The Wet Basement Blog

The team at DryBasements.com Ltd has compiled its collective knowledge to provide homeowners with the Wet Basement Blog. In it you will find valuable information on basement waterproofing, foundation crack repair, sump pumps and other important topics. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back often for the latest entry!

  • 05/03/2017
    How Can I Prevent Leaks in My Basement During the Winter?

    Winter ice buildup can cause serious damage to your home and basement. In many cases, water will originate above the foundation. This may be due to poor attic insulation or ventilation, inadequate downspouts that cause ice damning, ice buildup or plugged window well drains.


    Without proper insulation, heat loss will melt snow which will then freeze when it reaches the eaves. This ice builds up and pushes itself under the shingles. Then when there is a rain or heavy melt, water is damned by the ice and flows under the shingles into your home. This may present show up as water in the basement or water coming through the ceiling. Heating wires installed in valleys and at the eaves will help eliminate this problem. If you are new to the house, then I suggest you speak with neighbours and ask if they have any knowledge of this happening during previous winters.

    Ice will also build up inside small downspouts or downpipes. Historically, the typical size installed was 2”x3”. This is often undersized for the winters here in Ontario. Downspouts that drain gutters from southern exposures are most prone to freezing. On cold sunny days, snow on southern exposures will melt and the cold water draining through the downspout (typically not exposed to sunshine) will freeze and eventually fill the downspout solid with ice. Once blocked the ice will continue to freeze and expand. The seam on the rear of the pipe will burst and allow water to escape out the back of the down pipe. It is possible for this water to then leak through brick, siding, or the foundation. The water that then builds up in the soil can cause cracking and leaking through
    the foundation.

    Take some time before winter to investigate all the down pipes around your house. Feel the back of the pipe where the seam is and check for broken or bulging seems. If you feel any abnormalities in the seam, have these replaced with at least 3”x” downspouts.  

    Another area to inspect is any window wells that you may have. It is common for leaves or garbage to accumulate in the window well and leak through the window. If you see anything that should not be in the well, remove it. Additionally, it would be recommended that you water test your drains before winter. Just take a garden hose and let it run full strength and see how well it drains away. If the drain will not take the water away as quickly as your hose delivers it, then it would be better to have new drains installed. We would be happy to provide a free estimate for you.

    These simple checks and precautions can eliminate thousands of dollars in damage from water leakage.

    Have a Great Winter!

    Read More
  • 05/03/2017
    Does Your Basement or Crawl Space Have a Musty Odour?

    Mould spores are part of our natural environment; they’re in the air and in our food, but they need stagnant moisture to nourish their growth. You will notice more odors and dampness in basements and crawl spaces because there is excess moisture, stagnant air and damp surfaces—all of which contribute to mould growth. Unfortunately, the air in a house naturally flows upwards pulling with it mould spores into the upper living areas. In order to prevent mould growth it is absolutely imperative to reduce moisture and keep the air from
    stagnating.

    The antiquated method of dealing with excess moisture is to use dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers though have several drawbacks. They are only effective in a limited space, they do not circulate enough air, are extremely energy inefficient and they require emptying buckets of water and filter changes. Why use yesterday’s technology? Join the thousands of people who have embraced the wave of the future and get a HumiFresh Ventilation unit to solve your indoor moisture problems.

    HumiFresh Ventilation is the proven method to effectively remove excess moisture from the basement or crawl space and to ventilate the entire house creating a whole house air exchange 6-10 times daily. HumiFresh Ventilation units are installed at the lowest level of the house where the relative humidity is the highest. The units expel the moist, damp air and replenish it with the drier, fresher, healthier air from the upper levels. They require no maintenance and cost just pennies a day to operate. A HumiFresh Ventilation is the whole house solution to your moisture problems and indoor air quality by transforming the basement or crawl space from a musty unhealthy area into favorable conditions comparable to upstairs. More importantly though, it will starve mould spores of the essential ingredient they require to proliferate. Mould activity will decrease in the upper levels as well.

    Please contact us for a free, no obligation quote.

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  • 05/03/2017
    Sump Pump Maintenance

    The dry weather has likely made most of us forget that we even have a sump pump, let alone check to see if it works. Yet this is when we need to be the most vigilant. If you have a sump pit that actually dries out or a pump that sits idle for the summer, it is important to lift the float every week to keep the sump pump from seizing up. It will rain again, and you want to be ready. I should qualify that statement with this next caveat: NexPump users have no need to worry since the system spins its pumps to test them twice every day.


    Everyone else however, mark it in your calendar to check your pumps weekly. Some sump pump switching mechanisms are wired directly to the sump pump and some have a piggy-back plug where the sump pump plugs into the plug for the switch and then into the wall outlet. For those of you with the piggy-back system, don’t take
    the lazy way out and just plug the pump directly into the wall, bypassing the switch since this will only test the pump. You want to make sure the switch is tested each time as well.

    To test the sump pump and switch, you could fill the pit with water until the pump turns on. This would be a waste of good, clean water. As little as it may be, if everyone tests there sump pump this way, it would add up to a significant amount of wasted water. Water that has gone through the costly process of municipal treatment.

    The better way is to remove the lid from your sump pit and reach in to lift the float switch to engage the sump pump. A few second is all it takes. While the lid is off, it is advisable to shine a light into the pit and look for debris; this could be floating debris or a buildup of sludge on the bottom of your sump pit. A continual buildup of sludge can eventually cause your sump pump to stop pumping. This would be disastrous. Also, a rock, a small piece of wood, or even a nail or screw will eventually find its way into the impeller of your sump pump and cause disaster. Use a wet vac to suck out anything that should not be in there. Chances are you will only need to go this far with your sump pump once or twice a year.

    Anyone who is familiar with this routine has surely dreamt of having a way to have the sump pump do all this on its own. While there is no system to automatically clean the sump pit of debris, there is a sump pump system that will do its own testing and can tell you if one of its pumps gets blocked with debris. Not only that, but it includes a built-in charging station for the battery backup portion, electronic sensors that are rated for millions of cycles, and can even email and phone you if a problem is detected. NexPump truly is the “World’s Most Reliable Sump System”.

    Finally, a word to those with new homes. New building codes require the use of a sealed sump lid. This design is to keep radon and other poisonous gasses out of you home as well as unwelcome moisture. Your weeping tile is a great collector of these and empties all of it into your home. Homes have become more airtight in recent a year which is great for energy consumption, but not so great for venting gasses like Radon. Don’t fall into the complacent attitude that your house is different. My point is, keep the lid on your sump pump, it is there


    for a reason. If taking it off and putting it back on is cumbersome due to the sealed lid, you can certainly take your chances and hope for the best or better yet, make the wise investment in a NexPump. NexPump was developed out of need, not just to fill a want. If you don’t have a NexPump, that’s OK, just be proactive and keep an eye on you sump pump.

    Read More
  • 17/01/2017
    Spring Check for Winter Damage

    During the spring, it makes good sense to inspect your home done over the winter. Winter can be very hard on a home’s exterior. Please remember

    to always take the appropriate precautions when inspecting your property for damage.
    • Look closely at the exposed foundation above ground, inspect for cracks and surface deterioration. 
    • Inspect window wells to make sure they are secured to the foundation and not separated our lifted.
    • Ensure that window wells and drains are not plugged with leaf litter or any other materials.
    • If your basement is finished, inspect the perimeter for any signs of moisture. 
    • If your basement is unfinished, look for vertical or horizontal cracks. Severe frost can cause foundations to crack. 
    • Check your grading. As the frost comes out of the ground, concrete slabs and sidewalks can begin to slope toward the house.
    • Ensure everything is sloping away from the house. 
    • Inspect the caulking around windows, siding and doors.
    • Check that your downspouts have not been damaged by ice buildup.
    • Check that your eaves have not separated from the house and holes that will wildlife to get in. 
    • Look for missing or damages shingles and inspect valleys and flashing (binoculars can often be used or with newer high resolution camera, you may be able to take pictures and then do your inspection at your desk).
    Read More
  • 17/01/2017
    DryBasements.com Supports 12th Annual Hike for Hospice

    The 12th Annual Hike for Hospice, sponsored by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, has broken records once again! The event, which takes place every year on the first Sunday in May, is one of the signature fundraising events for VON Sakura House residential hospice. The event has seen huge growth since the doors of the hospice opened to patients in 2009, with many participants forming teams in tribute to a loved one who has passed.


    Hike for Hospice welcomed over 500 participants (over 55 teams!) to Roth Park on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Event-goers braved the cooler temperature and appreciated the sunshine to start the day. Paul Lang, from 104.7 Heart FM was the MC for the day; Oxford County Warden – Don McKay, Woodstock Mayor – Pat Sobeski, and VON Canada’s Cindy Kinnon brought greetings to participants. Tim Hortons on Norwich Ave. donated hot chocolate & coffee, Your Farm Market offered apple slices and go kart rides to start the day, and TD Canada Trust volunteers assisted with the Registration tent. VON Sakura House bereavement coordinator, Nancy Clark & musician, Betty Ford lead the moving Tribute Ceremony before the Hikers took to the Pittock Trail.

    After their choice of 1km, 5km, or 8km Hike routes, with volunteers from Innerkip Presbyterian Church offering water along the way, participants returned to Roth Park to enjoy a BBQ lunch donated and prepared by the Sweaburg Lions. Participants also filled the Sakura Tree with paper blossoms in memory of their loved ones.

    Since the fundraising grand total was announced at the event, it has climbed even higher, breaking last year’s record, and coming in at $100,731! All funds stay local and go toward the Annual Operation of VON Sakura House hospice.

    –Reprinted with permission of VON

    Read More
  • 17/01/2017
    Air As a Waterproofing Material?

    My name is Jeff Brown. I am the president and founder of DryBasements.com Ltd. 


    The biggest advantage to the Air-Gap membrane when compared to other materials is of course the air-gap. When used on the outside of the wall, this little air space acts as a capillary break between the soil and the foundation. While most water will be kept out by the membrane, any water that does enter will drain harmlessly away to the footing drains or weeping tile. It is a simple but effective principal. I could go into a lengthy discussion of fluid mechanics and explain all the physics of why this works but the simple reality is, it does! Also, because I have no idea what all the formulas under fluid mechanics and its sub-disciplines of fluid dynamics etc. mean. Click here if you want to figure it out for yourself.

    Some will say that Delta MS and like materials are not waterproofing. I always counter with the fact that nothing in a house is waterproof. Everything is designed to be water repellent. Submerge your house and see. Everything from the roof down sheds water. It is not necessary to be waterproof. Yes, it is possible to waterproof a foundation wall, but is it necessary? Your foundation consists of vertical surfaces. Any water that reaches your foundation ultimately ends up at your footing and under your basement floor. For a basement to be waterproof then, you would need to waterproof all components including the floor and the footing. We can’t. Well we can, but no one could afford it. In my opinion, since it is not practical to waterproof the ultimate point of entry, why get preoccupied and worried about waterproofing the walls. The most important thing is to control the water. This means that the most important component in a basement drainage system is the sump pump, yet to most people and companies it is the least concern.

    Working backwards, the sump handles all the water collected by the system, so really, this should be the most important part of the system. How often have you heard of a sump pump failing. Claims in Canada cost insurance companies and ultimately the public,hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The average claim is in excess of $14,000. A basement and its contents can be destroyed.

    If you are contemplating a major retrofit of your foundation drainage system, the pump should be just as important as the material applied to the walls.

    Getting back to our discussion about foundation waterproofing, functional drainage is more important than a classification of waterproof walls. My opinion is that if a product keeps water out of your home, then your home is waterproof. This is why I will happily call our systems waterproofing. Delta MS is waterproofing. Some will try to sell added layers of spray or peel and stick membrane but it is all smoke and mirrors. A properly installed drainage system, including Delta MS Air-Gap membrane is all you need. Agreeing with me is the National Building Code which classifies Delta MS as a waterproofing membrane.

    Read More

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DryBasements.com Ltd.

Box 20124

Woodstock, ON Canada

N4S 8X8

Phone: 1-866-DRY-BSMT (379-2768)


Other Phone Numbers
London/St. Thomas: 519-473-0561
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519-279-1379

Fax: 226-782-0131

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