Robert Walker of Advanced Basement Solutions with their water, moisture or mold concerns they are experiencing with their own residences. Walker brings over 30 years’ experience to his customers and you can expect 100-percent effort from Walker and his crew every time. Below are a few of the questions that were posed to Walker.
Basement de-watering systems are a solution to the problem of water coming in where the basement’s block wall meets the concrete floor, as addressed in the second Q&A with Robert Walker, owner of Advanced Basement Solutions.
Q: I only have water seeping through my walls. They are always wet. I never see water coming up from the floor and my sump pit doesn’t have a sump pump in it. It always looks dry and has cobwebs. Everyone I have had look into it tells me I need French drains. Do I need one? Is that the only way to solve my problem? – J.S. from Wayne
A: No. It sounds as if you don’t need a French drain. There are many ways to treat water and moisture that is coming into your basement. French drain-type systems are designed mainly to remove water from underneath the floor. They do not do a great job of draining water from the hollow block wall because of where the holes are drilled into the block walls and do nothing for water coming in higher up on the wall. Hopefully they will at least catch the water as it runs down the wall. If you have water coming through the block walls higher up, you don’t want a French drain. You need to seal the walls either from the outside or the inside. The outside is the most expensive way remediate water intrusion except when the house is being constructed. After the house has been built, you must dig around the property, remove landscaping, decks, sidewalks, patios, etc. Many times you can’t even access all the outside walls in the ground so it can be very impractical and cost prohibitive. However, with modern technology, there are a few coatings and membranes that can be applied to the interior wall. Generally, the basic masonry paints are not sufficient enough because they can’t withstand higher hydrostatic pressure and will grow mold unless they have an anti-fungal agent/biocide in them to prevent future mold growth. Most installers further make the mistake by not properly preparing the existing wall and applying enough coats to the wall. This is required because latex paints are biological materials that act as the food for the mold growth. There are elastomeric coatings on the market that withstand high pressure on the inside of the wall and do not grow mold.
When you properly prepare the wall by removing all the old coatings and the efflorescence (the white powdery coating) and properly install them with enough coats, they will last a lifetime without water or moisture intrusion.
Q: I get water that comes in from where my block wall meets the concrete floor. I do not get water anywhere else. I must have a high water table. Am I right? I think I need French drains. – T.C from Kinnelon
A: No you are not right. Everyone thinks they have a high water table. That is not the case for most people. If you have a high water table, the water is coming up through the floor everywhere and not just at the perimeter. You also have a water issue all the time. It sounds like your issue is more like what most people have … a ground water issue. In New Jersey, most of us have houses that are built in high clay soil areas or over rock layers that do not allow for water to percolate quickly through the ground during heavy rains. The water is trying to get to the aquifer and can’t get there quickly enough. When rainwater enters the ground, it doesn’t distinguish between which holes in the ground it falls into, your basement or the well which is in the aquifer. The clay-based ground acts like a clogged laundry sink that starts to overflow and backs up into your basement. There are many ways to treat this. Basement De-Watering Systems, Interior Footing Drain Systems (which only sit on top of the footing), NO Water Systems and French Drain Systems to name just a few, but with French Drain Systems there is always a chance they will clog with debris over time. The other type systems are more modern solutions that require certified installers and work better depending on the situation.
Q: During Sandy I didn’t get any water. I did lose power for five days. We just got a gas generator. It is time to replace my battery and my back-up pump. I think we should, but my husband tells me we don’t need it. Who is right? – T.W. from Pequannock
A: You are right. Ask your husband this. What happens when your pump fails during the storm and you still have power or your pump fails while running off the generator. What is going to pump your water out of the house? On the list of things that go wrong with a sump pump, power failure is fifth on the list.
The first four in order before power failure:
float switch failure- the pump doesn’t turn on.
the impellor on the motor breaks and the pump doesn’t pump even though the motor runs.
The motor burns out and can’t pump again.
Prior to the recent number of power outages, someone disconnects the pump from the outlet in order to use the outlet for another purpose and forgets to reconnect the pump.
Power failure. What if the power failure occurs in the middle of the night. No one is awake to start up the generator. And then what do you do if the generator doesn’t start or it runs out of gas.
In waterproofing, redundancy is a beautiful thing. You still want your back-up even though you have a generator. Be sure that your back-up pump has the capacity to pump at least 40 gallons per minute and has a large enough battery/batteries to last at least for one to five days. Most homeowners and contractors purchase emergency back-up pumping systems that are inadequate and can’t keep up with the amount of water coming in.
For more information, Advanced Basement Solutions can be reached at 1-888-837-9379 or 888-VERY-DRY.