Scary Questions – Straightforward Answers

Q: We have dampness in the basement after rain; is this a problem?

If it isn’t now, it soon will be; moisture and dampness penetrating a house structure is increasingly destructive to the structure as a whole and creates an unhealthy living environment.

Q: We have a musty bad smell in the basement; can that mean there is mould hiding behind the drywall?

Yes. The only way to properly remedy the situation is to seal the foundation completely and stop the moisture entering. Then thoroughly clean and/or remove the mouldy building materials.

Q: Is living with mould unhealthy?

Absolutely; especially if you can smell it because it means it is in the air you are breathing! According to Health Canada “All moulds pose a risk to respiratory health and should be removed, regardless of the type of mould.” They have a whole section of their website dedicated to mould and its adverse health effects. If you suspect you might have mould growing in your home, you should check out this link for further information:

Health Canada – Mould, Dampness and Humidity

Q: We are getting quotations that are hugely different in price and scope; why is that?

Two main reasons: Unlicensed/uninsured or “under the table” contractors running costs can be insignificant compared to running a legitimate company that warrantees its work: OR; some companies employ a method called “creep” – they offer a lower price than the competition to get the job then ask for “extras” all the way along after the job gets started.

Q: What’s the risk of using an unlicensed contractor?

If they are unlicensed they are not bound to perform work to code. Typically they do not stand behind their work or offer any kind of guarantee. Often disappearing or changing company names on a regular basis to avoid warranty issues. They do not hold liability insurance or WSIB (Workers compensation insurance). Licensed contractors ensure that all employment and health and safety regulations are met or above and beyond ministry standards.

Licensed Contractors train and educate workers to be up to date on new building materials and techniques. To know how to properly apply and use the techniques according to the manufacturers standards.

When reviewing your quotes take the time to ask questions, any contractor worthy of working on your home will be more than happy to walk you through the process to make sure you understand. Foundation repair and restoration is serious business, make sure you know who is working on your home and what you are getting or not getting.

Mississauga house collapses during renovation – CBC

Renovation gone wrong leaves Toronto home demolished – National Post

Q: We had our foundation waterproofed and its still leaking why is that?

85% of the work that we do is fixing or re-doing repairs that have been attempted before. Many contractors are not aware of the complexities of building envelope problems and the techniques to fix them properly. Sometimes fixing an isolated problem area can create a leak in another area. The water must be dealt with properly or else it will just find another way in.

Q: Can a wet foundation be fixed from the inside?

Best practice ABSOLUTELY NOT. If the waterproofing is built on the inside of the structure it means the water/moisture is still penetrating and damaging the foundation. The foundation supporting your home should not be a sieve!

Q: My foundation is disintegrating so badly we can scrape it with our fingers; we are afraid the whole structure could be in jeopardy; can this be fixed?

Absolutely; but a foundation in this state requires careful structural monitoring and stabilization while the work is being performed in stages.

Q: We have cracks in the foundation should we have them fixed?

Cracks appearing in a foundation wall can range from insignificant to dire problems; a professional assessment is recommended.

Q: We have powdery white stuff on the basement concrete walls; what is this? Is it bad?

It is likely efflorescence. It can happen on masonry, stucco and concrete.   It is the migration of salt to the porous surfaces due to the dissolving of internally held salt in water. Groundwater and humidity are usually the source of this event. It often indicates that there is water and/or vapour penetrating the walls and drying to the inside.

Q: If we have to remove our deck or porch to get at the foundation repairs how do we put it all back together?

We are an “end to end” services company. Our sister company Stonehenge Design Build has over 25 years of experience with all types of residential construction.  Ofter Foundation remediation involves some other kind of construction inside and out. Proper grading, landscaping, decks porches, walkways, new doors and windows and all aspects of water management.

Q: After we fix the foundation what can we do about the water problems we have? It pools against the house; it pools in the back yard; the eaves don’t seem to handle a big storm…

We assess the whole situation; as required, we can re-grade; build an underground drain system; repair flashing system/eaves etc. Each home is unique, the solutions we recommend are tailored to your home and property depending upon your needs.