Basement Waterproofing is insurance for Basement Finishing

You might wonder, “What does waterproofing have to do with finishing your basement?” however, waterproofing your basement protects your remodeling investment.

Home improvements of all shapes and sizes cost money and the last thing you want to do is to jeopardize the longevity of that project. Not waterproofing your basement and installing moisture control can have serious long-term effects on your finished product.

A typical basement finishing project can run anywhere from $25,000 to well over $100,000 depending on floor plan, details, amenities, and difficulty. There are many different “finishing systems” out there that claim to be “waterproof” or “removable in case of flooding” but what’s the point of spending money on walls in a basement if you have to remove them in order to keep them dry?

Lets say you choose do have wood studs and regular styled drywall in the basement. Both are organic materials that easily soak up moisture and water. Mold and rotting wood are the next logical steps if a flood happens or a small leak gets out of control. You spent $25,000 on that project and you’re going to have to spend at least 1/4th of it just to repair it. Bringing your total project cost to now $30,000.

You wouldn’t buy a car and not protect it, don’t finish your basement without defending against moisture and flooding.

What if you could spend $25,000 to not only have moisture control, dehumidification, air circulation, water and flooding protection, have it all warranted, and have your basement finished? Wouldn’t that be smarter? Having it all done with mold and moisture resistant materials with the look and feel of your first floor is easier than you think.

You would actually be buying a finishing system that has your basement’s health in mind. You would actually be truly finishing your basement. You’d be transforming your basement from a moisture zone to a controllable, healthy, comfortable environment.

With waterproofing your walls, your floor, your whole finished area would be protected. With the proper finishing materials and design your finished space will be exactly what you dreamed it could be, and it’ll all be well protected from flooding and moisture.

Call Pioneer Home Basement Finishing today: 1-800-439-0788
Or visit us online: www.homebasementfinishing.com


Wet Basements in New England, CT, MA, RI: How water gets into your basement

It’s rainy weather like today’s (cloudy and raining all over Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts, I’m sure that Connecticut saw it earlier) that will eventually remind many homeowners how important having a dry basement is. Having a wet basement can be aggravating. Many people get down on their hands and knees to sop up water with sponges, buckets and wet-vacs.

The fact of the mater is having a wet basement isn’t your fault. It’s a design flaw in how basements are built. The good news is you can have someone inspect your basement, and install something that addresses these flaws head on.

Water can find it’s way through the space between the footing and wall:
When a wall is made the footing is poured first and left to dry. They form it around 2x4 in order to achieve a “dove tale” so the wall poured on top of it dries with part of it’s support inside of the footing. The problem is that the concrete can’t connect. If one object is dry, a wet concrete object can’t merge with it and become one solid piece. There’s a natural space left between the two objects. This space is an easy route for water to press through and find itself ether on your floor, underneath your floor, or wicking up your walls.

Water can settle under your concrete Floor:
Wet basements can also happen with water seeping up from underneath the floor. When a foundation’s walls are finished the Contractor “back-fills” or fills in the open areas with dirt, stone or gravel. Your floor of your basement rests on back fill. Depending on what was used for back fill it can be easy or hard for water to sit, build pressure, and find holes and gaps to seep up from. Cracks in the floor or the gap between the floor and the wall are the two most common areas this water shows itself.

Water can come through cracks in your foundation walls:
Cracks happen to all concrete eventually. There are many factors that can cause cracks in concrete but the one thing that can exploit these small tares in your walls is water. When it rains outside the soil soaks up the amount of water it can handle, the rest is left to fend for itself and find places to fill up. When water finds a crack in your wall it can “sense” the pressure difference in the basement and seeks to occupy the open space. Depending on the amount of water and pressure build up outside, the water can dribble, seep, or pour through cracks.

Addressing all three possibilities is the key to success:
Now the major issue is finding something that tackles all three, looks good, doesn’t interfere with your use of the basement, and protects you for the life of the house. The GrateDrain system by Grate Products LLC is that system. The combination of Wall Protection, Crack Repair, a Duel Channel drain to address both directions of water flow, and a GrateSump to relieve pressure under the floor and remove the water in the drains are the way to go.

The GrateDrain is designed to remove water from under the floor and defend against that water building up over time. With a solid wall in the middle of the drain it can separately address the water coming from the wall behind the wall protection and the water coming between the footing and the wall. The GrateSump, where the sump pump is installed, will add extra support for water build up under the floor at a deeper level as well as provide the exit strategy for the water in the drain.

The GrateDrain is a flawless, seamless, closed system to protect your basement from ever being wet again. Basements in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have been receiving help from Pioneer Basement for over 25 years (a GrateDrain Installer!). If you have a wet basement and need help, if you have dreams of finishing but need to get water under control, then look no further; Pioneer Basement is here to help.

For basement waterproofing, or wet basement help in CT, MA, or RI, call:
1-800-649-6140 or visit Pioneer Basement online: www.pioneerbasement.com


DIY Basement Waterproofing.

It’s a wonderful day an age where most projects in the home are considered DIY (do-it-yourself). However, being that I’m personally familiar with the complexities of basement waterproofing, when people ask me “do you know of any DIY Basement Waterproofing kits?” I sadly can’t help but laugh.

Every project that I’ve seen done DIY to waterproof a basement has failed. Paints, Sealants, make-shift sump pump “cut outs” with wood hole covers, drilled holes in the concrete floor, the list just gets more horrific with every passing week it seems.

The reason I stress that Basement Waterproofing shouldn’t be a DIY project is because it’s dealing directly with the support network for your whole home: The Foundation.

Basement waterproofing, when done properly in the interior of the basement, requires that you remove part of the floor next to the wall. You do this to uncover the footing of the home. A drain is placed along the footing, pitched and eventually will connect to a sump basin that cannot be more than 19” deep. Any deeper and you can disrupt the soil underneath the footing and possibly undermining the foundation (causing it to callapse).

If you’re hell bent on doing the project yourself take into consideration the following ideas in planning your diy waterproofing project:

1.) Materials: there are only a few drains out there that redirect water from both the wall/footing direction and from underneath the slab. Most drains do one or the other, not both

2.) Standard sump basins are too deep. This can seriously cause foundation issues down the road.

3.) Sealents and Paints don’t work. Both are not true vapor barriers and both will not lead the water properly to a drain system. Consider the use of a full wall protection Vapor Barrier like HD TuffSheild.

4.) If any drain has holes smaller than 1.25” x .75” don’t use them. They’re apt to clogging and bacteria build up. Most of the black corrugated piping clogs easier and is much more uncontrollable once you put it in the floor. Punched drain holes are better than drilled drain holes for the same reasons.

5.) If you can’t find these parts on your own you can try a place like Basement Depot in order for find the proper materials.

Products I know to meet these above standards: GrateDrain, GrateSump, Various Vapor Barriers, and all of these can be found through Pioneer Basement or other Grate Products Installers / Dealers


America's Toughest Jobs: FINAL SHOW!: BEN COLEMAN!

I know it's only Thursday, but I'm excited.

Ben came in the office the other day and is also anxious to see this all come to an end. He's been so good at not telling us how the story ends, so I'm sure he's ready to let out and tell us everything.

Saturday on NBC 8pm is the final round. 4 contestants, 3 of the toughest jobs, and Ben Coleman, my friend and co-worker is one of the final 4.

It's hard to imagine him as anything but a hard worker. I've known him for quite some time, seeing him work for Pioneer Basement, work for other construction crews, and then come back to Pioneer Basement. He's an ethical, logical, and hard working man who cares about what he does, helping people and helping people save their homes.

Anyone who reads this, I urge you to route for Ben Coleman on this Final Show of America's Toughest Jobs, this Saturday at 8pm!! ON NBC!

If you are a customer of Pioneer's or want to send a comment directly, please post on our forums!:

Wicking, Seepage and Cracks: Basement Waterproofing

Wicking, seepage and cracks are the three major ways that water finds its way into your basement.

Wicking is the process of water absorbing its way up an object. You can see this by cutting a small strip of paper and dipping it in a glass of water. As you hold it the water travels up the paper, filling up the gaps and creating a chain against gravity. The good news is it can only get so far without needing extra pressure to push it higher.

Seepage is a term to describe water that drizzles in through separations in the floor, footing and walls of your basement. Seepage is normally a sign of pressure or extreme separations.

Cracks tend to be more obvious. They can happen in the floor, the wall or the footing. Cracks are caused by settling, soil expanding against the wall, heavy impact, roots, or as the case is with floors typically, hydrostatic pressure (which is the pressure an amount of water has on an object; more water, more pressure).

Wicking can only be stopped by two methods:
1.) The entire foundation, footing included is wrapped in a non-porous material, such as plastic.
2.) The footing and the walls are made out of a non-porous material.
Typically, wrapping and damp-proofing the foundation is done at construction. So if you have water coming in your basement currently and it’s 5 years old, or older, chances are your home isn’t damp-proofed.

Seepage can be addressed by giving the water a place to go, rather than coming up on your floor. Typically this is where drains come in. It allows the water an easy route of passage and “tricks” it to following the drain into a sump where it’s removed by a pump. Easy, right? Large amounts of water can build up in these small separations between the floor and the footing and the wall, this can cause back ups and water can still jump up to your floor, even with just a drain.

Cracks, being caused by water under the floor, or pressure outside the walls can be repaired. The caused of the cracks can also be further addressed. Vapor barriers for the walls and a split channel design drain can handle both. It’ll remove water from under the slab and relieve pressure. The Vapor Barrier can stop the jumps of water in the seepage scenario and correctly direct it to the drain.

All three problems can be solved by one proper basement waterproofing system solution.

For more information on how to get GrateDrain in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Rhode Island, Contact Pioneer Basement @ 1-800-649-6140 or on-line http://www.pioneerbasement.com/

For all other states in the United States, Canada and the UK please direct your questions to GrateProducts LLC @ http://www.grateproducts.com/


Ben Coleman, Tonight on NBC's America's Toughest Jobs!

Not many people actually know that I've Known Ben Coleman for years. We met while I was in college and now we both work for Pioneer Basement Waterproofing in Westport, MA. Like his profile on ATJ's says, he was my go to guy. We enjoy the same music, we're both very political and articulate, and I can't say how excited I am for him in this Nation Wide Opertunity.

A few months ago he was cast to appear on a show called America's Toughest Jobs which is on NBC tonight at 8pm.

From what I understand tonight is either the last show or the next to last. Either way I wanted people to know that you can catch up on past episodes online, view his profile and if you're really into it, give him a shout tell him that you're a reader of mine who is routing for him.

So on behalf of everyone at Pioneer Basement, myself, my house-hold and my close group of friends: GOOD LUCK BEN!!!!!! WE HAVE FAITH!!!

Ben on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/benisaruckus
Ben's "meet me" page on America's Toughest Jobs: http://www.nbc.com/Americas_Toughest_Jobs/contestants/ben.shtml


Are Tenants Responsible for Mold Damage in Rhode Island Rentals?

This is another post dedicated to questions that have lead people to my blog and not finding anything that connected to their exact question about their home, construction, or basement project. In hopes that this information can be helpful to a person in Rhode Island dealing with a mold issue in their basement, I've posted this blog.

According to a renter’s hand book distributed by the University of Rhode Island:

Page 11:
“A tenant must comply with required State and local health and safety code standards. The rental unit and shared interior/exterior areas must be kept clean and safe from hazards. The garbage, rubbish, and other wastes must removed from the unit (as necessary) and disposed of in a proper manner. The plumbing fixtures and facilities must be kept in a clean and satisfactory condition. All electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, and other facilities and appliances on the premises must be used in a reasonable manner. There must be no deliberate or negligent destruction, defacing, impairment or removal of anything that is attached to or otherwise part of the premises. Also, the tenant is responsible for the conduct of family members and visitors in regard to the afore- mentioned situations.

The tenant should: avoid causing noisy or unruly disturbances which may bother other people; bring regular maintenance and major repair situations to the landlord's attention on a "as needed" basis; and notify the landlord promptly of any conditions that may cause deterioration of the premises.”

This can be translated as: If the tenant caused the mold growth via a spill or neglect to bring it to the attention of the landlord, then they can be held accountable.

If it is something that is caused by the neglect of the landlord then it is the landlord’s responsibility.

“Landlords must comply with state building code (RIGL 23-27.3) requirements concerning all new construction, additions, or repairs that are done or are needed. It is also extremely important that rental units be kept in a continually fit and habitable condition. When a unit is initially rented and during any period of occupancy, state law requires that a unit meet the housing standards of the Rhode Island Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Code (RIGL 45-24.3) (or http://www.library.state.ri.us/publications/hrc/2007Revision%20of%20L_T_Handbook2.pdf ), as well as local related ordinances. If a unit is sub-standard and repairs are not made in a prompt and satisfactory manner, there are certain options available to the tenant under the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act as well as under the aforementioned housing code laws…

Generally, minor repairs of a structural nature are the responsibility of the landlord (if needed as a result of normal wear and tear) as well as all major repairs. As will be mentioned elsewhere, certain minor repairs, as well as cleanliness, and repairs needed as a result of the tenant's (or guest's) negligence or purposeful destruction are usually the tenant's responsibility. There can be a written agreement made between a landlord and a tenant, which allows the tenant to do specified repairs, maintenance, alterations, and remodeling. But such an agreement must be made in good faith, in writing, signed by both parties, and supported by adequate compensation. The agreement cannot be made so the landlord can avoid his or her responsibility under applicable building and housing codes, nor does it in any way diminish or affect the landlord's obligation to other tenants on the premises.”

Not having a law background I can’t weigh in on a “verdict” for whose responsibility it is. However, the one thing that should be weighed in on is a landlord not acting. If there is a foundation issue, a moldy basement, or a basement leak that isn’t fixed or addressed then yes, I agree that the landlord should be held responsible.

So it’s in your best interest as a tenant to educate yourself on the types of mold that are found in basements, effects, causes and if you suspect you have a moisture problem, then to contact a professional basement waterproofing company to help you iron out suggestions for proper mitigation with your landlord.

Further reading:

Indoor Mold Legislation Proceeds Cautiously at the State, Federal Level – Latham & Watkins, LLP



(this is a particularly partial listing and explanation of mold types and other resources)

Basement Waterproofing, Moisture Control, Dehumidifers and Basement Finishing


Where should a Sump Pump fall on my list of Priorities?

Where should a Sump Pump fall on my list of Priorities?

It’s a very common question, especially if you’ve already talked yourself out of believing you have a water problem in your basement.

If you have flooded, seen water, or experienced water of any kind in your basement, EVEN once a year (or once in a blue moon as you might put it), then a sump pump is a good starting point to help protect you from future flooding.

Sump pumps matched into the GrateSump are designed to help control the overall level of water, moisture and water vapor under your basement slab. Staying at 19” deep, the GrateSump is designed to house the pump, protect it and also discourage the moisture under the basement floor to coax any soil out from underneath the foundation footing which supports the house (in professional terms: Foundation Undermining).

Sump pumps that run less require less service, which in turn means that the pump will be more ready for your “once in a while” water that finds its way into your basement.

Once a sump pump is installed we can determine how often it runs, if there are any other problem areas in the basement that occur or reoccur and address those accordingly. Pioneer Basement’s uses the GrateSump because of its ease of extension. We can add onto the system whenever extra protection is needed in the future. More drain? Extra Pump? Wall Protection? Any one of these can be added to the existing sump, which would in turn become the heart of the water removal process.

A sump pump matched with the GrateSump is a great first step home improvement choice for those who want to address their basement and foundations properly.


NJ.com Article : Correct Basement Answer, not found.

Another article with slightly poor advice.

Q. I have a basement with standard masonry walls. There's a little "bump out" workshop that was put in sometime after the original house was completed. The owner cut through the original foundation to create a door and built an underground workshop there. An enclosed sun porch rests atop the workshop. The workshop is the dampest part of the basement. We keep finding puddles in one corner, sometimes up to a half-inch deep. This happens every few weeks, regardless of the weather. We have to take out the shop vac and vacuum it up.

That dries things out for a little while, but, inevitably, the water returns, and a portable dehumidifier doesn't seem to help. There are no visible cracks or condensation on the walls, and the water appears to either be bubbling up through the floor or through microscopic cracks at the base of the wall. (The floor is covered in 50-year-old asphalt tile and mastic, so we can't see whether there are any obvious cracks on the slab below.)

The rest of the basement is bone dry, including the other side of the workshop. We spoke with a few different basement waterproofing companies, all of whom told us that the only solution was to put in a sump pump. But that seems like overkill if the problem is only in one corner of this little part of the basement. What would you recommend? Short of digging out the foundation and resealing it from the outside, or repouring the floor, we're flummoxed!

-- Union

A. If the puddles appear during any season and you don't see any wetness on the walls indicating condensation, it is likely that the water is coming through the walls. If it were coming through cracks in the floor, you would likely see white efflorescence in the joints between the old asphalt tiles. Check the grade around the entire foundation, as water can travel considerable distances before it finds a weak point. Make sure that the grade flows away from the foundation and correct any low or flat areas.

It is also possible that, when the "bump out" was built, a dirt ball fell on the footings before the walls were erected and, over time, water pooling at the base of the foundation has found its way inside at that point; I have seen this before, where the top of the footing was not thoroughly cleaned before the wall forms were set up or the concrete blocks were laid. If the walls are made of poured concrete, you may want to try to waterproof them with one of the coatings available in hardware and building supply stores. However, if the walls are concrete or cinder blocks, do not waterproof them from inside, as their cores may fill with water and cause worse problems. If the condition is so small, as you say, you may just have to live with it.

I'll say this again in responce to this statement:
"If the walls are made of poured concrete, you may want to try to waterproof them with one of the coatings available in hardware and building supply stores"

Coatings don't work for long periods of time. They should only be used as a temperary solution if used at all.

The man, Henri de Marne is a little rough with the person asking for help. No one has to "live with" a wet basement. In fact no one SHOULD live with it because over long term not only is it damaging to your house but damaging to your health.

This is clearly a problem that's caused by both the land grade and something that's wrong with the footing/wall cold joint. I'm guessing there's not exterior drain system to speak of and it sounds like the area actually needs a bit of work.

Dinggy looking wood furtinure can be fixed with coatings and paints, not foundation walls.


Basement Waterproofing News

post on foundation repair and basement waterproofing in boston, why it's important and what you can do after your prepare your basement the right way.

The Perfect Basement Finishing System.

There are so many systems out there that transform your basement into livable space. The sad thing is that not many actually protect the space too.

Pioneer Home Basement Finishing’s BasementShield system is the combination of both the waterproofing industry and the basement finishing industry. With both focused on protecting the investment and the family, the products and style of construction are more in tune with the cry for healthier construction practices in your homes.

The perfect combination of materials for finishing a basement weren’t hard to put together. It was the drive, the need and the desire of our customers that helped us to find the right path. The key to a successful finishing project with long-term protection is to first waterproof the space properly, provide air circulation and to build the finishing elements, walls, floor, and ceiling, with non-organic and mold resistant materials.

By installing solid fixtures, insulated walls, anti-sag ceilings, recessed lighting, and other amenities, you have a durable, decorate-able, paint ready area in which to enjoy. These non-organic materials help to resist mold, mildew, and are designed with the waterproofing system in mind. As it works to protect your space against the moisture and water of the outside, the dehumidifier is circulating and filtering the air on the inside. Protecting the walls from moisture damage drastically minimizes the possibility of mold and mildew while providing an amazing finished surface to hang shelves and paintings.

Your whole basement will be treated, not just covered over. The idea is to keep the walls up, allow the system to work for you to protect your space, so you don’t have too. At Pioneer Home Basement Finishing we want to provide you with your dream space while protecting and promoting a healthy basement environment.

Call us today to set up an appointment with one of our Project Managers who can walk you through the design phase. : 1-800-439-0788

If you’d like to see more options of what our BasementShield system can become, please visit our web site and browse the gallery of images of some of the completed projects.


Another: Do-it-yourself Q&A


Q. Water was seeping into our basement through the concrete floor, and in an attempt to stop it we applied a waterproofing paint to the floor. Since then, although we have solved the water problem with an expensive drainage project outside the house, we have had a lot of problems with the floor. The paint bubbled up in some areas and we scraped it off. Parts of the floor are now white and crumbling. How can I get my smooth floor back? -N. Hermann

A. As you discovered, putting waterproofing paint on the floor was a mistake. These paints are designed to stop seepage through walls, and they often do a very good job of that, but they should not be used on floors.

You should have the floor examined by an experienced concrete contractor. It is possible the slab can be cleaned up and given an overlay of fresh concrete, but only a personal examination by an expert can determine that. You can also get a smooth, good-looking floor by covering the existing floor with interlocking tiles. The tiles are not fastened to the floor, and can be removed at any time, but they give a smooth, attractive, skid-resistant surface. For more information, visit www.XXXXXX.com and type Garage Floor Tiles in the search space.

Sadly, yet again, I have to make a correction on this:
These paints are designed to stop seepage through walls, and they often do a very good job of that, but they should not be used on floors.

Paints don't work for long-term solutions. If it covers, paints or seals, it can bubble, crack and peal. By "sealing up" the pores in concrete you're only doing this on the inside of the basement. For a sealing to truly work you must apply it on the exterior of the foundation in the first place. HOWEVER, even doing that, it's only a temporary stop measure.

Getting back to the inside: by sealing up the pores you're creating more pressure against the wall. If you poke a hole in a bottle, the water dribbles out, you put a stopper in that and what happens, the stopper eventually gets forced out because the build up of pressure behind it, due to the fact that the hole is the path of least resistance for the water to flow.

So what you're really doing is creating more pressure beyond the wall to force against this "paint". Because hydrostatic pressure build up is more common below floors more moisture comes in direct contact with your basement floor. So by putting a paint on the floor, the moisture seeps and travels through the concrete of the floor, and just like paint upstairs, will cause it to peal, crack and come right off the floor.

The paint bubbled up in some areas and we scraped it off. Parts of the floor are now white and crumbling

If you're experiencing "white" parts on your foundation, that's a sign of water contact with that surface. It's the left over mineral deposits from water after it evaporates.

Plenty of businesses sell attractive solutions for your basement flooring needs: www.homebasementfinishing.com and www.basementdepot.com are just two I know from my own network of friends.


Water Coming in through the Foundation of the House.

This is the typical issue that people with wet basements have. Moisture/Water is coming directly through the foundation via a crack or puncture.

Punctures can happen from direct impact on the foundation wall, or through a very long process of micro-pores finally being connected via the concrete separations giving way.

Cracks are a common thing in many homes, especially older homes. Settlement, soil expansion and contraction, hydrostatic pressure, rapid cooling and drying of new concrete, or in the case of concrete block and brick, the mortar breaking up and dissipating.

The first step in correcting any foundation leaks that lead to a flooded basement is to formally address the foundation issues. Re-point the blocks or bricks, correct mortar issues, fill cracks, add FiberLock or Wall Anchoring systems (if one is needed) and then move onto the next step.

After the foundation is secure it’s time to waterproof the basement . Many people think that hydro-sealing the cracks is good enough to repair the crack and waterproof the basement. Sadly, after years of watching such repairs fail, it’s not. It’s a good temporary solution to get you safely to a permanent solution.

Installing an interior drain system in your basement is the only proven, permanent method to keep your basement dry. This will cover the addressed foundation, trap and redirect water to be properly drained and removed from the basement.

All foundations require an amount of water, especially in places like Texas, to stay stable, upright and without major incident. Concrete being naturally porous and absorbent, water will naturally find its way into concrete to fill the holes left behind by the drying process during the curing of the concrete walls.

Questions about your basement or foundation? Contact me on the Pioneer Basement Help Forums and Ask away. Don't forget to leave your comment here or to quote it in your forum posting.

Related Reading and Links

Read about the Top 6 Basement Mistakes that contractors and homeowners make.

Ask Pioneer Basement a question Directly on Pioneer Basement's Help Forums!