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Interior Basement Waterproofing

clock January 10, 2011 14:00 by author blogadmin
Be wary of waterproofing companies that offer interior drainage systems that sit on top of the footing. This placement does not allow proper drainage.

The Correct Way vs. The Easy Way

 

As the economy slowly starts to come back to life, a trend is emerging in the manufacturing and service industries.  That trend is higher quality goods and services, giving your end user more for their money.  That trend is everywhere, and needs to be discussed how it relates to the basement waterproofing business.   Are you offering the best products and systems, or just an easy way to get a job done?  It’s no longer 2007.  The blow-and-go, do whatever it takes to get to the next job attitude has to change as well. 

Let’s look at interior basement waterproofing.  There are many companies out there offering many different waterproofing systems.  A lot of these companies are offering an interior drainage system that sits on top of the footing.  Is a drainage system that sits on top of the footing the correct way to waterproof a basement, or just the easiest?  Simply, it’s the easiest way, not the correct way.  There are too many problems with top of the footing drainage systems.  For example: footings are level, placing a drain system on a flat surface doesn’t allow for proper drainage, hydrostatic pressure build-up under the basement slab will reach the bottom of the slab before a top of footing systems will work causing unnecessary pressure on the floor, top of the footing systems also leave a very thin layer of concrete over the top of the track when the installation is complete, usually less than 2”.  Top of the footing drainage systems only benefit the contractor.

The correct placement of an interior drainage system is next to the footing.  Placed there, you can put the proper amount of fall in your pipe.  The pipe is 4”-6” below the slab, eliminating hydrostatic pressure build-up before it gets to the slab and when the system is installed correctly, concrete can be poured back at the full slab depth.  And most importantly, this type of system is building code approved.  This is the proper placement of a drainage system to give the most benefit to the customer.

Top of the footing track systems look good, but do they function well?  Likely, not well enough.  What are you giving your customer? 



Solving Common Rain Gutter Problems

clock October 10, 2010 15:43 by author blogadmin
Clean your gutters from leaves and debris to avoid standing water. Clogged gutters lead to flooding and major foundation repairs.

 

 

Your gutters are designed to perform one simple, yet very important task—collect and move water away from your foundation. While this sounds like a very simple function it is also critical in protecting your home from flooding and structural damage. Even with only a ½” rain, on a 2,000 square foot roof, produces 1,000 gallons of water for your gutter system to move. Now that’s a lot of water!

For your gutter system to perform its duty properly, they have to be kept in good shape, clean and free of clogs, holes, and sagging. A well maintained gutter system will provide you with years of service and protect your home from costly basement flooding and foundation repairs. Fortunately, solving common rain gutter problems is fairly simple, requiring only a ladder, a hammer, a three foot level and a little free time.

Missing Gutters

If your house has no gutters, consider having a system installed immediately. The amount of damage that uncontrolled rain water can cause is staggering. It is not a coincidence that Texas has many homes without gutters and they also have the highest incidence of foundation problems. Missing gutters can also have devastating effects on windows and siding. The costs of adding gutters varies greatly due to options, materials and linear footage.

Leaking, Dripping Gutters

Leaking gutter joints need to be sealed by caulking the joint from the inside with a gutter sealant, found at most hardware stores. This is a fairly simple repair that only costs about $5. Other than large areas of damage, gutter sealant will seal holes and joint issues. If you have a large hole or a severely disconnected seam, using gutter sealant with a patching material usually will suffice. Many Kansas City hardware stores carry a gutter patching kit with simple instructions.

Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

Clogging is the most common gutter problem. Whether from leaves, roof debris or toys, gutters can get clogged and cause water to flow over their edges and down along side of your foundation. Left untended, clogged gutters and downspouts will contribute to possible basement flooding. Recently I had to remove eight golf balls from my downspout that was overflowing (evidently golf balls sound neat running down gutters and downspouts). The amount of debris that can buildup within your gutters can really add up to a significant amount of weight that can cause sagging and standing water. You can clean your gutters yourself if you’re comfortable on a ladder, don’t mind getting wet and dirty, and don’t have an extremely tall house. After cleaning out the heavy deposits, flush the gutters with a garden hose to make sure they’re flowing properly. If you prefer, you can hire someone to do the job for you for, between $50 and $250. Cleaning, or having your gutters cleaned at least once a year, or twice a year if you have a lot of trees nearby is standard. If you have many trees hanging over your home or have a chronic clogging problem, some type of gutter cover may be necessary. Most area hardware stores have mesh style covers that can be effective. There are also many different proprietary gutter covers on the market, such as the Gutter Helmet, Gutter Guard, LeafX, Gutter Topper and LeafGuard. Each has its own unique design yet they all are designed to keep debris, including golf balls, out of your gutter system.

Poor Gutter Slope

The first rule when dealing with water is – water runs downhill. Gutters need to be sloped toward the downspouts for the water to flow well. The standard is ¼” downward slope per 10’ of horizontal run. This is where your level comes into play. A visual inspection inside your gutter will also let you know if you have a gutter slope or pitch problem. Grab your ladder after a rain or cleaning and look in the gutter; if there’s standing water, you have a problem.

Downspouts Draining Next to the Foundation

Downspouts that drain next to your foundation is the number one cause of basement flooding and foundation repairs. Rain water needs to be directly at least 10’ beyond the foundation. This can be accomplished above grade or below grade. While splash blocks help they just are not long enough to keep water away from your foundation. Due to mowing and aestitics, running drain pipe below grade to a exit grate or popup emitter is the best solution. Professional waterproofing and foundation contractors can do this project at very reasonable rates. While this project seems fairly simple, many variables must be considered and this is best left to professionals due to its importance.

Fortunately, most common gutter problems are easy to fix. A general maintenance plan is simple and well worth the effort to prevent much larger problems down the road. Take the time to walk around your home next weekend and look for visual clues to your overall water drainage system. Are the gutter and downspouts running clear? Are the downspouts discharging at least 10’ from the foundation? Is the soil around your foundation sloped away from the foundation? Has there been obvious spillover from your guttering system? Take some time to solve these problems or call a local Kansas City professional to look at them for you.



Which Sump Pump is Best?

clock October 4, 2010 10:29 by author blogadmin
When selecting a good sump pump, check for a good warranty and find out how much water it pumps. These things will determine the life expectancy of your sump pump.

 

When deciding to replace or install a sump pump, it is very important to do your homework first.  A quality sump pump can mean the difference between a dry, healthy living space in your basement, and a wet, moldy, insect infested cellar.  Your sump pump is the most important equipment you can have for a healthy, dry home, know what you’re getting. 

When selecting a sump pump, the two most important things to know are:  What is the warranty on the pump?  You need at least 18 months for a warranty, 3 years is good, 5 years is great.  And, how much water can it pump?  Pumps are measured in gallons per hour (GPH) and somewhere around 3000 GPH at 10’ of head is what you should look for.  Head pressure is the length in vertical feet the pump will have to pump to discharge water.  Some manufacturers will try to mislead their GPH numbers by giving large gallons per hour ratings at only 5 vertical feet or even 0 feet of head pressure, instead of 10 feet.  A typical sump pump system in basements will have 10-14 feet of head pressure.  Don’t be fooled by inflated numbers.  Be sure you are comparing apples-to-apples. 

Side-by-side sump pump testing is the best way to determine which unit is truly superior. While this is generally not feasible for a homeowner to do, I have done it for you.  

Our test set up is the ECP BSP 50 in a tank with 50 gallons of water and 12 ½ feet of head pressure to discharge.  12 ½ feet of head was used as an average/common discharge height for a typical basement.  The test runs for 60 seconds to accurately depict how many gallons per minute (GPM x 60 = GPH) the BSP 50 can pump at that height.  The leading competitors sump pump was set up exactly the same way and both pumps started simultaneously.  The video of this sump pump comparison test is available on YouTube.   

The result of the test speaks for itself.  The ECP BSP 50 pumps 31% more water than the leading competitor.  Take into account that the BSP 50 is also the energy efficiency leader in the industry and the ECP Sump Basin allows pumps to run less due to its shape, avoiding short cycling.  Your pump system will run less, using less energy while still pumping more water.  You will find more information about the ECP BSP 50 on their website. 



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