If you have a basement or are planning new construction including a basement, chances are good you are already thinking about basement waterproofing.
Perhaps you are wondering if waterproofing basement walls from inside can protect your new basement from moisture and leaks later on.
Or maybe your question is about whether waterproofing basement walls from inside could be a potential fix for leaks or dampness in your existing basement.
Read on to learn the answers to these and other basement waterproofing questions!
Hydrostatic Pressure: What It Is & How It Causes Leaks
If you had to take a guess, how much do you think a single cubic inch of rainwater weighs as it presses against your basement walls?
According to range scientists, one cubic inch of rainwater can weigh 60 pounds or more as it presses against your basement walls. This is called “hydrostatic pressure” and it is a major cause for basement leaks.
With continual hydrostatic pressure from sprinkler runoff, storm water, underground springs or even your local water table, your walls will be hard-pressed to keep that water out forever.
What happens when there is more than one cubic inch of water in the soil surrounding your basement walls?
Imagine hundreds or even thousands of pounds of water pressing against your basement structure. How long will the integrity of the walls and floors, seams and joints withstand this kind of force?
Wrap It To Protect It: How Waterproofing Works
When you are about to head outside and see that it has started to rain, what do you do before you leave? If you are like many, you probably grab an umbrella or, better yet, a raincoat!
With the right accessories, you can stay dry even while standing in pouring water. This is the same basic concept that helped invent today’s basement waterproofing treatments.
There are two basic methods for waterproofing a basement: exterior and interior.
Exterior waterproofing is really only financially feasible when you are waterproofing a new basement-in-progress as part of a preventative measure or when you only need to treat a single wall that has been noticeably impacted from the outside by something like a tree root.
Otherwise, the cost to excavate fully around your basement walls, apply the treatment and restore the soil and landscaping is typically prohibitive.
Waterproofing basement walls from inside is the first-choice treatment for homeowners who need to address an issue with seepage, standing water or moisture in an existing basement structure.
Different Types of Inside Basement Waterproofing
The type of inside basement waterproofing treatment you choose will depend on what type of water problem you are facing.
Some issues can be fully resolved by simply applying the basement waterproofing treatment to seal your basement interior and prevent further moisture from entering.
However, some issues need preparatory repair treatments before the waterproofing treatment can be applied.
Once larger cracks or leaks have formed, this two-phase approach to inside basement waterproofing is necessary to both preserve the structural integrity of your basement and prevent further moisture from entering.
How to Know Your Basement Needs Waterproofing
Your basement has its own way to communicate with you that something is wrong. These warning signs are each indications you may need to consider waterproofing basement walls from inside.
Humidity and dampness
Humid basement air and damp walls let you know that somehow, somewhere, moisture is seeping into your basement.
A dehumidifier can offer a band-aid solution, but the only sure way to prevent mould and mildew from forming is to seal up micro-fissures and cracks with an inside waterproofing treatment.
Sump pump running
When your sump pump never seems to fully shut off, this can be a sign that water is continually seeping into your basement from somewhere.
Water may be entering from walls or flooring. In these types of situations, often basement waterproofing is combined with the installation of a backup sump pump for peace of mind.
Do you dread going down into your basement because it always smells...off? Musty, damp, grassy—these are some ways homeowners describe the unmistakable aroma of “dirty gym socks” that often arises once mould and mildew has begun to form.
Mould and mildew of any strain can be particularly concerning because spores can colonize in micro-fissures where no human eye can ever detect them. Over time as the colony grows, you may begin to see discolouration on the interior walls, but odour is definitely going to be your first warning sign.
Once mould has formed, it will be necessary to get an evaluation for remediation work before it is safe to proceed with interior basement waterproofing.
White powder on walls
Efflorescence is the technical term for the white powdery residue that remains once water has evaporated. The white powder is from the salt present in the water.
Seeing efflorescence anywhere inside your basement is a clear indication that water has been there. This residue must be cleaned off before your basement can be waterproofed.
Obvious leaks or standing water
The sign most likely to trigger outright alarm in homeowners is the sight of water leaking into or pooling on the floor.
Here, the first order of business is always to seal the leak before proceeding to seal the basement with inside waterproofing.
Inside Basement Waterproofing Solutions
The science of structural waterproofing has come a long way over the last decade. Today, we have so many treatments for waterproofing basement walls from inside.
Crack and fissure repair, drainage and downspout upgrades, mould-repellent insulation, sump system backups, well and window drains, damp-proofing and both exterior and interior waterproofing can give you present-day peace of mind and enhance the potential resale value of your home in the future!
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.
Discovering water or moisture inside your basement can be stressful. For starters, the source of the water may not be obvious.
Even if it is clear where the moisture is coming in from, there is still the issue of figuring out the best type of permanent fix.
Plus, where there is one basement leak, it is very likely there are more, and these may not be so easy to spot!
What should you do when you discover moisture or water in your basement? What type of treatment will make sure the problem doesn’t reappear again or show up in another location later on?
We will answer these and other important questions about how to fix a foundation leak from the inside—for good!
The Good News & the Bad News About Foundation Leaks
Every day, a homeowner in Canada will wander down to the basement to discover moisture. It might come in the form of general dampness, a lingering humidity in the air or a slight sheen on the walls and floors.
It might show up first as window condensation or mildew that starts to colonize a neglected chilly corner.
Or it might appear as a drip, a trickle or, worst of all, a gush of water coming into the basement from somewhere else in or around your foundation.
Here, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you have discovered the leak. This means you can fix it before it gets even worse.
The bad news is that, just as with roof leaks, where there is one foundation leak you can see, there is likely to be another you can’t see, and that leak may continue to get worse until it finally makes its presence known with disastrous consequences.
Is Patching Up a Foundation Leak Enough?
Here, it nearly goes without saying that your newly discovered foundation leak hasn’t arrived at a convenient moment.
You probably don’t have wads of extra cash languishing about in your savings account for just such a homeowner’s repair need as this.
Even if you do have stacks of cash saved up, chances are good you weren’t planning to spend it on patching up a leaky foundation!
So if you are like most homeowners, you are keen to spend as little as possible to take care of the leak and move on to other, greener (and drier) pastures.
But will a patch do it? How can you know for sure? The answer is that opting for a simple, single-leak patch is always going to be a gamble.
When patching the leak makes sense
The argument for patching the single leak and calling it a day is when it seems fairly clear the leak is caused by a single structural issue that is unlikely to be found elsewhere.
For example, let’s say that with a bit of exterior excavation, your technician discovers a massive tree root pressing in on your foundation wall that is allowing stormwater and runoff from your lawn watering system to seep inside your home.
This is a great example of a situation you are unlikely to find elsewhere, and thus applying a single patch to the leak you’ve found may be enough to resolve the issue.
When patching a leak does not make sense
Over time, even the sturdiest foundation can begin to experience age-related wear and tear. And if the original foundation was not so sturdy or well-constructed, this is going to intensify the degradation once it begins.
A foundation that is settling incrementally due to age, wear and tear, changing soil conditions or other comprehensive factors will probably need more than a band-aid leak patch to resolve the issue.
What to Do When You Discover a Foundation Leak
If the word “panic” springs to mind here, you are definitely not alone! It is only natural to panic when you discover the underlying structure you rely on to support the rest of your home is no longer in perfect working order!
What you really need is to know the extent of the issue so you can make some decisions about what to do now, what to do later and how to budget for the essential repairs.
So the best first step is to contact a professional to do a leak assessment. With today’s modern moisture detection tools, we can identify the scope of the moisture issue and assess the existing and potential impact to your home.
Once you know what is wrong, you can make decisions about next steps. We can talk through options for repairs, including leak patches and waterproofing options.
Fix Your Foundation Leak from the Inside with Waterproofing
If you are an experienced homeowner, you may have heard about different types of foundation waterproofing services. There are two main foundation waterproofing methods: exterior waterproofing and interior waterproofing.
Exterior waterproofing can be a great option as a preventative treatment for new construction or during a major renovation.
At other times, interior waterproofing is generally regarded as the better option. Interior waterproofing doesn’t require displacement of surrounding soil, lawn and landscaping, and it can typically be done in such a way to preserve a basement space (if applicable) as a useable part of your home.
Plus (and this is the part most homeowners like the best!) interior foundation waterproofing is cheaper than exterior waterproofing.
Foundation waterproofing can fix a foundation leak from the inside either as a standalone solution or in conjunction with other repairs that may be needed (for example, mould or moisture remediation, bowed or cracked walls, walls separating, foundation settling).
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664 if you suspect your foundation may have a leak! We can help.
Even the most solid house construction will develop cracks at some point in time. But there are different types and sizes of cracks, and some are more concerning than others.
Basement cracks can be tough to diagnose. Warning signs may initially be slight—the kind where you shake your head and think that maybe you’re imagining that musty odour or increasing humidity.
In this post, we teach you what you need to know about how to diagnose and fix a crack in your basement wall.
Types of Basement Wall Cracks
The first thing you need to know is that your basement walls can develop different types of cracks.
You may have just one type of crack in your basement wall or you may have all different types of cracks. Which types of cracks you'll see depends on the types of pressures your basement is experiencing and how it is constructed.
The basic types of cracks are horizontal, vertical, diagonal and stair-step.
Horizontal cracks are commonly caused by the natural shrinkage of drying concrete. These cracks can be the toughest to spot because they are often quite tiny!
The biggest risk with horizontal cracks is moisture seepage. Because they can be so difficult to spot, it is important to know other warning signs to look for. Increasing humidity, a grassy or musty odour, allergy symptoms, and formation of mildew or mould are the most common warning signs.
Vertical cracks are commonly caused when a basement wall begins to bow during or after construction. There are many reasons a wall may bow inward, including pressure from surrounding earth, especially if the crack is midway up the wall where pressure is greatest.
These cracks are typically easier to spot—they tend to be larger and will continue to spread over time. The biggest risk with vertical cracks is structural damage to your home.
Diagonal cracks can develop in several ways. Sometimes the crack will be wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. The reverse is also possible. Diagonal cracks can also develop around structures like windows and doors. If your basement is missing anchor bolts or the surrounding earth is causing pressure, these cracks may start to appear.
These cracks are typically pretty easy to spot except when they form around windows or doors and are quite small or hidden by door jambs or window sills. The biggest risk with diagonal cracks is that the structural integrity of your basement can decrease.
Stair-step cracks form for similar reasons as for diagonal cracks. But these types of cracks will only form in basements constructed using concrete blocks rather than poured concrete. As their name suggests, stair-step cracks follow the structure of the blocks, leading to a "stair-step" crack pattern.
The biggest risk with these types of cracks is, again, the structural integrity of the basement being compromised.
What to Do If You Suspect Basement Cracks
Home ownership comes with an ongoing steep learning curve. Most of us don't go into home ownership knowing exactly what steps to take when our basement wall develops a crack.
So there can be a very natural moment of panic followed by lots of questions! This is quite normal and we get these types of calls every day.
Whenever you suspect or visibly see cracks forming in your basement walls, the first step is always to do more research. You want to find out what is causing the crack. You also want to know if there are other cracks. And you want to know whether the cracks you are seeing are the type where a "watch and wait" approach is recommended or if you need to take action right now.
Have a professional come out and do this research and make a diagnosis. This way you are not wondering and worrying. You know what you are dealing with and what your options are, and you can make practical decisions.
How to Fix a Crack in Your Basement Wall
You now know that there are several types of basement cracks that can form. Some may form right away due to the natural process of drying concrete. Others may form later due to structural changes in the earth surrounding your basement. Still others may form for other reasons relating to how well your basement was constructed or the types of materials used.
The good news here is that regardless of the types of cracks you are seeing or how mild or severe they may be, they absolutely can be fixed!
The most common fixes we recommend include these:
Providing more support to your basement walls is always a good idea when there are changes due to the surrounding earth. For this reason, we often recommend installation of additional wall anchors to prevent further movement of basement walls due to outside pressures.
Basement waterproofing is the most effective tool we have found to fix cracks that may not be causing severe structural concerns but nevertheless present their own significant risks if left unaddressed.
For example, basement waterproofing can be a particularly important step to take if you have the types of hairline cracks that are permitting moisture to seep in. This can lead to mildew and mould that will literally rot your home from the inside out.
These fixes are sometimes recommended in tandem when your basement structure has developed multiple types of wall cracks.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664 if you suspect your basement may have a crack!
If you were asked what part of your home is the most important structure, what would your answer be? Many homeowners would say it is their home’s foundation.
The foundation of a home isn’t glamorous. It doesn’t get any attention at open houses or holiday parties. No one decorates it with lights or gushes to friends and neighbours about how awesome it looks.
But we sure do notice when it starts to crack, bow, sag, slope or leak! This is also typically when our phone starts ringing here at Omni Basement Systems.
Discovering a foundation repair need is stressful from a time, cost and resale value level. In this timely post, we take you on a quick tour of your home’s foundation, talking about how structural issues such as cracks, leaks and shifting can develop and then outlining our recommended solutions.
What Causes Foundation Problems
Foundation troubles are an incredibly common issue many homeowners are facing today. This especially holds true for owners of older homes.
The unpleasant truth is that no foundation will last indefinitely. As with sump pumps, HVAC systems and other essential home structures that work constantly, foundations are also likely to face leaks, cracks, degradation and other issues over time.
However, aside from simple old age, there are also other known issues that can cause your foundation to start to crack even if it is still well within the boundaries of its useful life. Here are examples of some of the most common issues we encounter:
Compromised crawl spaces
Crawl spaces, as their name suggests, provide access points to important interior home structures. They are also useful to provide extra ventilation underneath and around your home to guard against the growth of mould and mildew.
Over time, the crawl spaces themselves can begin to sag, tilt, slope or sink for a variety of reasons. This can then cause a ripple effect that leads to foundation cracks and other issues at higher levels.
It is natural for a home’s foundation to begin to settle as the years pass. However, when this settling process happens unevenly, it can cause sufficient pressure that the foundation itself begins to sag and/or crack.
What is happening with the soil that surrounds your home’s foundation will always impact your foundation in some way. Moisture-saturated soil can in time place pressure on the foundation and basement walls causing structural issues.
Warning Signs of Foundation Repair Issues
How do you know when your foundation has developed an issue? Figuring out when your foundation needs extra attention can feel like a particularly challenging game of hide and seek as you look for the telltale signs of foundation disrepair.
No foundation is free from cracks. Just the process of laying the foundation, drying and curing it can cause small cracks to form.
However, not all cracks appear conveniently in highly visible locations where you can point right to them when your service technician arrives for a diagnostic check. Sometimes cracks are hidden away under cosmetic flooring or even appear only on the outside.
It is also important to look up and out—at times, cracks caused by foundation settling or shifting will actually begin at the top of the home and work their way down toward the foundation.
Bulging, bowing, sagging, sinking or sloping
When walls or floors start bowing, sagging, bulging or sinking, this can be another warning sign the foundation needs attention. This is especially the case if walls start bowing inward (from the pressure of moisture-saturated soil outside) or if there is movement in the lowest floor in your home.
Floors that seem to slope downward toward one side of the home can be another signal from your foundation that something is wrong.
Windows and/or doors don’t fit in their frames
Whether the issue is that doors or windows no longer close easily or they won’t stay closed at all but swing right back open after you shut them, the foundation may be at least partly or fully to blame.
Whether you are seeing white powdery residue, black or brown powder, greenish slime, rusty discolouration, dark patches or some other unusual colour changes, these changes may indicate the foundation has developed leaks that are seeping through to affect your interior.
Issues like mould and mildew can be tough to spot, but their odour often gives their presence away. Dank, damp, grassy or simply malodorous—some liken the smell of a growing mould colony to a pile of sweaty socks—new unpleasant scents are another potential warning sign of foundation repair needs.
How to Fix Foundation Cracks
Once your foundation becomes compromised through leaks, cracks, mould or mildew, moisture and other causes, it isn’t going to fix itself over time. Whatever foundation issues have arisen are likely to worsen the longer you wait to tackle the repairs.
Here are some of the foundation solutions we frequently recommend for repairing a compromised foundation:
These handy anchors reinforce existing walls against exterior pressure from surrounding soil.
Interior wall braces
Interior wall braces are an alternative to wall anchors that may work better in certain circumstances.
Wall reinforcing straps
This fix is designed to prevent further foundation damage in the future by stabilizing your existing walls with carbon fiber straps.
We use two types of piers: slab piers and foundation piers. Both kinds of piers provide reinforcing stabilization in different ways from deep below your home.
Crawl space jacks can lend extra support to the beams of your crawl spaces to help stabilize sagging, sloping or bowed floors.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664 if you suspect foundation issues!