basement waterproofing

While widespread power outages are rare in Toronto, you do see smaller power outages affecting various neighborhoods from time to time.  If you have a leaky basement and rely on an interior waterproofing system and sump pump to keep water out, then a power outage could create additional challenges for you.

Unfortunately, flooded basements and power outages often go hand in hand. Nobody wants to see their rec-room, wet bar or home office swamped with dirty water following a rainstorm or flash flood and this is why you should always be prepared for the worst-case scenario during a rainstorm.  There’s not really any way of stopping Mother Nature from taking its course, but you can definitely be ready for her and keep the water damage to a minimum.

Taking preemptive action is your best course when it comes to protecting your home from flooding in your basement, nobody wants to ruin their finished basement due to a pump failure, especially when it could have been preventing by ensuring you had backup measures in place.

Sump pumps

It’s highly recommended that you have a sump pump installed and ready to go just in case water starts to seep into your basement for whatever reason. If you are on the receiving end of a flooded basement a sump pump will be an essential piece of equipment. Without one, your basement could quickly resemble a swimming pool. A backup sump pump is designed to supplement a primary pump, especially if it ceases to work during a power failure, excessive use, or mechanical failure. A battery-powered backup pump will provide you with a few more hours of power and can help keep water out of your basement during the critical hours needed to get power restored.

Toronto-sump-pump-drawing

Sump pump installed in Toronto home

There are two types of battery-powered sump pumps, which are AC/DC and DC. If the AC power or the pump itself fails then the pump will automatically switch over to the DC battery power. The best pumps operate directly with AC power since they won’t deplete the battery whereas a DC-only pump can operate on battery power only. There are also a couple of types of batteries to choose from. You’ll find there are acid batteries which need water as well as maintenance-free deep-cycle marine models. Of course, if your basement’s in bad shape, you should consider operating both a sump pump and primary pump simultaneously.

Backup Generators

One of the most common problems when using a primary pump is the loss power in your home and a battery-powered sump pump works for just a limited amount of time. This means you may not be able to pump all of the water out of your dwelling unless you have some type of emergency backup generator for your sump pump. After you’ve used up the power in a backup pump you’re basically back to square one with a flooded cellar and no electricity. There’s no doubt that a battery-powered sump pump is better than no backup at all, but the best way to get rid of the water is with a more reliable power source.

liberty-sump-pump-diagram

Liberty backup sump pump diagram

A portable generator will enable you to operate your primary and/or backup pumps for several days if you’ve suffered a power outage. A generator will also let you keep some of your other necessary appliances running, such as the furnace and refrigerator/freezer. A standby generator is generally the best option when you’ve lost power. These may cost a few dollars more than standard generators, but they’re capable of automatically powering up several appliances at a time.

Backup emergency generators are available in several sizes which are categorized by the amount of watts they can put out. A medium-sized generator of about 5,000 watts is often large and strong enough to provide power to several appliances at once.  However, if you feel you need more power, you’ll be able to find portable generators that can serve up about 17,500 watts and are capable of restoring power to several rooms as well as your central air conditioning unit.

liberty-sump-pump-441

Liberty backup sump pump protection system.

Water Monitoring Devices

Modern technology can also help you out if your basement’s starting to flood as sophisticated home monitoring devices are designed to alert you if your home is starting to flood. Some sump-pump accessories can actually email or text home owners if there’s an emergency and they’re usually well worth the extra cost. These battery-operated models typically monitor temperature, water level, and power failures and are able to contact you via your home telephone land line. They’ll also send out an audio alarm which you’ll be able to hear if you’re at home.

Be prepared

Purchasing a sump pump after your basement has flooded is similar to buying insurance after you’ve crashed your car. It’s a little too late, but it could still help you out in the future. But speaking of insurance, you may want to consider purchasing a policy that specifically protects you from flood damage. This will offer you some peace of mind should your home be hit with water damage.

Do you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA?  Nusite Waterproofing offers a free in-home inspection and estimate in Toronto and the surrounding GTA.  We provide basement waterproofing services and can also install a fail proof backup sump pump system for your home.  Contact us today to learn more.

As a homeowner, seeing a crack in your foundation can certainly be cause for concern. Here in Toronto, the harsh Winters and rainy Springs and Summers can cause havoc on our home’s foundation.  Even if it hasn’t happened to you, many of us have heard horror stories of water damage and shifting foundations that can cost a pretty penny to repair. The last thing any homeowner wants to see is a crack running along their foundation.  So, how can you tell if the small crack you discovered signifies a much larger problem? Read on to find out.

What Different Types of Cracks Can Signify

There are several different types of basement cracks that commonly occur within the foundation of a home, each of which can signify a different problem:

  • Horizontal Cracks – A crack in your wall that extends horizontally, or looks like a stairstep, commonly signifies a more serious problem for homeowners. These cracks leave your foundation susceptible to lateral pressure and with the natural expansion of the ground around your foundation, with moisture, it can actually cause your wall to bow around the crack. A horizontal crack can eventually lead to the entire failure and snapping of the foundation walls if not cared for appropriately. This type of crack cannot be fixed by simply filling it, it will require professional attention by an experienced foundation repair company to truly repair.
Horizontal crack in Toronto foundation home

Horizontal Crack in Foundation in Toronto Home

  • Vertical Cracks – As concrete and the foundation of your home settle it can cause vertical cracks to occur throughout your foundation. These cracks are quite common and can be easily repaired by filling the crack with filler materials to prevent further spreading.  While vertical cracks can potentially be a sing of something serious, most often it is due to natural settling of your home’s foundation.  If you see new vertical cracks appearing in your foundation, it is best to contact a foundation repair company to take a look at it.
Toronto home with vertical crack in foundation

Toronto home with vertical crack in foundation

  • Diagonal Cracks – A diagonal crack is typically an indication of a fracture that has spread over time, so a simple filling might not fix it permanently. It is a good idea to get these types of cracks stabilized and reinforced by professionals so that further spreading does not occur.

    Toronto home with a horizontal foundation crack

    Toronto home with a horizontal foundation crack

Depending on the types of cracks that you are noticing within your foundation, you can better determine the next step that you need to take to protect your investment.

Even Minor Cracks Need to Be Monitored

Even if you have a vertical crack, you want to be sure that you monitor all cracks regularly. Expansion, bowing of walls and leaks can only cause more damage to your home and cost you more money. If water is leaking into your basement from the foundation crack it is important to get it fixed.  Water can erode the foundation over time and turn a relatively minor repair into a major repair job later on.  A great way to monitor your cracks is to use a pencil to mark the ends of a crack with the date reviewed. A few months later you can return to the crack and see if it has changed or expanded. If you notice an expansion then perhaps it is a good idea to seek professional assistance to ensure that you home is not in danger.

When to Get a Foundation Professional Involved

If you notice that a crack in your foundation has seemed to worsen, or you have a horizontal or diagonal crack, then you are going to want to consider bringing in a  professional. A contracting company that specializes in foundation repairs can give you an assessment of whether it’s a minor problem or a more serious matter.  If it’s a very serious problem, a structural engineer will likely be recommended to assess the foundation.

Your home is your sanctuary and an investment that should be protected, don’t let a little foundation crack threaten your home and family.

 

Have questions about cracks in your foundation?  If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA, we at Nusite Group offers a free in-home inspection and assessment of your foundation cracks. We have been serving Toronto for over 30 years and are experts in foundation repairs.   You can contact us here for more information.

Basement waterproofing is big business in Toronto.  Between the age of the homes, the extreme weather between seasons, and the fact Toronto sits on top of underground waterways, most homes in Toronto experience water leaking into their basements at one time or another.

If you’re confused about the difference between interior and exterior waterproofing and when each method is appropriate, you’re not alone. The best way to decide which method would work best for your situation is to start by determining the source of the moisture and evaluating the severity of the leak. Below is a quick overview of the two methods:

What is Interior Waterproofing?

Interior “waterproofing” is not truly waterproofing – it’s actually water management as the problem is addressed after the water has already found it’s way through the foundation. This method continues to allow water to enter through the wall, and consequently, the property is not protected from frost or erosion. In a nutshell, this method diverts water away from the basement using a weeping tile system.

Interior weeping tile system in Toronto basement

Interior weeping tile system in Toronto basement

When Should the Interior Waterproofing Method be Used?

The interior basement waterproofing method is ideal for homeowners who are concerned about disturbing the outside appearance of their home, as it ensures that landscaping is not harmed in the process.   Best used on concrete or structurally sound walls, the interior waterproofing method is usually used to temporarily manage small leaks. It’s also a good solution when excavating is not possible because of factors like lack of accessibility or exterior utilities. Whenever possible, waterproofing from the outside is recommended since long term water entering your basement can lead to erosion of your foundation as well as chronic damp issues in your basement.  Plus, if your sump pump ever fails, especially on vacation, the results could be disastrous if you do not have a proper sump pump backup system installed.

 

What is Exterior Waterproofing?

The exterior basement waterproofing method involves excavating and exposing the foundation wall. The exterior wall is then cleaned and inspected for cracks. Once excavated, the walls are sealed with waterproofing membrane and new drainage (weeping tiles) are placed at the side of the footing. Exterior waterproofing structurally ensures the life of the foundation and the building it supports. Exterior waterproofing stops water from entering the home and protects the property from frost and foundation erosion. Rather than installing a membrane inside the basement to manage the flow of water, the exterior method allows large gaps and cracks to be repaired. Once proper waterproofing coatings are applied they stay flexible and move with the wall, preventing future leaks.  Exterior waterproofing is the most popular type of waterproofing we do here in Toronto, but sometimes the exterior of your home or budget excludes it as an option.

exterior waterproofing on Toronto home

exterior waterproofing on Toronto home

 

When Should the Exterior Waterproofing Method be Used?

Whenever possible, it’s best to work from the exterior to waterproof your foundation to ensure the wall does not erode and remains structurally sound. When your wall is made of cinder-block, stone, bricks or aging concrete the exterior method is also recommended. And of course if the leak in the foundation you’re experiencing is serious and cannot be properly managed with weeping tiles from the inside of the home, external waterproofing is the sensible option.  Exterior waterproofing is a permanent, final solution to your basement waterproofing problems and should be your option when budget and logistics allow for it.

 

Choose the basement waterproofing method that will work best for your Toronto home

In summary, the exterior waterproofing method structurally ensures the life of the wall and the building it supports. The interior waterproofing method, on the other hand, simply manages the flow of water with the use of weeping tiles. If the leak is serious and excavating the foundation wall is a viable option, the exterior method is highly recommended.

Do you have questions about which method will work best for your situation?  Feel free to contact us here with any questions.  Nusite waterproofing is a basement waterproofing company serving Toronto and the GTA.  We offer free in-home waterproofing inspections and estimates.

This is a common question we get about basement waterproofing here in Toronto.

What is Covered and What Is Not

Unfortunately, basement waterproofing systems aren’t typically covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. The actual cleanup of a flooded basement may be covered but the process of waterproofing the room isn’t. Of course, if you suffer through a flooded basement for one reason or another the insurance company will want to know the reason why and then recommend you tend to the source of the problem so it doesn’t happen again. The company may cover you for the first instance of a flooded basement but certainly won’t want to dish out again.  Water leaks that result form inside the home are usually covered, like a broken pipe or faulty appliance, but external water leaks into your basement usually are not.

Lets’ compare it to an auto accident which was caused by the blowout of an old tire. The insurer may cover the damages but you’ll definitely be on the hook for buying a new set of tires to cut down on the chances of it happening again. Many homeowners’ policies will cover the contents and cleanup of a flooded basement but you need to make sure it’s included in the policy or take out a separate endorsement or rider for water damage. This usually covers broken water pipes, sewers and sump pumps etc but often doesn’t include damage caused by a flooded river/lake and storms etc. However, it’s very important to know exactly what your policy does and doesn’t cover and ask the insurance salesperson if you’d like something specific included.

External Water leaks

Most policies exclude coverage for water seepage and flooding which occurs externally, at ground level or below it. But even if flood insurance is added to your policy it usually won’t cover damage caused by groundwater since it’s really caused by lack of home maintenance such as cracks in the foundation or walls, poor lot grading, leaky pipes and inadequate drainage systems etc. The onus to take care of one’s basement and properly maintain it basically falls on the homeowner. And the best way to try and keep it dry is to waterproof it as a matter of preventative maintenance.

It’s recommended that you have a new cast-iron sump pump which is able to operate on batteries when the power to the home goes out. In addition, any cracks in your basement or foundation walls should be repaired if necessary. In some cases, you may be able to repair and waterproof your own home but if the job is too big you may need professional help. There are numerous waterproofing contractors available which will be able to waterproof your home from the inside out outside depending on the unique situation.

Flooded basements may be covered if the source of the water damage came from inside the house but not from outside of it. This includes appliances that break down and broken or frozen pipes since these are considered to be sudden and accidental problems. But even in these instances you may need to prove the damage wasn’t caused due to a lack of preventative maintenance. For example, if you leave home for two weeks in the winter and turn off the heat you may be the cause of a frozen water pipe. If you turn the heat off make sure you also turn the water off.

Therefore, it’s also important to keep an eye on your pipes and appliances and keep them in good operating condition. When it comes to external water sources, you should realize that over the years most foundations will eventually deteriorate as they settle and crack. This is basically natural wear and tear on the foundation and it may require expert help from an experienced contractor to rectify. Drain tiles and excavating may be needed but it’s often the best and sometimes the only way to properly waterproof your basement.

Contact Nusite Waterproofing

For more information on certified basement waterproofing please feel free to contact us at Nusite Waterproofing. Our team of technicians is experienced in diagnosing potential danger spots and recommend the best method of keeping your basement dry from groundwater.  We are a basement waterproofing company in Toronto and service the GTA.

False water table in Toronto basementFalse water tables can spell trouble for your basement or crawl space, even when these areas are waterproofed. As a homeowner, it can be frustrating when water keeps seeping into these areas when you thought you were protected.  Here in Toronto, almost all homes have basements and with the weather conditions and underground waterways running through Toronto, water seeping into the basement is a constant issue for Toronto homeowners.

Sometimes homeowners think their home is sitting on a high water table, when in fact their house sits over a false water table created by loose back fill.

How False Water Tables Form

A false water table forms because of the process used to excavate for your home. A hole is dug in hard-packed soil for the foundation. After the foundation is built, soil is “back filled” around the perimeter. This fill is not as compacted as the undisturbed soil beyond the foundation area. As a result, water penetrates where it can enter easily; around your home. When it rains, or when snow melts, the water follows the path of least resistance and flows away from the hard-packed, undisturbed soil towards the looser, more porous back fill.

Diagram image of a false water table in Toronto basement

Water that has accumulated will continue to rise if water is coming in too quickly, or the real water table is full and cannot handle any more water. As water always seeks to level itself out, it presses into all the voids in the soil, under the foundation and in the foundation walls. The water will continue to climb as long as there is more water pouring in and this creates what is known as a false water table. This can happen even if your home is built on high ground as the soil around the foundation collects moisture before it has a chance to run off. In the meantime all this water exerts an incredible pressure on your foundation.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Once the false water table fills up and becomes higher than the floor, your trouble really starts. Hydrostatic pressure is 63.4 pounds per cubic foot and the water presses in all directions to find its own level. Most homeowners are not even aware this is happening until there is a heavy rainfall or large amounts of snow are melting. The area under the foundation may store up to 2500 gallons of water, but when this fills the water has to find a place to go. If your foundation has any cracks or weak areas, the water will find it and enter the lower level of your home.

Basement waterproofing in Toronto diagram of basement leaks

Clearly, leaks caused by a false water table cannot be solved with a commercial patch kit. The force is too strong. Excavation alone will not solve the problem either. You will need a system designed specifically for a false water table. This involves both water control and a method of relieving the enormous pressure that builds up against the foundation. This is definitely one problem that you will want expert help with. Failure to attend to a false water table may result in the erosion of your house’s foundation, leading to additional cracks, more damage and additional costs.

Toronto Waterproofing Experts

Contact the experts at Nusite Group for a free inspection and estimate. We use cutting edge technology to find the true source of the basement water leak, which could save you both time and money. We are industry waterproofing experts and service the entire Greater Toronto Area.