How to Fix Basement Wall Crumbling

If your basement wall seems to be crumbling, it’s a sign that you need to take immediate action. Basement wall crumbling may seem minor at first – just some small bits of sediment found at the base of the wall. However, if left unmanaged, you may soon find larger pieces of stone or cement that have fallen away from the wall. What causes this? How do you fix basement wall crumbling? Let’s take a look.

Water Erosion

The short answer is that basement wall crumbling is caused by water erosion. Where is the water coming from? The answer is: probably outside. You may not ever see the water with your eyes, but it’s there. Even in homes without basement moisture problems, water can leak through the wall, eroding the cement or stone, and then evaporate when it reaches the interior. When that happens, it does damage to the wall without you ever seeing it.

Exterior Moisture and Water

Exterior moisture and water do two different things. If you’re noticing basement wall crumbling, but not any leaks, you probably just have damp earth around your basement walls. The moisture in the soil erodes away the cement or stone walls. However, if you’re noticing leaks in the basement, or a layer of damp on your basement walls, you likely have water pooling against the walls. 

Soil that’s more wet than damp means higher likelihood of basement leaks. This water sits against the basement wall, searching for a way in. When it finds one, pretty immediately, it will push its way through, damaging the walls very slowly and then invading your home in the form of a leak.

Exterior Basement Damp Proofing Vs. Exterior Basement Waterproofing

When the soil around your home is damp or wet, you’re presented with two options: exterior basement damp proofing and exterior basement waterproofing. The trick is knowing the difference.

Exterior basement damp proofing is meant to prevent moisture from slowly eroding your basement walls from the outside. Exterior basement waterproofing is a bit more extensive and is meant to handle higher volumes of water. This is great for houses in particularly wet areas or located at the base of a hill.

Avoid Repair from the Inside

Many people may be tempted to repair their stone or brick basement walls from the inside. After all, that’s where the walls are accessible. However, you shouldn’t try to fix basement wall crumbling by patching holes and cracks from the inside. It can actually make the problem worse.

This is because water is coming in from outside. If you patch the walls from the inside, water will still continue to get into the walls. However, with no place to escape, once it’s in the walls, it will stay there and damage them from expanding and contracting. Have you ever left an empty flower pot or bucket out in the rain? If you didn’t empty it and bring it in by winter, the water may have frozen and broken it entirely. When water freezes into ice, it expands. If this happens to the water in your walls, you can imagine how much damage will be done to your walls.

Call POM Waterproofing

If you need to discuss the possibility of future damp proofing or waterproofing for your basement walls, call us. We can talk you through the process and give you a price estimate to help you with budgeting.

Why Do I Have Moldy Basement Windows?

Are your basement windows moldy? You might be wondering why. Moldy basement windows can be caused by a number of sources. It’s our job, as your local waterproofing company, to help you find out what it is and put a stop to it.

Leaky Windows

One of the most common causes of moldy basement windows is the windows leaking. If the windows in your basement are old and seem of dubious quality, they’re probably leaking. To find out if this is the problem plaguing your basement, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the window thoroughly. Remove any mold with chemical cleaners.
  2. Dry the window thoroughly. Make sure all moisture from cleaning is completely wiped away.
  3. Wait for it to rain
  4. Check the windows for moisture. You should check after it’s been raining for a few hours at least. If it’s dark, bring a flashlight and shine it on the window along where it meets the window frame. Also, shine it along where the frame meets the sill. If you don’t see any visible leaks, touch the frame to see if it feels slightly moist with condensation.

If your windows are leaky, you’ve found the cause of your moldy basement windows. The windows will need to be replaced entirely. If the leaking is around where the window is installed against the wall, check for water damage during the installation of new windows.

Window Well Flooding

If your basement windows are located at the bottom of window wells, there’s a good chance they’re moldy from window well flooding. Window wells that don’t have any kind of drain system are just a collection point for water. Whenever it rains, the water will gather at the bottom of the wells and sit against the basement windows. 

While windows should, generally, be waterproof, most aren’t meant to withstand pooled water sitting against them. They will leak, even if they’re decent windows. So, if your window wells are flooding when it rains, invest in window well waterproofing before worrying about the windows themselves. If there’s still a mold issue after window well waterproofing and thorough removal of the previous mold, you may want to revisit item #1.

Interior Condensation

Sometimes the source for mold is actually coming from inside. Interior condensation is incredibly common and leads to moldy basement windows all the time. Different temperatures on either side of a barrier pull water from the air on the warm side. This is why a glass of ice water collects moisture on its surface. The moisture from the warm air touches it and goes from gas form to liquid form.

If you keep your interior nice and warm and the air has any level of humidity in it, cold temperatures outdoors can pull moisture to the cold windows. The condensation then drips down to collect in the window frame or sill, leading to mold issues.

To solve interior condensation issues, you can opt to replace your windows with some that are better insulated, or buy a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will pull the moisture from the basement’s air and prevent it from settling on the windows.

If these options are too pricy for you, the only solution left is to regularly take a trip down to the basement to dry and clean the windows, frame, and sill.

Why Do Window Wells Need Waterproofing?

If you have window wells for your basement windows, you should consider window well waterproofing. Why do window wells need waterproofing? Let’s take a look.

Window Wells and Basement Leaks

People who have basement windows in window wells are much more likely to experience basement leaks. Because window wells are below ground level, any time it rains, water can collect there. Therefore, the strength of your basement window seals is constantly being tested.

Not only can rain collect in window wells, ground water can as well. This is why window wells need waterproofing. Even if it hasn’t rained in months, if there’s snow on the ground, snow melt can seep into the soil and end up pooling in your window wells.

When your basement windows leak, the moisture can cause mold, attract pests, or even damage your foundation.

Window Wells and Basement Flooding

While basement leaks are bad enough, window wells without waterproofing can cause basement flooding as well. A bit of water coming in along the edges of your basement window is common. However, that’s not where the threat ends. If your window seal eventually gives out entirely, a heavy rain or substantial snow melt can end up flooding your basement. You wouldn’t leave your bedroom window open during a torrential downpour, right? For the same reason, this is why window wells need waterproofing. 

Without a working seal, you could wake up to find your entire basement filled with multiple inches of rainwater. This could cost you thousands of dollars in damages to your flooring, furniture, and more. Plus, that’s not to mention the amount of damage that could be caused by mold growth if not cleaned up perfectly.

Why Do Window Wells Need Waterproofing?

Why do window wells need waterproofing? The answer is simple: basement windows are not made to withstand constant pressure from outdoor water. Window wells are a water collection site and, therefore, need a drain to properly redirect that water away from your home. 

Prevent Damage to Your Home

When you invest in window well waterproofing, you’re investing in the safety and longevity of your home. The process is simple. We dig out the base of your window wells and add a drain. A grate will allow you to cover the drain with gravel. Then, when it rains, water will collect in the drain and be redirected away from the house. This is done by installing a drain pipe that leads about 20-30 feet away from your home. It is also slanted downward. Therefore, when water is redirected, it won’t be able to run back toward the house. It will soak into the ground below the level of your foundation. This also minimizes any potential foundational damage that could be caused by ground water.

If you have questions about the window well waterproofing process, call us at POM Waterproofing. We look forward to clearing up any questions you have. 

What to Do About Basement Wall Cracks

If your basement walls have cracks in them, it’s not unusual for them to be leaking water. However, even small amounts of water leaking in can cause huge issues. After a short while, your damp basement will develop mold, bacteria, and pests. So, what can you do to fix basement wall cracks? The answer may be more complicated than you hoped.

Find the Source

The first thing to do is find the source of the leak. If you’re looking for repair solutions, you probably already know where the water is coming from. If a basement window isn’t doing a great job of keeping out water, window well waterproofing will solve the problem. This process is fairly simple. We install something you could call a tray, which catches any water collecting in the window well. The water is then redirected away from the house.

However, if your basement leak is caused by basement wall cracks, there’s a bit more to be done.

Don’t Fill Cracks

When people experience leaky basement wall cracks, their first instinct is typically to fill the cracks in. However, you should never try to fill in basement wall cracks from the inside. 

Because water leaks in from the outside, filling the cracks from the inside traps water within the walls. The water will then expand and contract with the weather. This will cause a lot more damage to your walls than if you’d left them.

Determine Severity

Next up, you need to figure out how severe the problem is. During the worst weather of the year, is the leaking simply causing moisture on the inside of the walls, or is it running down them and pooling on the floor? If the worst the weather can do is give you a little moisture on your interior basement walls, you probably just need damp proofing. However, if it’s enough to pool, even in tiny rivulettes or puddles, you’ll want to go the waterproofing route. 

Both methods involve accessing the basement walls from the outside, which means digging a trench along the side of the house. However, they each offer a different level of protection.

Basement Damp Proofing

When damp proofing, the real culprit is the cracks in the wall, allowing regular ground moisture in. So, when hiring POM Waterproofing to damp proof your basement walls, we fix cracks from the outside and then coat the exterior of your basement walls. The crack repair will build the integrity of the walls back up while the coating will keep moisture from getting in or forming new ones. 

Basement Waterproofing

When waterproofing, the culprit is the amount of water trying to get at your basement walls. A high level of ground water will cause damage to otherwise intact walls. This happens when rain collects along the basement wall and erodes the stone.

When we waterproof your basement walls, we do the same process as damp proofing, but take it a step further. Once the wall has been smoothed and coated, we apply a solid membrane and adhere it to the wall. This membrane provides a solid barrier between ground water and your basement. Then, we install a track that collects and redirects ground water that finds its way to the membrane. The water will then be redirected away from the house, ensuring it doesn’t just pool against the membrane.

Give us a call today if you’re interested in protecting your home from invasive water. 

Damp Proofing VS. Waterproofing: What’s the Difference?

When looking for solutions to home moisture or flooding problems, you’ll come across two terms often: damp proofing and waterproofing. Contrary to popular assumption, these are two different things! In order to ensure your home’s water problems are solved properly, knowing the difference is vital. So, damp proofing vs. waterproofing – what are their differences?

Damp Proofing

As you might expect, damp proofing is protecting something against dampness. While that may not seem different from waterproofing, the difference lies in the degree of protection. 

If you have a basement, regardless of whether the interior is finished, the basement will be surrounded by stone walls. Whether these are cement or stone brick makes little difference. The reason this matters is that stone is not as waterproof – or damp proof – as people think it is. While stone does a good job of keeping water at bay in small quantities, consistent dampness attempting to infiltrate stone walls will, eventually, succeed. 

Stone, basement walls are holding the weight of all of the house structure sitting on top of them. After even just a few years, microscopic cracks will form in the walls. These cracks may be too small to see with the naked eye, but moisture doesn’t need to see cracks to find its way inside of them.

This moisture can make its way to the interior of the basement. This will cause mold in finished basement walls or becoming visible moisture on the surface of an unfinished basement wall. Damp proofing seeks to prevent this moisture from getting inside.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing, like damp proofing, is done to keep water from getting into your basement. The difference is in extensivity. Damp proofing keeps moisture from the soil from seeping in. Waterproofing protects your basement walls from excessive groundwater. For example, if your yard slopes toward your home, rain will run down the hill and collect against the walls of your basement. This is what waterproofing seeks to prevent.

If left unchecked, this kind of water buildup against a basement wall can lead to basement flooding. The longer water is allowed to enter cracks in the wall, the more the cracks will widen from erosion. This, in turn, allows more water to enter your basement. It also hurts the integrity of your basement walls. Eventually, you may end up with significant amounts of water coming into your basement when it rains. It may pool along the wall or even advance in intensity until it covers the entire floor, pooling up and flooding the basement.

Which One Is Right for You?

When it comes to damp proofing vs. waterproofing, choosing can be tricky. The question of which method is right for you depends entirely on what kind of problems you’re experiencing. 

If the water getting into your home has been getting progressively worse since you moved in, it may be a sign that cracks are widening. If your yard slopes or you live at the bottom of a hill, you should probably invest in exterior basement waterproofing.

However, if you’re simply experiencing moisture on your basement walls, damp proofing may be all that’s necessary. Before investing, you should also confirm the source of your moisture issues. If you need help with waterproofing or damp proofing, give us a call at POM Waterproofing. We’re happy to help however necessary.

What Is Capillary Action and How Is It Affecting Your Home?

Many people are under the impression that homes made of stone or brick are made to last. While they do last many years, stone and brick are weak to a very prevalent element of life: water. There are a lot of complicated things that happen with stone buildings. The average person knows that brick houses sometimes get cracks or complications, but most don’t know about capillary action. So, what is capillary action? Let’s take a look and see how it may be affecting your home.

What Is Capillary Action?

In simple terms, capillary action is when water leaches up into stone. However, it’s important to understand the details to fully get the implications of this phenomenon.

Buildings made with porous stone, like brick, or even solid stone that’s attained cracks, have little defense against water. Water finds its way into stone walls – even vertically – and makes a long journey through the cracks, or capillaries, available in them. These cracks can be miniscule – too small for you to see. However, water running through them makes them bigger. This becomes especially problematic if the groundwater in an area is salty. Even small amounts of salt in groundwater can create a lot of damage.

Over the course of a hundred years, even groundwater with a small amount of salt can take up to 4.2 kilograms of salt through a meter of wall. This salt contributes in breaking down the stone in the wall, leading to further cracks, crumbling, and the inevitable destruction of the walls.

Younger Homes

You may be asking, “How does this affect my home if it’s only 40 years old?” Well, the answer is, it may take a hundred years for 4.2kg of salt to make it through a stone wall, but it then stands to reason that half of that could make it through by the time your home is 50 years old. Capillary action is happening all the time in brick houses, even if the larger effects aren’t seen for a while.

Home Value and Long-Term Health

Therefore, if you want your home to continue standing at its best, you’ll want to take action to prevent capillary action from damaging your foundation or basement walls. These are the walls that support your entire home structure. If they’re damaged to the point that they can no longer do their job, your home is no longer safe. It’s best to start the recovery and protection process sooner rather than later, right?

Saving Your Home from Capillary Action

No matter where you live, there will be groundwater and moisture in the soil that longs to make its way into your walls. If you have a stone or brick home, or if your basement walls are made of cement that is no longer keeping moisture out, it’s time to get help.

POM Waterproofing specializes in exterior basement waterproofing. Our process is extensive, but can keep your home safe from a number of problems associated with capillary action and water leakage. Give us a call today if you want to know more about our services.

3 Causes for Basement Mold Problems

Are you struggling with mold in your basement? Trying to figure out the source of basement mold problems can be tricky. However, the good news is that it’s usually caused by one of three things. Figuring out which of these three things is leading to basement mold in your home is the first step in getting rid of it. Fortunately, if you have trouble finding the source, our professionals at POM Waterproofing can come take a look for ourselves.

Interior Condensation

The first thing that can cause basement mold problems is actually very common, especially with unfinished basements. Interior condensation is caused when your basement is badly insulated and condensation gathers against the walls. This can happen with unfinished walls made of concrete and even with badly done drywall with insufficient insulation.

The way interior condensation works has to do with temperature. You know how a cold glass will gather moisture on a hot day? The water in the air goes from its gas form to its liquid form when it touched the cold side of the glass and the molecules slow down. The same thing happens in your basement if your basement is warm and the outdoors are cold.

The cold ground against your basement wall makes the stone cold. Therefore, any moisture in the basement air can become condensation on the cold walls as soon as it makes contact. When t his condensation gathers, it will often run down the wall, collecting at the floor and giving the perfect, damp environment for mold to grow. The same can be said for basement windows with mold in the sill.

The solution to interior condensation causing mold is to buy an air dehumidifier. If the moisture is taken out of the air, there will be no moisture to collect on the walls. However, this is a short term solution. For a long term fix, you’ll need to have your walls sealed and insulated.

Exterior Wall Leaking

Exterior wall leaking can look a lot like interior condensation issues. This is why a professional eye is really helpful in the diagnosis process. When your exterior basement wall is not sealed properly, ground water and moisture can leak into the cracks in the wall. After a few years, these cracks will get longer and wider, allowing the water to leak in, onto the basement walls. 

A crack big enough for water to get in may sound large, but can actually be small enough not to notice without looking for it. The solution to these cracks is getting exterior basement waterproofing done. It’s somewhat extensive, but necessary to keep your basement leak free.

Covering the cracks from the inside will actually worsen the problem. Water will continue leaking into the wall. But, with no outlet, it will remain in the wall, freezing and thawing until it breaks the walls down entirely.

Ground Water Rising

And, last but not least, mold can be caused in ernest by ground water that rises up through the basement floor. This can happen in both finished and unfinished basements. However, in finished basements, you may not know this is happening until your entire basement floor has molded through to the surface.

This issue is severe and is best handled by installing a sump pump. A sump pump collects water along the floor of the basement. When the tank reaches a certain fullness, it will pump out all of the water through a pipe leading away from the house.

If any of these issues may be plaguing your home, give us a call at POM Waterproofing. Our team will help you find the source of your mold and put a stop to it.

The Danger of Ignoring Basement Moisture

It’s not uncommon for basements to have stone walls. There are unfinished basements with stone walls as well as finished ones. Not everyone opts for drywall when deciding on their finished basement. For some, a coat of paint or raw brick is just more appealing. However, with stone basement walls comes the ability to spot basement moisture. While many people are fine with ignoring basement moisture, POM Waterproofing is here to let you know why this could be a terrible – and costly – mistake.

Where Does It Come From?

The first thing you need to know is, where is your basement moisture coming from? In some cases, basement moisture is just condensation. This comes from your basement walls being uninsulated. Therefore, when they get cold, the moisture in your warm basement collects there. This is the same way your glass of lemonade sweats on a hot day.

However, ignoring this moisture without confirming that it’s condensation can be dangerous. That’s because, on the flip side, you can also get moisture on your basement walls from leaking cracks. If your basement walls have cracks in them, even tiny ones that you can barely see, they can leak in moisture and water from the ground outside.

What Does It Mean?

If your basement walls are leaking moisture in from outside, it doesn’t actually mean a whole lot. Simply put, your basement walls are stone, and stone is fallible against water. Water is able to erode stone at a surprisingly fast rate. Even if your house is only 10 years old, it may be leaking exterior moisture into the basement.

However, while the leaking itself isn’t complicated, the result of it might become complicated. Let’s look at how this can cause long term damage.

Long Term Damage

Basement moisture isn’t something to scoff at. It can go from a slightly damp wall to something worse in no time at all. Here’s how:

The first danger of ignoring moisture problems is the potential for mold growth. Mold loves moisture even more than it loves outright water. When your basement walls are damp all the time, they provide an environment for mold to thrive. This mold can grow directly on the walls, spread to your carpet, get into your subfloor, and ultimately rot the structure of your house. Mold may seem like a mild irritant on the outside, but it can quickly turn deadly.

Not only does moisture risk the rotting of any wooden structural elements, it also poses serious health risks. Even for people who aren’t asthmatic or allergic to mold, breathing in mold spores can cause COPD, pneumonia, and more. This risk is even higher if you have carpeting in your basement, as each step on carpet contaminated with mold will force spores into the air. Mold in carpet is not always visible from the surface, and spores can come through from beneath, leading to an easy-to-miss health risk, all because of wall moisture.

Preventing Basement Moisture

The best way to prevent basement moisture is to confirm the source and take steps to block that source. Condensation is less than ideal, but can be avoided with a dehumidifier. Leaking basement walls, on the other hand, are best managed with exterior basement waterproofing or damp proofing. Give us a call at POM Waterproofing today and we’ll come out to assess your basement as soon as possible.

What Can I Use to Repair Basement Leaking?

If your basement walls have cracks in them, it’s not unusual for them to be leaking water. However, even small amounts, dripping in when it rains, can cause big problems down the line. Mold, bacteria, and pests are just some of the results of leaking basement walls. So, what can you use to repair basement leaking? The answer may not be as simple as you hoped.

Find the Source

The first thing to do is find the source of the leaking. If you’re looking for repair solutions, you probably already know where the water is coming from. If a basement window isn’t doing a great job of keeping out water, you likely need some window well waterproofing. This process is fairly simple. We install something you could call a tray, which catches any water collecting in the window well. The water is then redirected away from the house.

However, if your basement leaking is caused by cracked basement walls, there’s a bit more to be done.

Don’t Fill Cracks

What most people end up looking for when trying to DIY repair basement leaking is something to fill in the cracks in their walls. However, you should never try to fill in basement wall cracks from the inside. 

Because water leaks in from the outside, filling the cracks from the inside ends up trapping water within the walls. The water will then expand and contract with the weather. This will cause a lot more damage to your walls than if you’d left them.

Determine Severity

The next step is figuring out how severe the issue is. During the worst weather of the year, is the leaking simply causing moisture on the inside of the walls, or is it running down and pooling on the floor? If the worst the weather can do is give you some moisture on your interior walls, you likely just need damp proofing. However, if water is coming in enough to pool, even in tiny rivulettes or puddles, you’ll want to go the waterproofing route. 

Both methods involve accessing the basement walls from the outside, which means digging a trench along the side of the house. However, they each offer a different level of protection.

Basement Damp Proofing

When damp proofing, the real culprit is the cracks in the wall, allowing regular ground moisture in. So, when you hire POM Waterproofing to damp proof your basement walls, we fix cracks from the outside and then coat the exterior of your basement walls. The crack repair will build the integrity of the walls back up while the coating will keep moisture from getting in or forming new ones. 

Basement Waterproofing

With basement waterproofing, the culprit is the amount of water trying to get at your basement walls. A high level of ground water will cause damage to otherwise intact walls. This happens when rain collects along the basement wall and erodes the stone.

When we waterproof your basement walls, we do the same process as damp proofing, but take it a step further. Once the wall has been smoothed and coated, we apply a solid membrane and adhere it to the wall. This membrane provides a solid barrier between ground water and your basement. Then, we install a track that collects and redirects ground water that finds its way to the membrane. The water will then be redirected away from the house, ensuring it doesn’t just pool against the membrane.

Give us a call today if you’re interested in protecting your home from invasive water. 

How to Repair a Damaged Foundation

A damaged foundation is bad news for anyone. Your home’s foundation is what keeps it “alive.” Without it, the rest of the structure would quickly fall victim to shifting ground and instability, making the building dangerous to live in. So, how do you know if your foundation is suffering? What happens if it is? Can you repair a damaged foundation? POM Waterproofing has answers to all of your questions and more. Let’s take a look!

Is My Foundation Damaged?

The first step to anything foundation related is knowing if it’s damaged to begin with. There are obvious warning signs from both inside and outside of a building.

Signs from the interior include:

  • Cracks in your sheetrock/drywall
    (Not your paint. Old paint get’s little cracks in it over time and this is harmless.)
  • Cracks in your flooring
    This is most noticeable with tiling or the cement floor of an attached garage.
  • Doors or windows that aren’t aligned correctly anymore
    Have you ever noticed your doors suddenly closing more or less easily during certain seasons? This is due to shifting in your foundation.
  • Floors being uneven
    Your foundation was built to provide a flat, even surface for your house. If the floors of your house are not completely flat, the foundation has shifted.

Signs from the exterior include:

  • Cracks in exposed parts of your foundation
  • Gaps between exterior doors or windows and the exterior wall
  • Displaced moldings, doorframes, and window frames
    If there is a gap between the frame or molding around a door or window and the wall that it should be sitting against, something is amiss. 
  • Cracks in exterior brick or stone walls
    Cracks in the mortar between bricks is bad enough, but any shift in the foundation that can apply enough pressure to crack the bricks themselves is noteworthy.

How to Prevent Damage

If you’re not seeing many of these signs, your foundation is probably fine. However, if you see one or two things that seem like they might indicate the beginning of a problem, there’s a way to prevent that problem from getting worse.

To prevent a damaged foundation, you should heavily consider damp proofing or waterproofing for your exterior. This process is somewhat involved. It aims to install a barrier between your foundation and the surrounding ground. This is very effective at stopping damage from groundwater and moisture. It can also be used to prevent moisture from leaking into basements, which is a leading cause of basement mold.

Can A Damaged Foundation Be Repaired?

The amount of damage a foundation can accrue before it is irreparable is quite extensive. Repairing a foundation actually comes with many solutions. This is especially true if you catch the damage early on. Foundations that are beginning to shift position due to the shifting ground beneath it are some of the easiest to repair – though the process isn’t simple nor cheap.

How to Repair a Damaged Foundation

If you need help repairing a damaged foundation, you’ll need to contact a local specialist. The repair will typically involve digging into the surrounding soil to expose the foundation. Your specialist can then repair it from beneath by applying supports. This uses a method called slabjacking.

If you have questions about damage prevention, waterproofing, or damp proofing, you can get all the help you need right here. Call us at POM Waterproofing and we can help you avoid any future need for foundation repair.