Ground in which your concrete and foundation rests is not in a static condition. It is always on the move, especially in a climate like ours which undergoes annual droughts and freeze-thaw cycles. We refer to this movement as seismic activity. Also, ground water tables change constantly, resulting in changes in the amount of water pressure exerted on your concrete walls, floors and foundation. Water in the basement is often attributable to two main causes - a faulty/absent drain tile system or wall cracks.
Whether your foundation rests on land with a high ground water table or the area has been inundated with rain or melting snow, whether the water comes in at the bottom of the wall where it meets the floor or through cracks in the floor itself, exterior drain tile is your first line of defense against ground water seepage and a wet basement.
Most homes built during the early 1980s and after have exterior drain tile, or more accurately, drain "piping", installed around the footing of the foundation walls. Drain tile collects and channels water to a centralized area (an interior sump pit or exterior well point) so that it can be discharged by a pump and directed away from the foundation before it can migrate under the foundation and into the basement.
Over time, settlement, roots, silt, etc. can clog or even damage the tile and the resulting build-up of water under and/or around the foundation can eventually force its way in. Repairing exterior drain tile requires excavating a trench along the foundation wall, down to its footing. Occasional inspection of the interior perimeter of your basement floor to look for damp spots, staining or other signs of water intrusion is prudent.
Interior drain tile can also be installed when necessary. Approximately 12" of the concrete floor, where it meets the wall, is removed and the ground below is dug out to expose the footing. Drain tile is then placed in between two layers of gravel and tied into a sump pit or gravity fed discharge system. The concrete is then replaced. This is an extremely effective repair but usually made only when installing exterior tile is problematic.
Because this type of tile allows water into the interior of the structure, serious consideration must be given to flooring choices and other finishes due to the presence of ground water and its vapor which will be transmitted through the floor.
All poured concrete, especially in this climate, is at risk of eventually cracking. Most is normal and often results from shrinkage and/or settlement of the concrete as it cures. Over time, though, some cracks may begin to seep. These basement leaks can be filled (injected) to prevent water, dirt, bugs, etc. from penetrating.
Epoxy is generally used when the concrete already has a great deal of steel rebar embedded in it for rigidity and is, therefore, not prone to movement caused by seismic activity.
Large, commercial buildings and parking garages are examples of this type of rigid construction. While usually less expensive than urethane, epoxy is also generally less flexible when it comes to withstanding ground movement.
Hydrophobic, or water repellant, urethane (polyurethane) is used when greater ability to adjust to ground movement is required.
Residential poured concrete foundations are almost never as rigidly constructed as commercial buildings so urethane, in its liquid form, is injected into the crack. As it cures, it expands in contact with air and water to fill the void in the concrete left by the crack.
It is important to note that a foundation wall crack may extend below the floor and through the footing (the base on which the walls rest). Because concrete is a porous material and wicks water from the ground - a typical yard of cured concrete can hold gallons of water - dark or damp spots may appear from time to time, especially when the ground is saturated.
If there is enough pressure from the water beneath the floor, weeping or seepage may also occur. This is quite common and not a failure of the wall crack repair but, rather, an indication of sump pump slow down or failure or that the drain tile system may be overwhelmed by the volume of water it is trying to evacuate through the sump pit.
Perhaps a basement concrete block wall is bowing or the windows and doors aren't closing properly. Drywall is cracking for no apparent reason, you've discovered a horizontal crack along your poured concrete foundation wall or a corner of your house seems to have dropped a little. All of these occurrences may indicate foundation movement which is significant enough to warrant a structural repair.
Bowing wall and/or lateral foundation movement - There are two good options for stabilizing foundations which exhibit signs of lateral movement - carbon fiber straps and helical wall anchors.
Concrete block walls are often candidates for either type of repair, depending on the extent of the movement. Poured walls usually require the installation of wall anchors due to the inherent structural components of a concrete foundation. Consulting with a qualified structural engineer is recommended so that any and all structural issues present are adequately addressed.
Vertical foundation movement - Stopping a foundation from sinking is the goal of helical piers. There are two general types of helical piers available, each with a different purpose.
Construction piers are typically installed under concrete slabs, either existing or to-be-poured, where the soil beneath is questionable and may not adequately support the concrete and the weight of the structure on it. Bracket piers are installed when foundation stabilization or, in some cases, lifting a foundation is required. Again, consulting with a qualified structural engineer is recommended.
Other structural repairs include the repair or replacement of basement beams and/or columns and the stabilization of foundation wall or garage wall cracks.
In addition to the following, we also install or replace sump pits, pumps and discharge systems, repair or remove and replace window wells (including their drains) and inspect existing drain tile systems using our diagnostic remote camera technology.
Concrete Construction, Repair and Replacement
If you are planning a room addition or, perhaps, building a new garage, we can provide the concrete footings and foundation walls your structure requires. Working from your drawings and with your municipality and carpenter, our crew has the experience and attention to detail that will get your project off to a great start.
We can also remove and replace your garage floor when time and the elements have taken their toll. The process can be a very cost-effective alternative to replacing the entire garage, especially when the structure itself is still in good condition.
Besides the concrete wall repairs discussed earlier, there is a wide range of "cosmetic" repairs which can be effected. Most are not permanent in nature but can, in some cases, be cost effective if the existing concrete is otherwise competent.
Repairs to patios, sidewalks, staircases and stoops are usually possible while driveways and garage floors are much more problematic. Keep in mind that cosmetic repairs are usually evidenced by a color variance in the materials (existing concrete versus patching material) and, from a curb appeal point-of-view, may not be desirable.
Our concrete flatwork business is limited to the replacement of concrete that we remove in the process of performing other water mitigation or structural work.
Excavation and Hauling
Over the years, we have been asked by customers to perform excavations for new plumbing, septic or sewer lines, deliver loads of gravel or top soil or haul away piles of dirt.
Price quotes for excavation and hauling include a base trucking charge plus mileage. Price quotes for material delivery include a base trucking charge, mileage and our cost of the material delivered, passed on to you at no additional charge. Please note that we limit hauling to concrete, asphalt, gravel and organic material (i.e., clay, dirt and/or top soil) only.