French drains

What You Need To Know About French Drains in Morganville NJ

French Drains in Morganville NJ

Water is bad for foundations, but it is a natural part of the world we live in. When it rains, water seeps into the ground. There is also groundwater that is already present in the ground and can seep up to destroy a foundation.

So, how can you keep your foundations sound?

The answer is a French drain. Also known as a weeping, uncertain or rubble drain, this drain consists of a trench that is filled with rocks or gravel. Many French drains in Morganville NJ also contain a perforated pipe. The primary use of the drain is to prevent surface or ground water from penetrating into or damaging the foundations of a building.

The name does not come from France, the country but was named after the person who promoted the idea in 1859 through his book on drainage on farms, Henry French.

How they work

French drains in Morganville NJ are constructed around foundations to give water an easy channel through which it can flow. Water in the surrounding soils runs into the gravel that fills the drain and down through the perforations in the pipe that is often located at the bottom of the trench.

Water collects in the pipe and is channeled away from the foundations to a point some distance away from the house.

It is important for the trench bottom to be constructed at a slope of about 1 inch for every 8 feet traveled in the direction that the water will flow. The French drain may terminate in any place depending on your situation and preference. Some examples include:

  • Low lying areas within your property
  • Dry wells
  • The street
  • Drainage ditches

Deciding when to put in a French drain

French drains in Morganville NJ have become necessary to help with drainage. This is true especially for:

  • Homes that are experiencing a problem with surface water. You may have a soggy lawn or driveway that washes out.
  • Homes whose basements are being damaged by water. It is important to ensure that water from the surrounding soil is directed away from the foundations. This ensures that the foundation is not destroyed.
  • Homes that are being constructed on a hillside. It is important to install a French drain if you will be building a retaining wall.

Surface water problems

Shallow French drains in Morganville NJ are a great way to deal with surface water problems. The French drain should be constructed to intercept water on the property and channel it away from the building’s foundations.

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The Importance of Crawl Space Waterproofing Before Winter

Crawl Space Waterproofing Should be Done Before the Winter

Crawl space waterproofing is just part of preparing your house for winter. Waterproofing in general is about prevention and preparation. If you can prevent water from ever entering your basement or crawl space in the first place, then you can avoid water damages, mold growth and other contaminants from causing issues in your house.

Summer is the best time for crawl space waterproofing

Fall and spring tend to be the busiest time of year for waterproofing contractors. Homeowners tend to be reactive and only call a waterproofing contractor when the basement or crawl space is flooded. However, the best time to actually call a waterproofing contractor is before the rain starts. The truly best time to waterproof a basement or crawl space is in the dry summer months. These make for the best working conditions and waterproofing contractors are typically more available. If you wait until your basement is flooded, a good waterproofing contractor may be booked out for weeks. If you have a waterproofing contractor complete the crawl space waterproofing before the wet season, then you won’t have problems to deal with come spring.

Health issues with moisture in your crawl space

Remember, there are health issues that come with high moisture levels in the crawl space. There should never be standing water or moisture in your crawl space. Keep the relative humidity level at 50% in the crawl space. Any more than that will create the perfect environment for mold growth and rot. Mold spores are dangerous if people breathe them in. If mold is in the crawl space, you can’t think it won’t affect you. The air in the crawl space is actually transferred upstairs through a natural air exchange known as chimney effect. The air is pulled up from the lower levels of the house into the upper levels. More energy efficient building envelops actually create a bigger indoor air quality problem.

If these mold spores come into the air upstairs it can cause allergies, respiratory problems and exasperate asthma symptoms. While there is no proven cause for asthma in children, there are several theories that mold and biocontaminants in the indoor air are culprits. While it may or may not be the cause of asthma it has been proven to make asthma symptoms worse.

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mold in morganville nj

The Impact Mold in Morganville NJ Can Have On Your Health

Mold in Morganville NJ Can Affect Your Health

Mold is a term used to describe fungi. Mold and its spores are widely distributed. They are a common component in dust occurring in homes and workplaces. They generally do not pose a health risk when in small quantities. They can however, be a serious health hazard to humans when in large quantities.

Mold in Morganville NJ is closely associated with damp and dark parts of the home. This is because moisture is required for active mold growth. Mold growth can be identified by fuzzy patches or growths of black, yellow, pink, green or brown that give off unpleasant musty odors.

Conditions Associated to Mold in Morganville NJ

Various health problems are associated with high levels of airborne mold spores. These include:

Allergies and Asthma

If you have allergies or asthma, mold spores can make your condition worse. Some people react to mold spores by developing an itchy skin rash, runny nose, cough, congestion in the chest, eye irritation or an aggravation of pre-existing asthma symptoms. These symptoms are classic allergic reactions. They can get worse if a person does not address the high levels of mold spores in the air of the home.

Respiratory Infections

People who spend extended time in damp and moldy buildings are likely to develop respiratory infections and bronchitis. Mold spores inhaled in the indoor environment are thought to attach themselves to the cells that line the respiratory tract. They can cause various problems in the respiratory tract as a result.

Fungal Infections

Inhaled mold spores can cause many problems especially in those who already have a suppressed immune system. Mold spores can grow in living tissues and result in various infections throughout the body.

When a person with a suppressed immune system gets exposed to high mold levels, he is likely to develop chronic conditions. Many develop infections of the sinuses, digestive tract, skin and lungs. Further problems may result depending on the type of mycotoxins produced by the molds affecting the person.

Mycotoxin Toxicity

Molds excrete compounds that are toxic. These toxins are known as mycotoxins. There are certain mycotoxins that are harmful and even lethal to humans as well as animals. Prolonged exposure to high quantities of mold producing harmful toxins can pose a significant threat to people in your household.

Clearly, mold in Morganville NJ has a serious impact on human health. It is therefore important to ensure that your home is free of mold by fixing any damp problems in your foundation. Contact us today for a FREE Estimate on mold remediation and removal.

basement storage in trenton nj

Creative Ideas for Basement Storage in Trenton NJ

Basement Storage in Trenton NJ

Everybody loves a house with a basement. Even if it is just used for storage, the basement is a luxury of untapped space. While the livable basement is the vogue right now, if you don’t have the budget to convert your unfinished basement to living space, create an organized storage area.

The key is organizing your basement

The trick to any storage is organizing. Remember, most people have too much stuff so it is OK to go through your stuff, especially if you buy something new. A good rule is to throw away something old for everything you buy new. This theory helps you not get too much stuff. Too much stuff is the death of organizing and staying organized. Once you have purged the items that you never, ever use or don’t want anymore it is time to find their proper place in the storage zone.

Store less frequently used items in the basement

Obviously, the stuff you put in the basement shouldn’t be your everyday items. All of your every day, every week, and even every month, stuff should be more accessible than stored in the basement. Every day items should be stored in accessible drawers. Stuff you use every week should be in cupboards and pantries on the main living area in the room where it will be most used. The items you use about every month can be in the top of the closet—away but not too far away. Items stored in the basement should be once or twice a year items. Holiday decorations are a great example of a good basement storage item.

The exception is if you need to use the basement storage in Trenton NJ as more like a pantry or for bulk item storage. If you need this type of storage make sure the daily or weekly items are accessible. Storage shelves are good for the pantry-type items needed for storage in the basement. Make sure your storage shelves are fully accessible. Don’t fill up your shelves with your Costco toilet paper and then stack boxes in front of them. It will make it a pain to get to the stuff you need.

Have an organized system so you know where everything is

Organize the items you want to store by likeness. For example, all the Christmas stuff should be together and all the sports equipment should be together. Another common sense tip, but it has to be said. Taking the time to make sure all your ski boots are stored with your poles will save you time when it is time to hit the slopes.

Be aware that basements can flood

Basement storage in NJ may be a little different from other storage space in your house. Remember, the basement is below ground so the environment will be different than the upper levels of the house. Make sure that you don’t store cardboard boxes or any other organic material storage containers on the floor. Storage boxes should be plastic and at least six inches off the ground. Basement can flood and it is easier to just keep the plastic storage boxes off the ground than to deal with soggy, cardboard boxes after a basement flood.

Waterproof Your Basement

Even with that, any water issues should be dealt with in the basement. Never store anything in the basement if there are signs of water issues without taking care of them. Visible standing water, water stains, peeling paint, water bubbles, mildew, mold, musty odors or foundation cracks are all signs of water issues in the basement. Even if you are just using the basement as storage it makes sense to fix any water issues to create a dry, basement environment. Then if you ever wanted to convert the basement into living space it is already prepped with the proper waterproofing and drainage systems.

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basement waterproofing in new jersey

Basement Waterproofing in New Jersey: Do it Once, Do it Right

Basement Waterproofing in New Jersey

There is only one thing more dreaded than needing a basement waterproofing contractor to come fix your basement: needing that basement waterproofer to come back!

Honestly, basement waterproofing in New Jersey should be a one-time deal. Usually, if there is an issue in the basement, a basement contractor can install a full basement system that will keep the basement dry for years to come. With some maintenance, a basement waterproofing system should and will last a long time. Some waterproofing contractors offer a life-time guarantee and a transfer policy to the new homeowners if the house is ever sold.

Partial work

One of the most common call back situations when it comes to basement waterproofing is when only one portion of the basement is fixed. Sometimes there is a leak on one side of the basement. The homeowner will hire the contractor to come in and fix the problem area only to notice a similar leak on the adjacent wall the next year. A good basement waterproofing contractor offers a whole basement solution. If they only offer partial work, then an honest contractor will make sure homeowner understands that the issue is really more of a whole house problem. Of course, there are situations where partial work is the better option. Families with budgetary constraints may decide to only do some of the work and do the rest of the work later. It is just important to understand that a contractor who offers a whole basement solution is not trying to sell you something you don’t need. They are just trying to do it once!

A bad system

There are bad systems out there and some inexperienced contractors who may install a good system improperly. However, most of the basement waterproofers in business today are good, honest and reputable. Manufacturers and suppliers have designed various system models, wall boards, sump pumps, and crack injection materials that use the latest technology. The industry as a whole has come a long way to offer basement waterproofing products that allow for contractors to offer a do it one, do it right approach.

A good system fails

Sometimes one of those good systems will fail. Usually, it is due to a preventable issue with proper inspection and maintenance. Sometimes the systems will become clogged with debris. Contractors can come out and flush the system to make sure it works properly. Other times components of the basement waterproofing system will fail or give out and need to be replaced. For example, sump pumps no matter how heavy duty will not last forever. The sump pump is one component that needs to be replaced every five to seven years depending on the make, model and wear on the pump and the pump’s motor.

Overall, if you are having basement water issues it is important to do it right the first time. That will start with a correct assessment and inspection of your property and the basement issues. Choose your waterproofing contractor carefully. Don’t base your decision strictly on price. Review the contractor and his certifications and qualifications. Ask for referrals and call them. Do your best to choose the right contractor who will offer a “once and for all” fix to your basement problems.

Contact us if you have any questions about basement waterproofing or if you want to get a FREE Estimate!

foundation repair in new jersey

Foundation Repair in New Jersey: 4 Key Misconceptions

Foundation Repair in New Jersey

Fixing a broken foundation is a hard concept to understand as it is. Then the world adds myths and misconceptions about foundation repair in New Jersey. Here are a four misconceptions debunked.

Misconception #1: You don’t need foundation repair because concrete cracks.

It is true that concrete cracks. It is not a matter of if but when. The concrete sidewalk or your concrete patio is not as important. However, when it comes to your concrete foundation, when it cracks it needs to be fixed. Cracks in your foundation ultimately weaken the structure and need to be fixed. Even nonstructural cracks can cause problems with water infiltration, mold growth, and pests.

Misconception #2: Small cracks are no big deal.

Even small hairline cracks can cause problems with your foundation. The most common problem with hairline cracks is water. Water doesn’t need a large opening to enter your home. Those small cracks can be letting in water and causing an array of issues including mold and mildew, or letting in bugs, rodents, or soil gases like radon. If you look at it that way, small cracks are a big deal.

Small cracks also can be a sign of future problems. If ignored, small cracks can become big cracks and lead to even bigger foundation issues. Foundation cracks may seems as if they are staying the same but over the years the nonstructural cracks can become structural cracks if the soil outside the foundation changes.

Misconception #3: Foundation Repair doesn’t really fix the problem.

This misconception is referring to a common scenario. A foundation repair contractor will come to assess the basement situation. There will be a problem zone on one side of the foundation. Even though the problem area is only on one side of the foundation, the foundation repair contractor suggests an entire foundation solution. The homeowner will choose to only do one side of the foundation where the problem currently exists. The foundation repair contractor can only do what the homeowner authorizes him to do. They try to educate the homeowner as much as possible about the potential of a return visit to fix the rest of the foundation in the future. The homeowner sometimes misses the big picture and thinks that the work that was done didn’t really fix the problem. But the truth is he chose to only fix one portion of the problem.

If a homeowner hires a reputable and knowledgeable foundation repair contractor and follows his advice to provide the proper solution to repair the foundation, it will work. Contractors guarantee their work. And if you do partial work on the foundation, only the area where the work was done will be on warranty.

Misconception #4: Foundation Repair is too expensive.

While many homeowners think they can’t afford foundation repair work, the truth is they can’t afford not to. If your home needs foundation repair work, and you choose to ignore it, it will get worse before it gets better. If you fix the problems when they are small, it will cost much less. If you wait until the problem is massive and dyer and your home on the verge of collapse, then it will be expensive.

If you ever want to sell your house, you will have a hard time selling with foundation repair issues. You will have to fix them before you sell.

Honestly, the best practice is to inspect your basement and keep it in good health throughout the lifetime of your house. The basement environment impacts the environment of the rest of the house. The foundation is the most important part of the house. If it is not sound, the whole structure of the house is in danger.

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basement waterproofing in new jersey

How Basement Waterproofing in New Jersey Can Save You Money

Basement Waterproofing in New Jersey

Basement waterproofing in New Jersey can save you money just like an insurance policy can. It starts saving you money when something goes wrong. And it saves you big money when something really big goes wrong.
A basement waterproofing system is more about prevention than anything. Therefore, when we talk about potential savings, you have to look at your individual situation, see what you have in your basement, and determine what it is worth to you.

Storage Items:

Most people at the very least use the basement for storage. On the low end, basement waterproofing can save you the cost of replacing those storage items. That is if they are even replaceable. Many times what we store away in the basement are priceless heirlooms and keepsakes. It is hard to even put a monetary value on these types of items. The non-sentimental items still have some value. At least, they are valuable enough for us to store them. Basement waterproofing on an unfinished, storage space will save you the heartache of dealing with damaged storage boxes if your basement was to flood.

Finished Basements:

This is where basement waterproofing will save you the most money. The best case scenario for a finished basement is dealing with all water issues and installing a basement waterproofing system BEFORE you finish the basement. This will save you from ever having to re-finish the basement if there is a water issue in the future. Plus, the EPA recommends it when converting the basement to living space. Mold, odors, and high humidity don’t make for the best environment for living space anyway.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, the cost of a mid-range basement remodel is $62,834. That is to create a 20-by-30-foot entertaining area with a wet bar and a full bathroom. That also includes the cost of enclosing a mechanical room, paint and trim, electrical wiring, and plumbing. Construction isn’t cheap and that would not be fun to pay for it twice if you ever had to replace it after a basement flood. Not to mention the cost of cleaning up the mess.

Every basement waterproofer has had to pull out a destroyed finished basement due to a basement leak or flood. It is a hard lesson and a sad day. If they would have installed the system beforehand, basement waterproofing would have saved them so much money!

Future Foundation Repair:

Basement waterproofing not only protects your home and basement from potential water issues, but it also protects your foundation. Water pressure building up outside the foundation wall is the top reason foundations crack. If you don’t deal with the water issues outside the foundation it will inevitably affect your foundation walls. The worst case scenario is a neglected foundation that has moved past hairline cracks and leaks to serious structural problems. The foundation is the most important part of any building, and if the health and integrity of the foundation is compromised, the whole building will eventually see the effects. It is very dangerous to leave alone. Taking care of the water issues with basement waterproofing will save you the cost of future foundation repair, which ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the situation and the severity.

Peace of Mind:

Knowing you will save yourself a lot of heartache and hundreds to thousands of dollars cleaning up and fixing problems that could have been prevented is worth it. The peace of mind basement waterproofing in New Jersey brings is priceless.

Contact us for a FREE Estimate for basement waterproofing in New Jersey.

buying a home in new jersey

Structural Problems to Look For When Buying a Home in New Jersey

Buying a Home in New Jersey

When you are house shopping, it is easy to forget to about the foundation. However, making sure the foundation is in good shape and structurally sound may be one of the most important steps when buying a home in New Jersey.

Inspect the foundation

First look at the foundation, and watch for any cracks inside or out. Small vertical cracks may be nonstructural but could potentially cause water infiltration. You can watch for mold or water stains to show the crack does leak. These nonstructural cracks should be fixed prior to moving in just to save you from dealing with major water issues come winter.

The horizontal cracks in a foundation wall are signs of structural damage. Also stair step cracks in block wall foundations or bulging or bowed walls are also signs of structural foundation problems.

Watch for signs upstairs

You can also watch for signs of settlement issues upstairs. If the doors and windows stick or if there are cracks in the sheetrock upstairs in the walls or the ceiling, you may have a foundation problem. Cracks can also be in the trim around the windows and doors. That is a sign the foundation is moving.

Look into the history of the site

Even newer houses can run into potential structural problems if the house was built on unstable ground. Do your research to see what the property was used for in the past. Past gravel pits, old landfills and dumps can be the cause of major foundation problems. Most developers will know not to build over past pits, but sometimes they don’t. There have been issues where developers will bury large tree stumps or garbage on the building site creating massive problems when those decompose. It will create holes in the ground and create an unstable ground.

Watch for water issues and signs of water build-up

Water issues in the basement should never be left alone. Always fix the leaks and other water issues in the basement because not only does it cause mold, mildew, and poor indoor air quality inside the home, but it also is the culprit of foundation damage. Leaving a basement leak or a leaky crack in the foundation will eventually start to deteriorate the foundation wall making it weak and fragile. Water damage to the foundation wall can result in spalling where the concrete starts to break off the foundation wall. Water infiltrating the basement is also a sign there is water build up on the outside wall. If there is water building up in the soil outside, then it is creating hydrostatic pressure, a common cause of structural damage in foundation walls. Basement waterproofing and proper outside drainage systems will relieve hydrostatic pressure and potential structural problems.

You can negotiate in the contract to have the seller solve these foundation issues before you buy the house. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the house because most of these issues can be fixed. With a professional foundation repair contractor and/or basement waterproofer, you won’t have to worry. Just make sure it gets in the final agreement to either have them fix the issue or drop the price of the house so you can fix the issue after you buy it. It is a good idea to elicit the help of a foundation repair contractor if you suspect foundation issues. They will be able to provide an inspection and quote to help you negotiate and understand what you are really getting into. This information will help you make your decision.

If you’d like a FREE Estimate for foundation repair when buying a home in New Jersey, then please contact us!

flood in new jersey

Replacing Sheet Rock After a Flood in New Jersey

A Flood in New Jersey Can Cause Problems for Your Home

A basement flood in New Jersey is bad enough in an unfinished basement. However, if you have a finished or partially finished basement with any sheetrock as wall board then you will need to replace the sheetrock.

Flooding can lead to wet sheetrock

Sheetrock absorbs water. If it comes into contact with any amount of water (or even moisture for that matter) you have a problem. Sometimes you will only need to replace part of the sheetrock on a wall. You can cut out the wet portion and replace it with new sheetrock. Sheetrock will not dry out on its own before you will have a problem with mold behind the walls. If you leave wet sheetrock, mold will grow behind the wall because mold is using the material in the sheetrock for food. Add the water and the dark, damp spots behind the wall and a serious mold problem could start to grow in no time.

How to deal with wet sheetrock

If you are trying to save part of the wall, you will need to determine how high the water has traveled up the wall. The longer the sheetrock sits in the standing water, the higher the water problem will be. Typically, water travels up the sheetrock 3-6 inches a day. If it is left for a few days, the water could be halfway up the wall.

One way to check for water damage in sheetrock is to slice the wall with a razor. It will cut easier if the wall is wet. You will notice the blade slide quicker and easier through the wet wall compared to the dry sheetrock. Find where the wall is dry, and cut a straight line there to remove the wet sheetrock.

Like we mentioned above, it is important to remove all wet sheetrock to avoid a potential mold problem. Never leave wet sheetrock after a basement flood in New Jersey or discovered water problem.

Have a professional contractor help fix the problem

A professional basement waterproofing contractor can help you in this process. He can remove the damaged sheetrock after a basement flood in New Jersey and help you install a basement waterproofing system to help avoid any future problems.

The other option is to replace all the sheetrock in the basement with waterproof wallboard. So, if there is another basement flood in New Jersey, you won’t have to replace the walls again. The EPA says basements should be finished with waterproof and water resistant materials. Think tile instead of carpet; plastic waterproof wallboard instead of sheetrock. The basement is inherently wetter and should not be finished like the upstairs even if you have a basement waterproofing system installed.

Contact us for more information about basement waterproofing!

hydrostatic pressure

The Foundation-Crushing Power of Hydrostatic Pressure

The Power of Hydrostatic Pressure

In science, engineers study hydrostatic pressure as the natural occurring pressure that standing water creates in relation to an object or barrier. Basically, it is the taller the body of wet material, the greater the force, especially at the bottom. Hydrostatic pressure is what destroys dams, buckles retaining walls, and collapses foundation walls. It is the force behind landslides, moving earth and rocks, and anything else in its path.

Our homes and our basements are really no match for hydrostatic pressure.

Structural damage and leaks

While hydrostatic pressure can cause serious structural damage, it can also be the culprit behind basement leaks. The water buildup in the soil outside of a foundation actually reacts with the concrete. Capillary action naturally pulls the water in through any voids, gaps or cracks in the concrete wall. It can even pull water through the concrete slab or through solid concrete walls. This is known as seepage or weeping. If water weeps through a solid concrete wall, then the best way is to relieve the pressure.

Using drains to stop hydrostatic pressure

The way to stop hydrostatic pressure build-up is through water diversion and drainage tactics. A French Drain installed on the exterior side of the foundation wall will relieve this hydrostatic pressure and allow a place for the water to go. By trenching behind the problem area, you can allow water to find its way to a place that will do no harm. Channel the water to flow downhill away from the foundation.

When you relieve the hydrostatic pressure build up, the job of keeping the basement dry is actually a much simpler job. If those drainage systems are in place, then your basement waterproofing system won’t have to work so hard.

Field drains are also a good option to help keep surface water away from the foundation. They are usually small, round drainage points to control the water and relieve hydrostatic pressure.

Another technique is channel drains. Channel drains are a grill-covered drainage system material commonly placed at the bottom of a driveway recessed into the ground. These capture flowing water and redirect it.

Interior basement waterproofing systems including drain tiles and sump pumps also deal with hydrostatic pressure by capturing the excess water below the concrete slab and carrying it away before it enters the basement.

If you are having water seeping through your basement floor you probably have hydrostatic pressure.

Depending on the situation, a waterproofing contractor may suggest an exterior or interior system or a combination of the two.

Don’t ever ignore hydrostatic pressure. Leaving it alone will only make the problems worse and could lead to even more serious problems. Contact us for a FREE Estimate for basement waterproofing.