What to Expect When You Schedule an Appointment with Midwest Waterproofing

discussing sloping floor repair

Homeowners who discover water in their basement will call and make an appointment for one of our Waterproofing Experts to come out, diagnose the issue and offer an estimate for a complete solution. But we often wonder if homeowners know what to expect from a visit with a waterproofing contractor. A typical Midwest Waterproofing appointment lasts from 30-45 minutes. However, when dealing with more complicated issues, such as foundation repairs, an appointment can last several hours over the course of a few visits. Our goal is to be sure the client understands the issue as well as the solution.

Water seeping into a person’s home is a very personal issue. We’ve had clients tell me they feel like their house was “invaded”. We had one client tell us she didn’t want to live there anymore, because she considered the house to be “damaged goods” and it would never be the same.  

With every homeowner, as soon as we greet them at the door, we ask them to have a seat at the kitchen table or the living room and talk. We want to hear the problem and know how it is affecting the client even before we look into the issue. Also, we want to know what the optimal solution would be in their words.  Many times, a client will tell me “I just want it the way it was before”. We can do that.

We Bring Experience to the Appointment

With the larger companies you will meet with a salesman who has had some training but may have sold insurance prior to this job. You have to hope his training was very, very good and understands the business well enough to offer a solution that will work. With Midwest Waterproofing you should expect to meet with the owner. That is extremely rare in the waterproofing business.

When we enter the basement, the client usually goes right to the area where the water appeared. This however, may not be where the actual leak is occurring. For example, in a finished basement, the water could run behind the wall a good distance before finding a gap to seep through. The Midwest Waterproofing Expert will look at the entire basement and not only look for seepage, but contributing factors such as downspouts that drain right against the foundation. We check things inside and out. Our Waterproofing Experts will often run a hose to confirm their diagnosis. Nothing gives the homeowner more confidence in the solution than having their seepage experience duplicated right before their eyes.

The Waterproofing Expert will also ask you a series of questions.

  • When do you notice the seepage?
  • How long has this been an issue?
  • What is the plan for the basement?
  • What do you use the basement for?
  • Do you have a sump pump? (He will also explain the difference between a sump pump and an ejector pump)
  • Do you have a battery backup or backup generator?
  • Do you travel a lot?

These questions are designed to fully understand your situation so we can create a waterproofing solution that is customized for your needs. For example, an older couple who travel often needs a battery backup sump pump to avoid disaster when they are away.

When the inspection is complete, the house has been examined in and out and a hose run, the client is invited back to the kitchen table to discuss the solution options and pricing. We have several ways to solve the same problem because no two situations are identical. We tailor the solution to the client’s lifestyle, needs, type of foundation and the future for their basement. We explain thoroughly the solution, how it’s completed, what to expect and of course pricing. We will offer you all the options available and discuss each one so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

To make an appointment with a Midwest Waterproofing Expert, click the Book Online button or call 815-245-6890

Floor Cracks Can Be Repaired

floor staples cut

Basement and garage floor cracks: a lot of companies say they are cosmetic in nature and should be left alone. Since we all know concrete cracks can be quite the problem, sometimes just leaving them alone is not good enough.  There are plenty of solutions available to reliably and professionally repair cracks.

In the case of finishing the basement or installing a decorative floor coating, we typically recommend using carbon fiber to “stitch” the crack and stabilize it. This is very effective in reducing concrete cracking when overlaying a decorative coating or epoxy surface.

The process is can be completed in a few hours. However, only a trained installer should “stitch” a crack. Midwest Waterproofing works with Rhino Carbon Fiber to ensure the installation is completed correctly.

We “stitched” the floor in preparation of the basement being finished. The homeowner wanted a decorative, durable finish on the floor but did not want crack forming and ruining the seamless look.

It’s important not to confuse floor crack and wall cracks. Vertical cracks in foundation walls require a different type of solution.  If you have concrete floor cracks that need to be evaluated, please contact Midwest Waterproofing at 815-245-6890 or Book Online.

 

Waterproofing Terminology Explained

waterproofing terminology

Every profession has their own unique terminology. Plumbers have elbows, bushings and check valves. Software Engineers have viruses, ram and bandwidth. Waterproofing is no different. This article will explain the most common waterproofing terms, so you can become an educated consumer.

Hydrostatic Pressure – The pressure exerted by water due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases at greater depths because of the increasing weight of water exerting downward force. This usually manifests itself at the cove joint (where the foundation floor and wall meet) creating seepage at the floor. The usual solution is drain tile.

Efflorescence – This is a crystalline deposit of salts. It is often seen on the surface of concrete or brick, it occurs when water leaves behind salt deposits and appears as a white fuzz. It is a clear indication of water saturation and should be looked at by a professional.

Concrete Block – A standard size rectangular block used in foundation building. These blocks are hollow and hold water usually in the rows at the bottom of the wall. Seepage solution with concrete block foundations is almost always drain tile.

Footing – Footings are the base of foundation construction. They are typically made of concrete with rebar reinforcement that has been poured into an excavated trench. Footings support the vertical portion of the foundation, distributing the load of the house evenly and preventing settling.

Cold Joint – An area of weakness in concrete caused by an interruption in the concreting pouring operation. It occurs when the first batch of concrete has begun to set before the next batch is added so the two batches do not correctly intermix.

Drain Tile – Either a solid PVC or slotted corrugated pipe that is designed to collect and redirect water seepage into a sump pit to be discharged away from the home. Drain tile can be installed either on the interior or exterior. Also known as a French Drain

Sump Pump A pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin connected to a drain tile. Usually found in the basement or crawlspace. Used specifically for ground water and not sewerage. It is important to utilize an underground sump extension to discharge at least 10 feet from the foundation to prevent undermining the foundation.

Ejector Pump – Often confused with a sump pump, an ejector pump transports waste from an appliance that is situated underneath the main sewer line. Ejector pumps are typically used in basement bathrooms and basement sinks.

Dry Well Is an underground chamber that disposes of unwanted stormwater, It is a covered, porous-walled container that allows water to slowly percolate into the ground.

Water table – Is the upper level of an underground surface in which the soil or rocks are permanently saturated with water

Black Mold – Is the common name for the infamous toxic mold Stachybotrys chartarum which can grow in houses and is dangerous to humans. Mold needs air, water and an organic food source (wood, paper, etc.) to grow. Simply eliminating water can eliminate mold.

Undermining – The process of weakening by removing underlying support of a footing or foundation by groundwater or draining downspouts. Many foundation issues can be avoided by extending downspouts away from the foundation.

Foundation – The system on which the home sits. Consisting or two parts, the footing and foundation wall, foundations can be solid poured-in-place concrete or stacked concrete block. Older home may have foundations built from brick, stacked stone or in rare occasions telephone tile.

Iron Bacteria Small living organisms which naturally occur in soil that combine iron and oxygen to form deposits of “rust” and a slimy material that sticks to pipes and pumps. While a nuisance, it is a manageable condition.

Backfill – The process of replacing excavated material. Important to note in waterproofing as backfilled areas hold more water and careful backfilling is necessary to ensure an installed system such as a membrane, is not damaged.

Dehumidifier – An electrical appliance which reduces and maintains the level of humidity in the air, usually for health or comfort reasons. Very effective in eliminating musty odors and prevents the growth of mildew by extracting water from the air.

Grade Above/Below – Above grade means the portion of a home that is above the surface. Conversely, the portion below grade, basement, crawl space, etc. is where waterproofing done. However, an above grade issue such as bad tuckpointing or missing caulk around a window can manifest itself in the basement and appear as a blow grade issue. 

Crack Repair

Epoxy – A very useful material created through reacting an epoxy resin and a hardener which provides a window of working time before hardening. Used in combination with urethanes to repair vertical cracks and beam pockets.

Urethane – Expansive foam that reacts with water and is excellent for vertical crack repair. Used in conjunction with epoxy that controls the expansion, urethanes last a lifetime. However, considering the expansive nature of urethane, it should be used very carefully around pipe penetrations. If urethane migrates into the pipe, it could mix with water and expand, clogging the pipe.

Cove Joint – The area where the basement floor and the foundation wall meet. Seepage from this area is solved using drain tile. While a vertical crack can be injected with epoxy, a horizontal crack, such as the cove joint, cannot. 

Drainage Board – A foundation waterproofing component that consists of a sandwiched dimpled panel that allows water to flow between and down to a drain tile. It is also excellent at protecting a membrane.

Beam Pocket – A pocked in the foundation designed to hold a steel beam. Because of the concentration of load on one spot, they are susceptible to cracking and leaks.

Why Do I Need A Back-Up Sump System?

sump pump installation

battery back up sump pumpI’ve been in thousands of homes in my waterproofing career and some have very expensive finished basements. I’ll always ask if a client has a battery back-up sump pump. I ask because a properly sized back-up system can be a very inexpensive insurance policy against a flooded basement. Many homeowners think insurance will cover the damage. It might. Have you checked? Often the details reveal a different story.

Even if you have coverage, imagine your beautiful basement flooded. Everything is ruined. Everything needs to be torn out and thrown away. Lost priceless family belongings. The smell is overpowering, not to mention the mold and the invasion of workers doing cleanup, remediation, and rebuilding the basement. Scheduling, noise, dust, inconvenience, time off work…all this because your sump pump failed.

Why Do I Need One?

Water never stops. Gravity never stops. The weakest point of any waterproofing system is the mechanical part. During a powerful storm is when you need your system the most. Ironically, that’s the exact time when your system is most vulnerable to power outages. Our Battery Back-up Sump Pump System kicks on automatically when the power fails and can function flawlessly for several days. Also, a Midwest Waterproofing Battery Back-up System will operate in the case of a primary pump failure and alert you to the issue. You are never without an operational pump.

Can I Install a Battery Back-Up Sump Pump Myself?

Invariably I hear the homeowner say, “I’ll just pick one up at Home Depot.” This is not a good idea. A cheap, undersized back-up sump pump can be rendered useless if not installed correctly, maintained regularly and tested often. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a full day or weekend, the tools, materials, and experience to install a battery back-up system?
  • Extra PVC (1-1/2″ or 2″ pipe), connectors, primer, glue, freeze stops and check valves laying around for added discharges?
  • How about your electrical skills? Can you install a dedicated outlet and a new circuit breaker?
  • Are you willing to pour acid into the battery, charge the system and check the water levels regularly?  
  • Do you know if your pit and pumps are sized correctly with the appropriate GPM’s and head pressure to handle the water in your system?
  • Do you know the building codes in your area and how to keep your discharge system from freezing and the water away from the house?  
  • How about the warranty? Will you be standing in line at Home Depot with your “Limited Warranty” pump during a storm trying to get a replacement while your basement fills with water?

 Hmmm….

A professionally sized and installed battery back-up sump system will keep your system functioning seamlessly for several days without power. Your Waterproofing Expert will use a formula to calculate the amount of water your system produces based on several factors. System length, Gallons Per Minute, Head Pressure, and more go into calculating an appropriate Battery Back-up Sump System.  We professionally install the entire system and it comes with an in-home repair or replacement warranty.

Our Battery Back-up Sump Pump Systems start at about $1000 and can exceed $5000.  We have the expertise to install a system for the average home or an elaborate system with dual pumps and pits, back-ups and connection to the sewer system.

Now is the time to contact Midwest Waterproofing to discuss a Battery Back-up System with your Waterproofing Expert. Click here to Book Online or call 815-245-6890

Where Is Water Seepage Coming From?

flood control

When we get a call from a homeowner who lives in the city of Chicago complaining of water in their basement my first question is, “Where is the water coming from?” It’s a key question. Sometimes homeowners don’t know, but if you live in the city and get water in the basement, try to note the origin. Water seepage from the area where the wall and floor meet (cove joint) is completely different from water oozing out of a floor drain.

Cove joint seepage should be addressed by using drain tile, the solution for water bubbling up from a drain in the middle of the floor is by implementing a flood control system. Knowing and understanding the difference and the solutions is vital. A homeowner could spend thousands on a new drain tile system complete with new pits and pumps yet still get water bubbling up from the floor drain. This leaves a frustrated and angry customer and a black eye to our industry.

This difference between seepage from the cove or the floor drain is simple, It’s two separate systems. Cove seepage is ground water, free flowing water around your foundation. The floor drain system is a closed pipe system connected to the city’s storm drain system.

Under normal conditions, water in your basement should flow to the floor drain and into the storm system. However, when the storm sewers become overwhelmed, water backups through the same system sending water into homes through the floor drain, which ironically was designed to take water away.

In the olden days, we took a length of pipe and stuck it into the drain. This is a stand pipe. It works but it can come loose. Then water would gush into the basement. It also created pressure that could damage the underground pipes.

Fast forward to today. Midwest Waterproofing offers a flood control system. We are essentially adding a one-way valve close. This goes to the street on the pipe that leads from the city storm sewer to the house. By only letting water flow out from the house, it stops the problem at the source.

Another thing to remember: more people protected means more chance of you flooding. As homes on your block and neighborhood install flood control systems, your basement becomes more susceptible to flooding. That’s because as the water has fewer and fewer places to go it might head in your direction. It does require us to dig up a portion of the homeowner’s front lawn, but our landscaping guys return the property–at times–to better than original condition.

Experience can save you from making a huge financial mistake. You need a waterproofing team who knows where the problem originates and offers an appropriate solution. Not every firm offers flood control systems. Midwest Waterproofing does. Call us at 815-245-6890 or Book Online for a free in-home consultation.