Drainage Issues

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Now’s the Time to Correct Drainage Issues

With the recent onslaught of afternoon thunderstorms (we’ve gone from Michigan weather to Florida weather in the course of a few days!), you may have noticed a little water in your basement. This may be the result of an insufficient slope away from your foundation or a sump pump that’s not in good, working order.

Typically graded during the initial sod installation, your grass may develop low and high areas from hidden underground piping or decomposing tree stumps that can negatively affect your yard’s entire slope. As a result, your lawn mowing is uneven and standing water accumulates in the low areas … or, even worse, runs into your basement or crawlspace. Correcting the grade involves filling the low areas with soil so that your yard has a continuous slope. And, you’re in luck. Now is the PERFECT time to tackle this task – during those weeks when grass is still vigorously growing and the chances of successful weed seed germination within the newly added soil are reduced.

So, how much slope?

A good slope to aim for when grading land extending out from a house foundation is about six inches for the first 10 feet (that’s a slope of 5 percent). For details on how to determine this slope, click here!

Once you determine your needs, you should spread well-draining soil with a crumbly texture to sprinkle on the low areas. Work your way down the grade and then return to your first low area and carefully spread the soil out using a rake, so that the grass blades have an even one-half inch layer of earth across the entire low area. You should be able to see all the grass blades above the newly added soil. Spread the soil on each low area using the rake until you complete all of your filling. Wait six weeks to repeat the filling process if your lawn’s grade still requires alteration. This time period allows the grass to grow and acclimate to the first soil layer.

Now, what about that sump pump?

It is important to keep the discharge point of your sump pump as far from your foundation as possible. The minimum distance should be 10 feet. Most discharge pipes have a flexible hose tightly attached to the pipe coming from the basement. During non-freezing weather this works just fine.

Grab your umbrella and take a walk around your home during the next heavy rain. If you see pooling near the foundation, corrections are necessary. Correcting the slope (as recommended above) is going to give this water a place to go. In addition, make sure to periodically check your system during the winter months. A frozen sump pump will damage your home as when the water begins to thaw it has no place to go … except your basement or crawl space.

An added side note, many local water utilities are paying equal attention to sump pump issues. Lebanon Utilities recently launched a “No Flood Zone” campaign, reminding residents that sump pumps should NOT be connected to sanitary sewers – which creates an inflow issue for stormwater as well as increasing the risk of sewage back-ups in basements.

After making these corrections, if you are still experiencing a leaky basement, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 317.896.2885 or contact us at info@customconcrete.com.

Increase Property Values

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The Benefits of a Basement

We all know that a good, well-built house begins with a good foundation. But what if you could gain some added value out of that foundation?

You can! It’s called a “basement.”

Yes, the basement … For some of us, the basement was the epicenter of our teen years; for others, it’s the designated home office space. For homes of high style and fashion, it’s where family and friends gather in the home theatre.

When I talk with future homeowners about building their house, the subject of a basement is often part of the conversation. And here’s what I advise: The basement is the most cost-effective addition of living space you can achieve.

Every house must have a foundation with which there is a minimum amount of associated cost. With a comparatively minimal additional investment (an average of $15 a square foot depending on basement layout, grade, etc.) you gain additional living space as well as a substantial increase in property value. An added perk: according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a well-insulated basement can gain the average homeowner between $200 and $400 a year in heating and cooling costs. Read more

Easy Fixes to Prevent Basement Dampness and Flooding

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Easy Fixes to Prevent Basement Dampness and Flooding

April showers might bring May flowers, but they can also bring on damp or flooding basements.

Every spring we receive a few calls from homeowners who are convinced that there’s an issue with their foundation … and almost always, that’s not the case.

Most damp or flooded basements are caused by things that are easily fixed … and even more easily prevented. Take a walk around your house and check out the following:

  • Downspouts – Clear them of leaves and other debris. If they are clogged, the water runs down the wall right into your basement. Likewise, downspouts should extend away from the house by several feet. Using the plastic “pleated” pipe you can find at any home improvement store is a great solution.
  • Make sure the grade of your lawn runs away from the house. Ideally, there should be at least 6 inches of slope within the first 10 feet away from the house. Also, it is very important to keep the grade at least 6 inches below the top of the wall or below the weep holes in the brick.  Elevating the grade (grass, mulch or hardscape) to high can cause water to run over the top of the foundation wall.
  • Sump pumps are one way to get rid of any extra moisture in your basement. Once installed, check periodically to ensure the pump fully functional and operating properly. Back up battery operated sump pumps are a great idea for those who experience frequent power outages – and remember, sump pumps should not be hooked into the sanitary sewer (allowing for sewer back ups in flooding conditions). Sump pumps should be installed to drain excess water into your yard or designated sub-surface drains.
  • During hot humid months, using a dehumidifier in the basement can reduce condensation on the walls, floors or any other cool smooth surface. This may work better after you’ve sealed air and duct leaks to reduce the amount of humid outdoor air you are bringing into the basement.

All of that said, our foundations are installed with an elaborate drainage and waterproofing system.  They are designed to prevent typical concrete shrinkage from leaking and to drain ground water.  By following these simple maintenance procedures, you significantly reduce your chance of dealing with a damp or wet basement.

Quality Basements

A Quality Basement Provides Additional Living Space

A basement can provide your family with the extra living space you need. Space for a home theater, office, game and workout rooms, extra bedrooms or an apartment.

  • Cost Effective Square Footage. Double the livable square footage of a single-story home, or add 50% more space to a two-story home – at a fraction of the cost of an upper level living space.
  • Safety and Security. A warm, dry and well constructed concrete basement can provide your family with a safe haven from tornadoes, wind storms and of course concrete walls won’t burn or rot.
  • Storage and Utilities. Free up living space by adding a warm, dry basement for storage. Locate heating, plumbing, electrical, gas and other services in your basement for easy accessibility.