drdiy

Damp Basement / Gutter Leak / Sealing Concrete / What to Watch For When Hiring a Contractor

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Please pass along my blog to all your family and friends. I’d really appreciate it!

Q:

Despite several attempts to correct the drainage from gutters on my 2-story colonial, water streams between the house and the gutters. How can I correct this problem?

A:

If your gutters or downspouts are obstructed, rainwater will back up and cause your problem.

Next, make sure the gutters are installed properly and not tilted backward.

Finally, you should have metal drip edging along the entire bottom edge of your roof boards under the shingles. The metal itself should not just be straight and flat, it should have a slight bend outward. The bend or slant directs water into the gutters and not behind them.

The starter course of shingles should overhang the metal drip edging approximately 1/4 to 1/2 an inch. Anymore of an overhang and the shingles will begin to sag with time. The protruding shingles and lip on the drip edging should effectively direct water run off into your gutters.

Q:

I am planning on hiring a basement or mechanical contractor. What are some things I should watch out for?

A:

If you need to hire a waterproofing contractor for your basement, you should be careful that they are not charging for work not done.

Are they using poor-quality products? You really won’t know, so get the “specs” on material and quality before you sign the contract.

  • If they damage the foundation, landscaping, furnishings, etc. who pays for that?
  • Are they making claims that cannot be attained?
  • Are they doing unnecessary work?
  • How good is the company and how long have they been in business?
  • Do they guarantee the job? The guarantee may only be as good as how much water it can soak up!

Now, as for furnace repairs, some contractors use scare tactics to intimidate homeowners such as, “you’ll die” (or worse yet) “your cat will die if we don’t replace the furnace”, or “the furnace will blow up at any moment”.

When they are selling you a new furnace, are they representing the furnace’s efficiency to be higher than it actually is? Check with publications such as Consumer Reports.

Are they doing unnecessary repairs or replacement? Some have been known to deliberately break a part in order to increase the fee. (Oh, I’m surprised!).

Is the man who is doing the work qualified to actually perform the job properly? Remember, most contractors are honest; but check them, their licenses, their references, as well as their work, out.

Q:

You recommend sealing concrete with 50% boiled linseed oil and 50% kerosene. I never heard of this. I asked a contractor who has been in the concrete business for 30 years and he said he never heard of this. He put in a new concrete sidewalk and apron. Should I seal it? Will it discolor the concrete?

A:

The Michigan Concrete Association strongly urges that concrete be sealed approximately 30 days after it has cured. It must be dry and the air temperature above 70 degrees. The boiled linseed oil mixture will temporarily discolor the surface, but if you want you can use any concrete sealer. The sealer should be applied every 2-years.

Check out the Michigan Concrete Association website at www.miconcrete.org.

Q:

I have a basement that is moist and showing spots of efflorescent and paint bubbling. It was suggested to me to start by grading the foundation. What is the correct way of doing this?

A:

You want to grade the terrain away from your house using topsoil. The idea or purpose is to get the ground water away from your foundation. Grade it and have it slope four to six feet from your house with a 1-inch per foot slope. Pea gravel will enable the ground water to sift faster to your existing grade and then slowly leak into your basement. Pea gravel is used below the topsoil and ground cover all the way down to a working drain tile system. That keeps a basement dryer.

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  1. Lon, hi! So we only sealed our driveway when it was new It should be done every 2 yrs?! Does it need to be powerwashed 1st? Iris

    • Iris, Asphalt driveways need to be clean if applying a latex sealer. If you are using a petroleum based sealer sealer they should be clean and dry.

      Clean does not equate to power washing. The drive can be hosed off or even broom cleaned.

      If the existing asphalt has any serious or wide cracks, they need to have any and all weeds pulled out, the cracks cleaned out and filled with an asphalt crack filler prior to sealing.

      Thanks for reading and following my blog Lon

  2. Iris, Asphalt driveways need to be clean if applying a latex sealer. If you are using a petroleum based sealer sealer they should be clean and dry.

    Clean does not equate to power washing. The drive can be hosed off or even broom cleaned.

    If the existing asphalt has any serious or wide cracks, they need to have any and all weeds pulled out, the cracks cleaned out and filled with an asphalt crack filler prior to sealing.

    Thanks for reading and following my blog Lon

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