Basement Remodeling: Pre-Finishing and Preparation steps.

Over the past few years I’ve seen more and more problems with wet basements and more and more of them are happening in fully finished basements. The homeowner in many cases stated “it was a dry basement, we’d never seen water until today” which is very true in most cases.

There are two facts about basements that we currently have to live with:

1.) All concrete will and can crack
2.) All basements will and eventually leak

These are two very hard things for most people to understand. We’re all in denial about bad choices that we’ve made in the past and not preparing your basement before you finish could be one that you could very well have to own in the near future.

The thing is that this lesson is totally preventable. Preparing your basement is much like prepping a patient for surgery. You can’t just throw them into the ER; you have to go through a series of steps before they’re ready.

With the basement, regardless of if you’ve ever seen water, water in its gas form (vapor) can travel through concrete quite easily. Airflow brings it into your home in your basement and then helps it to travel up into the home eventually. Increased amounts of humidity and an increase in a need to run you’re A/C are two signs that you might have a moisture control problem. There are other signs that you might come across as well such as condensation, puddle-ing, and damp walls.

Don’t think for a second because you’ve never had water on your floor that your basement won’t ever leak.

The first step in finishing your basement is to install a moisture control system that will reduce the amount of moisture vapor build up in the basement, protect from leaks and flooding and dehumidification to help circulate the air and filter it.

From here you’ll be working with a clean slate that’s protected and ready to be finished over.


People do flood in Rochester, New York


If you're in Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse, New York, get in touch with Crawford Basements . They'll be able to help you select and install a battery back up sump pump system in your basement or crawl space to help keep you from flooding.

Cracking down on Illegal Sump Pump Discharge Hook ups

It sounds like it should be something that's not a "big deal", right?

Well from the loads that many homes put on the city septic and sewer systems by adding discharge from their sump pumps some cities such as Saugus, MA have have enough and are cracking down on illegal sump pumps.

Similar laws are sprinkled thoughout New England because the majority of our septic and sewer systems are rather old and aren't able to function with the current and expanding population numbers.

If you have a sump pump connected to a septic line or a sewer line in your home I HIGHLY recommend you fix that. Cap off the existing connection and let it discharge outside. If you need help designing a discharge line, shoot me a line and I can do what I can.

When/if your septic/sewer line backs up you could received raw sewage in your basement. Please take this seriously and correct your connections

Storm Ready Basements: Generators vs. Battery Back up Sump pumps.

Pioneer Basement has always suggested battery back up sump pump units be installed when you have a waterproofing system installed. It’s good common sense. If your power goes out you have a window of safe operating time until you need your power turned back on or emergency service. Keeping your basement from getting wet is a top priority.

However, it is still highly recommended that you also have a generator for your home.

If I’m already protected with a battery back up sump pump, why should I get a generator?

A totally reasonable question. If your battery back up unit has 1 or more batteries that are chained together to provide you with power, simply weigh your options. What’s the back up time on that battery? 7, 8, 16 hours?

If a battery has a limited operating time to provide power a generator can add to that protection. Most battery back up sump pump units use AC power when the power is on in the home and automatically switches to Battery Power once the power is out. By having a generator you allow your battery back up to stay charged longer and continue to run off AC power.

A battery provides a finite amount of power for a finite amount of time. It’s always best to have another plan. Generators are good for the whole home, not just for the sump pump.

Why buy a battery back up then if I’m going to be protected with a Generator?

Another excellent question. Generators also have limits. Most have fuel that needs to be added and can only maintain a particular power level for so long. Once the fuel runs out, the power it can generate runs out. You still need a battery back up sump pump in this case to run off battery power rather then just fully rely on AC power to operate.

With these past storms Pioneer Basement had many customers call whom still required battery back up units. Some of whom called with water in their basements now realizing that it’s a smart choice to have a battery operated sump pump installed.

Now, granted, most places don’t lose power for over 8 hours, however there were places in New Hampshire, Vermont and Northern Massachusetts these past two weeks that did loose power for over that time. The combination of Generator and Battery Back ups can give you a better fighting chance than just relying on an AC power sump pump alone.

Safety Tips for Dealing with Generators:
*like any type of motor powered equipment that emits CO2, run it outside. By running a generator in the basement with the windows closed you’re introducing carbon monoxide into the air supply. Basically it’s the same with running your car in a closed garage.

*When running an electrical line make sure that it’s properly insulated and that there are no kinks in the line and that the entire cord is covered with the plastic. (i.e. make sure there aren’t any cuts or openings you could walk on or touch while your generator is running.)

*When refueling the generator make sure to wear eye-protection and gloves to protect your hands. Make sure to turn the unit off when refueling to protect you and your home from a fire hazard.


Foundation repair and Crack Repair: problems with thought

So the other day we had our crack repair specialists at Rescon Basement Solutions come out to give a short history and practice lesson on crack repair, do and don't, as well as styles and filling types. For those of you who are slightly obsessed with foundation repair I'm sure you would have enjoyed it. However, for homeowners it might have been quite boring lol.

Ether way it brought up, in conjunction with a few Pioneer Forum posts, the stigma that many homeowners have about basement wall crack repairs: "well if I fix the crack, I solve the water problem".

This is wrong. Dead wrong.

Crack repair is for repairing walls. If used in conjunction with piering or wall anchoring you have some rather robust foundation repair solutions. But by no means is filling a crack the "end all be all" solution for moisture control for a whole basement.

I write more about it on the forums and my blog at pioneer basement.


Basement Finishers in CT, MA, RI: All the same?

I think one of the more common questions as of late has been "can you compare your finishing system to the Owens Corning system?" Technically...when I'm at work...I can't.

However, this is MY blog, and I'll tell you what's up.

Here I talk a little about the Pioneer Home Basement Finishing "system" called BasementShield.

Here's a list of things that Make BasementShield better/different than The Owens Corning Finishing system:

1.) Water and moisture control is included. Owens Corning, as of this past year finally got a grip and started outsourcing to Basement Systems dealers basements with water problems. HOWEVER, because they outsource this will add an additional 6,000-$16,000 on top of the OC's $50,000 price tag.

2.) Because our walls are made with mold and mildew resistant material that's just as strong as Drywall, you get a finished feel that's similar to upstairs. The walls are designed with traditional studs that won't rot, insulation and are combined with the moisture control system installed to fully protect your basement.

3.) Ceiling and Flooring options are INCLUDED in the price you get! This is something that OC hasn't ever done.

4.) Our system is custom. Design what you want, paint it, wall paper it, custom trim, built in storage..you name it, it can be installed! OC worries about your 4 perimeter walls which come in 1 color and tell you "the color will change with the carpet you put down." *sigh*

5.) Recessed lighting, electrical can be customised for your needs and design ideas.

6.) All of the products are non-organic, which means that mold and mildew can't use them as a food source.

7.) Most designs can be constructed in the same amount of time as an OC system, for thousands of dollars less than Owens Corning.

The Pioneer Home Basement Finishing system is the best, most cost effective, efficient, customisable and protected system on the market today.