basement waterproofing

Wet Basement Solutions Toronto

Here in Toronto, basements can get wet quickly due to the age of the homes as well as the crazy weather we experience. A damp or wet basement can certainly lower the value of your home as well as pose health and danger risks to those living in it. If left unattended, moisture can easily destroy the walls and floors as well as lead to destructive mold.

Some wet basements are simply the result of clogged gutters, but it could be a more serious problem such as surface or underground water seeping into the building or water entering from storm drains.

Here are eight ways of helping keep your basement as dry as possible.

 

  1. Installing Gutter Extensions
    If the downspouts of your gutters are emptying rainwater within a five-foot radius of your home you should install metal or plastic gutter extensions to guide the water further away. You can also solve this problem by installing a drain pipe under the ground. This can be done by digging a sloping trench which will direct the water away from the home.
  2. Plugging all Cracks and Gaps
    Water can seep into a basement through cracks and gaps around the plumbing pipes. These can typically be filled in with polyurethane caulk or hydraulic cement. Plugging holes is an effective way of stopping runoff from wet soil or the surface. However, if water is entering the basement at the joint where the walls and floor meet or through the floor then plugs won’t be effective since the problem is being caused by groundwater.
  3. Restoring the Home’s Crown
    If you’ve plugged any cracks and your gutters are fine, but you’re still seeing water seep into the home from the top of foundation walls it means the surface water isn’t properly draining away from the home. The house should be sitting on a ‘crown’ of soil which slopes a minimum of six inches in all directions over the first 10 feet. The soil around a building’s foundation settles over time, but it can be built back up with dirt and a shovel.
  4. Reshaping the Home’s Landscape
    The home’s siding should overlap the foundation slightly. If the crown is built up you could feel the soil is too close to the siding if it’s not at least six inches away. In this case, you can create a mound of dirt, known as a berm, or a shallow, wide ditch called a swale. These options are both designed to redirect any water before it can reach the home. Swales are typically used for larger properties since a great deal of soil would be needed for a berm.
  5. Cleaning Footing Drains
    If water is seeping into the basement where the walls and floor meet or low down on the walls it’s usually because of hydrostatic pressure which pushes the water upward from the ground. If this is the case you should check to see if you have any footing drains installed. These are underground pipes which are used to carry water away from the home’s foundation and were installed during construction. You should be looking for a cleanout pipe that has been capped several inches above the basement floor or a drain or manhole in the floor. If these are clogged, the pipes can be flushed out with a garden hose. An augur may be needed though if the hose isn’t strong enough to do the job.
  6. Use a Curtain Drain
    If the home doesn’t have footing drains or you can’t get them to work, you can divert the underground water by installing a curtain drain. This is similar to a French drain as it is a shallow trench which is one-and-a-half feet across and two feet deep. It’s filled with perforated piping and gravel. The piping is designed to intercept any water uphill of the home and it carries it down the slope and away from the building. If the drain has to navigate through bushes or trees you can use solid piping to keep any roots from growing and clogging it up.
  7. Pumping the Water from the Inside
    If you can’t keep water out of the basement it will need to be pumped out from the inside. An indoor drain system can be created by digging a channel around the floor’s perimeter, otherwise known as an interior weeping tile system. The concrete can then be chipped out and perforated pipe is installed. This piping will drain the water to a collection tank at the low spot of the basement and it can be sent outside via a sump pump. This is often an ideal solution for an unfinished basement that is easy to access. It’s also recommended for landscaped yards which may be ruined by an outdoor drainage system.8. Waterproofing the Walls
    The water may be removed from the home via an indoor drainage system, but the walls won’t be waterproofed. You’ll need an exterior waterproofing system to achieve this such as a French drain and exterior waterproofing. This involves excavating around the home and is often the best method if the foundation has numerous cracks. Everything is kept to the outside of the home and it won’t disrupt a finished basement.

Damp and wet basements are caused by indoor humidity and/or water which seeps in from the outside. The methods of keeping your basement dry will depend on the cause of the damp/wet basement and how serious it is.

For a professional inspection of your home free of charge please contact us at Nusite Waterproofing. We’ll be able to pinpoint the source of a wet basement and offer you our professional opinion and advice on how the situation can be properly rectified at the most affordable price.

Why Your Basement Leaks When It Rains in Toronto

This one’s pretty simple to answer. If your basement starts leaking after it begins to rain, then rainwater is finding its way down through the ground around your foundation.  Your basement is like a swimming pool, except that the foundation walls are trying to keep water out, not in.  As water surrounds the foundation of your home, water finds the path of least resistance and slowly (or quickly if you have cracks in the foundation) finds a way into your basement.

To understand what occurs next, take a piece of raw concrete – this can be any shape – weigh it, put it in a container and top it up with water. Wait twelve hours before removing it and do the following:

  • Weigh it a second time. It will be slightly heavier because it’s absorbed some of the water in the bucket
  • Break the concrete into several pieces and observe how the water has penetrated right through the material
  • Leave the concrete pieces in the sun to dry out. A few days later they should weigh the same as original piece did

Something similar happens when rainwater filters down into the soil surrounding the outside of your basement walls. It gradually saturates them until it reaches the internal surface and oozes through it. This is why it’s so important to channel water away from the foundation walls of your basement. Of course, if you have cracks and other openings, water will start leaking into your basement a whole lot faster.

The Role of Hydrostatic Pressure

This is a term the basement-waterproofing industry likes to bandy around, so let’s take time to understand it. In layman’s terms, it’s the pressure exerted on water at equilibrium – i.e. not flowing – by the force of gravity. The height of the water column acts as a multiplier because of weight. So now you know why dam walls are thicker at the base.

 

Do you have a wall of water building up against your basement foundation?  If water isn’t being channeled away from your foundation, then eventually water will make its way into your basement.  Eroded concrete, shifting foundations (leading to cracks) and hydrostatic pressure will all eventually cause water leaks in your basement if you leave a swimming pool sized body of water against the outside of your foundation.

 

The Only Practical Solutions:

Stop the Problem at the Source – If you can prevent all the rainwater from seeping through the earth around your basement then it can’t enter it. Even if you only reduce this by one-half you achieve more because of the multiplier effect I mentioned above.

  • Slope the garden gently away from your house so there are no places where pools of water can form around your foundation
  • Make sure your gutter system is effective and feeds the roof water through downspouts and away down channels
  • Complete the picture by paving (if possible) the immediate area around your house so the problem is completely excluded or use some sort of natural groundcover that is sloped away from your foundation to help whisk water away instead of letting it seep into the ground next to your foundation.

 

Re-Waterproof the Basement – If you stopped the water leaks completely, that’s great. I’m glad we were able to help you. If not, then here are a few more tips regarding what to do in accordance with the extent of your leaky basement problems.

  • In the case of minor seepage, strip the walls and floor down to raw concrete in the dry season and allow them to dry out completely. Open up and seal all cracks including openings around pipes etc. with underwater epoxy filler. Seal the walls with the best quality waterproofing medium you can lay your hands on. Wait a season to see  how well this works.  You may want to hire a waterproofing company to do it properly as it’s a lot of work to have to repeat.  Just a note, this method is not considered waterproofing as it does not solve the water issue on the outside, just tries to stop water from penetrating your foundation walls.
  • If water still pools on the floor, you can try the less-than-perfect solution of trapping it in perimeter drains and pumping it away. This system (interior weeping tile system) is hardly a pretty sight, but it works. If it keeps the basement dry for an entire year you can conceal it behind some paneling so it can work behind the scenes without you having to see it.
  • If you still have to put your gumboots on when you go down there in the rainy season, then you have groundwater flowing in from surrounding areas. Your only option is to dig down around the outside walls, install exterior drains and membrane the walls. This can be a messy, time-consuming process and due to its nature, should only be done by waterproofing contractors who know what they’re doing.

 

If the latter solution is your conclusion, find yourself a reputable water-proofing specialist and seek advice. Waterproof your basement the way it should have been in the first place because it can be a big project and you don’t want to have to do it again due to shoddy workmanship.  And if you plan on finishing your basement one day, as many people are in Toronto due to real estate prices, then you really need to do it right the first time or else you’ll be stripping your basement down to the bare walls one day to do it all over again.  Have questions about your leaky basement problems?  You can

Have questions about your leaky basement problems?  You can contact us here, we’re happy to answer any questions you have.  Nusite Waterpoofing is a basement waterproofing company in Toronto, we have been serving the GTA for over 30 years and have an A+ rating with the BBB and are one of the highest rated waterproofing companies on Homestars.

 

 

 

Do you see a puddle in your basement every time it rains that seems to be coming in near the top of the wall, dripping or pouring down the wall? If you do, your basement windows may be the culprit.

While a leaky window may seem like a minor issue, these types of issues not only become an annoyance, they can actually promote the growth of mold in your basement and damage your belongings.

Most of the older homes here in Toronto weren’t made to have a livable basement.  Moisture and some water leaks are considered normal, and often times the basement window is the culprit.

Since real estate in Toronto is at a premium, most homeowners want to turn their basement into a livable space.  In order to do this, you first have to remove the water and damp in your basement or else you’ll end up with a damp, moldy basement that nobody would want to use.

Schedule a free estimate for your window well project

The basement window well if often a cause of water leaking into the basement.  This is often due to shifting foundation, rotted wood and caulking, and cracks that develop around the frame of the window well.If you find that your basement window is causing that nagging leak in your basement, here are a few things you can do.

If you find that your basement window is causing that nagging leak in your basement, here are a few things you can do.

Caulk Your Basement Window

If water is coming through a basement window, there are a couple different solutions to discover.  If you haven’t caulked the window, that it is your first line of defense.   Something as simple as caulking the window well could solve your problem.  Keep in mind that if your window has already been leaking for some time, the framing around the window could be damaged and rotting resulting in additional repairs being necessary.

Leaking window well in Toronto home

Install a Window Well

Consider window wells for your basement windows.  A window well is a curved piece of steel insert with corrugated pipe that is used to attempt to block moisture from the window area when it is below grade level and drain away water that enters the area.  If you have a window well but there’s no gravel, you may want to consider adding some gravel inside the well.  The corrugated insert is designed to route the water away but sometimes the well can be overwhelmed by the amount of rain that it receives and can also clog over time, making it useless.

Creating a window well as a means of egress
Window Well Cover

Over time, window wells can become clogged with leaves, dirt, and even snow.  They need to be cleaned out from time to time.  Covers can also be purchased to help decrease the amount of water and debris that enter the window well area.  Do your research and consult a waterproofing professional to find the right cover for your situation or repairs to current window well covers.

Window well cover Toronto home

Adjust the Grade Around Your Window

As we mentioned earlier, the grade outside your home can definitely have an effect on leaking windows.  Grade sloping towards your home can certainly contribute to leaking basement windows and result in a wet or even flooded basement.

Repairing the window won’t stop the leaking if the grade is sloped towards the home or the grade is too high above the window area.  A professional waterproofing company or landscaper can assist you in correcting these issues.  Many times water enters your basement in more than one way or location.  It’s always a good idea to speak with a waterproofing, licensed professional with expertise in waterproofing your basement when dealing with these issues.

window wells are a source of basement water leaks
Check your downspouts

If your gutters are overflowing this could contribute to the leaks.  Also, investigate where your downspouts route the water to when it rains.  If they are pouring out right against the foundation of your home, this could also contribute to windows leaking  This is a common problem and luckily an easy fix.

creating a decorative garden in window well
Install New Windows

If your windows are older, they may need to be replaced.  As mentioned previously, if the leak has been continuing for awhile, the frame around the window may be damaged or rotted and need to be replaced as well.  A shifting foundation can also lead to damage to the window frame and a new window with a proper seal may be needed.

Basement Egress Windows Toronto

You can also consider an egress window.  An egress window is larger than a standard window and is designed to provide an escape route or a way for emergency personnel to enter your home during an emergency.  Check your local building codes prior to beginning this type of remodeling as parameters can differ from area to area.  Many areas now require egress windows if you have or are building a basement bedroom, as a means of escape.

Consider hiring a professional if you install an egress window to ensure the egress window in your basement is installed correctly.  Concrete may need to be cut as well as excavation and this is not a small undertaking.  You will want to make sure your contractor knows what they’re doing and has done this sort of work foundation work before.  As an experienced waterproofing company in Toronto called out to help homeowners address their basement leaks, we see improperly installed egress windows from time to time that do cause water to enter the basement.

Solve the Problem at the Source

No matter which solution is appropriate for your leaky windows, it’s important to note that these aren’t the type of problems that take care of themselves.  Basement leaks do get worse over time and wet, damp, humid environments such as your basement encourage mold growth.  Many homeowners have or develop allergies to mold that make using your basement difficult.  Remediating the mold could even become necessary.  Act now to solve your wet basement by calling your local waterproofing professional company and request
Have questions about a leaking window or would are interested in fixing or installing a window well?  If you live in Toronto or the GTA, contact us here for a free in-home inspection and estimate.

Concrete Block Wall Basement in Toronto

Many homes in Toronto and the surrounding GTA have poured-concrete foundations, but some of them are made of concrete block, which is often referred to as concrete masonry units (CMUs) or cinder blocks. The walls of concrete block foundations sit on a footing which is a concrete-poured pad that is wider than the building’s foundation wall. This helps to distribute the home’s weight load. The foundation’s construction starts with pouring the footing inside a trench which contains metal or wood forms. The footing needs to sit lower than the freeze line and possibly deeper if there’s going to be a full-height basement.

 

Foundation Footings

The footing’s thickness and width depends on the construction and size of the home as well as the soil’s load-bearing capacity. During the basement excavation, the first row of concrete block is laid on the footing when it has cured to describe the structure’s perimeter. For foundation walls, the typical thickness of the concrete block is eight inches. However, foot-thick blocks are sometimes used for heavier loads and higher walls. More courses of block and mortar are added in a brick-like pattern until the proper height is reached. At this time, any openings and windows are built and the mortar in the wall is given time to  cure.

If there are hollow cores in the block walls they may be filled completely with mortar, but usually the edges of openings and corners of the wall are filled. In addition, extra strength may be added with steel rebar. Once the walls are finished the basement floor is poured with concrete and the ground floor framing is completed. The foundation is now supported at the bottom and top and it’s backfilled and compacted with soil while construction begins above the ground.

 

Fixing a Leak in a Concrete Block Foundation

Poured-concrete and concrete block foundations both have identical load-bearing strength, but concrete block walls are more susceptible to any type of lateral pressure which can result in seepage problems. This is because water can seep into a basement through concrete block walls via the porous blocks and any cracked mortar joints. It’s recommended that you waterproof a home’s block foundation by installing a waterproofing membrane to the exterior. This method can be done while the building is being constructed or by excavating around it.

The exterior membrane consists of asphalt-modified polyurethane. It’s applied in a thick coating to the exterior of the foundation walls and it created a barrier which helps keep out water. The waterproofing membrane is different than a damp-proofing spray as the spray is a thinner liquid which is sprayed over foundation walls when the home is built to keep condensation out of its interior. The membrane can be improved with exterior drain tile when the water table is high. The drain tile is designed to carry ground water away. In addition, drainage board can be installed on the walls as a method to help protect the exterior membrane by channeling the water downward.

If you don’t have the option of exterior waterproofing, then interior drain tile can help keep a block wall from allowing water through it. This often sees the installation of a vapor barrier on the inside walls which transports any water to the drain tile. This can be kept from view as a finish wall can cover the vapor barrier.

No matter what the reason is for your damp basement, if you have a concrete block foundation that needs to be waterproofed please feel free to contact our team of professional contractors at Nusite. We have over 30 years of experience dealing with concrete block walls in the GTA and will gladly schedule a visit to your home for a free inspection and estimate.

When You Need To Install a French Drain System

A French drain system can be the ideal solution for Toronto area homeowners who are dealing with a wet basement and/or soggy yard. Water naturally flows downhill and always takes the easiest route it possibly can. This concept is basically what’s behind a French drain system as it’s a trench which is sloped slightly and filled with a pipe and round gravel which diverts the water away from the building. The concept was invented by a 19th-century American named Henry French and is still an effective system today.

The French drains gives water an easy avenue to flow through. It runs into the gravel-filled trench and then flows into a perforated pipe which is sits at the bottom of the trench. The water can travel quite freely through this pipe and its emptied from the home at a safe distance. In general, the bottom of the trench should slope approximately one inch for each eight feet in the direction you’d like the water to flow. The water can then be emptied to a drainage ditch, a low-lying section of the property, the street or a dry well etc.

Soggy Property
Those who are dealing with surface water and soggy areas of their property can benefit from a French drain system as can those who suffer from wet basements. When it comes to soggy areas, the French drain, which is also known as a curtain drain, runs horizontally across the property and uphill from the area which you’d like to dry out. The drain doesn’t necessarily need to be deep as most of them are about two feet in depth and approximately 1.5 feet across. If the drain has to pass through treed areas or shrubbery a solid pipe can be used to make sure roots don’t grow into it and clog it.

Wet Basement
With a wet basement, a deep French drain is a good option. This system is also known as a footing drain. It is located at footing level and runs around the home’s perimeter. This enables it to catch the water before it’s able to flow into the basement. These systems are easy to install during the construction of a building, but can also be added later if necessary. If the basement is tall then the foundation footing may be quite a few feet down. In some instances, landscaping, walkways and decks may have to be taken out to install the drain. If there isn’t enough slope for the system to be effective the water may need to be sent via a sump pump to the storm drain system.

French Drain System

Interior French Drain
The interior French drain is designed to intercept the water as flows into the basement and is considered the best option when it comes to a dry basement. If the basement is finished though it means the interior walls will need to be moved before the system can be installed. A channel is cut around the basement floor’s perimeter and the concrete is chipped out. Perforated pipe is then installed all the way around. This sends the water to a collection tank which is sunk into the floor and it’s sent to a storm drain or the yard by a sump pump. The channel contains a thin concrete layer except at the edge and this catches water which may dribble down the wall.

If you’re interested in learning more about French drain systems please contact our team of professionals at Nusite. We’ll be glad to answer all of your questions and schedule a house call to discuss your unique situation. A French drain may be just the thing you’re looking for if you basement is continually wet or your property consists of soggy areas which won’t dry out.