Handy tool to check your local flood conditions and weather warnings

Advanced Hyrologic Protection Service map

I was having fun with this page. It's a map that gives you a series of stations throughout your state to see various conditions.

Serch by your state on their main page and you can get a detialed map of your current state's situation. It'll show you the type of weather, flood warnings, actual flood levels (which i thought was really handy)


Crack Repair: Not a total solution for basement waterproofing

Crack repair should never be considered the final solution to solve any wet basement problem. It should only be considered part of the final solution. Crack repair helps to heal and repair the foundation, but there are still many ways in which water can find its way into your basement besides that crack.

A total solution that would involve dedicated crack repair would be that of a crack or two in conjunction with a vapor barrier and drain solution.

The crack repair, even though most come with 10-year warranties, only typically covers the area where the crack was repaired. This doesn’t cover the basement either getting wet or experiencing another crack. The best way to insure that the crack is backed up is to have a vapor barrier and drainage system installed over it.

Repairing a crack, whether it, be by injection or some other method, only fills the void and bonds the concrete back together. Water can still find it’s way through the concrete, rod ties, the floor/wall joint, the joint between the footer and the wall, or if the pressure is enough through a newly formed crack somewhere else in the basement. Crack repair is only intended to repair the crack and stop it from expanding and causing further foundation wall damage.

By having a crack injected the crack will be repaired and the wall will be sound. A vapor barrier and drain can now help to remove, capture and redirect any moisture or liquid water that comes into your basement. If another crack forms due to stress on the foundation, soil movement or settling then the vapor barrier that is installed can and will protect your basement against any moisture that comes through those as well.

Having the combination of a full foundation repair, a crack repair and a moisture control system will ensure that your basement stays dry.


Homeowners need to do more Research: Licensed CT, MA, RI Contractors

I just wrote a post on another blog that I keep about Making sure your Contractor is Licensed Properly, especially in CT.

What's wrong with Connecticut? Well, to quote an article written by Michael F. Sabitoni in the Providence Journal this past year contractors who work without licenses create a "secret economy cheats workers and state."

It's true! In the late 90s and early 2000-2004 Waterbury, CT police held multiple stings to round up contractors who were putting out bids on jobs without properly being licensed or insured.

Nothing's wrong with the state, but it's the lack of attention to this subject that is also costing Massachusetts and Rhode Island tax payers millions of dollars in their own states.

If you're a contractor: PLEASE PLEASE keep your license up to date, make sure you're registered with the state and have proper insurance. You'll save me a bundle from having to pay for you to be locked up.

If you're a homeowner: Please, don't be afraid to ask for license numbers and proof of insurance. Make sure to use the contractor research links I posted or to call your labor department in your state to ask questions.

For quick reference:
CT Department of Labor Website
RI Department of Labor + Training Website
MA Dept. Of Labor


Organic vs. Non-Organic Basement Finishing Design.

There still seems to be much confusion with the introduction of “green” design and the concept of Organic vs. Non-Organic material. I’m going to do my best to address the majority of the differences.

Firstly: The idea of what “green” design is.

Calling something “Green” is simply a term to designate that “something” as environmentally friendly. This is a very broad and unregulated term. There is currently no committee that looks at everything on the market and labels it as green. The closest we have is the Energy Start qualifier labeled by the EPA.

Sump pumps that don’t use drinking water to pump are considered “green”. Walls that don’t have chemical compounds in them are considered “green.” Floors that are made out of recycled materials (woods, plastics, metals) are considered “green.” If anything “Green” is a marketing term, a buzz word, something to get those environmentally cautious, who’d never normally buy the product, interested in looking at it or potentially purchasing it.

Now, “green” products are, like with anything in the world, broken down into two categories: Organic or Non-Organic.

Organic vs. Non-Organic.

Keep in mind we’re talking HOME IMPROVEMENT, not shopping for food.

Organic is a term to label anything that can be broken down naturally, decomposed by mold, fungus, and eventually rejoin the earth as more dirt.

Non-Organic is a term for objects that cannot be broken down: PVC, Metal, lead, mercury, concrete; I’m sure you get the idea. Basically its object that can’t be broken down and can’t decompose. Think plastics and metals, opposed to wood.

Organic Design/ Green Design

Organic design is the practice of designing with organic materials. Green Design is the designing of objects that won’t impact the environment. Packaging, shipping methods, materials to build, display, construct and maintain the object are all taken into consideration. It’s a fascinating field with many new developments daily.

For the construction industry it’s a fantastic new way of looking at building homes and commercial buildings outside the normal “status quo” box. It’s a “new” marketing concept and therefore has been met with some initial resistance. But seeing as the “green” market is expanding and more people are trying to find ways to lesson their carbon footprint, it’s becoming more and more popular.

Organic Design in Basement Finishing:

Basements are naturally moist environments. The basement itself is subject to moisture in all forms year round that have the potential to becoming a floor or a leak. It’s for this reason alone that many organizations in the Basement Finishing and Basement Waterproofing industry don’t use Organic materials in their designs.

Organic material subjected to a moist environment over long periods of time can harbor the growth of mold, mildew, and therefore lead to an unhealthy household. Organic Design can’t work in a long-term solution to fit and meet your space needs in the basement. But Green Design can.

(past blog post about Organic Construction in Basements)

Many of the products, materials and methods used in basement waterproofing and basement finishing are recycled AND non-organic. These flooring, wall, and ceiling options, as well as many of the vapor barriers and drainage systems are made with recycled materials. This reduces landfill waste yearly and helps provide an environmentally friendly long-term solution.

Related Reading and Links

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

Ask Jacob A question Directly on Pioneer Basement's Help Forums!


Back in Drainage Action after a week Vacation

I don't normally talk about personal things outside of work but I had such a wonderful time in Florida this past week relaxing and doing as little as possible.

It was however hard not to think about work while I was there. The sales on long sleved plad work shirts forced me into a short term future of dressing similarly to Bob Villa. I think a professional look at work will be an interesting change for me. Just need some dockers to finish off the look and I'm good to go.

bob villa, dur(and no, I don't look anything like Bob.)

Florida, or so it seemed, is a continuous experiment with drainage. Everywhere you look there's water. Water on golf corses, end of property ditches to create motes, large land building for schools, homes, shopping centers, retainer ponds that hold the reditributed water from new developements, the examples of this endless struggle with the elements is apparent everywhere I traveled.
Saturated land, soggy grass, it's all part of the gig of building something on a swamp I guess.
So, home I come, to the land of snow, clay and sand. Drainage, wet basements, and flooding. Oh yes, I'm already busy putting together other posts in response to questions and search results to help you get the answers about your basement that you need.
Happy New Year (btw)!