We want to make sure you did not get confused or overlook anything while navigating our web site. Here is a page explaining some things you may have not been too certain about, on each of our pages. Hopefully this will give you even deeper insight, and realize that waterproofing, mold remediation, and even home remodeling projects, are not as simple and quick as you may have thought.
- The pool of water that is located underneath every house, which gets higher and lower depending on the amount of rain that has fallen over a course of time. Planet Earth is 75% water, therefore every building has water underneath it, eventually. When it rains, this water table rises, and if your home is in the way, pressure will build up, and water will find its way in
- Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure of water pushing at the floor and the walls of your home, due to the water table rising, and eventually resulting in cracking foundation and floors, as well as water seepage.
- The footer is what the house is built on. When builders initially dig the hole on the plot of land where your home will be built on, the first component of your home is called the footer. The entire house sits on top of the footer, and it is essential to keep the footer structurally sound
- There are various types of foundations that your home may be built with - there are older stone foundations, brick foundations, cinderblock foundations, and poured concrete foundations. The latter being the newest type of foundation used to build homes nowadays
- The cove joint is a term referring to the seam where the wall meets the floor. This is typically the primary area where you will see water intrustion into a basement. However, that is not always the case, but 9 times out of 10, this is where you want to be looking to detect if water problems will arise.
- This is the entire process of keeping your home dry. There is no such thing as stopping water, as it is the second strongest force on Earth, therefore, managing the water, and allowing it to run its natural course, is the best way for trapping it, and moving it through a water management system, then discharging it away from your home. This process continues fluidly any time water tries to enter your home.
- The bread and butter of any true waterproofing system, is the Sump Pumps used to discharge the water away from the home. We use only the highest quality, top-of-the-line Zoeller Sump Pumps. They come in either 1/3HP or 1/2HP, depending on the severity of your water issue.
- A french drain is a commonly used generic term to describe a basement waterproofing system. Generally, the term "french drain" is just a means of describing a cookie-cutter drainage system that large franchise companies install from one home to another. The problem with that is, they lack the customization and proper design for your specific home, and are not as effective as a tried and tested waterproofing system designed with your home in mind.
- A perimeter drainage system is a waterproofing system that is installed around the entire perimeter of the basement, so that no wall is left untreated, and water is trapped and pushed to the system, on all sides of the basement
- When waterproofing a basement properly, and it is a cinderblock foundation, we drill 2 to 3 holes in the bottom cinderblock (after the floor has been opened), to relieve all the built up water that has been sitting between the blocks. After the water has drained, we install a hard plastic, waffle-board type of panel over top of those holes, and that is tied in to the sub-floor drainage system we will install, so that any water that drips down the inside of the blocks, will be diverted into a drainage system, instead of the floor
- Sealing a basement refers to putting a layer or 2 of a waterproofing type of paint. The most common of this is Dry-Lok. This is in NO WAY a substitute for true basement waterproofing, but after a drainage system installed, the walls may be coated with Dry-Lok, for cosmetic purposes, as well as keeping any dampness levels at their minimum.
- A micro-drain is a 1 inch drain, that is typically put around hot water heaters, water softeners, oil tanks, etc. where it is not possible to get comfortable and full access to install thicker PVC pipe. The idea of the micro-drain is to trap any water that may be leaking out of those basement units, and divert into the drainage system which is underneath it. We are not able to guarantee whether your hot water heater or water softener or furnace is going to leak, so we install this small drain around it, so that if they do leak, at least the water gets taken out of the house, instead of just sitting there, puddling on the floor.
- A perimeter drainage system, as explained above, goes around the entire perimeter of the basement. However, if you get water seepage through the center of the floor, or through parts of the floor that are away from the cove joint, that's where a Lateral Drain comes in. It is the same as a perimeter drain, except that it runs across the middle of the floor (or whatever area is getting the water penetration).
- A threshold drain is a 4 inch grated drain, that is usually put down in front of sliding doors or bilco doors, so that if water gets into an area where we cannot fit a waterproofing drainage system, this grate collects the water, and makes sure it gets diverted to the drainage system which it is tied into.
- Efflorescence is a substance that grows on walls when there is water behind them. It can turn very fuzzy and look almost like crystals, and means that something is eating away at the lime and sand that form concrete, and the white that you see is lime deposits. Efflorescence is not techincally categorized as mold, but it is a sure fire sign that mold will eventually develop, so it is best to nip this problem right in the bud, ASAP!
- A vapor barrier is a 3ml thick plastic sheathing that is applied on top of foundation walls to prevent water from trickling out into the main part of the basement. Water / moisture is trapped behind the vapor barrier, and the vapor barrier is generally tied into some sort of pressure relief system, which then collects the water, and diverts it into a sump pump, and out of your home.
- Using certain methods (ie vapor barriers, hydraulic cement, patches, etc) to keep moisture / condensation contained to a specified area, has to be taken under close consideration. To use a patch sucessfully, it must be known whether the moisture is minor and isolated to one area, or if it something that can expand in the future, and that very patch may expedite the expansion to excessive built up pressure. We must be careful not to fix one problem, and in turn cause 3 more!
- A swale is a low tract of land, which are artificially designed to manage multiple water run offs and drainage systems.
- A sump pit is a container placed in a specialized area in the basement which houses the sump pumps.
- Downspout extensions are simply pipes attached to the end of a home's gutters, which extend the area to which the water discharges after making its way through your gutter system. These extensions are generally the flexible black ADS pipe, as flexibility is preferred in the pipes is preferred here, so that the pipe may be twisted and contorted to find the most optimal discharge location.
- The 2 terms above result in cracking. Either the foundation walls or the floor can begin to develop cracks as a result of constant hydrostatic pressure, or just poor structural integrity. Whatever the reason for cracking in your home, a solution is necessary, so the house remains strong and in-tact.
- Bowing walls are walls that appear as if they are going to burst at any moment. When there is water behind a cinderblock foundation, the wall appears to be bending outwards, and juts outward, causing a semi-circle type of bow, having the appearance that the wall is ready to burst at any moment. In extreme cases, foundations can certainly collapse from all this pressure, if not attended to within a reasonable time frame.
- Lolly columns are support columns spread evenly throughout the basement which, with the help of the foundation walls, support the weight of the home from the first floor and up.
- When concrete first gets mixed and then applied, what you initially see is not the exact dimensions and coverage of the concrete. As it begins to dry and harden, the ingredients cause the surface area of the concrete to get smaller, as air begins to escape from the mixture, which makes the surface area X amount smaller than when the concrete is wet. Sometimes, small settlement cracks can appear as a result of the concrete taking on its final shape and size. These settlement cracks are harmless, and are only aesthetic.
- Structural integrity simply refers to how well, strong & sturdy your foundation was laid and / or built originally. Building practices must be spot on, and done by professionals of many years in order for the structural integrity of a foundation to be sound. Your home sits atop the foundation, so this is not a place that is to be overlooked.
- Roughcasting is the complex process of basically building a new wall. A deteriorated wall is scraped down and made even, then vapor barriers are attached to the wall with a wire mesh to provide a cement-able surface, then a skim coat of CFP Fiber Cement is applied as the first and second coats, then a final coat is applied, resulting in what looks like a brand new wall. Any moisture / water that may come in through the walls, is diverted behind the vapor barrier, and flows away from the interior of your home.
- Settlement cracks are harmless cracks that may or may not appear in certain areas of curing cement, that are the result of air escaping from the concrete as it dries out, shrinking the surface area of the cement, causing these minor imperfections to appear, being nothing more than aesthetic.
- Loose soil is the bedrock of water penetration and cracking foundations in homes. When the ground keeps getting saturated over time, the soil surrounding the house gets loose and shifted, causing the path to be much easier for water to make its way closer to the home. When it reaches the home, since it hits the foundation walls and floor, the water sits there, building up pressure, and further causing the soil to shift and loosen up, paving more ways for home damage, and the cycle repeats, unfortunately, until it is professionally addressed.
- Anchors can stabilize and support cracking or bowed basement walls, preventing them from proceeding with their natural way of breaking down (in severe cases), or by becoming a permanent fix.
- When doing your own research about foundation and crack repair, you will undoubtedly come across certain paints and sealers that claim to be moisture resistant, and most unknowing homeowners can be tricked into thinking said sealers can be used to "waterproof" a basement. DRYLOK is a popular sealer which has been used to keep walls and floors from taking on water. It is very important to note, that moisture resistance is far different from waterproofing. Some damp areas, such as garages, can make good use of sealers like DRYLOK, since they are mostly above grade, and usually do not take on any real water penetration, but rather some slight moisture and dampness.
- It is difficult to predict how a foundation, or even a floor, will crack. Mostly, cracks will, well, crack. Sometimes, however, foundations and basement floors can develop small to medium sized pin holes. They are no different than cracks, in terms of how they came about, other than the fact they are not vertical and / or horizontal cracks, but they are instead holes, which can be plugged fairly easily, as they are generally minor in nature.
- Crack patches must be known for what they are. They are not permanent waterproofing solutions - they are patches. Patches are used as a quick fix band-aid type of method, and are considered to be supplemental to a more elaborate waterproofing and foundation repair job.
- When foundations begin to crack, they are actually moving. Some foundations physically sink into the ground over time. Walls bow out and collapse - stone foundations crumble and deteriorate - cinderblocks can lose mortar and break all together. Methods utilized for foundation crack repair have one common goal in mind - foundation stabilization. If a foundation is not stabilized, any and all methods will eventually end up failing, as the power of losing integrity in the foundation will far outweigh any method chosen to alleviate foundation issues.
Level Wall Pins
- Using wall pins and staples to secure a foundation crack is similar to stapling two sheets of paper together. The sheets are securely tightened, and the staple does not protrude heavily from the sheets of paper, allowing it to be placed inside a folder, plastic sheet holder, etc. Wall pins and staples also have to be as flush as possible to the wall, for 2 main reasons - firstly, the straighter and more level the pins, the more secure the crack is, and secondly, the unsightly vision of wall pins is not very favorable, and many homeowners choose to cover up with the wall, be it with drywall, greenboard, paneling, whatever the preferred method.
- DRYLOK is a common moisture-resistant paint / sealer that is used on walls to provide a nice and soft finish, all while keeping moisture and dampness off of the wall.
- Surface cracks are cracks that are generally only hurtful to the eye. These type of cracks are not overly hazardous to the foundation's strength, however, epoxy injections (and other methods of that nature), are still wise to utilize, to make sure the cracks don't develop into something more serious.
Vertical & Horizontal Cracks
- Depending on underlying factors, foundation cracks can be vertical, and they can also be horizontal. The general rule of thumb is that vertical cracks are the more serious ones, but that is not to say that horizontal cracks should be avoided. Usually, horizontal cracks form as an offshoot from a vertical crack, in a sense.
- In general, epoxy is a broad term. Loosely, epoxy is known as a very strong adhesive which is as strong (and sometimes stronger) than cement. During certain crack repair projects, epoxy can be used as a supplemental extra measure, just to make sure the area is reinforced even more.
Expansion Control Joints
- Expansion control joints are placed into concrete slabs in various places, with the idea that they will control cracking, and keep it to a minimum. This is not a 100% safeguard against cracking, but they do a good job, in addition to other foundation repair work.
- Mold thrives in dark and damp environments. The darker and the damper it is, mold will breed at an expedited pace, and it will become harder and harder to properly get rid of the mold
- Mold is a living organism, and is a necessary part of our environment, and some molds are even used for healing processes, such as anti-biotics.
- As mentioned above, mold is a living organism, and a living organism needs to eat. The best food source for mold is water. On top of that, there are certain cleaning agents (i.e. bleack) that have a chance of turning into a food source for mold upon drying. It all depends on the species of mold, but caution must be exercises when attempting to clean mold on your own
- Just because you don't see mold, doesn't mean it's not there. It has been proven by scientists that 85% of molds are invisible, and whenever you disturb the mold environment, you increase the chances of these invisible spores going airborne, and contaminating your duct systems, personal belongings, etc.
- A mold colony is a simple term to refer to either one or various species of mold, growing and breeding together, and always trying to feed more and more, and grow more and more.
- Being the simplest of organisms, all mold wants to do is breed. The more mold breeds, the more dangers lie in your home (or wherever the mold infestation is).
- Commonly referred to as the most dangerous and toxic of all the molds, it is black and can be shiny, fuzzy, or matte textured. This mold can cause severe allergies, breathing problems, eye and throat irritation, just to name a few.
- Aspergillus is usually green in color, and can enter the human body through the eyeballs, or just by being breathed in. Common effects are respiratory problems, itchy and irritated skin, etc.
- Peniccilium mold can vary in color and textures, and also cause similar adverse effects as most mold species do.
- Peniccilin, which you surely have heard of, is a powerful anti-biotic that is made from Peniccilium mold. Some people, however, are highly allergi to peniccilin, and the effects could very uncomfortable if you are exposed to it and don't have anti-bodies against it, which is why they always ask you in a hospital if you are allergic to peniccilin or not.
Negative Air Machines
- Negative air machines are large machines which produce a negative air flow. What this means is that when a mold remediation process is ongoing, the negative air machine will pull all the air towards it, keeping the contaminated air isolated to the work area, so that there is no risk of cross-contamination, and so mold spores do not escape outside of the mold remediation work area.
- HEPA is an acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. What a HEPA vacuum does is vacuum the air, trap mold spores within the filter, and then release the cleaned air back into area. The filter is known to remove 99.7% of particles once it has been run through the vacuum process, and it is an absolutely vital aspect of mold remediation. No mod jobs can be completed without a HEPA vacuum.
Condemned and unlivable quarters
- There has been many cases in the United States of homes so infected and contaminated with mold, that the only viable solution was to deem the home unlivable, and to burn the property, effectively killing all the mold spores. One famous case, was that of Erin Brokovich's home.
- Drywall is the walls in your house; plain and simple. Dywall comes in a variety of thicknesses, as well as specifcations. There is fire-retardant drywall, which is generally used in garages and basements, and then there is greenboard, which is mold & moisture resistant drywall, typically installed in bathrooms and basements.
- Ceiling tiles are usually used in installing drop ceilings, which are usually done in finished basements, but can also be used anywhere, from garages to office buildings and the like. They come in varying shapes and sizes, and have different designs to match your taste.
- From carpeting to hardwood, to pergo and tiles, as well as linoleum, we are pros in installing flooring in any part of the house. We know the best type of flooring to use dependent on the room and the area, as well as other specifications that may effect the type of flooring used (ie bathroom floors, kitchen floors, etc.)
- When doing a remodeling project, properly, everything must be planned and organized from the ground up. There are varying phases of a home improvement project, starting with a simple idea, and going to a design phase, then the shopping phase, construction phase, cleaning, and completion / touch up phases. We are there from the very first phase, until the very last second of the final phase!
- Fixtures are what the wife loves to shop for! Toilets, faucets, shower heads, handles, levers, etc are all fixtures. There is an abundance of fancy looking and durable fixtures to enhance the look and quality of your home, so choose wisely, and if you can't make up your mind, we'll be glad to help you pick something out that matches the decor of the room they are going in.
- A valve is a device that regulates and controls the flow of fluids. Valves open and close when necessary, allowing fluids to be discharged at the proper time, with no built up pressure.
- A winterized home is a safe and warm home. You spend time winterizing your doors and windows to keep the home insulated and warm (at least we hope you do), so why not do the same to your plumbing gear? Winterizing pipes is just as important, because they are more susceptible to clogging due to freezing fluids than just about anything else in your home. The last thing you want is some old copper pipes to freeze the flow of water when you are trying to take a nice hot shower!
Tankless Water Heaters
- Tankless hot water heaters instantly heat up water as it flows through the device, and does not retain any water internally. Tankless water heaters are very powerful, and high thermal conductivity, causing them to heat water very quickly and efficiently.
- A discharge is where a pipe exits and removes the internals. When you flush your toilet, it travels through a long maze of pipes, before being "discharged" somewhere that is safe and sanitary. A discharge is nothing more than an exit, and without one, pressure would obviously build up, and then kaboom! Pipes explode...