Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Concrete Wall Is Leaking!

This is one of my favorite wet basement photographs, and really backs up the phrase "a photo is worth a thousand words."   The photo shows an inside foundation wall with some insulation removed.  This wet basement area was leaking a great amount of water on the floor during big rains.  The home owner was mad because they had a drain tile system but it was dry most of the time.  The photo shows a vertical wall crack and the dark area is water on the foundation and floor and what's left of a tie rod above the black corrugated channel on the floor.  With poured walls, tie rods were used to hold forms together when they poured the walls.  When the concrete sets, the forms are pulled but the contractor has no choice but to leave these tie rods in the concrete (they normally bust off the protruding tab ends).  Made of metal, these tie rods rust when exposed to water, this one is no different leaving a good size hole in the wall and possibly providing a stress point that lead to the vertical crack. 

The black corrugated channel is supposed to capture this water and drain it down to an underfloor drain tile system leading to a sump pump and sump pit.  This drain tile system has failed here and a few other places in this basement and we see this type of drain tile failure often especially when the water comes out above the floor.

Great Lakes Waterproofing uses all methods of waterproofing, they all have their strong points, but we love to do exterior waterproofing and really seal up the foundation.  In most cases, exterior hydroclay waterproofing is the least costly.  In this situation we injected all-green bentonite hydroclay along this side of the home, filling in voids and cracks.  Once set up water is not able to get through this barrier and after a year and a half of record rain fall this basement is dry again.

For customers wanted to address the crack as well, we offer Fortress Stabilization Carbon Fiber Strips.  We would use marine grade epoxy and attach carbon fiber strips to staple up the crack preventing it from future movement.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Voids Around the Foundation

Sometimes it's hard to explain to a home owner that they might have large air cavities next to their foundation, sometimes even running the length of the wall that might be letting in large amounts of water.  Over time the ground has settled and leaves voids that fill with water during a hard rain or even when watering the lawn.

With our Great Lakes Waterproofing's Bentonite (Hydroclay) Injection System the idea is to fill these voids in with Bentoseal Bentogrout.  This Bentonite Compound will fill the voids, seek out the water pathways and when properly set up, not let further water invade this space, true waterproofing, stopping water on the outside before it has a chance to enter the home.

It's not often we get a chance to show a photo of these voids but these clearly show that once the driveway was cut away it exposed these air cavities.  These cavities can hold hundreds of gallons of water and once the water finds an opening it will drain onto your floor, this can last days after the rain stops. 

The water can enter the blocks or poured wall at any point, Some waterproofers might recommend digging around the foundation, maybe two or three feet and laying a rubber membrane bolted to the foundation, this is why membranes that only go a few feet down are useless, the point of entry might be further down

the wall, we've poked through membranes and found voids further down.  Yes, we've done work on homes with rubber membranes.  For exterior waterproofing there's only one company that pulls together over 34 years of business experience.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Waterproofing older homes and buildings

Great Lakes Waterproofing is proud to have been selected to waterproof the historic home of President Benjamin Harrison located in beautiful Indianapolis Indiana  Great Lakes Waterproofing does several similar projects using our exterior waterproofing system that consists of injecting bentonite clay, or hydroclay, around the perimeter of the home.  In most cases excavation is not necessary since we use small diameter pipe that's pushed down to the footing (basement floor level).  Keeping the landscaping intact and having little intrusion on the interior is why homowners and business owners chose Great Lakes Waterproofing. While interior drain tile systems have a place, most buildings and homes are better suited for exterior waterproofing, stopping water before it gets inside. 
In older homes there are several reasons an underfloor drain tile system is not considered, such as, disturbing the basement floor might not be an option, or the basement area is finished and putting in an underfloor drain system will cause too much damage.  One of the most common issues is if the walls are poured (solid concrete) or the builder used solid rock, limestone walls are very common in the Midwest.  Drain tile is very ineffective with these mostly solid walls, the water enters the basement above the floor and cannot get into the drain tile system.
That brings us back to exterior waterproofing, not only are we sealing off the water pathways but we also help the stone and mortar stay drier, ensuring longer life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exterior Waterproofing on Historic Buildings

We're heading into the fall rainy season again and Great Lakes Waterproofing is leading the way with exterior waterproofing. While we work with most products and systems available, sealing the foundation from the exterior is our preferred method.  A lot of our Bentonite waterproofing projects involve older, maybe even historic, structures.  Bentonite (Hydroclay) Waterproofing works great because it fills in voids, follows the water and seals the passageways.  Once properly set up the foundation will have the time-tested proven properties of Bentonite.

Historic and older properties can be a little more difficult to address for exterior waterproofing, buildings were often built closer to sidewalks and parking lots.  If excavation were necessary the costs would go up tremendously.  Great Lakes Waterproofing addresses these issues by drilling small holes around the perimeter and pumping under the obstruction.  this building is typical of what you might find in the downtown district, construction is solid stone foundation and brick above grade with an asphalt patio area.  Water is coming in through this side so that's the area we'll do our exterior waterproofing.      

After drilling several small holes near the foundation, we pump our Bentonite sealing up this part of the wall.  In the photo is an injection wand, extending down around 8'-10', and hose that's connected to the pumping equipment.  Our industrial pumping equipment is capable of pumping long distances, this patio area was sealed off by a fence and we only had limited access, not only would excavating this area be difficult, most of it would have to be done by hand. 

The front side of this building also presented it's own challenges, even with the concrete all the way up to the foundation, this building had major water issues.  The solid stone walls were fine but over time some of the mortar joints opened up allowing free-flowing water to enter the building.  Since the water was entering above the floor and the wall was solid, the owner decided to go with exterior waterproofing.  Excavation and digging were cost prohibitive but Bentonite waterproofing seemed like the perfect product for this application.

After drilling small holes along the perimeter, Bentonite is pumped all the way down to the footings (basement floor level), this photo is neat because you can see the clay coming back up a hole that's over six feet away.  Once the Bentonite sets up, the water that used to flow in this "void" will not be able to pass through the Bentonite.