control system.  An assessment should include:

  • A visual walk-through of the basement and/or crawlspace,
  • An exterior inspection, including roof, gutter, downspout, landscaping, etc.
  • An interior inspection, including plumbing, appliance exhausts, etc.

Typical assessments reveal:

  • High humidity levels which could lead to structural damage and mold contamination.
  • Pockets of air that have developed in the concrete, causing the concrete to crack, which then allows water to force its way through the wall or floor.
  • Movement in foundations or footings caused by the building settling, soil erosion around the foundation, or seismic activity, which allows water to force its way in.
  • Damaged or clogged exterior weeping tile, gutters or downspouts that were installed to direct water away from the property that is now allowing the rainwater to be absorbed by the soil at the foundation adding to the hydrostatic pressure.
  • Hydrostatic pressure from soil saturation, causing enough pressure to force the water through cracks, gaps, and openings.
  • Water build-up in window wells during or after heavy raining or snow, leading to leaks in basement window seams.

All these issues should be addressed prior to considering a basement water-control system.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

DAMP is an Enemy to Buildings!

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DAMP is an Enemy to Buildings!

When performing your Spring Healthy Building Check-Up be on the lookout for indications of dampness.  Dampness provides an environment for mold to grow and pests to water.  Dampness is also the fuel for deterioration to attack building components.

Dampness and interior humidity levels at 60% or more should raise the question: “What is the source?”  The source should be remedied prior to cleaning up the area of concern or repairing damaged components.  Without addressing the source, the problems caused by the dampness will resurface.

Common types of dampness in a building include:

  • Condensation
  • Ground water absorption
  • Water intrusions
  • High humidity

Condensation typically occurs when moist air is prevented from escaping the property due to poor ventilation.  Signs of condensation issues include water droplets on windows or walls, peeling or stained building components, musty odors, or mold growth.  Condensation can be remedied through proper ventilation or control of humidity levels.

Ground water absorption tends to occur when moisture barriers fail or the ground water levels increase in the soil surrounding the foundation of the building.  Signs of ground water absorption include an efflorescent layer on building materials (looks like salt), dark patches or stains on concrete or brick walls, musty smells, rotting building components.

The source of ground water absorption and water intrusions should be identified.  Check landscaping to confirm that water is taken away from the building.  Check gutters and downspouts to confirm they are not in need of repair and confirm they take the water away from the building.  If all sources of possible water intrusion have been identified and remedied, a water-control system may need to be considered.

A dehumidifier in rooms that tend to have humidity levels over 50% can be an occupant’s best friend.  Today’s dehumidifiers can be set to come on automatically at 40 or 45%, keeping the humidity at levels conducive to the health of the building and its occupants.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

SO, GOT A WET BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE. WHERE TO START?

By | Uncategorized, Wet Basements | No Comments

SO, GOT A WET BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE. WHERE TO START?

Having a full assessment is the wisest move. Stories are rampant of building owners who have paid for extensive and expensive waterproofing systems … only to find that by making other water-control repairs they could have avoided installation of such a system.

Needed gutter repairs is a great example: The rainwater pours off the roof, around and through the deteriorating gutter system, down the foundation  wall of the building and right into the newly installed French drains. However, if the gutters had been repaired, the need for the French drains would have been eliminated.

In performing a full assessment, all sources of water are being identified, whether they are coming from landscaping issues, issues with the exterior systems of the building, or issues with the interior systems of the building. A full assessment would start with a visual walk-through of the interior, inspecting any suspect items or areas (like plumbing) that could be a source of water entry, noting areas of concern, and taking pictures where possible. The more information one has the better. All the information will be used in developing a permanent water-control plan.

This would then be followed by a visual walk-about of the entire exterior of the building and its surrounding landscape. Possible concerns noted in a visual walk-through of the interior would include:

  • Cracks in the walls and floors.
  • Peeling paint and efflorescence.
  • Movement in the foundation or footings.
  • Water intrusions in the walls and floors.
  • Buckled or bowed walls.
  • Sump-pump issues.
  • Hydrostatic pressure or high-water table indicators.
  • Visible mold.
  • Leaking pipes.
  • Water stains.

The exterior assessment would begin with identifying any issues with landscaping and grading, drainage, gutter, downspout, roofing, or windows.

When performing a full investigation, personal safety should be considered, especially in older buildings were there could be issues with electrical wiring, mechanical systems, deteriorating asbestos-containing material, or hazardous material storage. In all buildings, radon exposure should be a concern as well. In both crawl spaces and unoccupied basements, be weary of animal and insect infestations, feces and other animal waste. Precautions should be taken to protect the person(s) performing the assessment.

All of the information gathered is then reviewed and an action plan is established. The action plan may encompass a process of making repairs and then determining if those repairs were enough to eliminate the water problem. When all repairs have been made and one finds that the water has not been controlled, it is then time to move to a water-control system, aka waterproofing.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

#breathehealthyinitiative

November’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Wet Basements and Crawlspaces

By | Basement Dewatering, Basement Water Control, Mold, Wet Basements | No Comments

IS YOUR BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE suffering from overexposure to moisture?

In the case where a crawlspace has been infiltrated with water over a period of 12 hours or longer, mold remediation is crucial to bring the area back to a safe condition prior to any waterproofing or mitigation.

Most likely, whether visible or not, after an area has remained damp or moist for a period of time, a mold contamination may exist. Remember mold remediation is futile unless the source of the moisture has been addressed. Otherwise, the next high humidity, moisture, or water event will bring the mold right back.

Addressing water-control / moisture-control and mold go hand-in-hand.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com/healthy.

November’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Wet Basements and Crawlspaces

By | Basement Dewatering, Basement Water Control, Mold, Wet Basements | No Comments

DEHUMIDIFIER IS YOUR BASEMENT’S BEST FRIEND!

A proper dehumidification system will include a system to capture the water produced and exhaust it to the outside so there is no dependence of building occupants or maintenance personnel to empty the dehumidifier.

Between vacations and distractions, the chances are that there would be times when the dehumidifier was not emptied in a timely fashion. Such events would lead to high humidity episodes, which leads to opportunities for mold growth.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com/healthy.

SO, WE’VE GOT A WET BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE! WHERE DO WE START? – PART I

By | Basement Dewatering, Basement Water Control, Mold, Wet Basements | No Comments

Having a full assessment is the wisest move.  Stories are rampant of building owners who have paid for extensive and expensive waterproofing systems … only to find that by making other water-control repairs they could have avoided installation of such a system.

Needed gutter repairs is a great example:  The rainwater pours off the roof, around and through the deteriorating gutter system, down the foundation wall of the building and right into the newly installed French drains.  However, if the gutters had been repaired, the need for the French drains would have been eliminated.

In performing a full assessment, all sources of water are being identified, whether they are coming from landscaping issues, issues with the exterior systems of the building, or issues with the interior systems of the building.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com/healthy.

November’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Wet Basements and Crawlspaces

By | Basement Dewatering, Basement Water Control, Baxter Group, Inc., Home Improvement, Wet Basements | No Comments

Warning signs that indicate a moisture problem exists in a basement or crawl space should be followed by a full assessment.

WET ALERTS include:

  • Humidity over 60%, which may indicate moisture exists but the source may be hidden … a leaking pipe, water lying against the exterior walls, water entering cracks in walls.
  • Condensation on structural components or other components within the space, which may indicate that warm moist air is entering the cooled area.
  • Peeling paint, which may indicate water is seeping under the paint and causing it to bubble.
  • Cracked walls, which may indicate that severe pressure is occurring under the floor or behind the wall. This could lead to structural damage as well.
  • Cracked walls, which may indicate that the concrete was not allowed to cure properly or that pockets of air were not properly removed during the initial installation of the foundation. Water will then force its way through the wall.
  • A coating of efflorescense on the wall, which indicates that moisture may be seeping through the wall. Efflorescense is the salt and chemical residue from either the soil or concrete wall.
  • Buckling or bowed-in walls, which may indicate severe pressure behind the wall. It may have originally been hydrostatic pressure or water pressure, but over time it could transition to the pressure coming from the weight of the soil pressing against the foundation walls.
  • Mold, which may indicate high-humidity events or moisture events.
  • Puddles, which may indicate that the footings are too narrow or not laid deep enough, causing them to be susceptible to movement caused by soil erosion.

Although multiple signs seem to become evident all at once, quite often the problems were gradual and unnoticed.  Water problems can also originate because of one event such as local dynamiting, a storm that saturates the ground, or recent changes to landscaping.  All these events can also change the composition of the ground around the basement or crawl space creating new water entry paths.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com/healthy.

November’s Breathe Healthy Initiative Topic: Wet Basements and Crawlspaces

By | Basement Dewatering, Basement Water Control, Mold, Wet Basements | No Comments

Maintaining the overall health of a basement or crawlspace is crucial to the health of a building.  The structural components of a building are equivalent to the bone system of our body – the basement or crawlspace is equivalent to the pelvis and lower back. When the pelvis or lower back are injured or deteriorating, it affects the body’s overall health. The same is true with a basement and crawlspaces.

This fact has been confirmed by tracer gas studies, which documented that a building’s crawlspace or basement communicates with the occupied spaces above. Approximately 40% of the air in our buildings originates from these areas.

To learn more, to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, or to request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book, visit baxtergroupinc.com/healthy.

Prevent a Wet Basement

By | Wet Basements | No Comments
It’s called April Showers for a reason. The environment welcomes the surplus of warm rain, but a homeowner with cracks in their basement isn’t so welcoming.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), April 2017 was the second wettest April in the 123-year period of record. Above-average precipitation was observed across a large portion of the nation, including much-above-average precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic. Even record precipitation was observed in parts of the Mid-Atlantic.

A wet basement can cause structural damage, create mold and mildew problems, and ruin materials or items stored in the space.

Just HOW does water get into your basement? Read More