basement waterproofing

Wet and damp basements are an ongoing issue in Toronto.  Between the weather and average age of the foundations of most homes in Toronto, a leaking basement usually happens to everyone at some point in time.  Add to the fact that Toronto sits on top of underground waterways, then you can understand why most homes have water issues in their basement.

Waterproofing a basement can be expensive if a full exterior waterproofing solution is needed.  So homeowners will obviously look at cheaper alternatives first and one of these alternatives is using waterproofing paint on their basement walls.

Does Waterproofing Paint Really Work?

When it comes to solving the problem of a leaky basement you’ll find there are numerous types of waterproof coatings and paints on the market today. But in reality, these products typically blister quite quickly and then flake off the walls of the basement. They can create quite a mess and once waterproof paint has been applied it’s not that easy to remove. If you have a persistent leak in the basement it should be properly fixed before applying any type of waterproof coating to it as it will not stop an active water leak from permeating your foundation.

If you’re not sure what waterproof paint is, it’s an inexpensive latex or oil-based product that can simply and easily be applied to the surface of a wall. It’s designed to create a barrier which is meant to fight off moisture and water. Most of the products come with a written warranty, but the fact is they’re not very dependable. Instead, you should be looking for a permanent solution to a damp basement instead of the minimal and temporary protection offered by a waterproofing paint.

When you suffer with a leaky basement you’ll often notice a flaky white substance on the walls and floor which is a mineral salt and is known as efflorescence. Moisture can seep through concrete since it is a porous, textured substance which actually contains numerous cracks and voids. Water can even leak through concrete walls which have been waterproofed on the outside with tar as the tar will break down eventually over time. Moisture can enter the home as water vapour and can result in musty odours, rot, mold, and humidity.

When the vapour penetrates the basement it contains minerals from the earth and when they crystallize it leaves a white substance on the floor and walls. Waterproof paints and coatings can’t prevent this though and you’ll likely still be faced with a mold and/or efflorescence problem. Some waterproof paints may be able to work their way into the concrete pores, they’re basically just a covering and can’t penetrate deep enough to keep moisture at bay. Basically, waterproof paint is just a temporary, band-aid solution which may last from just six months to a couple of years at most.

One of the most popular solutions for a wet basement these days is to mechanically attach wall panels with plastic pegs. This system can be used on a variety of surfaces including dirt and stone walls and can often be completed in a day or two. If you’re dealing with a leaky, humid basement in the Greater Toronto Area and would like some advice on how to fix it permanently please feel free to contact us at the Nusite Group for a free on-site inspection and estimate.

Nusite Group has been providing high-quality basement waterproofing solutions in Toronto for over 3o years.  We provide homeowners with free quotes and would be glad to pay you a visit. We’ll perform an on-site inspection of your basement and answer any questions you have concerning your problem. Once we’ve completed a thorough inspection of the basement we’ll be able to offer you our professional advice on the best solutions for your unique situation.

Basement leaking during rainstorm Toronto

One thing that every homeowner dreads is a flooded basement. During the spring in Toronto, along with rainy periods in the summer, we receive hundreds of calls a month for basement leaks after it rains.  The homes in Toronto are old, many have aging foundations that have cracks in them along with drainage systems that no longer work properly.

There are numerous reasons a basement can flood during a rainstorm and if it happens to you these are some tips on how to stay calm during the incident. But before you get started, be sure to contact your insurance company to report the incident and clarify your coverage.

Cut the power
The first thing you should do if you notice the basement has flooded is to turn off the electrical power and gas to the home. If you’re not sure how to do this be sure to contact a qualified electrician or contractor for assistance. If the basement is flooding during a rainstorm, it’s recommended that you wait until the storm has passed before cleaning things up. If the water is coming from a burst pipe be sure to turn the water supply off.

Protective clothing
You should wear rubber gloves and boots for your own protection when dealing with a flooded basement. In fact, chest or hip waders aren’t a bad idea either if you have any. Be careful when moving around as the area may be quite slippery.

Check the drain
If there’s a floor drain in the basement be sure to check and see if it’s obstructed.

Removing water
The best way to remove the water will depend on how much of it is present. If there are a few inches of it you’ll need to use a sump pump or pool pump to get rid of it. If there isn’t too much water you may simply be able to use a mop and pail or a wet vacuum. For any remaining water you can use a sponge or towels to soak it up.

Dry out the furniture
If any of your belongings or furniture has been damaged you should move it to a dry and well-ventilated area if possible to let it air out. Unfortunately, some items may need to be discarded if they become moldy or simply won’t dry out. When it comes to electrical appliances such as lamps, televisions and stereos etc, it’s best to leave them where they are even though the power has been turned off. There’s always a danger of an electrical shock and these items should dry where they are or have an electrician remove them.

Remove carpeting
if the basement is carpeted you’ll probably want to remove the carpeting so the floor beneath it can properly dry. In some cases, the carpeting may dry out and can be saved. If the carpeting remains in place it can become moldy and become a home for mildew.

Ventilate the area
The basement should be ventilated as much as possible to help it dry out. You should open the windows and doors when possible and use fans to circulate the air. A dehumidifier will also help speed up the process.

Wash walls and floor
You should wash the basement walls and floor to remove any dirt from the incident. If any drywall or insulation has been damaged it may need to be replaced before mold and mildew move in.

Ask for assistance
You should call a professional contractor to find out exactly why the basement flooded and how to stop it from happening again. An experienced contractor will also know how to detect any possible unseen damage and to inspect the home for any structural problems or weakness. There may be more damage than the eye can detect and you don’t want to be hit with a huge repair job down the road. It’s always better to deal with the problem as soon as possible to make sure your family’s living space is as safe and healthy as can be.

Other tips
If possible, move all of the electrical outlets to a higher level in the basement. In addition, you may not want to store your valuables down there. Be sure the ground next to the home’s foundation slopes away from the structure and the downspouts and gutters are free of obstruction and discharge rainwater as far away from the home as possible.

Nusite Group is a basement waterproofing company located in Toronto.  We offer free, in-home estimates for waterproofing and foundation repair problems.  Contact us today to learn more.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons you may find water leaking into your basement and you should treat them all seriously as the problem will need to be rectified sooner rather than later.  Here in Toronto, we have the perfect mix of older homes and extreme weather conditions, which can cause a foundation to leak over time.  Since real estate is at a premium in Toronto, many homeowners would love to finish their basement to increase their living space without expanding into their already cramped backyards or going through the red-tape of adding an addition to their home.

We’ll take a look at the most common causes of a leaky basement and what can be done about them.

Top of the foundation wall

Top foundation leak Toronto
Water can often find its way into the basement over the top of the basement/foundation wall if rainwater happens to drain towards the home instead of away from it. This is common in older homes with a poor drainage design. Be sure your gutter system works well and the downspouts are long enough to lead the water away from the house. In some instances, the soil will settle near a home and this results in low spots where water can seep through and into the basement.

Leaking window wells

Window Well repairs Toronto
Window wells are decorative as well as practical as they’re designed to keep water and soil away from your ground level and basement windows. They can drain rain and ground water away when needed, but can sometimes fail to do the job properly. Window wells can sometimes fill with rainwater if your gutters are obstructed as the water will overflow from the roof. Be sure the windows and window wells are properly installed and the gutters are clear. The window wells should have a drainage system of their own which works hand in hand with the foundation drain.

Cracks in the basement wall

Cracks in Foundation Walls
Basement wall cracks can be serious as you need to find out why the wall cracked in the first place. A band-aid solution isn’t recommended as further cracks may appear. Wall cracks are often caused by pressure which has built up at the bottom of the wall. Water can then be pushed through existing cracks and into the basement or it could create new cracks.

Tie rod leaks

Leaking Tie Rods Basement
Many older homes have steel rods placed in them during construction. When the walls have been built the rods are typically removed, but small holes are left behind.

Leaky sewer pipe

Leaking sewar lines Toornto
Some sewer pipe leaks can be very slow and may be hard to detect unless you see a stain on the wall or ceiling below the drain. In some cases, you may also see mold below the drain.

Leaking mortar joints

Mortor joint leaks foundations Toronto
Some basement walls are made of wood, brick, cinder block or stone instead of concrete. These walls use mortar to hold the blocks in place and the mortar may eventually deteriorate over the years. If this happens, water can slowly leak through it.

Cracks in the floor

leaking basement floor Toronto
The weight of ground water can cause hydrostatic pressure and this can lead to cracks in your basement floor as well as structural damage. The hydrostatic pressure is a result of poor drainage as well as soil, clay and the pressure can push against your foundation. The water needs somewhere to go and can lead to cracks in the floor. The pressure builds as more water collects and becomes heavier.

Sump pumps

Leaking broken sump pump Toronto
If you depend on a sump pump be aware that these devices may fail due to things such as power failures, bad switches, improper installation, lack of maintenance and clogged or even frozen lines. This can be a problem if you don’t have a backup pump.

Clogged floor drain

basement Floor drain leak Toronto
A floor drain can clog and water can back up through the homes’ drainage system. If your local municipal drain is clogged you don’t really have any control over it and that’s why a waterproofing system in recommended.

Obstructed drain tile

blocked weeping tile Toronto
Weeping drain tiles go around the perimeter of a basement in many newer homes. It’s generally constructed with plastic piping which is perforated and then wrapped in a sock-type of cloth. It’s surrounded by gravel and installed placed at the base of the home’s foundation walls. However, it can sometimes be obstructed by tree roots even though precautions are taking against it.

What’s causing your basement leak?

These are some ways a basement can leak and if the problem isn’t solved it can lead to major damage. A proper drainage system is needed to help fight off basement leaks and this is sometimes a simple solution and at other times it can be a big task. Nusite Waterproofing has been providing basement waterproofing and foundation repairs services in Toronto for over 30 years.  We offer a free in-home written estimate and inspection.  Contact us today to schedule you estimate.

Important Questions to Ask When Waterproofing Your Basement

When you’re about to have your basement waterproofed you should take the time to find a reliable, professional waterproofing company to handle the job and make sure they stand by their work.  Here in Toronto, basement waterproofing is a big business due to the age of the homes in Toronto, along with the weather extremes.  Since it is such a big business, there are many unqualified and inexperienced people selling waterproofing services.  Most lack the necessary insurance and equipment to do the job properly and sell extended warranties that they have no intention of honouring.

When getting estimates, there are also several important questions you should ask before deciding which company to go with. Below is a list of questions you may want to have answered before waterproofing your basement.

  1. Is the company licensed, insured, and bonded?

One of the first questions you should ask the waterproofing contractor is if they’re licensed, insured, and bonded. You want to be sure you’re dealing with a legitimate waterproofing company and find out if any permits are required by the city. Be sure the company’s employees have liability insurance and workers compensation protection.  If a waterproofing company and its employees working on your property are not properly insured, all of the responsibility and liability will rest on the homeowner and their insurance if there is damage or personal injuries during the project.  Also, many homeowner’s insurance plans will not pay damages if it is revealed that you hired an unlicensed, uninsured company to do work on your home.

  1. Do they waterproof homes from the outside?

The better waterproofing companies will offer both interior and exterior waterproofing systems depending on the home’s unique needs. It’s a good idea to ask the contractor which method they will use and why it’s the best for your situation. Even though an exterior waterproofing method is more expensive it’s generally regarded to be the best as it protects the home’s foundation. Remember, you’re looking for a long-term solution to your problem, not just a quick band-aid fix.  Many smaller companies do not have the equipment or experience to do exterior waterproofing so they will always sell you on a crack injection solution or interior waterproofing solution even if it is not the best solution for you.

  1. Can they provide references?

Don’t be too shy to ask the contractors if they can provide you with references to call regarding their workmanship. In addition, don’t be afraid to call the customers they refer you to.

  1. What type of warranty do they offer?

It’s important that you find out exactly how the contractor backs up their work. You need to know what’s under warranty and for how long, such as labour and materials. Be sure to go through any contracts with a fine-tooth comb and ask questions to have everything clarified. Don’t be afraid to back out of a contract if you’re not comfortable with any of the terms. A lifetime transferable warranty is the best since it stays with the house no matter who owns it. Also, ask if the sump pumps used are guaranteed for life.  When asking about warranty information, it’s important to find out how long the company has been in business as many new waterproofing companies have never had to honour a warranty before and have no idea the work and responsibility involved in offering one that you intend to stand behind.

  1. How long have they been in business?

If the company has been in business for quite some time then it must be doing something right. You’ll know they have experience in waterproofing and have enough clients to be successful in their profession.  Look for companies with a long track record, especially when it comes to honouring the warranty.

  1. What will my home look like after the waterproofing?

Some homes need extensive repairs with an exterior excavation or an interior drain system and you want to make sure everything will be done professionally and neatly. You don’t want your home looking like a disaster area after the work has been completed.  Let them explain to you what will happen after the project is finished and who is responsible for what.

  1. What else can I do to stop a leaky basement?

Good contractors will gladly assist you by sharing their knowledge about leaking basements. They’ll be able to give you several tips to keep your home as dry as possible. These tips will likely regard your eavestroughs, spouts, drainage system, and window sills etc.

  1. Can I have your office and/or website address?

A professional waterproofing contractor should have an office like any other type of business and may also have a website. You don’t really want to have your basement waterproofed by somebody who’s working out of their car or garage.  Good luck trying to find them if something goes wrong.

Most of the above questions regarding waterproofing are quite straightforward and a good contractor should have no problem answering them honestly.  Nusite Waterproofing has been providing basement waterproofing services in Toronto for over 30 years.  We offer free, in-home written estimates and pride ourselves on our customer service and commitment to quality.  Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

Finished Basement With Musty Odour Toronto

Even a finished basement can contain high pollution levels and since these pollutants rise due to their buoyancy they can often invade the living space on the upper floors. Basements often have a bit of a musty smell to them and this is because certain types of wallboard and carpeting absorb moisture through the home’s foundation via a process known as capillary action.

This results in excess humidity and moisture which can be absorbed by the insulation. In some instances, excess moisture can lead to visible or invisible mold in the basement.

If a basement suffers water damage it can result in mold which releases pollutants into the air and can keep growing even after the room has dried. This, in turn, will result in a musty smell, especially if the basement has poor ventilation. Unfinished basements also become musty since they usually contain a certain amount of dirt, dust, and debris which can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria. To make matters worse, invisible particulate matter or debris in the air can damage your lungs and enter your bloodstream and are certainly unhealthy.

Other pollutant causes of a musty basement could include things such as fiberglass insulation, dank crawl spaces, Radon gas, and volatile organic compounds such as fertilizer bags and paint cans. If you notice a musty odour from the basement it’s recommended you have the air tested by a professional or specialist. Professionals can identify the cause of the moisture and smell and come up with a solution to eliminate it, resulting in a healthier and fresher smelling basement.

The aim is to eliminate the moisture from the basement and increase its airflow. If your basement is unfinished with a dirt floor the floor should be covered with a plastic sheet and wire mesh before covering it with a thin layer of concrete. If the basement has a concrete floor you may need a waterproofing solution if water or moisture is seeping into it. If the basement is filled with mold you may need to have it removed by a professional mold removal company.

If mold is left to grow it could eat through basement insulation, wood framing and other structures and materials. A good ventilation system is also needed as it removes the musty air and replaces it with fresh air. You may need to install an exhaust fan along with a dehumidifier/air purifier and open any windows to increase airflow. If you hire a professional to find and eliminate the source of your musty basement there are a few steps you can take to keep the area as fresh as possible once the job has been completed.

Make sure your downspouts and gutters aren’t clogged as water that pools around your home can start to smell unpleasant. You might also want to send the water further away from your home by installing extensions on the downspouts. This will help keep water from seeping into your basement from the ground near the house. You can also keep the basement air fresh by cleaning it out and throwing away all unneeded items which could absorb moisture, mold and mildew. If the basement is unfinished you can then clean the surfaces with soap and water as well as bleach, white vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.

Some unpleasant odours can be absorbed by items such as baking soda, white vinegar, zeolite, charcoal bricks, and cat litter. If you place one or a combination of these items in the basement the air should stay fresher. Just be sure to replace them every two or three months. Another option is to place an ionizer downstairs. These devices are designed to remove bad odours by releasing ions in the air.  If you plan on hiring a contractor to finish your basement, then you must ensure the damp issues are cleared up before installing your drywall and flooring.

But in the long run, it’s going to be difficult to rid your basement of a musty odour if you don’t find the source of it and have it rectified. If you’re having a hard time locating the reason for your moist or wet basement please don’t hesitate to contact us at Nusite Waterproofing. Our team of professional basement waterproofers will be able to find the cause of the problem and also provide you with the best solution for it.