Basement flooding has become a major problem of many homeowners across the globe. Especially during wet season, the soil retains more water. Water that is sipping to your basement can come from various sources such as rainwater that pours off the roof, underground wells, poor drainage, leaky or burst pipes and overflow of river. A wet or flooded basement can lead to all kind of miserable problems if not addressed properly.
The basement serves many purposes. Most of the time, basements are cooler in the summer compared to some of the floors above. Generally, it has less humidity, and is easier to heat or cool. Aside from this, basements provide a wide, ideal space to use for safekeeping of your important and unused properties. Most importantly, it serves as the foundation of the house. Once a basement is damaged by water, it may eventually lead the house to collapse.
Concrete is generally brittle by nature and your basement walls, which are usually made from concrete, are brittle by nature. It does not bend or flex under pressure that is being applied. As wet concrete dries, the water is pulled out through the force of osmosis. Osmosis is where reverse suction caused by the surface tension of the water. In this case, the surface dries faster, and therefore shrinks faster. Basement walls are not so brittle that they will not curl, but rather it can create plastic shrinkage cracks. When the surface of the concrete heats and cools faster the rest, the lower layers may get thermal cracks.
Another problem that often occurs in a basement is mold. A little amount of moisture is all a mold spore needs to begin growing and destroying. While most healthy people will not be bothered by most common molds, those who have respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies could end up with a host of health problems including coughing, runny nose, skin rash, eye irritations, and congestion.
Most of the time, we often neglect to protect our basement. We overlook its function since we do not often use it. Nevertheless, basements should be given the same attention as all the other part of the house.
There are various ways to protect your basement but the most effective way to protect it is by waterproofing them. Whether you are renovating or building a new one, waterproofing should be one of your priorities.
You have the option to choose to hire a professional contractor to waterproof the basement of your new or older home. A quick talk with a few professionals will tell you that it can be an expensive proposition. Many homeowners choose to save money by doing the job themselves but that will not be a wise decision since a professional knows what is needed. Actually, basement waterproofing is a large job and needs to be done correctly. From choosing the right product, to surface preparation to a good waterproof curing, all these stages are crucial and may require professional help. If ever you decide to hire a professional, it is because you want to make sure that the waterproofing will be successful. Keep in mind that you are paying real money here, not just pennies.
You do not need to be an expert in basement pre-construction waterproofing. Just basic knowledge will do. The following is a basic guide and tips to follow to know if the contractor is doing the right job.
1. Conduct a pre-construction meeting. This is important because you will have the opportunity to ask everything you need to know.
2. A waterproofing company should provide you a scope of work that identifies all areas in a project that will require waterproofing systems.
3. They should provide and recommend Waterproofing Systems for specific applications. They should also prepare the specifications and details as needed to illustrate the work. Review this illustration as it should serve as your guide or your checklist to see if the contractor is doing the right job.
4. The footings should be thoroughly swept and all damp spots dried with a torch. Any loose materials present on the footings and walls will also need to be scrapped off. Since it is quite common for puddles of congealed slurry to form on the footings during the basement pour, you should pay special attention to them. You need to have a clean dry surface for the waterproofing materials to adhere to properly.
5. During surface preparation, your walls need to be clean and dry before they can accept any type of waterproofing.
During the curing, you will need to review the concrete curing times listed in the concrete direction. The concrete itself will need to cure between 7-14 days prior to applying any type of waterproofing membrane. Concrete will not dry all at once, but will take several days after it is poured. If the contractor tried to apply the waterproofing product while concrete is still wet, ask them immediately to stop and share with them what you know. The contractor may want to get the job done quickly but this should not compromise the waterproofing process. On the brighter side, showing them that you have done your homework will serve as a warning that they need to follow the proper steps to ensure effective waterproofing.
6. You should confirm waterproofing membranes are installed per the contract documents and have a manufacturer's representative periodically inspect and provide reports (if needed).
The installation details of the waterproofing membranes should be reviewed to confirm if they are installed per the manufacturer's recommendations. Keep in mind that you have the right to complain should any of the plans differ from what is being done. Basement preconstruction waterproofing should be done right the very first time. Correcting them after the construction can cost you more money not to mention the damage that it can do to your property. Once the damage has been done, after construction completes and you do not have insurance from the pre-construction waterproofing contractor, you will suffer the burden of correcting the entire re waterproofing process yourself. It is just right that you should be extra careful because it is you who will suffer in the end.
7. During basement pre-construction waterproofing, it is important to take part in the whole process. If your schedule permits, you should personally supervise the whole process. Hire a qualified contractor and work with them to assemble your basement pre-construction waterproofing team.
8. Getting involved and making good decisions will help make the home-building experience extra rewarding for you. Regardless of the type of contract that you have between you and the contractor, having a new home built will require a substantial amount of your time and effort.
9. Minimize your other commitments, projects, and obligations to the greatest extent possible so you can concentrate on the pre-construction process.
10.It is important to communicate with the contractor. Tell the builder what is on your mind. If something is bothering you, discuss it.
11.Do not suppress your concerns, disappointments, or gripes, as these will add up until you reach the boiling point. Should you think a contractor missed a part of the process in the job scope, do not be shy to ask. The chances are a contractor may have overlooked that process or you may have missed the work being done. Either way, asking will ensure that every process will be made to ensure successful waterproofing.
12.Since not everyone is knowledgeable of the waterproofing process, you gain knowledge by asking the contractor or others who are knowledgeable of the process. There is a lot of basement waterproofing consultation services where you can ask for help. You can let them evaluate the waterproofing plan and ask them how it is properly done. You may even ask them to assist you in supervising the process to ensure that the contractor is doing the right job.
Effective basement pre-construction is important. In here lies the strength of your foundation against destructive water damage. Make sure that the waterproofing was done properly so to avoid any related problem in the future.
Waterproofing can be done by anyone if they have enough knowledge to effectively do it. Hiring a professional is better since they are more knowledgeable and more experienced in this kind of job but putting all your trust to your contractor will not give you 100% assurance that the job will be done well. It is still advisable for you to work with them.
Devoting some time to your contractor during the waterproofing process will likely lead to the best result. After all, a home has always been a good investment for everyone. You may never want to see your home flooded and become an future breeding ground for molds especially if this can be prevented right from the very start.
Ensuring that the basement pre-construction waterproofing contractor is following the correct process as stated on the plan can lead to a stronger foundation of your house. This can be done by gaining knowledge for the correct waterproofing process and using of your time supervising the process.
Some contractors are good in this field, no question about it but some may tend to miss or shortcut here and there. Whether intentional or unaware, this could lead to problems in the future.