basement waterproofing

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.

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 mold 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 general contractor or a design build 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.

Basement waterproofing systems Toronto

When it comes to waterproofing your basement there are three common methods. These are exterior waterproofing, interior weeping tile, and crack injection.

The most effective waterproofing method is exterior waterproofing as it’s the only method which fully waterproofs a home’s foundation. The exterior wall is sealed and a French drain system, also known as a curtain drain or footing drain is installed. If this method isn’t an option due to access to the exterior or your budget, then the interior weeping tile is recommended.  Interior waterproofing methods are usually used when the exterior is inaccessible like we have with cramped yards here in Toronto, or when cost is a factor.

The interior method utilizes drainage in the basement as a way to control the water by removing it with a sump pump. The crack injection is more of a temporary band-aid solution and is recommended for just small cracks. The water could still seep into the concrete behind the cracks with this method and the foundation may erode over time. The best way to find out which type of system you need is to contact a professional waterproofing company.

Exterior Excavation
The best way to keep water out of a basement in the first place is via exterior excavation to the bottom of the home’s foundation and around the perimeter of the home. The proper type of drainage system is installed and the walls are treated to keep water at bay. Structural engineers believe this is the best option since it keeps water out rather than simply controlling it. A good waterproofing company will examine your crawl space or basement to get to the root of the problem and then suggest the best solution for your specific needs.

With exterior waterproofing, a waterproof membrane or coating is topped by drainage panels. The water flows freely down the panels to the exterior French drain system which sits at the bottom of the home’s foundation. The water is moved a safe distance away from the foundation via a sump pump or by gravity and it is removed through a storm drain, dry well, drainage ditch, or a low-lying area of the property. The French drain is basically a trench which is slightly sloped and filled with gravel and perforated piping to divert the water. The pipe is wrapped in a water-permeable material to keep debris out of it.

Interior Weeping Tile
Water seeps into basements through porous cement-based floors and walls if there’s nowhere else for the liquid to go. If an exterior excavation isn’t possible the next best solution is the interior weeping tile method, which is basically an interior French drain system. Water applies powerful hydrostatic pressure against a basement floor and walls and if it can’t seep through them it will pool at the bottom of the walls and can gradually seep through the inside surface. An interior weeping tile system doesn’t technically waterproof a basement, but it effectively controls the water and channels it away.

A trench needs to be dug around the basement’s perimeter, approximately 18 inches from the walls and to below the footings. Weeping tile is installed and covered with gravel before the floor is re-poured. A sump pump is placed at the end of the weeping tile and removes the water. The weeping tiles attract the water since it gravitates to the lowest point. The water is then carried away before it can rise over the footings and the end result is a dry basement.

Crack Injection
Like the interior weeping tile system, crack injection is really a water-control system not a method of waterproofing. However, it’s a common and inexpensive way for homeowners to seal small cracks in a building’s foundation. This is more or less just a temporary or band-aid solution to keep water out of the basement though as you’re just sealing the cracks. The crack injection method doesn’t get to the root or cause of the problem as it just deals with the result of it. Water will continue to try to find a way to seep into the basement and it can eventually choose a different route.

For more information on wet and leaking basements and the proper solutions for them please feel free to contact us at Nusite Waterproofing. We are glad to provide our Toronto area customers with free home inspections and estimates and will work hand in hand with you to decide on the best option for your unique situation and budget.

Nusite Waterproofing Contractors has been providing basement waterproofing in Toronto for over 30 years.  We are a family business and take pride in our level of customer service as well as our professional work.  You can contact us here to schedule a free consultation and written estimate.

 

A basement needs a proper drainage system to make sure it is kept dry throughout the year. There’s more than one way to install a drainage system and there are also some helpful tasks which can be performed to keep water out of your home. A basement can be sealed on the outside as well as the inside via an exterior weeping tile/French drain system or an interior weeping tile system and a sump pump. In addition, the building should have the proper type of window well drainage and your gutter downspouts should direct the water away from your home’s foundation.

We have been repairing leaky basements here in Toronto for over 30 years and have seen how poor drainage can cause havoc on a home’s foundation.  Toronto in built on a series of underground waterways, couple that with the age of the homes and weather, and you have a perfect scenario for basement leaks.

 

Interior Weeping Tile System

The interior weeping tile system to is designed to stop water from seeping into the basement via cracks in the floor and cove joint, which is the joint between the floor and wall. This system is also effective for water that seeps in through porous concrete walls as well as a masonry wall which has deteriorated or cracked mortar joints. The cracks can be repaired permanently from inside the home by injecting them with an expanding polyurethane substance which seals them. This means no exterior excavating is needed.

Interior Weeping Tile System Toronto

In reality, an interior weeping system can’t waterproof a basement, but it will channel the water away so you never see it. The system is installed along the perimeter of the basement walls and it utilizes a plastic pipe with holes punched in it. The pipe is wrapped in a sheet to help keep the dirt out and is installed at a sloping angle. The weeping tile is covered with gravel and the floor is re-poured. A sump pump is installed at the end of the tile to carry water away before it can rises above the footings. If your basement is finished, the interior walls will need to be removed during installation.

 

Exterior Waterproofing and Weeping Tile Systems

Since the water is on the outside of the home, you can also waterproof a basement from the outside using an exterior weeping tile system along with applying a waterproofing membrane to the outside of your foundation walls.

Water often comes from the soil surrounding the home and enters the basement below the foundation or around it. The soil expands when it absorbs water and some types allow little drainage. The swelling and expansion of the soil can create pressure around the home’s foundation and this can basically push the water through small openings and cracks etc. This type of water seepage needs an exterior waterproofing system to remedy it. Poured concrete foundation walls can sometimes contain porous spots and over time, water can seep through them through these pores and cracks that develop over time.

 

 

When it comes to masonry walls, water can seep through weakened or badly-installed mortar joints. Concrete block and bricks can also allow seepage over time and any type of foundation wall can allow water to enter over its top edge. This is especially true if the grade of your lawn slopes toward your home. The solution to all these problems is an exterior waterproofing membrane which acts as a barrier against the water. This means the foundation will need to be excavated to the footings at the faulty wall or for the perimeter of the building. Loose mortar and soil are then cleaned from the wall and it’s prepared for the next step, which is an asphalt-modified polyurethane coating.

xterior Waterproofing job in Toronto

Once the coating has cured it will form a seamless barrier around the home’s foundation. This is designed to aid the wall’s structural integrity and keep the water at bay. In some cases, an insulating material and plastic drainage board can be installed over the membrane. The drainage board is designed to add protection to the membrane as well as channeling the water downward. The excavation is backfilled after this and the foundation will be protected against water seepage. If the ground water around the foundation is quite high then an exterior drain tile can be installed with the membrane. This will help take pressure off the walls and drain the water.

Nusite Exterior Waterproofing

The exterior drain tile is installed after  the membrane by laying washed gravel at the foot of the excavation. Perforated PVC pipe is then installed along the length of the excavation and drains water or it can be connected to a sump pump. This PVS pipe is typically enclosed in a fabric to keep any dirt out of it. The pipe is covered with more gravel and the area is then backfilled.

In essence, a French drain or curtain drain is a slightly-sloped trench which is filled with gravel as well as a pipe which diverts water away from a home. The drainage system gives water an easy channel to flow through and it drains out at a safe distance from the structure. The drain is typically about two feet deep and about 1.5 feet across.

 

Window Wells and Downspouts

Since the windows in the basement of your home are typically below ground surface, you should inspect them on a regular basis to make sure they’re not leaking any water. The windows themselves and the window wells should be checked for rotting, cracked or broken frames. In addition, you should look for clogged window well drains and cracked caulking. It’s important that the window wells drain properly so you need to keep all debris out of them whenever possible.

In addition, the downspouts of the home should be properly positioned so they can drain the water a minimum of six feet from the structure’s foundation. If the downspouts are presently draining into the sewer system they can be disconnected and aimed away from your home. You should also try to keep an eight-inch distance between the bottom of your downspout and ground level think about installing window wells. It’s important to check the downspouts for leaks and repair them as needed.

If you’re facing a leaking basement there will be a solution available which can be recommended and installed by an experienced waterproofing contractor.  Nusite has been providing residential waterproofing services for over 30 years.  We have an A+ BBB rating and are one fo the highest rated contracting companies on Homestars.  We offer a free on-site inspection and estimate in Toronto and the surrounding GTA.  Contact us today to learn more.