Blog

Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

With the days lengthening and weather warming, now is the time to get outdoors and tackle spring home maintenance projects. With the threat of winter storms passed (fingers crossed!), you can look for damage left over from winter and make any needed repairs.  Also, with spring comes rain. While that may be a good thing for your plants, garden and grass, it could spell trouble for your basement.

Inspect your home and perform these simple maintenance jobs to fend off potential moisture problems both inside and out, prevent costly repairs, and pave the way for a trouble-free summer.

  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts – The health of your basement depends on the health of your roof, more specifically, your gutters. Inspect your gutters to ensure they are all intact and unclogged, paying close attention that the water flows freely away from your homes foundation.
  • Inspect your Roof – Grab the ladder and give the roof a good look. All that snow and ice could have caused some minor damage that you’ll want to fix now. You’re looking for curled and missing shingles, rusted and pitted flashing, and cracked caulk around pipe collars, skylights and other roof penetrations.
  • Inspect Driveways and Paths – Freezing and thawing is rough on concrete, asphalt and other hardscaping materials. Asphalt can often be patched, but damaged concrete may need to be replaced entirely.
  • Test your Sump Pump – Don’t wait for a heavy spring thunderstorm to ensure the sump pump is working properly. Test it by pouring a bucket of water into the sump pump pit. The pump should turn on immediately, remove the water, and then turn off. If that doesn’t happen than the system will require sump pump service in Illinois to fix the issue.

April showers are known to cause a basement water issue or two. If you notice any moisture problems with your basement, or if your basement has had flooding issues in the past, call us today for a free estimate.

Resolving Standing Water Issues in Your Crawl Space

Underneath most homes, in the basement, is a dark crawl space that often goes unnoticed and forgotten about. In this instance, out of sight, out of mind, might be leading to some major issues, including damage to its structure due to water issues.

Water in your home’s crawl space is more than just irritating. If left untreated, it can cause damage to the foundation – wooden beams and joists will begin to rot and strains of mold can develop. After a heavy rainfall, water can pool around the house before the ground eventually absorbs it. Once the ground has become saturated with water the excess water can find its way into your crawl space through damaged foundation and cracks in the concrete walls. Because water issues can escalate quickly, it’s best to take preventative steps to identify problems and mitigate them immediately.

The first step in the process is to call on our waterproofing contractors in Illinois to help identify any potential issues. The first step in diagnosing your crawl space issues is to determine the source of the water- that is, is your home above or below grade.  If your home is below grade, it is safe to assume that your crawl space is in a permanently wet area, which only gets worse after a heavy rain. If your home is above grade, the water in your crawl space may be attributed to a plumbing issue.

Water can enter a crawl space in a variety of ways, though there are some common causes to be aware of including cracks in the walls, floors, or mortar joints; sweating walls (condensation); a burst pipe or leak; high water table; or surface water flooding. A crawl space with water problems, plus lack of light and air circulation, is a breeding ground for mold. Don’t wait until you have a major issue to have your crawlspace treated by waterproofing contractors in Illinois.

Effects of Hydrostatic Pressure on Basement Walls

It’s not uncommon to hear the term “hydrostatic pressure” when discussing foundation wall repairs and basement waterproofing. The effects of hydrostatic pressure to a home’s foundation walls and basement are a major cause of basement water problems.

What is Hydrostatic Pressure?
Hydrostatic pressure refers to water pressure that surrounds your basement when it rains or snows. If the soil around your basement is saturated with water, there could be tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure against the foundation. With significant pressure, it’s likely that water will find its way through even the smallest crack or gap in your basement.

Problems and Solutions
Hydrostatic pressure can lead to a number of problems, including: cracked concrete, foundation cracks, bowed basement walls, uneven foundation, basement leaks and flooding, mold and mildew, expedited foundation settling, and soil erosion.

Even a well-constructed basement foundation can’t provide a perfect barrier against hydrostatic pressure. However, basement waterproofing prevents water from getting into your basement, while cracked foundation repair can fix existing issues that are making your home more susceptible to flooding and damage. To learn more about how to safeguard your home for hydrostatic pressure and ongoing basement flooding, contact A-Proseal Basement Waterproofing today.

Limited Time Only – Save 10% on Waterproofing Services

Is your once large enough home starting to feel tight and cramped? Do you feel like everyone is living on top of one another? Do the kids seem to be accumulating more and more stuff that’s spilling over into every room in the house? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to consider expanding your living space – and the answer may be right under your feet!

While an expansion would be nice, that can be a costly and lengthy process. The basement, however, is often an easier and more cost effective option. Basements hold endless possibilities, with a wealth of extra living space just waiting to be transformed.

Before you start you’ll want to take care of any wet basement troubles. Waterproofing contractors in Illinois can perform a thorough inspection, pinpointing the problem areas and properly waterproofing the basement and exterior walls of your home.  As a special offer, A-Proseal is currently offering 10% off when you spend $500 or $50 off of any cracked foundation repairs. Waterproofing and remodeling can get pricey, so it’s great to save money when you can!

Once that’s complete and you’ve got a dry basement, your imagination is the limit when it comes to design. Need help deciding the best use of your basement space? Here are some popular basement refinishing trends:
Playroom for the Kids – No more toys in every room of the house!
Home Office – Find a little peace, quiet and separation while trying to get your work done.
Extra Bedroom – Whether your kids are tired of sharing a room or you need space for overnight guests, the basement is ideal and will add extra value to your home.
Family Room – Give dad his own space to watch sports or the kids a movie room to enjoy with friends.
Extra storage space – It might not be the most glamorous usage, but it does allow you room to neatly organize your belongings.

The Importance of Sump Pump Discharge Lines

When it comes to wet basements, sump pumps are a lifesaver. When it’s working properly, a sump pump keeps all of that irritating water that always seems to find a way indoors, contained, ensuring your basement doesn’t flood. Should your sump pump stop working, your basement will start taking on water pretty quickly.

Obviously, what happens on the outside of your basement’s foundation has a major impact on the water that leaks inside. For that reason, it’s so important to keep water away from your foundation. If water can’t reach your foundation walls, it can’t flood your basement. It’s as simple as that.

So, how do you prevent water in your yard from leaking into your basement? Sump pump discharge lines are the answer.  Instead of letting water accumulate on your lawn from fast moving storms or puddles from gutters and downspouts, ensure fast removal with sump pump discharge lines. They will remove any standing water in your yard quickly and efficiently. By installing discharge lines, you’ll pump this water away from your home before it can cause problems with your foundation. No standing water near your foundation means a dry basement.

A sump pump without proper discharge lines isn’t fixing the problem – it’s just putting a band aid on it. Even with the sump pump removing the water, the water seeping through cracks in your foundation is causing damage to your home. Stop the problem from the outside by preventing water from getting too close to the foundation. Contact us today to learn how sump pump discharge lines and waterproofing exterior foundation walls will benefit your home.

Laying the Foundation for a Sturdy Home

Are you building your forever home from the ground up? If so, congratulations! It’s an exciting venture, for sure, but is also one that requires time and research to ensure everything goes smoothly. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the different types of foundations and what will work best with your home plans before making a decision.

Types of Basements
Basement: Homes with a full basement begin with a hole around 8 feet deep, ending with a concrete slab. The walls of the basement are typically formed by cinder blocks, and the entire process is done in three portions: first the beams are poured, then the walls, and finally the slab inside the walls. This process helps keep the basement foundation waterproof.

Crawlspace: Homes with crawlspace foundations are elevated off the floor by about two feet. Typically, this foundation is built with cinder block and a brick facing. This type of foundation is preferred in moist climates where water is likely to accumulate. Crawlspace foundations are prone to mold and fungi buildup.

Slab: Slab foundation is essentially a flat, concrete pad poured onto the ground. This type of foundation is recommend in warmer climates, since freezing temperatures can cause the slab to shift in cold climates.

No matter what type of foundation you decide on, A-Proseal will help with any cracked foundation repair and waterproofing your home needs. Contact us today to learn more.

Snow Fun: Leaky Basement Troubles

For the many parts of the country that see below freezing temperatures and snow during the wintertime, those months between November and March can be long and frigid. Snow may look pretty, but when you have to drive in it and shovel it, it can lose its luster pretty quickly.

Also, another downfall to snow is melting snow. If you have an unresolved leaky basement problem all of that melting snow is sure to find its way into your home. After all, the most common cause of a leaky basement is heavy rain, and well, melting snow has pretty much the same effect as heavy rain when it comes to a wet basement.

Proper runoff and drainage can help direct water away from your foundation, but water can still sneak by. If your drainage or sump pump isn’t in proper working order, then melting snow could turn from fluffy white beauty into a pond in your basement in no time.

If you start to have serious water problems in your basement, or your persistent water problems aren’t going away, like the sump pump always runs or moisture is always seen after a rain, then it’s time to call a basement water proofer and sump pump service in Illinois. Melting snow and flooding is a serious problem for homes and offices. However, with the right equipment and maintenance, you won’t have to worry about a wet basement any longer.

The Dangers of Mold

Regardless of whether you live in an older home or a new construction, mold can be present. While mold has nothing to do with the age of your home, it also doesn’t have any bearing on how clean and tidy it is. Mold grows undeterred of these circumstances.

Many factors contribute to the mold growth in your basement that’s causing that nasty, musty smell. Cracked foundation walls, water seepage from windows, poor circulation and high humidity are just some of the leading causes of mold growth. However, mold is more than just a nuisance, it’s a real health concern that we mention often. Understanding the potential dangers of mold and the best ways to deal with the fungus will help you provide a healthy environment for your family.

What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows from microscopic spores that float in the air. Mold needs a dark, damp surface and dust to grow. The most common indoor molds are cladosporium, aspergillus, penecillium and alternaria, which are some of the least harmful types. Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold, can cause serious health problems.

Health Dangers
People who are sensitive to mold spores can develop allergy symptoms, such as eye irritation, congestion, wheezing, asthma or skin rashes. Reactions become more intense as mold exposure continues. Black mold spores and toxins can cause invasive lung disease and recurrent sinusitis for some. This is a serious risk for people with compromised immune systems.

Prevention
If you do not yet have a mold problem in your basement, take measures to prevent it. Keep humidity levels at or below 55 percent, use a dehumidifier to lower humidity levels, and consider installing an air purifier to remove dust particles and mold spores from the air. You’ll also want to have a professional sump pump service in Illinois evaluate your basement’s condition and suggest other solutions, such as a sump pump or cracked foundation repair services, which will eliminate any unwanted water problems.

How to Prevent Mold When Finishing Your Basement

Basement mold is a common problem in homes just like yours all across the country. By way of being a dark, enclosed space with little-to-no natural light, plus poor air circulation, the fungus that is mold can grow fast and get out of control quickly. Because of this, the conditions in the basement can’t be compared to conditions in other rooms.

However, that doesn’t mean your basement is destined to be a useless space that you avoid. Convert your basement into a usable, mold-free, livable area by taking extra precautions to prevent mold infestation.

  1. Apply a vapor barrier
    Concrete and other foundation flooring materials are not 100% waterproof. They are porous materials that can allow water to penetrate into the basement, which is why it’s crucial to install a vapor barrier. This will prevent water from finding its way into the basement and evaporating into the air where it can cause an increase in indoor humidity.
  2. Apply waterproof coating
    Finished walls and floors are particularly vulnerable to water damage, so it’s a wise investment to add a waterproof barrier between the surface of the foundation and the finishing. This will keep your wall finishing’s (drywall, paneling, etc.) safe from any water damage.
  1. Install a waterproofing system
    While you may never need basement waterproofing in Cook County, IL, it’s best to err on the side of caution and install one while you’re in the construction phase. This way, should your basement take on water in the future, a sump pump or other type of basement waterproofing system will kick into action immediately and reduce the risk of damage to your investment.

Make the Most of Your Yard with Drain Tiles

If your lawn looks like a swamp every time you get a heavy rain, you probably have drainage issues. A soggy lawn not only makes for an unusable lawn, but it can also lead to foundation and basement flooding issues. Any water that stands near your house is just looking for a way to enter your foundation, which can lead to more problems than just some muddy, wet grass.

So, what’s the solution? Drain tiles. Install underground drain tiling, such as a French drain, that extends from problematic low spots in the landscape – like a lawn that’s too flat – to a ditch or swale is the best way to alleviate drainage issues. A French drain is a versatile system for dealing with all kinds of drainage problems. Even if your lawn doesn’t have noticeable water issues, excess water underground will find its way into unnoticed cracks in your home’s foundation.

A typical French drain consists of a perforated pipe -usually flexible lightweight plastic- sheathed by a fabric sock to keep dirt and sand from clogging the pipe. The pipe is buried in a trench and surrounded by gravel. The water will simply soak into the soil as it flows along the perforated pipe.

Divert excess water simply and effectively by installing drain tiles in your yard. Take back use of your soggy yard with the help from A-Proseal exterior waterproofing in Cook County, IL.