Eliminating Hydrostatic Pressure / Fixing a Sticking Door / Ladder Safety

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm


We have block basement walls and noticed a horizontal crack two to four courses down from the top of the wall. It hasn’t started to bow or heave inward but we heard it still might collapse.


The movement of the walls is caused by hydrostatic pressure. I have seen cases where hydrostatic pressure pushed down a basement wall within four years. Usually you don’t have to worry about this happening, but you do have to eliminate the hydrostatic pressure, which is a simple thing to do. Slope the terrain around your house away from the foundation for four to six feet with a pitch of at least one-inch per foot. That will reduce ground water that accumulates against the exterior of your basement walls and pressure when it freezes. You know the terrain was the problem since it is apparently improperly sloped and the crack is the frost line.


I have a door that always sticks. It’s hard to close and open. Is this a job I can do or do I need a carpenter?


“You forgot to close the door. What’s the matter with you? Were you born in a barn?” I don’t know if you heard that when you were growing up, but I did, and sometimes it wasn’t my fault – honest.

Doors that won’t close because they’re swollen, or doors that stick when closed, can usually be planed or filed down where they are binding. However, before you pick up that file or plane to trim that area, try using a 2×4 and a hammer. It’s not to destroy the door, but to fix it.

Slowly open and shut the door watching and feeling it to find out where it binds. Place a two to three foot length of the 2×4 against the doorjamb where it’s binding and then hit the 2×4 with the hammer. More often than not, you’ll be able to knock the jamb back enough to stop the binding. The reason you hit the 2×4 and not the painted jamb is to prevent or reduce damaging and/or splitting the doorframe.

If you have to file or plane part of the surface, it’s important to repaint or reseal the planed area, as well as the top and bottom of the door. Without this protection, they will continue to swell and eventually it will get warped. Hey, I know what you’re thinking. I’m not that warped!


My husband has slipped off the ladder twice and while I know this sounds stupid, I don’t think he knows how to use one. Any advice?


Climbing a ladder to success may not always get you there if you don’t follow these five points to ladder safety.

Each year about 300 people are killed using a ladder and according to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission another 165,000 are seriously injured, so your husband is not alone. You, or someone you know probably had an accident with a ladder. Here are five points of ladder safety to keep you on track:

Choose the right ladder for the job:

  • Step or extension ladder?
  • Height of the ladder: Don’t over reach or use the top two steps of a stepladder, or the top three rungs of an extension ladder.
  • Ladder material: Don’t use an aluminum ladder when working with, or near electricity.

Inspect the ladder:

  • Check the rails and rungs for damage, such as bending or cracks prior to climbing on the ladder.
  • Check the slip resistant pads, ropes and pulleys.
  • Check the spreaders on the stepladder to make sure they lock.

Set the ladder properly:

  • The ladder should lean at a 75-degree angle, which means one-foot for every four feet.
  • Secure the ladder so it won’t slip.
  • Climb and work safely.

Obviously, it’s important to use common sense and not take a short cut so you won’t be one of the ladder statistics now or in the future.

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