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Repairing Your Crawl Space? Don't Do These 5 Things!

spray foam

In all the decades we have been in business, we have yet to meet any homeowner who thinks working on their crawl space is fun.

The truth is, the majority of homeowners try to avoid ever entering their crawl space unless they have to.

The typical crawl space is not a very enjoyable place to be. It’s damp. It smells funny. It’s dark and cobwebby. It can attract all sorts of visitors you would rather avoid running into.

But then that day comes when the crawl space finally makes a demand you cannot ignore. It springs a leak. Or a family of raccoons moves in. Or one of the support beams rots away and your floor caves in. Or that musty smell you’ve been telling yourself is nothing turns out to be mould.

Whatever it is, it is time to repair your crawl space at last. And when you do, you want to make sure NOT to do these five things!

1. Don't ignore existing humidity or moisture

If your crawl space is not insulated (or is ventilated only), humidity and moisture are almost a given during certain times of the year.

But at other times of the year, when the weather is dry, it is easy to overlook the structural and health issues that humidity and moisture can cause.

No matter what time of year it is and what the weather is like when you finally tackle crawl space cleanup and repair, do your best to tackle repair and upgrade needs from an all-year-long perspective. In other words, when deciding what to do first, always factor in what your crawl space is like in the humid season as well as when it is dry.

From repelling mould and mildew to discouraging critters and insects to safeguarding the supports that hold your house up, a dry crawl space is a safe crawl space.

2. Don't use regular fibreglass insulation in your crawl space

Because a home’s belowground spaces are always going to be more naturally damp and humid than the areas above ground, it takes a special kind of crawl space insulation to protect these spaces.

Most homeowners do not realize that regular fibreglass insulation is just as susceptible to rot as the crawl space structure itself. You need special insulation that is designed to be resistant to humidity and water.

The right crawl space insulation will repel moisture that leads to mould, improve temperature control both above and below ground, block water and critters and improve energy efficiency.

3. Don't ventilate your crawl space

Crawl space ventilation used to be the gold standard to facilitate air circulation in these semi-enclosed spaces. Today, however, we know that ventilation always makes existing crawl space problems worse.

The reason is that a humid crawl space is only going to get damper with more humid air flowing in!

Dehumidification can be an appropriate short-term solution for a persistently damp, humid crawl space.

The most sophisticated dehumidifiers do a lot more than simply pull excess moisture out of your crawl space.

For a permanent solution to crawl space humidity and damp, modern technology has now produced crawl space encapsulation, which is a far superior product that solves all the problems ventilation causes.

Crawl space encapsulation blocks humidity, moisture and water leaks, insects and critters, mould and mildew. It is durable, attractive, long-lasting and – best of all – fast, easy and affordable.

4. Don't use spray foam in your crawl space

Spray foam insulation has been popular in crawl spaces in past decades because it is often easier to use in tight spaces such as around wall and floor beams and joists and in crevices and cracks.

There is just one problem. Spray foam insulation is typically used in the same tight spaces that tend to trap moisture that can lead to mildew and mould growth.

Unless you are 150 percent sure that the areas where you plan to use spray foam insulation are dry as a bone (and it is nearly impossible to be sure of this) you risk trapping damp and moisture between the insulation and the walls, floors or ceiling of your crawl space itself.

And guess what happens when moisture gets trapped in an already humid area? (If you guessed “mould,” you just saved yourself potentially thousands of dollars in remediation bills.)

5. Don't neglect your above-ground drainage system

Finally, it is one thing to tend to your home’s crawl space and make sure it is safe, clean, dry, insulated and sealed up tight against insects and critters.

But all of the same problems that today’s modern crawl space solutions are designed to solve can be undone by a neglected aboveground home drainage system.

If there is one thing you can absolutely count on as a homeowner today, it is that moisture from rain, runoff, lawn watering, the local water table and other sources will always be trying to find its way into your belowground crawl space.

This is just the way that gravity, water and soil interact.

One of the important ways to safeguard your home and crawl space is to make sure your home drainage system above ground is designed well and functioning properly.

Your gutters, downspouts and landscape grading function to route water away from your home and crawl space. Clogged gutters, too short or missing downspouts and poor grading will all send excess water back toward your home’s foundation, where it will ceaselessly attempt to enter your crawl space.

This is why a big part of protecting your crawl space is maintaining and, as needed, upgrading your home’s drainage system.

Simply installing gutter guards and extending your existing downspouts can go a long way toward protecting your crawl space from excess runoff. Installing a backup sump pump (one that will work even during a power outage) is another smart move to protect your crawl space from flooding.

Get in Touch

Is your crawl space overdue for some timely protective preventative maintenance? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Radon Is a Real Threat: Can Crawl Space Encapsulation Help?

radon wall

According to Cancer Care Ontario, more than 33 percent of Ontario area homeowners are at risk for significant radon exposure.

What is radon? If you’ve been hearing more about this odourless, colourless radioactive gas lately, it isn’t by accident.

By now, the link between radon exposure and lung cancer is well established. While radon is found naturally anywhere uranium-rich rock deposits are found, it turns out we have a lot of uranium-rich rock deposits here in Canada.

In fact, radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer nationwide – right after smoking!

But what is the link between radon and homes with basements or crawl spaces? Why are you more likely to experience toxic radon exposure in these types of homes? Let's find out.

How Radon Gets Into Your Home

A multi-year study determined that one-quarter of all Ontario homes had enough radon to require remedial measures.

This is scary!

But how does radon get into your home in the first place?

When the uranium in rock formations begins to decay, radon is one of the by-products it gives off. So radon, which is a gas, is always rising up from beneath the Earth’s surface.

Homes with basements and crawl spaces are quite common in Canada, as they are in many geographic areas with colder winter seasons and more temperate summers.

But this also means that as uranium trapped in soil-submerged rocks decays, the radon it emits will encounter your home’s crawl space or basement before it ever sees daylight. As it works to rise upward, the lower air pressure inside your home will pull it inside using a sort of vacuum pressure.

Radon can build to significant concentrations inside a basement or crawl space because it gets trapped in these enclosed spaces with no fresh air to dilute it and carry it away.

The Link Between Radon and Lung Cancer

Every year, nearly 30,000 Canadians find out they have lung cancer, and 21,000 Canadians lose their lives to lung cancer each year.

The Canadian Lung Association reports that approximately 16 percent of all newly diagnosed lung cancer cases each year can be traced directly to radon exposure.

That is 4,800 cases of lung cancer caused by radon exposure annually.

If you live in a home where someone smokes and you are also regularly exposed to radon, your risk increases.

How Dangerous Is Radon?

As we mentioned in an earlier section here, due to air pressure differences, radon in the surrounding water and soil is always going to be naturally attracted to indoor spaces.

If your home has a crawl space or basement, you are always at greater risk of radon exposure than if your home lacked these extra features.

The reason for this is simple: once radon reaches the surface, it dissipates naturally into the air and ceases to be a significant health threat.

But when radon encounters a basement or crawl space before it reaches the soil’s surface, it will get drawn inside and trapped. As more radon comes inside, the toxicity of air inside these below-ground spaces intensifies.

The risk is such that it can be dangerous to live, work or work out in basements. If your kids use the basement as a recreation room, they are at greater risk than if they played above ground or outside.

How to Keep Radon Out of Your Space

When in doubt, it is always wise to do a home air quality test for radon. Omni technicians can help you identify the best way to test for radon in your home, basement or crawl space.

However, if you are having issues with mildew, mould, moisture, wood rot, odours, insects, critters, cold floors, escalating energy bills, frozen pipes, leaks, humidity or any other all-too-common crawl space and basement problems, you may want to go ahead and take action anyway.

Why?

Because the same crawl space encapsulation and basement waterproofing solutions that can solve these other problems can block radon too!

Understanding how affordable basement waterproofing and crawl space encapsulation keep radon out begins with understanding how radon gets inside your space in the first place.

As we learned earlier, radon really can’t avoid entering a below-ground basement or crawl space, because of the air pressure difference. The negative pressure exerted on subterranean radon will draw it in through a well, sump pump, septic or drain line, window well, window, floor or wall cracks or unfinished dirt floors.

So the only way to keep out radon is to block all entry points.

Crawl space encapsulation and basement waterproofing are both effective methods of blocking radon’s entry points.

Both install a vapour barrier to keep moisture, humidity and gaseous airborne matter out of your crawl space or basement. Both serve to help insulate, protect and purify your below-ground space.

Here, you might be wondering why simply venting your crawl space wouldn’t work just as well.

Ventilation was frequently used inside crawl spaces in the past. But today we know that for every problem crawl space ventilation might solve, it creates two more problems that need solving.

Ventilation is the wrong solution for every problem a crawl space could have and it is certainly a band-aid at best for radon exposure.

In contrast, crawl space encapsulation will not just block passing radon from entering your crawl space. It will also fix issues with mould and mildew, humidity, unwelcome insect and critter visitors, rotting wood, frozen water pipes, cold above-ground floors, increasing energy bills and much more.

In the same way, interior basement waterproofing will turn a dangerous, dank and essentially unusable basement space into a valuable addition to your existing home.

As a happy side benefit, you may find you are paying less for your homeowner’s insurance premiums once you install radon-blocking protective measures in your home’s crawl space or basement.

Get in Touch

Are you tired of worrying that your family is being exposed to lung cancer-causing radon? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.  

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Flooded Basement? Do This to Clean and Remediate It

flooded basement leaky pipe

It is every homeowner’s worst nightmare - or one of them, anyway.

You walk downstairs and suddenly discover you are ankle-deep in water.

Is there any worse feeling than realizing you have an expensive, difficult, emergency home repair on your hands?

All the day’s plans go out the window. You are already overdue to take action.

There is just one tiny problem. You have no idea what to do.

Every year, homeowners across the continent tackle flooded basement cleanup and remediation for the very first time. You can do this. And this handy step-by-step guide will help you through it.

What NOT to Do First When Dealing With a Flooded Basement

There is one thing you will be tempted to do immediately, but that you need to put off: figuring out what caused the leak.

Believe it or not, this can wait.

What cannot wait is getting all that water out of your basement as soon as possible. The longer water or even moisture remains in your basement or crawl space, the greater the danger of it turning into mildew and mould.

After you have emptied, cleaned and dried out your basement, then you can work on identifying where the leak came from and what to do to prevent it from ever happening again.

What to Do Before Cleaning a Flooded Basement

The very first thing to do before you do anything else – and we do mean anything – is TURN OFF THE POWER.

As you probably remember learning as a child, bad things can happen when water and electricity meet.

Until you turn off the main power, there is a very real danger that you or someone else will get electrocuted.

A Flooded Basement Is Not Harmless: Protect Yourself!

Not only do homeowners get electrocuted each year by entering flooded basements where the electric power is still active, but many homeowners get infected with bacteria, fungi and mould while dealing with a flooded basement.

The best way to safeguard against this is to protect yourself with the right gear. For you and anyone else who will be working in the flooded basement, you’ll need:

  • Safety goggles

  • Face mask: N95 or N100

  • Long rubber gloves

  • High waterproof boots

  • Long pants and long sleeves

If you suspect mould has already set in or if the water is very deep (or both) you should resist the temptation to tackle the job yourself. Call in the pros. Professionals will have special bodysuits, masks and gear to stay safe while dealing with toxic mould cleanup.

Remove Water and Dehumidify Your Flooded Basement

In the right sort of conditions (like when you have a flooded basement), did you know that mildew and mould can form in just two days (48 hours)?

Scary.

Getting any standing water out and dehumidifying your basement space are the vital first steps to guard against mould growth.

But this can be especially challenging if you have an electric sump system with no backup and you are also dealing with a power outage.

If you have access to a backup power source or standby generator, you can get your sump started removing the water or bring in a wet-dry vacuum to do the same.

You will also need to bring in a dehumidifier to suck out the excess moisture that could feed mould and mildew spores.

Clean Your Flooded Basement

Once you have removed the excess water and your dehumidifier is up and running, it is time to remove any belongings, supplies or furnishings that may be water damaged.

You can use natural sunlight to dry out belongings. In some cases, it may be possible to dry clean certain belongings such as clothing and small textiles.

Take photographs of everything for insurance purposes.

After clearing out everything inside your basement, you will need to give it a thorough cleaning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers this excellent guide for remediating flooded spaces with minimal or no mould and mildew.

SAFETY NOTE: If mould is visible, do not tackle the cleanup yourself. Call professionals and get a mould evaluation first. If black mould is present this will always require professional remediation.

Once your basement is empty, you can continue with cleaning up the walls, ceilings and floors. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers this helpful guide for mixing up your own water and bleach solution to clean different surfaces.

Flood Prevention: How to Protect Your Basement From Flooding

Ask any homeowner who has ever had to tackle a basement remediation cleanup job whether they want to do it again, and they will say “never!”

There is a way to greatly reduce the risk you will ever have to go through a basement flood cleanup job again.

It starts by identifying how the water got into your basement in the first place.

Sometimes this is obvious, such as when a big storm comes through and your whole community floods. Sometimes it is less obvious and takes some sleuthing to detect the source of the leak – or leaks.

In the same way, prevention begins with a thorough risk assessment of your basement.

Cracks or fissures are identified and sealed. Structural instability in floors, walls and ceilings is repaired. Drainage and sump systems (including aboveground gutters and downspouts and grading) are repaired and upgraded. For any of this, you will likely need professional help. 

Once these tasks have been completed, you can waterproof your basement from the inside out. Affordable basement waterproofing typically takes just a day or less and lasts for decades.

Not surprisingly, many homeowners also discover their homeowner insurance premiums decrease after having their basement waterproofed.

Get in Touch

Are you ready for the peace of mind only affordable basement waterproofing can offer? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Basement Dehumidifiers Demystified: How to Choose the Right One

dehumidifier drawing

Here in the north, our weather tends to be drier than what people get living nearer the equator.

Yet oddly, below ground in our basements, it sometimes feels quite tropical!

Basements just naturally tend to be more humid year-round. This can bring with it the threat of mould, mildew, damage to home furnishings and more.

Even when it is dry and pleasant aboveground, you may find it helpful to add a dehumidifier to protect your basement space from excess humidity.

In this post, learn how to choose the right dehumidifier for your needs and goals.

What Does a Basement Dehumidifier Do?

Have you ever noticed that even the simplest home appliances are getting a lot more complicated today?

For example, you might go to a store or online thinking you will just pick out a dehumidifier to use in your basement.

But when you start researching, you soon discover that many dehumidifiers do a lot more than just dehumidify!

At its most fundamental, you want to choose a dehumidifier that performs its primary task very well. So start there.

Look for a dehumidifier that earns the highest marks at extracting excess moisture.

Then consider which extra features might make sense to make it easier to maintain your basement and your new dehumidifier.

Optimizing Your Basement Dehumidifier Performance

Overall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that indoor air maintain an optimal relative humidity level of between 30 and 50 percent.

What happens when the humidity creeps higher than 50 percent?

Mould, mildew, insects, damage to organic matter (paper products, home furnishings) and odour can all occur when humidity levels rise in your basement.

People who struggle with allergies may also experience more respiratory symptoms due to the higher bacterial, viral and fungal content in the environment.

What happens when the humidity drops below 30 percent?

While this problem isn’t common in the average Canadian basement, it can be quite common in your aboveground spaces, especially in the dry air of winter.

When humidity drops below 30 percent, the first sign is often dry, cracked skin, especially in the lips and fingers. Overly dry air can also cause respiratory illness, which is why it is associated with winter’s traditional “cold and flu season.”

Too-dry air can cause cracks in organic furnishings (musical instruments, wood floors, furniture) and static electricity, which is a leading cause of home fires.

Portable (Room) Versus Whole Home (Central) Dehumidifier

Two basic dehumidifier models exist today: portable and central.

Portable dehumidifiers

A portable or room dehumidifier is designed for use in small spaces.

Some of these smaller, easy-to-carry models can still extract a not-insignificant amount of moisture – up to 22 ounces or more.

If you have a smaller basement or your basement space is broken up into a number of smaller rooms, using multiple portable dehumidifiers may actually make better sense for you.

Central dehumidifiers

While it may not feel that way at first, it is actually normal to feel a noticeable difference in the humidity between your aboveground home and your basement.

This is due to the soil surrounding your basement, which attracts and holds moisture, not allowing it to evaporate easily.

As long as you battle humidity only in your basement, a portable dehumidifier is probably a smarter and more economical choice. But if you also have seasonal or year-round humidity issues in your home above ground, you may find installing a central dehumidifier to be the best choice.

Special Dehumidifier Features You May Find Handy

As we mentioned earlier, you may not need all the extra bells and whistles built into many modern dehumidifiers today.

When in doubt, the simplest is always best.

But in some cases, certain special features can really come in handy and you shouldn’t hesitate to make use of these.

Defrost mode (low-temperature operation)

The goal of adding a dehumidifier to your basement is to help keep the humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. In most cases, a dehumidifier will work well only when air temperatures are at least 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher.

However, some dehumidifiers will have a defrost mode. This allows the dehumidifier to continue to extract water from the environment at much lower temperatures.

If you do not heat your basement in winter but are battling a humidity problem, you may find this special feature useful.

Auto shut-off or auto-drain

One of the main goals of extracting extra moisture from your basement is to prevent costly water damage repairs.

So the last thing you want or need is a dehumidifier that operates in manual mode and could potentially overflow while you are away from the house!

The auto shut-off feature that many modern dehumidifiers offer will guard against this.

For bigger spaces with more substantial dehumidification needs, you may want to consider the upgraded version of auto shut-off: auto drainage. The simpler version of this will incorporate a hose and a handy nearby sink. The fancier version will use a condensate pump.

Air filtration

If anyone who regularly uses the basement suffers from allergies, choosing a dehumidifier with an inbuilt air filtration function can help ease health symptoms.

Auto humidistat

A humidistat is the humidity equivalent of a thermostat. With this sweet feature, you can tell the dehumidifier when to work and when to power down.

Auto restart

For geographic areas subject to more frequent power outages, choosing a dehumidifier with an auto restart feature may come in handy.

Get in Touch

Remember, a dehumidifier is at best a temporary solution to the threat of basement water damage. Ask us about affordable basement waterproofing to put an end to water worries.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Are Your Window Wells Leaking? We Can Fix That!

puddle of water by leaky window

Window wells are a great invention. At least, they are when they are working properly.

When they clog, leak, back up or turn into leafy trash cans, window wells become one more problem that you, the already overworked homeowner, have to fix.

One of the most stressful problems when dealing with window wells is simply figuring out what is wrong!

Sometimes it is obvious what is causing window wells to malfunction or leak. But other times the core issue isn’t so clear. Learn what to do to get your window wells working properly again.

Why Do Window Wells Start Leaking?

Where should you start looking for the source of the leak? Let’s find out!

Windows Are Not Waterproof (Even If Window Wells Are)

This is a much-misunderstood topic. The first thing that is essential to understand about watertight window wells is that they are protecting non-watertight windows.

Even worse, they are protecting non-watertight ground-level or even below-ground windows. If there is one place water will always try to get in, it is your basement. Any little fissure, crack and crevice is fair game to attract incoming moisture.

So that means the leak might not actually be coming from your window wells. It could be coming from your windows!

Knowing this possibility may be enough for you to find the leak and get it fixed.

But if it isn’t, keep reading...

Uncovered Window Wells Are Leaks Waiting to Happen

The main reason window wells become problematic is that they are left uncovered.

You might think covering them defeats the purpose of having window wells, which are supposed to allow light into your basement.

But when you use a clear window well cover that is also watertight, the sun can still get in but the rain can’t.

Even better, when you pop a window well cover on, outside debris like leaf litter, tree seeds, weeds, etc. can’t get in to block the light and degrade the seals around your windows.

Your outdoor cat will never mistake your window well for a kitty litter box. Birds won’t nest there, rabbits and frogs won’t get stuck in it, and rodents won’t try to burrow into your basement from within the window well’s relative safety.

If a window well cover fixes your leak, you are good to go. But what if the leak still keeps on coming?

Basement Drainage Solutions Are Not for Amateurs

Every year, many homeowners purchase new homes with basements for the first time. These homeowners may have never lived in a home with a basement (or even a crawl space) before.

This can be a steep learning curve!

If you are just getting acquainted with the special maintenance needs of your average basement, we have a scary statistic for you.

Ninety-eight percent of basements in North America will take on some level of water at some future point.

Perhaps you wish you could un-read that sentence. But we truly believe it is better to know than not know. When you know, you can make sure to do everything possible to minimize your chances of basement or home water damage.

The average basement water damage claim runs the average homeowner at just under $7,000.

The typical preventive maintenance to keep water out is nowhere near this pricey (and can potentially lower your homeowner’s insurance premium costs as well).

What Type of Basement Waterproofing Protection Can Stop Window Well Leaks?

We are glad you asked!

When you have a window well that appears to be leaking, but none of the fixes you have tried stop the leak, it is time to look deeper.

The most common source of these “mystery leaks” is often the basement drainage system.

Basement drainage has three main facets:

  1. Sump pump (with backup)

  2. Up-to-date home and basement drainage system

  3. Interior basement waterproofing

Let’s take a look at each now.

Sump pump

Like window wells, sump pumps can get clogged. They can also get overworked. During power outages, they can stop working completely.

You never want this to happen. If your sump pump doesn’t have a backup system in place, now is the time to add one.

Drainage system

Your basement drainage solution actually starts in your home aboveground. Take a close look at grading, downspouts, gutters (with guards or covers), and basement drains.

Basement waterproofing

Interior basement waterproofing is economical and fast to install. It doesn’t matter whether your basement space is finished or unfinished.

However, sometimes there are leaks coming from fissures or cracks. Other times there may be rotting insulation or problems with floor, wall or ceiling joints.

These problems must also be fixed to ensure the waterproofing treatment can do its job well.

Get in Touch

Are you at your wit’s end trying to end window well leaks? Our solutions are economical, maintenance-free and virtually indestructible, which gives your home’s resale value an easy boost!

Use our free EasyQuote service to find out more about adding value to and protecting your basement. Get a quote with no obligation from one of our friendly, knowledgeable technicians!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.           

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Help! There Is Water in My Crawl Space: What to Know & What to Do

frozen busted pipe

Many of today’s homeowners grew up with old-school crawl spaces where damp and moisture were simply the accepted norm.

But over the past few decades, improvements in home construction have made it possible to keep crawl spaces damp-free and humidity-controlled.

This is good for you while you are living there and also good for your home’s resale value.

In this post, find out the main causes of crawl space humidity and water, why you want to remedy this as soon as possible and what you can do to fix it fast.

How Do Humidity and Water Get Into Your Crawl Space?

There are three main pathways humidity and water can take to get inside your home’s crawl space.

Plumbing

If you are like most Canadian homeowners, you probably spend your winter with one eye on the weather forecast and one eye on your plumbing pipes.

A frozen, burst water pipe in winter can instantly rack up thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in home damage.

Even a pipe leak can contribute enough water to pool inside your crawl space. A vapour barrier can do only so much until conditions are favourable for evaporation to occur.

Belowground water

The relationship between the soil surrounding your crawl space and the water content in that soil is always tenuous at best. If the water table rises, a storm blows through or all that snow begins to melt, the water will look for someplace to go.

This can cause water to push its way through micro-fissures and cracks in the walls or floor until it finds its way into your crawl space.

Aboveground water

Aboveground water may be generated by a storm, lawn watering or snow melting, but the most frequent reason it gets into a crawl space is poor drainage or grading.

Clogged window wells and gutters, blocked drains, too-short downspouts or improper landscape grading can all send aboveground water straight toward your foundation and inside your crawl space.

The Dangers of Crawl Space Humidity and Moisture

In previous decades, it was standard operating procedure to ventilate crawl spaces.

Today, construction science understands that ventilation typically makes all the main crawl space problems worse, not better.

An unfinished or ventilated crawl space creates an environment ripe for exactly the sort of home maintenance problems homeowners tend to fear most.

Pests and critters

Water may be relatively plentiful inside your crawl space, but it can be hard to come by outside in certain seasons of the Canadian year.

Any reliable water source is likely to attract local wildlife, including insect pests and larger critters such as rodents and reptiles.

Dust mites, termites, ants, spiders, mice, rats, snakes and raccoons will readily take up residence inside a dark, damp crawl space with plentiful moisture.

Mould and mildew

Bacteria and fungi are similarly attracted to places where moisture is consistently present. The main danger of a damp crawl space is that when mould or mildew begins to colonize, that new colony will then send out spores into your home aboveground as well.

These spores will gravitate toward more humid areas in your home, including the laundry room, bathrooms and kitchen, and unfinished interior spaces such as attics.

Higher utility bills

A damp unfinished or ventilated crawl space can also contribute to higher year-round energy bills.

This is especially the case in the more extreme weather months during winter and summer, when the environment in your crawl space has an impact on the temperature and humidity level of your home’s ground floor as well.

How to Fix Your Damp Crawl Space

Now you understand how moisture and humidity can enter and affect your crawl space. And you now know that in many cases, ventilation can actually make the problems homeowners face with an unfinished crawl space even worse.

But what is the solution?

How can you fix your damp crawl space and make it safe and usable again? There are four main steps you need to take that will permanently fix your crawl space environment problems.

Dehumidification

The first step is to dehumidify your crawl space. This is easy to do: just set up a dehumidifier to suck the moisture out of your crawl space and dry it out.

Insulation

Once your crawl space is dried out, it is time to take the next steps. It is important to install the right type of insulation, which is made to be humidity resistant. The right insulation will actually serve as an effective moisture barrier while stabilizing your crawl space environment.

Drainage

Drainage is another key to keeping moisture and humidity out of your crawl space. If window wells or drains get blocked or your sump pump stops working, you could be right back in the same predicament again the next time it rains heavily.

Installing proper floor drains and window wells, adding downspout extensions and gutter guards and adding a sump pump backup system will all help permanently route new moisture away from your crawl space.

Encapsulation

Crawl Space encapsulation is the crawl space version of interior basement waterproofing. Once your crawl space has been encapsulated, it essentially becomes a temperature-controlled, pest- and critter-proof, usable space.

The encapsulation process serves as a form of crawl space waterproofing, protecting your crawl space and home from mould and mildew, pests and critters, and leaks.

Get in Touch

Are you worried that your home’s crawl space has become a hazard to your home? We can help!

Following the four-step crawl space upgrade process outlined here can help lower your homeowner’s insurance premiums, increase your home’s future resale value and give you present-day peace of mind.

With our fast and FREE EasyQuote process, you can find out exactly what you need to do to upgrade your crawl space and protect your home.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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5 Keys to a Waterproof Basement This Winter

top of dehumidifier

Are you tired of worrying that your basement will take on water? This is a particularly potent worry in winter, when frozen, burst pipes during power outages can become an all-too-real reality.

But at any time of year, it’s not fun to be checking your weather app multiple times a day for the signs of rain or storms that could send water into your basement or crawl space, causing expensive damage and plunging resale values.

One surefire way to increase your peace of mind and, when the time comes to sell, your home's value is to make sure these five keys to a waterproof basement are in place!

Key 1: Up-level your basement drainage system

If water ever does get inside your basement, the right question to ask is always, How will it get back out?

Ideally, you ask this question while in prevention mode rather than while desperately trying to bail out your basement during a storm-related power outage.

Basement drainage may not be able to prevent water from finding a way in, but it can sure as heck make sure it gets back out again, and sooner rather than later.

The best basement drainage system will seamlessly integrate with your sump pump (and backup sump pump) system. You also want to make sure your drainage system has non-clogging features to keep water-borne debris from backing up inside your system.

Key 2: Get your sump pump an assistant

One non-negotiable key to keeping your basement safe and dry is a sump pump that will work no matter what. For example, let’s say the power goes out. If water starts seeping in or backing up in your basement, what will happen next?

The sump pump is your first line of defence against expensive water damage repairs. But it will only work as well as its power source.

A backup generator is a great option for keeping an electric-powered sump pump up and running during storms and power outages. Another option is a battery backup, which some newer sump pumps already have built in.

For an older sump pump that is nearing the end of its useful life, upgrading to a gas- or propane-powered sump pump is another good option.

When you are ready to upgrade, look for a sump with a cast-iron core, the ability to handle solids up to a half-inch across, a float switch that is mechanical, an evaporation-resistant airtight lid, anti-freeze/anti-clog discharge lines and an inbuilt alarm system.

These features will not only protect your basement year-round but also help improve your home’s resale value while potentially lowering your homeowners insurance premiums.

Key 3: Dehumidify

A number of methods exist for keeping humidity levels balanced seasonally in your basement.

It is just the nature of a basement to be more humid than the aboveground areas of your home. But modern home technology can combat that quite effectively, often so there is no difference between above- and below-ground spaces. 

A portable dehumidifier is the simplest, fastest fix for keeping humidity from causing mould and mildew problems. However, if your basement is quite humid or you tend to be away from home for extended periods, this option is going to be harder to manage.

The best approach is to add humidity-resistant basement insulation in combination with interior basement waterproofing.

If you have a crawl space, you can opt to do a modified waterproofing treatment called encapsulation.

This is the modern antidote to old-school crawl space ventilation, which often makes humidity worse rather than better. It also adds an extra level of comfort and protection to your basement or crawl space, turning it into a functional area.

Key 4: Window wells for every window

Having windows in your basement is a lovely feature to make the space brighter, cheerier and homier.

However, windows without window wells connected to your basement’s drainage system is just a recipe for leaks.

If you have windows and are lucky enough to already have window wells installed, be sure to put it on your calendar to check them regularly for clogs. As well, make sure your windows themselves are not an unwitting entry point for rain, ice and snow melt-off and debris.

Key 5: Get those gutters and downspouts working

Finally, your home’s gutters and downspouts can have a great impact on whether moisture is able to find its way into your crawl space or basement.

Over time, landscape grading can shift, sometimes mildly but sometimes quite dramatically. Changing soil content, the water table, foundation instability and other issues can create a situation where water actually starts flowing back toward your home rather than away from it.

This in turn increases the risk of a leaking or flooded crawl space or basement.

In the same way, blocked gutters or downspouts and too-short or missing downspouts can route water back toward your home’s foundation and its vulnerable below-ground spaces.

It doesn’t have to be a major project to improve gutters and downspouts, and it can prevent what will most certainly be a major project and a major expense – remediation after a basement flood.

Get a FREE Basement or Crawl Space Threat Evaluation

Are you fighting against a growing suspicion that your basement or crawl space isn’t as protected as it needs to be against leaks or floods, mould or mildew?

Or is your basement always cold and clammy (or even worse, warm and clammy) no matter what time of year it is?

We can help!

Our simple, fast and free EasyQuote estimate process will give you the budgeting information you need to fix it fast.

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Do You Have a Chilly, Damp Finished Basement? We Can Fix That!

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It sure can feel nice to finish out your basement and have a lovely, livable space to use for your family’s needs or to rent out for extra cash.

But after all that hard work, it can feel equally as disappointing to go down to your new basement on the first day of winter and start… shivering.

What the heck?! You just spent all this time and money on renovations and somehow your basement still doesn’t feel comfortably warm. Even worse, if you have basement tenants, you can be sure their complaints won’t wait until spring.

Chilly, damp and uncomfortable finished basements are common in Ontario, mainly because winter here is so cold. Luckily, we know how to fix it – read on to learn what you need to do!

Early Basements Were Never Meant to Be Lived In

Way back when, basements were not designed to be lived in. Rather, their primary purpose was to serve as a reliably cold place in which to store food items, fuel for the fireplace and food during the long months when it was too cold to farm or hunt easily.

The first basements were very unglamorous. They were just dirt dugouts that looked a lot more like enclosed crawl spaces than real basements.

It was only over time that the home basement took on a function above and beyond temporary storage. Slowly but surely, bulky appliances, holiday decorations, seasonal clothing and other items made their way down into the cellar-turned-basement.

Today’s Basements Are Often Damp and Poorly Insulated

According to the homeowners insurance industry, the typical basement today has a jaw-dropping 98 percent chance of taking on water at some point in the future.

However, chances are good that your basement is already coping with trapped moisture in the tiny fissures and cracks that naturally formed when newly poured concrete foundation and walls settled and dried.

Concrete is a porous material by nature and thus quite prone to damp, humidity, leaks and outright floods depending on what is going on outside.

What does this have to do with insulation?

In most cases, the type of insulation used in basement spaces is not moisture- and humidity-resistant. Most fiberglass insulation is just as vulnerable to damp, mould and mildew as any other home furnishings and simply cannot do a good job of regulating the environment inside your basement.

To keep damp and cold from infiltrating your basement, you need a special type of basement-friendly graphite-infused foam insulation that can repel moisture and humidity.

What to Do to Fix Your Damp, Chilly Basement

Basements are a big perk for many homebuyers today. In an era where no one ever seems to have enough space in their home, the allure of having a whole extra room or apartment below ground is undeniable.

But a damp, chilly basement isn’t going to do much to raise your home’s resale value, because no one wants to spend any time there!

Luckily, it is easier than you might think to permanently dehumidify and warm up your basement in winter. As an extra perk, once you take these steps, you may find your homeowners insurance premiums decreasing as well!

1. Add cold air return ducts to exhaust the cold air

Without adding cold air return ducts to remove the cold air that is collecting inside your basement, there is no real way for all that cold air to escape.

Your furnace system will have to work twice as hard to heat your basement, which in turn may raise the temperature above-ground to a point of discomfort.

Even if you choose to install a separate standalone heating system in your basement, you still need to exhaust the cold air as a precursor to warming the basement. But in most cases, your home’s existing furnace is more than sufficient to heat your basement as well once a cold air duct is in place.

2. Seal up air leaks in vents, windows, window wells, doors, drains

Even many finished basements still harbor a surprising number of air leaks and cracks where cold air can seep in during the winter.

By taking the time to weatherstrip, caulk and seal windows and window wells, drains, doors, dryer vents, exhaust vents and other common culprits, you keep warm air in and cold air out.

Even better, you also keep out insects and critters that might otherwise find their way into your basement.

3. Insulate ducts and dryer exhaust vents

We touched on the problem of basement insulation in a previous section here. Not only will the wrong type of insulation in your basement foster increased damp and humidity, but over time it can lead to mould and mildew problems.

When you upgrade to moisture-resistant insulation, be sure not to forget insulating your ducts, dryer exhaust vents and any other points of ingress/egress that might be letting cold air back in.

4. Apply interior basement waterproofing

Interior basement waterproofing does so much more than “just” protect your basement and home from leaks and flooding.

It also effectively seals out the continual onslaught of damp, humid air that can make your basement feel unlivable in both winter and summer.

Properly applied, affordable basement waterproofing takes just a day or two and delivers back to you a humidity-balanced, temperature-controlled underground space suitable for play, work or tenants.

Basement waterproofing can easily be applied to both unfinished and finished basement spaces. Once applied, you can even lay down carpet in your basement safely, which then adds an extra layer of insulating warmth to lock in the heat inside your space.

Get in Touch

Find out how to get your FREE EasyQuote estimate to fix that chilly winter basement fast!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664. 

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Is Your Basement a Danger to Your Family? Fix it Fast With These Timely Tips

cartoon dust mite

A basement or crawl space can be an attractive part of a home for all kinds of reasons.

Well-designed, secure and stable under-home storage, living space and utilities access can raise the resale value of a home and even generate extra income while you are living there.

But there are also notable downsides to choosing a home with a basement or crawl space. One of the most significant of these concerns is the health risk a poorly maintained below-ground home space represents.

Basements – even the finished ones that look all shiny and new at first glance – can harbour some serious health hazards that you might not ever suspect are there.

In this timely post, find out about the most common health hazards found in basements and crawl spaces and how to fix them.

Five Basement Toxins Every Homeowner Should Know About

As a homeowner, you should be aware of these top five toxins that can contaminate your basement or crawl space and impact your family’s health.

1. Mould and mildew

Mould and mildew constitute one of the most persistent and expensive problems that can impact a crawl space or basement.

Here in Canada, seasonal weather shifts that bring increased moisture and humidity can cause mould and mildew spores to congregate under homes and colonize. Once a mould colony is established, it will send out new airborne mould spores, and this is how many families get sick.

2. Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring odourless, colourless gas that is a byproduct of uranium decomposition. Essentially, it is a radioactive gas. It is found throughout Canada and is the leading non-tobacco-related cause of lung cancer in North America.

All homeowners should have a working radon alarm for the upstairs and another for the basement.

Radon exposure can be particularly concerning in basements and crawl spaces because it seeps in from the surrounding soil and can concentrate inside with no easy exit. For this reason, Natural Resources Canada now recommends radon testing and installation of radon alarm systems.

3. Sewer gases

Sewer gases find ready access to basements and crawl spaces through floor drains. Methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and other notoriously toxic gases make their way into basements and crawl spaces and become concentrated over time.

Anything that gets dumped into the sewer, from water used to clean paint brushes and solvent rags to leftover solvents themselves, travels through the sewer and can seep inside your basement or crawl space.

Basements that lack proper ventilation can quickly build up toxic levels of these sewer gases.

4. Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is nicknamed “the silent killer.” This odourless, colourless gas is produced as a result of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. All homeowners should have a working carbon monoxide alarm for the home and another alarm for their basement.

5. Dust and dust mites

Dust and dust mites are chronic airborne toxins that readily accumulate inside crawl spaces and basements. Unfortunately, it’s easy to think “it’s only dust,” but that changes rapidly when your child develops chronic asthma or your family can’t seem to recover from seasonal allergies.

Dust and dust mites can become particularly concerning if your clothes dryer is located in the basement. As well, poorly vented or internally vented dryers can off-gas toxins from laundry detergent and dryer sheets into your basement, exacerbating health symptoms.

What to Do to Permanently Detoxify Your Basement or Crawl Space

Once your basement is finished and looks fabulous, it can be a tough blow to find out that the air inside is causing health problems for your family or tenants.

But it is also better to find out now so you can guard against the types of serious and sometimes fatal health issues linked to the five toxins we just discussed (COPD, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and pneumonia together cause nearly 4 million premature deaths each year and all are linked to toxic household air).

What can you do to protect yourself, your family, your tenants and your home’s resale value? We recommend crawl space encapsulation or interior basement waterproofing – read on to find out why.

Crawl space encapsulation

In past decades, most crawl spaces were ventilated. Today, we know this is one of the leading causes of accumulation of mould, mildew, dust and other toxic health hazards.

Rather than ventilating your crawl space, what you need is encapsulation. Crawl space encapsulation permanently encloses your basement and the sensitive utilities you rely on, providing protection from chemicals, microbials, humidity, insects, critters and more.

We also recommend upgrading existing insulation as needed to humidity-resistant insulation suitable for use in crawl spaces and basements.

Interior basement waterproofing

Interior basement waterproofing offers so much more than just protection from moisture and flooding. Affordable basement waterproofing takes just one or two days in most cases and solves problems that haven’t even begun to show themselves yet.

In addition to blocking mould, mildew and humidity, the waterproofing treatment also guards against radon and other volatile organic compounds. It prevents these toxic compounds from entering your basement and drifting upstairs into your home.

Interior basement waterproofing is non-invasive – it takes place completely inside your basement, so no exterior landscaping has to be displaced.

For this reason, it can be done at any time of year. It can also be done whether your basement is finished or unfinished and it will not impact your future plans to renovate or upgrade your basement. You can also add humidity-resistant insulation at the same time, which will also help lower your energy bills.

Get in Touch

Is your family coping with health symptoms that may be linked to air toxicity in your basement or crawl space? We can help!

Our simple, free EasyQuote process will give you the information you need to fix it fast.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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3 Simple Steps to Keep Your Basement From Flooding in Winter

drain pipe extension

“Basement flooding.” These two words are near-guaranteed to cause homeowners to break out into a cold sweat.

Perhaps this is because the homeowners insurance industry predicts 98 percent of homes with basements will eventually discover their basements have taken on water.

Buying a home with a basement means that, at some future point, you may find yourself enrolled in a crash course in interior basement waterproofing whether you like it or not.

This is why we say a better strategy than intervention is prevention. In this timely blog post, learn three simple steps to keep your basement from flooding this winter – and any winter yet to come.

1. Revisit Your Home’s Exterior Drainage and Grading

Contrary to popular belief, one of the most common ways that water gets into your basement in the first place isn’t actually from the surrounding soil!

Rather, that water seeps in from above, often due to poor landscape grading near your home’s foundation.

“Grading” is a term that reflects how water is routed around your home above ground. In a perfect world, your grading would route water with a gentle downhill slope away from your foundation so it can run off elsewhere more safely.

But over time, and especially after a series of severe winters with heavy rain and snowfall, that gradual slope away from your home’s foundation can transform into a gradual slope toward your home’s foundation.

This is where problems start to seep in...literally.

Luckily, there are several strategies that can be used to address this. And many are surprisingly affordable!

For example, you could simply add downspout extenders to help direct runoff from your roof’s gutters away from your foundation.

You could build up the ground nearest your home with extra dirt – just be sure to leave at least six inches of clearance between your home’s foundation and the start of the dirt grading (check with your local building codes for the most up-to-date requirements here).

If your basement has windows, be sure to install window wells and well drains so you don’t inadvertently bury your windows as you repair your home’s grading!

2. Give Your Sump Pump Setup an Overhaul

Sump pumps don’t usually attract a lot of attention unless they stop working. Yet this happens frequently enough that they probably deserve more attention than they get.

A working sump pump is perhaps your number one defence against basement flooding, whether minor or major.

But since the majority of primary sump pump systems require electricity to work, guess when most sump pump-related basement floods occur? (If you just guessed “during power outages,” give yourself a gold star!)

Even the most modern, high-capacity, high-efficiency sump pump is only as good as its power source. This is why we always recommend revisiting your sump pump setup and asking yourself what you will do if the power goes out during a storm.

You have more than a few options to address the threat of a basement flood during a power outage and all of them are good ones.

One of the most popular choices is to install a backup sump pump system that runs on a battery or backup generator or even an old-school sensor.

You could simply install a backup generator to power key essentials around your home and include your sump pump in that setup. Today’s backup generators can be programmed to automatically sense power outages and power right up to keep essentials working.

If your sump pump is getting up in years and you’ve been considering a replacement anyway, switching to gas or propane (where available) can also help keep your sump working when the electricity goes out.

3. Repair, Insulate and Waterproof Your Basement

Naturally, basements age just like homes do. Over time, that brand-new construction basement will start to show signs of wear and tear even if you have been vigilant with basic preventive maintenance.

A big part of this is the nature of concrete itself. Concrete, the most popular material for basement construction, is naturally porous. It settles after pouring and again over time. Water from above and from the surrounding soil is attracted to porous materials such as concrete. It will find its way inside, seeping in as far as it can go.

Freeze-thaw cycles can widen tiny fissures in the concrete walls, floor and ceiling, allowing more water to seep in. What was a fluff of efflorescence (mineral salts left behind after water evaporates) then becomes damp walls. Damp walls in turn become beads and then trickles of water. Finally, the day comes when a trickle becomes a stream and then a flood.

If you’ve ever wondered how much it costs to waterproof a basement and assumed it was beyond your budget, it may be time to reconsider how basement waterproofing can help you save and even make you money over the long term.

For example, taking preventive steps now to repair developing fissures and cracks, adding support for sagging walls and separating floor joints, applying protective humidity-proof insulation and affordable basement waterproofing can boost your home’s resale value and lower your homeowners insurance premiums.

And if you later decide you want to rent out your waterproofed, temperature-controlled finished basement apartment, this treatment can easily pay for itself over a single lease cycle!

Get in Touch

Are you seeing signs that your basement may be taking on water? We can help!

Get your fast, FREE EasyQuote for making timely basement repairs and upgrades that will protect your peace of mind and your budget over the long term.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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A Surefire Solution to Your Sagging Crawl Space

crawl space work

Crawl spaces are not as common with newbuilds today. But even a decade ago, crawl spaces were still often used.

The truth is, crawl spaces still have a lot to offer a homeowner...that is, if they are usable and stable.

But over time, as homes pass from one owner to the next without ever getting the maintenance they need and deserve, crawl spaces often begin to bear the brunt of casual neglect. 

A crawl space is part of what holds up your home – or doesn’t. Once your crawl space starts to sag, you are facing real structural damage and it is time for a lasting solution to protect the investment you’ve made into your home as well as its eventual resale value.

In this post, learn about a surefire solution that will permanently address your crawl space maintenance needs.

How Is a Crawl Space Constructed?

A variety of issues can conspire to cause your crawl space to start sagging. But at the root of every potential issue is a problem with your home’s foundation.

If you have never owned a home with a crawl space before, you might not even be too sure exactly how one is made or what makes it different from a regular home foundation.

A regular basic foundation is essentially a slab of concrete. The utility lines are laid, footers are sunk strategically for extra support, the concrete is poured and cured and then the home is built on top of it.

In contrast, a crawl space is a special type of foundation where the home structure does not sit directly on top of the concrete slab – there is space between the slab and the ground. The house sits atop a lattice of floor joists connecting the house to the foundation.

What Causes a Crawl Space to Sag?

Often, the floor joists are made of wood. And often, older crawl spaces are open to the elements, which means they are either unfinished or vented. This, in turn, causes degradation of the joists over time and attracts bacteria, mould and mildew, weakening the joists further.

Eventually, the entire structure will start to sag as the wood joists weaken and rot. When you walk across the ground floor of your home and notice dips, bumps or slopes, it is quite likely a sagging crawl space is the culprit.

Other common culprits that are often implicated in a sagging crawl space include poorly spaced floor supports, sinking columns or walls as surrounding soil expands or contracts, cracked or compromised drywall, and cracked slabs.

What Fixes a Sagging Crawl Space?

A sagging crawl space should always be taken seriously. In other words, it isn’t the type of home repair issue that can wait too long. One big storm and a crawl space can go from sagging to sinking.

So you always want to arrange to have an estimate done quickly (read on to learn how to get your estimate fast and FREE) so you can start budgeting toward repairs.

The best method to fix a sagging crawl space can vary to some degree depending on the underlying causes.

For example, if the floor joists are rotting, these will need to be repaired or replaced. If the walls or support footers are cracked, sinking or leaning, these will need to be braced and stabilized. If the slab or drywall is cracked, crack repair will need to be applied and cured.

Once these initial repairs have been made, only then is it time to proceed to completely fix your sagging crawl space.

A Permanent Solution to Your Sagging Crawl Space

In nearly every case, moisture is the underlying culprit that contributes to a sagging crawl space. Moisture is also the reason many homeowners give their home’s crawl space a consistently wide berth.

Moisture attracts not only mould and mildew, but also insects, rodents and small animals. Moisture inside a crawl space is never going to be good for your home, so any permanent solution is always going to focus on keeping moisture out.

This starts with learning how to fix a foundation leak from the inside. To do this, you need encapsulation.

Old-school construction methods focused on ventilation for crawl spaces. But today we know that ventilation simply makes crawl space moisture problems worse by introducing even more damp, moisture and humidity into your crawl space.

Encapsulation often begins with an initial temporary process of dehumidification. This gets the humidity and damp out so your crawl space can be permanently and safely sealed, or encapsulated.

Money-Saving Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation is the best method for how to fix a leaky foundation from the inside.

Encapsulation makes your crawl space usable again. You can go from tiptoeing past that mouldy, stinky, slightly spooky area beneath your home (all the better to not wake the snoozing nocturnal rodents nesting there) to cheerfully storing your holiday decorations, seasonal attire and gear, files and other supplies, knowing they will be safe and protected from damage.

Encapsulation also raises your home’s resale value because it lets prospective homeowners know your home has been updated to the latest crawl space safety and structural standards.

Your homeowner’s insurance provider is likely to respond similarly and you may find you get a nice discount on your next round of homeowners insurance policies after encapsulating your crawl space.

Crawl space encapsulation is a fast, easy, surefire permanent solution to a sagging crawl space. As a side perk, it also often lowers your seasonal heating and cooling bills, ends problems with cold floors and removes pathways insects previously used to sneak inside your home above ground and scare you.

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Does your home have a sagging crawl space? Get your fast, FREE EasyQuote today!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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Dreaming of a Usable, Livable Basement? You Can Have It!

newly finished basetment

It is never fun to live in a home knowing that what lies beneath your ground floor is neither usable nor stable.

At any time, the basement or crawl space could take on water, develop mildew and mould or attract a family of local wildlife to spend the winter.

You don’t want to go down there and yet you can’t just forget it exists. Neither your wallet nor your home’s resale value will thank you later for ongoing neglect.

Here, we are happy to share good news. It is more affordable than you might think to give your basement a much-needed overhaul so that it becomes not just usable but livable – even inviting. Read on to find out how!

Confronting the Inevitable Basement Moisture Head-On

In nearly every case, the typical basement’s number one problem is moisture. In short, the average basement has far too much of it.

This is because the basement is located underground. Even in very dry areas, the basement will always have more humidity than the house aboveground because it’s surrounded by soil rather than air.

Soil holds moisture well and when it becomes saturated, that moisture is going to seek a way out. When it does, it will run smack-dab into your concrete basement walls. Concrete is a naturally porous material that becomes even more so as it dries.

Water needs only the tiniest micro-fissure’s worth of invitation to slip inside your basement walls, following the fissure as far as it can.

When the next freeze comes, trapped water will freeze inside and take up more space, pushing the fissure wider apart. In the following thaw, the water will continue on its journey, which will eventually end inside your basement itself.

This process is inevitable – to the point where the insurance industry predicts that 98 percent of all basements will eventually take on water.

3 Ways It Pays to Upgrade Your Basement

We realize that statistics like these are never easy or pleasant to hear. Yet they do carry with them an invitation, and a money-saving one, at that. These are three confirmed ways you get paid by investing in finishing your basement or crawl space.

1. 30 percent increase in home resale value

According to Angie’s List, your home value escalates by an automatic 30 percent after you invest in affordable basement waterproofing.

So whatever your home is worth today, add 30 percent to that as your future reward for upgrading your basement now.

2. Decrease in homeowners insurance policy premiums

The average insurance claims payout for a flooded basement is between $30,000 and $50,000. So you can bet that the average insurance company will happily reduce your premiums once you have taken the step of waterproofing basement walls from inside.

As well, as a general rule of thumb, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover (non-storm) flooding that can be traced back to homeowner negligence.

If your basement carries a known flooding risk and you don’t do anything to keep your basement well maintained against potential water damage, you risk opening a claim only to have it denied.

3. Decreased doctor bills and sick days

The optimal humidity range for any livable space is between 30 and 50 percent. As this chart highlights, this is also the zone in which common health problems are least likely to occur or worsen.

With an overly humid basement sitting just below your home, the entire ecosystem of your home is thrown off. An unfinished basement or crawl space with chronic moisture problems can invite mould spores, mildew, bacteria, radon gas, mites, pests and other known toxins to invade your home as well.

If anyone in your family suffers from recurrent respiratory issues, allergies, asthma, bronchitis or bouts of cold and flu, it is highly likely your damp, humid, unfinished basement is playing its part in this. Protecting your basement protects your home, family and wallet.

Steps to Waterproof Your Basement Now

These are the simple steps to waterproof and transform your basement.

1. Prepare your basement by making repairs

The first step to waterproof your basement is always to prepare it. This includes removing anything you wish to keep so we can come in and evaluate your basement for repair needs.

The most common repair needs include repairing cracks and sealing structural joints, cleaning out clogged window wells or floor drains, cleaning and repairing the sump pump system and remediating any mould or mildew that is present.

2. Add or improve drainage and insulation

If window wells and/or drains are missing, these may need to be installed to properly route any incoming moisture away from the basement and your home itself.

If your existing sump has no backup system that can run during a power outage, we can remedy that at the same time.

Often, the homeowner also chooses to have basement-grade insulation installed. This special type of insulation is moisture-resistant, energy efficient and long-lasting. It will lower your energy bills and provide you with a lovely, livable basement space.

3. Apply the waterproofing treatment

Once this step is done, it is time to waterproof your basement (the crawl space equivalent is encapsulation).

The waterproofing treatment itself typically takes only one to two days to complete. It is really quite fast!

Once this step is complete, you can leave your basement as is or move along to finish it out into a usable, livable space.

Get in Touch

Are you ready to boost your home’s resale value, lower your homeowners insurance premiums and provide yourself with peace of mind and a livable basement space? We can help!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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