Basement waterproofing

Why You Should Avoid DIY Basement Waterproofing at All Costs

Moisture in your basement can present a complicated and a potentially expensive problem. If you ignore it for too long, it can devalue your home and present a hazard to your family’s health. A wet basement not only encourages mold growth, but it can also ruin floors and walls throughout your home. At Crackmasters, we know how important it is to protect the value of your home and your family’s health. That’s why we offer comprehensive basement waterproofing and basement crack restoration. We also know how important it is that you get the job done right, which is why we’re here to discuss the necessity of professional basement waterproofing.

LONG-TERM COST

Basement waterproof cost

Many property owners in Southern Ontario find the DIY route appealing due to the lure of apparent reduced cost. By purchasing their own materials and performing the labour themselves, many Canadians feel they can save a significant amount of money. Unfortunately, that rarely ends up being the case. While the initial cost of the project may be lower, the long-term costs of DIY basement waterproofing exceed that of a professionally done job. Do-it-yourself jobs often lead to subpar waterproofing, which frequently leads to basement leaks and much more costly repairs. By hiring an experienced basement waterproofing company like Crackmasters to get the job done right the first time and early on, property owners can save a substantial amount over the long-term.

PROFESSIONAL WATERPROOFING QUALITY

Basement waterproofing mississauga

Sure, you can easily watch a video online about how to waterproof your basement — but what quality of workmanship will result? It may seem like a fairly easy process, but unfortunately, you probably don’t have experience on your side. Professional, quality waterproofing done by Crackmasters, however, is performed by experienced technicians with decades of experience. Not only do our wet basement-waterproofing experts use professional grade materials and equipment, but they have also performed thousands of successful basement crack repair and waterproofing jobs in Mississauga, Milton, Burlington, Brampton, Georgetown, Acton and all over the Greater Toronto Area, to prove their workmanship. Going the DIY route may save you some cash in the beginning, if you are lucky, but it often leads to leaks and costly home damage. Take into account cheap materials and uncommon property challenges, and you have a recipe for disaster down the road.

SAFETY CONCERNS

Safety basement waterproofing equipment

Waterproofing your basement can be a labor-intensive job that presents significant safety concerns. To perform the job correctly, digging a trench around your basement walls may be necessary which can be dangerous in the event of a collapse. Digging will also require a permit, which can be difficult and costly to obtain. And finally, the job itself involves a considerable amount of excavation and expertise. The perimeter of your concrete floor may need to be demolished and temporarily removed, requiring professional tools and materials. Not to mention, the endeavor generates a substantial amount of concrete dust that is hazardous to your lungs.

TIME COMMITMENT

Basement waterproofing requires a considerable amount of time and effort. Whether you’re performing the job from the inside, outside, or both sides, substantial excavation and physical labour is necessary. Take a moment to consider your other life obligations — do you truly have the time to commit to such an undertaking? You should also take into consideration the climate where you reside. If your area is prone to precipitation, like most of Southern Ontario is, you run the risk of project stalls and setbacks due to water damage or freezing. Fortunately, when you hire the professionals at Crackmasters to perform your waterproofing and wet basement repair, they can get the entire job done properly in just a few days.

INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY

When you hire professionals to waterproof your basement, you’re getting the latest in industry knowledge and technology. Our trained and experienced technicians stay abreast of the latest developments and techniques in the foundation repair and basement waterproofing industry. When you perform the job yourself, you rely on materials and products that are readily available to the public. Not only are these materials generally cheap and subpar, but they wear much more quickly over time. You may spend a substantial amount on your DIY project only to find out that the materials and methods you’re using are outdated. There’s a reason new technology is constantly in development, and that’s to provide you with the best protection possible.

DIAGNOSING THE ISSUE

Professional-basement-inspection

When you opt for the DIY route, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to diagnose the problem correctly. You’re also less likely to select the appropriate solution based on the construction of your home. Experienced professionals are trained to inspect and diagnose even the most complicated of issues. To ensure that your basement waterproofing or repair will last, you need knowledge and expertise on your side. Professional basement waterproofing experts at Crackmasters can easily diagnose your issue and provide you with a comprehensive quote or refer you to another professional in case your problem is outside of our scope. This process allows you to budget for your repair and can save you the frustration of purchasing ineffective and expensive materials and causing more damage to your home.

BASEMENT WATERPROOFING IN THE MISSISSAUGA METRO AREA

When you need to protect your most valuable investment, Crackmasters is here to help. We offer basement waterproofing, foundation repair, and basement leak repair throughout the Mississauga metro area as well as in surrounding cities of Etobicoke, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Acton. We understand how important it is to protect your home and family, which is why we’re dedicated to quality workmanship and superior customer service. If you have any questions about our services or would like to schedule an estimate, give us a call. You can reach us at (905) 855-3500, or fill out our easy, no-obligation online price request.

Foundation crack repair knowledge

WHEN TO START WORRYING ABOUT FOUNDATION CRACKS

Big foundation crackBecoming a homeowner is a huge milestone, and having a place to call your own comes with a great feeling of pride. However, it also comes with heavy responsibilities.

Noticing cracks within the foundation of your home or basement is likely to cause you stress. Though it’s important to be aware of any noticeable cracks, it isn’t always necessary to jump to the worst conclusion right away.

So when exactly is it appropriate to start taking cracks seriously? Jim Lucas owner of Crackmasters Basement Waterproofing says, “If a foundation crack can fit your credit card, call an expert.”

At Crackmasters, we often get asked by homeowners about different types of cracks and what they mean. We’ve put together a list of a few specific types of cracks you can look out for that will help you identify the harmless ones from the damaging ones that require immediate professional repair.

HAIRLINE CRACKS

Foundation hairline cracks

Concrete floors in your garage or basement may develop hairline cracks from time to time. These are usually not something to be concerned about, though we recommend monitoring closely for any changes.

According to Popular Mechanics, “A crack doesn’t have to create structural troubles for it to be a problem. Cracks are ugly, suspicious things that aren’t easy to fix, and even one that’s no more than a hairline could grow and create all kinds of difficulties.”

One way to determine if the crack is getting bigger over time is to take a photo of the crack with a ruler placed over it. Make sure the ruler is in millimetres so you can measure it accurately and take the photo from the same angle.

STAIR-STEP CRACKS

Stair step foundation cracks

Unlike hairline cracks, stair-step cracks are a bigger cause for concern. They can be seen through brick walls or through the mortar joints. Here are a few ways you can tell if the problem is escalating:

  • Bulging wall
  • Cracks becoming greater than a quarter of an inch
  • Separation around windows and doors
  • Brick pulling away from the window frame
  • Stair step foundation cracks

If you come across gaps between your bricks and windows or doors, this can be a sign that your foundation is shifting and requires professional assistance.

If the Stair-Step crack is located along your garage this is a much smaller problem than if the crack is located across the rest of the house. However in either case it’s worth getting it inspected.

VERTICAL WALL CRACKS

Vertical wall cracks

Vertical cracks are extremely common, both in older homes and newly constructed ones. Though they hardly ever cause a harsh structural problem, if a vertical wall crack reaches the full length of your foundation wall it can become a portal for water entry.

If you notice cracks that uniform in width, they can be referred to as vertical wall cracks.

HORIZONTAL WALL CRACKS

The good news is that in many cases, only large cracks indicate signs of structural trouble. The bad news is horizontal wall cracks can likely lead to that.

Horizontal cracks throughout your basement wall are known to be the most serious. These cracks tend to be more severe as they can cause your walls to bow inward due to hydrostatic pressure.

If you notice horizontal wall cracks, please call a professional immediately so we can evaluate your home.

STAIR-STEP CRACKS

Wall shrinkage cracks

Though wall shrinkage cracks generally appear horizontally, they can also form in a V-shape. As V-shape cracks travel vertically across your wall, they tend to be wider towards to the top and get smaller as they continue.

Wall shrinkage cracks can appear in:

  • Bulging wall
  • Cracks becoming greater than a quarter of an inch
  • Separation around windows and doors
  • Brick pulling away from the window frame
  • Wall shrinkage cracksk

In terms of being repaired, shrinkage cracks can be sealed. This will help prevent any type of additional chipping or water entry. This is typically done with:

  • Polyurethane Foam
  • Epoxy
  • Masonry Patching Compound
  • Other sealants

Thankfully, shrinkage cracks don’t usually require any structural monitoring in brick or poured concrete walls. However, if any of bond courses seem to be broken, you should take caution as this could lead to a wall collapse. If this is something you have noticed, we recommend reaching out to a professional immediately.

NEED PROFESSIONALS?

basement waterproofing mississauga

Fixing foundation cracks is no DIY project. The job requires precision and expertise in order to be carried out effectively. Here at Crackmasters Basement Waterproofing, our team has over 18+ years of professional experience with state of the art basement waterproofing and foundation crack repair systems.

To top it off, all of our foundation repair services are completely backed up by a lifetime guarantee. For a free estimate and inspection, contact us today.

Causes of foundation cracks

CAUSES OF FOUNDATION CRACKS

As a homeowner, it can be worrisome to come across any type of damage in your living space. Especially when that damage includes cracks in your foundation. The foundation of your home is what holds it together to help it stand strong. Without a sturdy foundation, many severe issues can arise.

We know how frustrating it can be to see damages throughout the home that you worked hard to maintain. If you’ve noticed cracks within the foundation of your home, you might be wondering what exactly caused them.

At Crackmasters, we’ve dealt with thousands of different foundation crack repairs. We’ve put together a list of possible causes that may lead to most home foundation cracks. We hope this list will help you in preventing further cracks.

CONCRETE CURING

Foundation cracks concrete curing

According to the Portland Cement Association, “Concrete curing plays an important role in strength development and durability of concrete. Curing takes place immediately after concrete placing and finishing, and involves maintenance of desired moisture and temperature conditions, both at depth and near the surface, for extended periods of time.“

To be more specific, wall shrinkage cracks mainly occur during the process of concrete curing. While curing causes internal stress, shrinkage cracks form to relieve the stress. In some cases, these types of cracks can even be caused from the original construction.

Depending on what type of foundation walls your home has, the size, shape and cause of shrinkage cracks can vary. For example:

  • Block Foundation Walls

    Wall shrinkage cracks typically form from the centre of a blockfoundation wall. This can be a result of the curing process and various temperature changes.

  • Poured Concrete Foundation Walls

    Shrinkage cracks can also be caused by rapid curing, poor mix and steel reinforcement. With consistent temperature swings and seasonal weather changes, concrete can expand and cause shrinkage cracks.

  • Brick Walls

    Though present-day foundations don’t use bricks, many older buildings still have structural brickwalls in order to support the first floor. Normally, brick walls don’t shrink. However, they can continue to expand forever.

PLUMBING LEAKS

Foundation cracks plumbing leaks

For many homeowners, leaking pipes or failed plumbing is a horrible nightmare. One faulty pipe can be difficult to track down and find, which means that the leaking water is able to drip its way down to the soil underneath your home’s foundation.

Before you know it, this can cause cracks within the foundation.

SOIL BENEATH FOUNDATION

Foundation cracks soil issues

According to Jim Lucas owner of Crackmasters, it can be nearly impossible to tell what causes certain foundation cracks if you’re not an expert in engineering and foundation repair. However, there are common root problems that can be damaging enough to cause your home’s foundation to pull apart or shift. Many of these problems can be traced back to soil moisture.

Though it may not seem important what type of soil the foundation of your home sits on, it can make a dramatic difference in the stability of your home. If your soil is settling, you can likely blame your homebuilder, as it is the result of poorly tamped footers. Settling soil can also be a cause of loose fill-dirt used to level out the ground beneath your foundation.

Another example is expansive soil, which can lead to changes in moisture over time, causing the above foundation to crack. Similarly, dry soil can also cause foundation cracks due to soil shrinkage.

NEED PROFESSIONAL BASEMENT WATERPROOFING SERVICES?

If you’re unsure about the severity of your houses foundational cracks, we’re more than happy to inspect your home for free and provide details on potential causes of the damage. Many other homeowners have likely had experiences similar to your cracked foundation problems,which is why we’ve listed the most common causes and their solutions.

Unfortunately, not just anyone can fix foundation cracks with ease. The job requires precision and expertise in order to be carried out effectively.Here at Crackmasters, our team has 18+ years of professional experience with state of the art waterproofing systems.

Our expertise goes beyond educating homeowners on the causes of foundation cracks. Our services also include basement waterproofing, foundation repair and basement crack repairs. Serving the GTA and surrounding cities, we can assure you that your home is in good hands.

Furthermore, if you’d like to become familiar with foundation terminology, we’ve got you covered. Educating yourself and your family about the causes of foundation cracks is a great step towards knowing more about how your home could be affected. Thankfully, all of our foundation repair services are completely backed up by a lifetime guarantee. For a free estimate and inspection, contact us today.

Web basement repair mississauga

CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS TO WET BASEMENTS

A variety of avoidable factors can cause wet basement issues. In this article we will explain some of these factors and we will give you advice on what you can do as a house owner to minimize the damage to your house due to wet basement problems and in effect this will increase the longevity of your home, and decrease your costs of repairing unnecessary damage.

EXCAVATION WAS DONE IMPROPERLY

When a house is being built one of the first steps is to excavate (remove) all the rock and dirt, deep enough, not only for the foundation to be properly laid out, but also to create enough space for the construction workers that will be working on the foundation of the house to conduct their work. An important part of the excavation process is to locate the point at which water forms below the ground. The reason being is that if the foundation is poured below the point at which water forms under ground, this may very likely result in wet basement problems in the future, since the basement is surrounded with water for decades, essentially penetrating through the foundation and into the basement.

Another important step of excavation is to properly determine the depth of the foundation so that the top of the foundation (where the wooden footing goes) is below the point at which frost forms. If the top of the foundation is above the point at which frost forms, what happens in winter is that the ground freezes, which makes the ground harden and expand creating pressure on the foundation. When spring comes and the frost melts, the ground around the foundation contracts and loosens. This creates a hole in-between the foundation and the ground, causing water to leak downwards and eventually over the span of several years, this movement of dirt, water, ice and essentially the foundation may cause the foundation to crack, resulting in wet basement problems. Therefore, it is essential for the excavation process to be done properly by experienced professionals if a house it to withstand the seasonal nature of the Canadian climate.

AGE OF HOUSE

Even if excavation was done properly when the house was built, age plays a major role in the health of the house. Just like humans, houses get old too and as they do new problems arise. After a decade or two, the dirt under the house, which was stable and firm when the house was built, will inevitably shift causing the foundation and the house to shift with it as well. These shifts and movements in the ground and essentially the house cause added strains to the foundation, and eventually cracks form causing leakages and wet basement problems. Most of the time a crack repair professional can effectively and efficiently seal the foundation crack, preventing further water leakage and wet basement problems. When choosing a basement crack repair professional in your area look for someone with experience and a reputation. An online search on Google is a great start to research your options. Simply Google “basement crack repair” in your city to get a list of local basement crack repair companies near you. Our crack repair professionals at Crackmasters have successfully repaired thousands of foundation cracks and saved our customers thousands of dollars in possible damage. So if you are located in Oakville, Mississauga, Milton or the greater Toronto area, check us out, we guarantee professional work, and we have extensive experience in basement crack repair. However, sometimes the damage to the foundation is too severe and excavation must be performed in order to fix the problem which is much more expensive and time consuming then doing a basement crack repair.

IMPROPER MAINTENANCE

A large number of wet basement issue that home owners in Ontario are experiencing can be avoided, or at least minimized, by properly maintaining your house. Due to our seasonal climate in Ontario, houses experience added strains on the foundation throughout the year. In winter the land freezes, causing it to expand, and harden. This adds pressure on the foundation of the house, weakening the foundation, especially if excavation was done improperly. When spring comes and the snow melts the ground softens and contracts causing a gap in-between the foundation and the land surrounding it. To make matters worse, all the snow surrounding the house melts and the water finds its way downwards and into your basement. This water may soften your foundation over time, making it more susceptible to crack especially if excavation was done improperly when your house was built.

So you may ask, what can I do to minimize the chances of having a wet basement? First thing that you can do to help reduce wet basement issues is, when winter comes, shovel all the snow away from the walls of your house, especially when the snow is about to start melting (just prior to spring). This will reduce the amount of water flowing along your foundation and therefore the damage from water will be reduced drastically.

Another important and fairly inexpensive method to reduce wet basement issues is to keep your gutters clean and functioning properly. Your gutters lead water away from your house, but many times we see damaged gutters which result in water falling directly along the foundation of the house, and not away from it. This water finds its way downwards towards your basement and wakens your foundation, in effect resulting in wet basement issues.

Another important maintenance measure you can take to minimize wet basement problems is to inspect your basement windows annually. The sealant that seals the gaps between your windows and the foundation of your house may weaken and crack over time, and this may result in water leaking into your basement, further weakening your foundation and accelerating the inevitable deterioration of your foundation. Therefore, if you inspect your windows regularly, checking for any cracks, or signs of water leakage, you can spot the problem on time, and take the necessary measures to prevent further damage to your house. If you see any cracks or water leakage around your basement windows contact your windows company so that they can fix the issue before it’s too late.

Finally, if your basement windows are partially under ground with wells around them, you want to make sure that the well has a drainage system in place which leads any trapped water away from your house. If there is no drainage installed, then any trapped water will not be able to escape and this may very likely result in wet basement problems. So, make sure that objects such as leaves, dirt, flowers, weeds, rocks, etc… do not get trapped in your basement window well. This will help minimize the likelihood of the well drainage being clogged, and will in effect minimize wet basement issues.

Foundation crack information

Are Cracks in the Foundation Wall Dangerous?

Are foundation cracks dangerous

Cracks seen in the foundation walls can be either of minimal significance or can turn out to be a worrisome structural defect. If it is the latter, then it can turn out to be very expensive to rectify. A thorough evaluation is very much needed to find out if any crack repair work is required or not.

Foundation wall cracks generally occur within a few years post the construction of the house. However, there can be exceptions, like the presence of tree roots. Many owners do not note the cracks until a number of years have gone by after the initial formation. A foundation crack can turn out to be an important issue if it was discovered prior to an inspection made for the sole purpose of purchase. If you notice any cracks in your basement, don’t wait until the problem escalates, call Crackmasters Today.

TYPE OF CRACKS

Cracks are usually considered to be diagonal, horizontal or vertical. However, most of the cracked foundation walls display all the three categories. The vertical and narrow cracks develop frequently due to normal shrinkage or minor settlement. The wide and vertical cracks which exceeds 3mm in their width could be caused due to major settlement problems which may need comprehensive evaluation and engineering inspection.

Foundation wall diagonal crackFoundation wall horizontal crackFoundation wall vertical crack

HORIZONTAL CRACKS

Compared to vertical cracks, horizontal cracks are of much bigger concern. This is specially true in case of block foundation walls.

horizontal cracks foundation walls

These cracks, if not looked into, may lead to the complete failure of the foundation walls. Cracking can also affect brick walls. Crumbling mortar is also another danger factor in this type of crack.

The grading of soil along with poor drainage surrounding a structure may result in the water to slowly drain away. The ground surrounding foundation walls will be saturated with this water. This will elevate the water or hydrostatic pressure. As combined force of the soils’ natural weight and hydrostatic pressure surrounding the foundation crushes down, it may exceed the walls’ pre-determined capacity of bearing the weight, thus resulting in shear, crack or bow.

When a home is constructed with clay soil which, when in touch with water, undergoes noticeable expansion and contraction, the soil may do a lot more damage. Lateral pressure against such walls could be a staggering few tons for every square foot.

HOW TO SPOT THE FAILURE OF A FOUNDATION WALL

It can be very difficult to spot the cracking or bowing of the foundation walls in the early stages. This is because the visual difference could be very marginal. However, there are a number of red flags which you can be cognizant of, like:

  • The foundation cracks are usually broader at the top than bottom
  • Foundation walls are of unequal level
  • Windows, doors and cabinets are not shutting as they should be
  • Cracking appears in drywalls, plaster and walls
  • A dime can be placed in the wall crack

Unequal wall foundation failure

One of the surest damage signs is a floor that is not even. Such floors will make popping or cracking sounds when someone walks over them. With the widening of the crack in the foundation, the floor is likely to sag and it will become very dangerous to stand on that surface. In most cases of foundation damage, the floors have to be replaced completely.

Door cracks foundation failure

The list of other signs include windows and doors. They will not close or open as smoothly as first when they did before. With the worsening of the cracked foundation, the doors and windows will be very difficult to close or open. The widening gaps will enable insects or rodents to enter your home. Air-conditioned air will escape through such openings.

Problems with plumbing may also occur due to a cracked foundation. With increased decay, the pipes which run under and through the house foundation may break or get damaged. The basement could suffer water flooding or sewage.

If there is a bulge in the foundation walls, caused due to the flooding of the area, it is imperative that you call a foundation contractor and do the foundation repair as soon as possible. The foundation could collapse any time. Another sign of immediate repair is when you can fit a coin into the crack. A number of solutions are available when it comes to fixing the bowed walls, like foundation anchors, reinforcement and braces which can repair the wall. It adds strength to the wall, and stops the inward improvement. It also redistributes weight on the basement wall.

THE FOUNDATION ANCHORS

There are a number of techniques by which a foundation wall can be repaired. The best method so far is to install the foundation anchors. Compared to reinforcement and the braces which simply stabilize the foundation, the foundation anchors will also provide the opportunity to straighten up the walls over a period of time.

The foundation wall anchors offer a cost-efficient technique for repairing the foundation wall. This can be done without replacing or disrupting the original foundation. It is possible to complete this installation in one day and such installation could be done round the year.

During installation, a tiny area of the lawn is taken away, and the space beneath it is dug out. After that, a robust earth anchor is positioned in the hole. A rod made of steel is pushed through a small hole in the foundation wall and it is pushed so that it is fixed to the earth anchor located within the yard. Subsequently a wall plate is tightened and attached to a steel rod inside the foundation wall and the wall is then tightened. A periodic retightening over time will pull that specific wall to the original position. When the installation is completed, that hole is filled and the portion of the lawn which was removed is returned. Only an experienced and licensed professional must work with the foundation anchors.

FOUNDATION PIERS

If your residence is suffering from vertical or settling movement, then foundation anchors are not a solution. The settling foundation will need adequate support under the ground, where the house’ weight is buckling the strata. This can be an extremely serious foundation issue. Such repairs must be done exclusively by professionals.