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Foundation Repair Ottawa Blog

Wet basement can be accentuated by blocked downspouts.

   The severity of a wet basement due to blocked downspouts can be reduced. Anyone who has purchased a home and used the services of a Home Inspector is familiar with the statement ” Positive drainage away from the house.” This applies in both winter and summer but especially in winter. In the summer we enjoy our entire property.  We use our backyards, cut the grass and rake the leaves. We can see the effect of detached downspouts and negative drainage. Water will pool in low areas around your foundation. This pooling of water will enter your basement through cracks and other openings. In most cases, winter keeps us unaware of potential problems. Often we don’t see three sides of our home until the spring. The snow and ice create a moat effect. This allows the water to remain next to the foundation. Any opening in the foundation will create a path of less resistance and a wet basement. 90% of the homes we visit  in the winter have frozen and blocked downspouts. Understandably, there has to be an opening for water to enter your basement, however, reducing the the amount of water through creative downspout management might just save you from a more costly outcome. Contrary to popular belief, eavestroughs do not cause ice dams, however, they can aggravate the situation if the water cannot exit a frozen downspout. Downspout extensions are extremely important when they are located at garage door corners. Water pooling at those locations is often responsible for foundation lifting as a result of adfreeze. The ideal time to manage your downspouts adjustment is after all the leaves have fallen. The leaves and debris in the... read more

Basement leak repairs are all about the point(s) of entry.

Basement leak repairs are all about the point(s) of entry. It may mean opening up the drywall in the basement. This time of year in Ottawa,  Ardel Concrete Services receives numerous calls for wet basements. A significant number are related to ice damming. Gravity has a way of bringing melting ice to the lowest point of the structure. It is the basement floor. The first thought is to check the outside for a foundation crack. This is generally the cause. Most basement cracks occur at windows. This is because the concrete is more susceptible  to shrinkage and settlement cracks at that location(less concrete) . Blocked window well drains and weeping tile are another common problem. When ice damming is suspected, we advise that a section of drywall be removed. If the the basement leak is at the sill plate  above the foundation, waterproofing your foundation will not solve the problem. You need a roofing company. It is a far less costly to remove a small area of drywall to confirm the point of entry than to move forward with an uncertain diagnosis. We suggest the following tips that may save you time and money. Check for any ice build up on the roof and eavestrough (if any). Eliminate other sources such as window well drainage, cracks visible above grade etc. Has it happened before and was it with similar weather conditions. Finally you can’t beat a water test (not always possible this time of the year). Most foundation contractors offer a free consultation but will charge to further investigate (drywall, water test). We are a call away and would be happy... read more

Basement leaks in winter?

I have heard  many times, clients say with astonishment, “It never leaks in the summer, you would think when the ground is frozen in the winter, it wouldn’t cause basement leaks“. Let me explain why this happens. The ground around the house freezes and the frost goes deeper as you move further away from the house. You may notice though, that the snow shrinks away from the foundation. This is due primarily to the heat loss from the basement. In fact right adjacent to the foundation the ground has little or no frost penetration. When the temperature rises and melting occurs the ground next to the foundation accepts the water. Water will take the path of least resistance. As it percolates downward towards your weeping tile, foundation cracks offer the path of least resistance and consequently the water leak in your basement. The problem is often accentuated by the eavestrough down spouts dropping water right next to the foundation.Held in by the snow and ice, the water flows along the length of the wall. In contrast summer allows the water to flow away from the foundation and be absorbed into the frost free ground. We suggest always extend your down spouts away from your foundation and periodically check to see if they are blocked, especially before and during a thaw. This may not stop the basement leaks but it will minimize the amount and clean up while you contact a reputable company to fix the foundation crack.  The Better Business Bureau is always a good place to start.    ... read more

Foundation cracks due to frost quakes

Last winter in Ottawa, many of us heard the term frost quake for the first time. Foundation cracks can occur due to this phenomenon.  The cause is water draining into the ground, expanding as it freezes. This puts stress on its surroundings including foundations. Early season snowfall, before prolonged low temperatures, reduces the risk. Snow is a great insulator. The more snow the less frost penetrates the ground. We as foundation repair contractors, repair foundation cracks all winter long. The fact is that snow insulation and heat lost through the basement walls, allows us to do so efficiently. You would need a jackhammer to dig down 5 feet in an open area without snow coverage (frost line). Block foundation walls are particularly vulnerable to frost action. Lateral pressure can push on the block wall. This can cause horizontal foundation cracks that run the length of the wall. This effect is more pronounced on walls bordered by asphalt driveways. Snow is removed (driveway) eliminating the insulating benefit. These foundation cracks can have a profound effect on the structural integrity of the house. The costs to repair these situations can rise exponentially if left untreated. Interior repairs with steel or carbon fibre reinforcement can be used. This is often done in conjunction with exterior excavation. The material is hauled away and replaced with free draining stone aggregate after repairs and waterproofing. This is a job for a foundation repair contractor. Tips to help reduce costly horizontal foundation cracks Check the wall on the inside, if its uncovered, a foot or so below the outside ground level (horizontal crack). Check on the outside... read more

Winter foundation problems!

Foundation cracks around your garage  is a result of the freeze/thaw cycles we experience in Ottawa. Unlike the basement foundation where heat loss minimizes the effects of adfreeeze, the unheated,no basement garage foundation is often greatly affected by ground frost penetration. Three other components of the perfect storm so to speak are the backfill soil, the non existence of the weeping tile around the garage and the typical location of the downspouts of the eavestrough at the front corners of the garage. Here’s the scenario. The temperature rises above freezing, the snow changes to rain, the water from the eavestrough saturates the ground  due to poor draining soil(clay) and no weeping tile, the temperature drops to below freezing and adfreeze occurs causing the foundation to crack. Water can then enter the foundation crack, freeze and widen the crack. The longer the problem exists the greater the damage and costs to repair. Here are some helpful tips to avoid foundation cracks. Clean your eavestrough after all the leaves have fallen before the winter. Check for foundation cracks above grade on both sides of the garage. Extend  downspouts to drain the water further away. Make sure water does not accumulate near the front corners of the... read more

How To Repair Your Cracked Driveways

You don’t only need to have your driveway built well, you need to ensure that you maintain it so that it stays in the best condition possible. Things like excessive heat, standing water, freeing water, shifting of the ground, tree roots, expansion/contraction of the sand and more. If you unfortunately have a cracked driveway and you need to repair it, we’ve got some tips that can help you to fix your driveway right up.   Here are the methods you can use to repair your concrete driveway:   You can resurface the concrete by using a driveway repair product which allows you to mix it with water and easily apply it using a broom or squeegee.   You can patch concrete cracks by doing a number of things, which include the following: Cleaning the crack – You should ensure that you remove and brush away any debris left in the crack. First, you must chisel away at any cracked pieces remaining in the area then you can use a wire brush to sweep the rest of debris away.   Filling the crack – You can fill the crack with concrete caulking or concrete sealer by using a trowel in an effort to compress it into the crack.   Letting the crack cure – You have to allow the patch to dry and cure before you actually use the driveway again.   Sealing the crack – You need to remember that concrete is porous. Water can do a lot of damage to the concrete, so they require that you apply a water sealer to the concrete regularly.     So... read more

Fixing Cracks In Concrete

You would think that concrete is the one doing the cracking, but instead, it’s the one getting the cracks. There are ways to fix that, though. The methods for fixing the cracks are dependent on the crack’s size. We’ll show you how to fix both narrow and wide cracks in concrete – just read this article.   How to fix narrow cracks: Use a wire brush and broom to remove loose debris from in or around the crack.   Use a caulking gun and masonry crack filler and apply it to the crack. You can also use vinyl concrete patching compound too – apply it and smooth it with a knife.   How to fix wide cracks: Chisel the edges of the crack with a small sledge hammer to undercut it. This will make it wider at the bottom than at the top, thus resulting in a safer and more permanent repair.   Use a wire brush and broom to clean up the area in and around the crack and them wash it off with some water.   Use the manufacturing directions as a guide to apply the vinyl patching compound into the crack. Remove air pockets from the mixture by tamping it. Also, in case you choose to “use patching mortar instead of vinyl patching compound, either mix it with bonding agent instead of water or coat the edges of the surface to be repaired with bonding agent.”   Use a trowel to smooth the mixture out.   Let the patch set and smooth or brush it off so that it matches with the rest of the concrete... read more

Steps To Make Your Basement Waterproof

Some common problems within homes are the fact that their basements are humid, damp or leaky. This can be really frustrated for the folks who have a lot of plans for their basement besides providing residence for the creepy crawly basement creatures.   That’s why we are here to offer you some steps that can help you keep the water out of your basement by stopping it from entering your foundation. Read and see.   You need to take a look at the perimeter of your home. Make sure that the ground next to your foundation is not sloping towards it. If it is sloping toward the foundation, try adding dirt up against the foundation so that you can create a 2-inch per foot slope drop coming from your foundation.   Make sure that your gutters are clean and that the downspouts are releasing water about 5 feet or more away from your foundation.   Be wary of shrubs and other vegetation. If they are growing too close to your foundation, their rotted roots can create a passageway which can allow water to flow down to your foundation.   Use a waterproofing product like Drylok or Xypex on your walls to fix minor, irregular leaks.   Immediately repair cracks and other defects like “the places where pipes and form tie rods go all the way through the concrete.”   Think about installing a sump – which is basically a whole in your basement floor with a pump that sucks water out if the levels get too high. When it sucks out the water, it then dumps it out of... read more

Sealing A Concrete Slab

Cracks in the concrete are not only a horrible sight; they can also lead to bigger, more costly problems. You don’t only need to focus on foundation cracks – you need to be cautious of wall cracks and control joint cracks too. You should seal a control joint crack to prevent water, debris and gas entry.   You should seal control joint or expansion joint cracks with the use of sealants designed for that specific use. Your sealant should have the ability to: Bond with the sides of the crack. Remain flexible, despite changes in temperature or moisture. Withstand compression and expansion of moving concrete.   Here are some materials that are suitable for filling or sealing poured concrete slab control joints: Pre-fabricated control joint strips of plastic or other material.   Flexible (usually polyurethane based) radon sealant caulks or masonry caulks.   Special poly urea caulks that are designed to fill joints and polyurethane foam injection for sealing cracks.   Semi rigid epoxy resin crack fillers.   Epoxy products manufactured for concrete expansion joints.   Hydraulic cements for concrete cracks and leaks in walls, floors or foundations.   Don’t wait till it’s too late to fix the crack. Do it now or get it done by the experts right now. The choice is yours! Your foundation is one of the most important aspects of your home because it supports your entire house. Even if you don’t think of your foundation as your first floor, your house does. Both the structure and the air quality of your basement have an effect on that part of your home that you... read more

Wooden Foundations vs. Concrete Foundations Ottawa

When it comes to your home or any building you’re interesting in building, you must ensure that you put some serious consideration towards ensuring that you get a proper foundation done. There are different materials you can use to build your foundation. Most people choose to use concrete, while in other cases, wood is used. Not only can the type of material you use, add or detract from the overall value of your home, but it can have an effect on the strength of your home too. That’s why we’ve decided to compare the aforementioned materials so that you would be able to make the choice that you think is best for you. We’ll begin with wooden foundations and then we’ll go on to concrete foundations.   Wooden Foundations Advantages: Easier to install than concrete. Takes less time to install than concrete. Easier to access, so easier to repair. Makes wiring and plumbing repairs easier than with concrete. Provides natural heat and ambience for the home. Reduces energy use (less heating/cooling necessary for the basement). Disadvantages: Termite and other insect attacks are likely to be a difficult problem. Treated wood is available, but uncertain. Improperly dried or moist wood can cause rot, growth and fungus.   Concrete Foundations Advantages: Less expensive to install than wood. Stronger type of foundation. Highly durable. Long-lasting. Replacement is likely unnecessary. Fire-resistant and generally water-resistant. Termite-resistant, unlike wooden foundations. Disadvantages: May experience cracking if improperly prepared. Costly to repair. May experience leaks caused by rain and ground water. Tracing a leak will require that you dig up the entire foundation. The choice is yours!... read more

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