Why Is Yard Drainage So Important?

Not only are the swampy and wet areas of your lawn an eyesore and make the yard unusable, but they can also be the sign of a future basement or crawlspace problem. Keeping the yard around your home relatively dry will go a long way in preventing basement seepage issues or foundation structural damage. It will even help your sump pump and how often it runs…basically keeping the water away from your home helps in a lot of ways.

How Can You Prevent Poor Yard Drainage?

1. Properly Installed Gutters and Downspouts – While it is important to keep your gutters clean of leaves and debris, it is also important to ensure that they are properly installed and attached to your home. Broken and/or dirty gutters will overflow onto the ground, saturating the grass and soil beneath them, leaving standing water near the foundation of the home and splashing the sides of the home. Short or unattached downspouts will contribute to the flooding of your yard rather quickly. It is important that your downspouts extend far enough out to keep water away from the building and are not crushed at the end or otherwise clogged.

2. Correctly Graded Lawn and Landscaping – Take note of where your yard has standing water, water flows downhill so maintaining a properly sloped yard will minimize the change of having a soggy yard. Planting beds and hardscape should help move the water away from the foundation, not prevent it. Making sure any improvements do not add to the issue, always ask your landscaper, “How does this impact the drainage of my yard?”

Sometimes due to the topography of your yard or the elevation of your home’s foundation, using the slope of the yard is not sufficient to handle the job and you need to utilize yard drainage items such as French drains, catch basins, etc.

3. Utilizing Storm Sewers- Many homes in an urban or suburban setting, especially ones in newer subdivisions, have access to municipal storm sewers. Connecting sump pump discharges, downspouts, and French drains directly to the storm sewer is ideal as the water collected/created by these items will go directly to the storm sewer and off your property. Sometimes this is the only way to prevent an over-saturated yard.

If you are experiencing a flooded yard and would like a FREE consultation, book online at MidwestWaterproofing.com or call 815-245-6890.

Rain Barrels – Are They Worth The Hassle?

With spring right around the corner, we can hopefully anticipate spring showers to bring our flower beds back into bloom and our trees back to life. One popular way of making the most of that rainwater is to channel it into a rain barrel to be used later.

While this seems like a great idea at first, there are a few issues with them that we would like you to consider before you go through the process of installing a 30-55 gallon rain barrel at the bottom of your downspouts and wind up with seepage or structural issues in your basement.

Are Rain Barrels a Good Fit for Your Home?

Something not many of us takes into consideration is how much water our roofs and gutters generate every rainfall. Where you live can tell you a lot as to whether or not a rain barrel would be truly useful. Homes that experience a great deal of rain are most likely going to need more than one rain barrel to avoid overflow, or the need to constantly drain the barrel. Multiple rain barrels can often clutter up a home’s yard and difficult to arrange so they drain properly when using them

Where does the water that goes from the rain barrels should they overflow? Don’t think it will happen? A typical storm, on an average size roof, can produce over 1,000 gallons of water for your gutters and downspouts to divert. Spread over four corners, a barrel can expect 200 gallons of water, and remember the typical barrel is 30-55 gallons. Unfortunately, the barrels are located right beside the foundation of your home at a downspout, therefore overflowing water will sit and stay there potentially causing basement seepage or foundation problems.

Rain barrels are not necessarily designed to add to your home’s curb appeal. It is important that they be dark in color or opaque as light or translucent barrels allow for more sunlight, therefore creating the perfect home for algae to form if not drained or moved on a regular basis. It is also important for the barrels to have proper lids at all times, as this is also a great place for mosquitoes to lay eggs. It is also important to check with your county rules and regulations as well as your homeowners’ association by-laws as to whether or not barrels are allowed in your area.

A helpful feature you will find on most barrels is the hose bib. While relatively easy to drain, you may find that the pressure to be low and difficult to work with since the pressure is much lower than the hose bib connected to your home’s water supply. The weight of the rain barrel, especially during a rainy season when it is full can make it very difficult to move.

While every home and need is different, it is always important to take a look at where your water is coming from and going. The best thing you can do for your foundation is to get stormwater as far away from the building as possible…this will give you the best chance of avoiding seepage issues or structural damage.

As spring rainstorms begin we encourage you to take a closer look at your downspouts and yard drainage. If you have any questions, Midwest Waterproofing would be glad to guide you in the right direction with a free no-obligation consultation. Call 815-245-6890 or Book Online today!

Help! There is Water in My Basement!

No one enjoys walking down to their basement to find standing water and possible damage to their walls, furniture, and belongings. You begin wondering how the water got there and quickly get to: “How do I make it stop?!”. Unfortunately, there are several ways water can enter your basement, so there is no silver bullet if you find yourself in this situation. Each of these ways can be corrected, giving you peace of mind about your basement and belongings.

5 Common Ways Water Gets Into Your Basement

1. Through the Foundation – Poured concrete foundations are the most common options for home foundations and when mixed and poured properly, generally resists water seepage. However, if that is not the case, over time those porous spots in the concrete will begin to experience seepage. Water can begin to enter the basement from cracks in the walls or through porous areas (often referred to as honeycomb). This results from the foundation settling and/or the amount of hydrostatic pressure in the soil against the foundation walls. All cracks, whether or not they have begun to allow water through, should be addressed and corrected in efforts to prevent future problems. Another area to focus on is your window wells. While keeping them clean and covered is important, it is also important to check the life of the window well liner. Over time, if not replaced or reattached, the liner can pull away from the foundation, allowing water to seep into the basement.

2. Above the Foundation – Not all water in your basement comes from the water below the ground’s surface. It is important to properly drain the water that can easily pool around the foundation of your home. Water left to pool around the foundation can cause water to come in over the top of the foundation, especially if the grading around the home is higher than the top of the foundation. Windows, siding, trim details, pipe and vent penetrations are also ways water can into your home and end up in the basement. Making sure these above grade issues are properly sealed with flashing and caulking is important to keep water out of your basement.

3. Hydrostatic Pressure Issues – Cracks in the concrete floor and walls can form several different ways, however, one of the more common ways for this to happen is called hydrostatic pressure. This force occurs when the soil surrounding the foundation becomes heavily saturated and pushes water into the porous foundation, wearing the concrete away and creating cracks/fissures. Homes with basements or crawl spaces that are located below the water table are at a greater risk for hydrostatic pressure issues. Without a proper drainage system, coupled with added pressure from heavy rainfall and soil unable to absorb any more moisture, the pressure will eventually cause water to find its way into your basement or crawlspace.

4. Failed Sump Pumps – Most of us never remember to check our sump pumps until we find water in our basements after heavy rainfall. Sump pumps are necessary tools to keep water out of your basement. A healthy and functioning sump pump should run regularly, moving the groundwater under your home out to a drainage system, rain or shine. Unfortunately, sump pumps do have a limited life span of about 5-7 years.  We at Midwest Waterproofing encourage you to check your sump pump regularly to ensure it is running properly and the installation of a high-quality battery back up system is in place.

5. Sewer and Plumbing Leaks – Sewer and plumbing issues can be a little more complicated to diagnose.  Often times pipes are buried in finished walls and water can be coming from inconspicuous plumbing joints rather than broken pipes.

To contact Midwest Waterproofing for a free consultation, click the Book Online button or call 815-245-6890

Frost Heave and Bowing Walls

frost heave

The snow and ice is piling up outside, and it’s only a matter of time before our homes start to experience problems from this. Winter can be cold and unbearable for us, but it can also wreak havoc on our homes. Frost heave is one phenomena that works with the freeze and thaw cycles and can damage your home. Learn a little bit more about frost heave, how it’s caused, and how it can be resolved. Protect your foundation from frost heave this winter!

What is Frost Heave?

A common winter occurrence in the Midwest is that of frost heave. Frost heave is when water penetrates the top layers of soil and saturates it. The resulting effect is heavy, weighed down soil that can begin to push against your foundation. However, the real trouble starts when the water freezes. The soil is now pushing up against the foundation in a new place. When the soil finally unfreezes, it causes the foundation to come back to its original position. This can cause stress on the foundation which leads to cracks in the foundation and the walls. It can also cause some other signs.

Other Common Signs of Frost Heave Damagefrost heave

If you are experiencing damage from frost heave, you may see that you have cracks in your walls or your foundation. However, you may also notice that there are uneven or sloping floors. This is due to the foundation being pushed up unevenly. Additionally, you may see sticking doors or windows that are caused by the same thing. The door frame or window frame is pushed up and the door or window won’t close or open properly and gets “stuck.” These are all common signs of frost heave, but they can also be common signs of other foundation problems like settlement. If you normally haven’t noticed these symptoms, but after a big frost or freeze you do, it’s likely due to frost heave.

Cracked Walls Can Lead to Bowing Walls

When you get cracked walls and foundation, these can eventually lead to bowing walls. This is especially true when the soil outside is still saturated with water after the previous freeze and continues to push against the foundation. Horizontal cracks and a slight bowing can also indicate this. When the bowing is less than two inches, carbon fiber can be used to repair the bowing walls. Carbon fiber strips are installed inside (so no damage to your yard, and able to be installed at all times of the year). They correct and stabilize bowing walls. Plus, they can be painted over and look almost invisible afterwards. Carbon fiber is a great solution to bowing walls in most cases.

Bowing Walls Due to Frost Heave?

If you see bowing walls in your home, whether you are sure they’re from frost heave or not, it’s time to give Midwest Waterproofing a call. We offer homeowners a free estimate, and we can talk through any questions you may have as well. Contact us today for more information about possible solutions for your foundation and waterproofing problems.