Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) & Links

 

What are the warning signs of a leaking basement?

You probably have a basement leakage problem if you can spot one or more of the following eleven danger signs in your basement:

  • Water seepage from the walls or floors
  • General dampness or a musty odor in the basement
  • Tile lifting from the floor
  • Warped paneling or dry rot
  • White powder on the walls
  • Cracks in the walls or floors
  • Rust on the furnace, water tank, or lolly columns
  • Mildew or fungus
  • Termite or other insect infestation
  • Peeling paint on the walls
  • Buckling walls

You probably have a leaking basement if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and a professional inspection is a must as some causes of serious below grade basement damage are easily overlooked.

Why does my basement leak?

To understand why this leakage occurs, think of the hole that was dug when your home was constructed as a kind of “bowl”. With every rainfall this “bowl” fills with water, searching for weak areas in your home to enter as it seeks to level itself.

The most common cause of serious problems is rainwater leaking through the basement floor or below-ground-level walls. In a mild case, the water will slowly seep through porous walls and can be difficult to detect. In an extreme case, the water enters through visible holes and cracks and accumulates in deep puddles on the floor. Unfortunately, it’s the water you can’t see that causes the most serious foundation problems. That’s why it is very important to have an experienced waterproofer inspect your basement and make recommendations to correct the problem before the problem becomes worse.

Is basement water leakage a common problem?

Yes. According to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), an estimated 90% of all homes whose basements have cinder or cement block walls will leak in the first 25 years of life.

Our basement was dry for over 5 years then one day it began to leak. How did this happen?

Problems can develop even in the most well built homes. Over time, walls settle and crack, protective coatings that were applied during construction to help make the home watertight may crack, and exterior drainage systems fill up with silt. Homes that were originally built to be watertight can begin to leak without notice.

Do I need to take care of my wet basement problem now?

Many homeowners postpone waterproofing their basements because they are unaware of the severe damage that can be caused by water penetrating the foundation. Neglecting a basement water problem can result in costly foundation structural repairs. It is wise to have a professional waterproofer inspect your basement if there is any question that you might have a water problem.

Will waterproofing my basement increase the value of my home?

According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, money spent for a permanently dry basement typically pays off in an immediate increase in the market value of a home.

How do I choose the right contractor to fix my basement?

Choosing the right contractor can be frustrating and confusing. A few tips you can utilize to help the decision process:

  1. Request references from the prospective contractor. Make sure they have satisfied customers from your area. Safeguard has 1000’s of references available.
  2. Contact the local Better Business Bureau for complaint history. All contractors have complaints, but if the contractor has a large amount of resolved or unresolved complaints, be careful! The BBB was created to protect consumers and alert prospective consumers. Safeguard’s BBB history is one of the best in the industry.
  3. Search the contractor on the internet. Many consumer protection sites on the internet will report problems the contractor has had in fulfilling their contracts.
  4. Always receive a written contract. If any promises are not in writing don’t assume they will be done. Safeguard has a separate agreement attached to the contract outline everything we will do and any additional services.
  5. Don’t always look for the lowest bid. A contractor’s bargain price may be more attractive than his finished product. Safeguard offers competitive quotes that are standard in the industry and has a fixed price list.

How long have you been in business?

Safeguard has served the Chicago Metropolitan area for more than 30 years. Based in Franklin Park IL, Safeguard has thousands of satisfied customers in Illinois and Northern Indiana.

How do I know if I have a foundation problem?

If you think you have a foundation problem, the best thing to do is call Safeguard, Inc. for a free on-site consultation. Some symptoms of foundation problems you may find include:

  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Bowed walls
  • Cracked interior and exterior walls
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Sinking foundations
  • Cracking, sinking, or slanting driveways and sidewalks
  • Sloping floors
  • Settling houses
  • Leaky basements and water damage

What causes foundation problems?

Foundation problems are mainly caused by poor soil and water:

  • Inadequate drainage that causes soil to swell creating movement in the foundation
  • Roots of trees under and around you home can dry the soil causing it to expand and contract
  • Uncompacted fill material
  • Soft soil that cannot support the weight of the structure
  • Clay soils naturally expand and contract, which causes your home to settle
  • Weather changes including drought and very wet seasons can cause soil to contract, expand or wash away, and water buildup that can leak into your home

What happens if I don’t fix my foundation problems?

Foundation problems that go unfixed can worsen causing further problems to the home, raising the cost of fixing those problems, and possibly lowering the value of your home.

Do I have to repair my foundation in order to sell my house?

In Illinois & Indiana, if the owner of a house, structure, or building is aware of a foundation problem and does not disclose it, the buyer can come back to the seller up to two years later and have it repaired at the seller’s expense. The only exception would be a buyer who is willing to accept the house “as is.” Meaning they know about the problems, but agree to buy the home without them being fixed.

What happens if I repair the house and it settles again?

Safeguard l fully guarantees the work we do on any home for the life of the home. Any adjustments that need to be made to our work will be done without any cost to the homeowner. Our warranty is also transferable from owner to owner, for the entire life of the home.

Will my yard be in disrepair after the foundation repair is done?

Foundation repair can be a messy job. However, we will do everything we can to leave your lawn as close to the way we found it as possible. Sometimes the stress of being dug up may cause plants to die. We will work closely with the homeowner to address any lawn or landscaping concerns he/she may have.

Does insurance cover the cost of foundation repair?

Most standard homeowner insurance policies state that they will cover foundation damage, ONLY if it is the result of a plumbing leak. However, if there is not a leak, the homeowner will have to pay for the full cost of the repair on his/her own.

Links

Member of the Better Business Bureau, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors.

Basement Technologies
Ram Jack Distribution
Fortress
Better Business Bureau
National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Inc.
National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors
Foundation Repair Network

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This guide is provided as a service to help you prevent foundation problems.