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How To Handle Water Issues in Your Basement

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How To Handle Water Issues in Your Basement

Some homeowners interested in remodeling their basement are concerned with existing water issues in the space. Finished Basement Company has the knowledge and expertise to help our clients through water issues ranging from simple to the more complicated. Ideally, the goal is to find the best solution to help achieve the end goal of creating an amazing space for our clients. Some steps to evaluating these concerns are listed here.

Home Remodeling with FBC Remodel

1. Evaluate the perimeter of your house

Ensure that the ground next to your foundation slopes away from the foundation, not towards it. Back filled dirt around the foundation will typically settle lower than the surrounding dirt causing the ground to sink in and slope towards your house. If necessary, add dirt up against the foundation to create at least a 2″ per foot (that is, a drop of 2″ for each foot you move away) slope against the foundation. Make sure that the top of the dirt is at least six inches below the sill plate so that no ground contact exists which may cause certain building materials to rot in the future.

2. Make sure your gutters are clean

Regularly maintain and clean out your gutters and make sure your downspouts are discharging their water at least 5 feet away from your foundation.

3. Watch out for shrubs and other plants that are too close to your foundation

Rotted roots can create a path for surface water to flow down to your foundation. You should keep plantings at least 12″ away from the foundation and on a slight slope to direct water away from your foundation.

4. Try to waterproof your walls

Try using a product such as Drylok or Xypex if you have minor, intermittent leaks. Drylok is a waterproofer, not a water sealer. It expands as it dries to become part of the wall. Xypex is more like applying a waterproof concrete on the surface that will bond with it. Because Xypex relies on the presence of moisture to form its waterproof crystalline structure if a Xypex application does have small areas of water leakage they will seal themselves as they cycle through moisture. Xypex is also 2-4 times as expensive as Drylok. One problem with these solutions is that groundwater which is underneath your basement floor or at the bottom of the walls is under significant pressure due to the weight of groundwater above it pressing down [and therefore??].

5. Repair defects in poured concrete walls

Defects in concrete walls such as cracks and the places where pipes and form tie rods go through the concrete need to be repaired and maintained. If you see a crack in a concrete wall it goes all the way through the wall to the outside and is a potential source of water. For cracks that will not experience any thermal or structural movement, DRYLOK Fast Plug is very effective in sealing cracks in the masonry. Another reliable way to repair a wall crack is with an injection of construction-grade epoxy that penetrates the crack all the way from inside to outside, bottom to top. Generally, an experienced crack repair technician is the best choice for this. Do-it-yourself kits of epoxy and polyurethane systems are available, but are less reliable.

6. Consider installing a sump

A sump is essentially a hole in your basement floor which contains a pump. When the water level in the sump rises too high, a pump kicks on and draws the water out of the sump, discharging it outside the house, usually 10 or more feet from the foundation. Installing a sump requires a moderate degree of skill and experience, since it involves jack hammering or otherwise creating a hole in the concrete floor of your basement, excavating a hole, placing a liner in the hole, wiring the sump pump itself, and plumbing an outlet from the pump to the outdoors.

7. Try a French drain (or perimeter drain) for serious water issues

A French drain consists of a continuous system of piping, running beneath the floor of the basement and along the entire perimeter of the basement. Installing a French drain is similar to installing a sump, but requires cutting and removing an approximately 12″ wide strip of basement floor along the entire perimeter of the basement, digging a 12″ deep trench, filling it with coarse gravel surrounding the drain pipe, then re-pouring a concrete floor to cover it all up. A French drain will always include a sump and pump for removing any water which gets into the drain system.

8. Have a professional inject Hydroclay around of your foundation

Hydroclay is a waterproofing version of Bentonite Clay, known for its ability to absorb large amounts of water. Usually pumped from the outside, the clay fills in voids and follows the pathways water uses to get inside your foundation permanently sealing the basement.

Each of these ideas offers potential solutions to a basement’s water issues. The uniqueness of each property’s soil type or external material can result in varying effectiveness of each of these solutions. If you are concerned about these issues, speak with a professional to ensure that the steps you take to waterproof are effective.

Project of the Month: The Miles Family

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PROJECT OF THE MONTH: THE MILES FAMILY

Like many homeowners, the Miles family used to use their basement space for storage. After partnering with Finished Basement company, we were able to help turn that storage space into an additional living area that maximized an under 1000 foot space. Our talented designers work hard to be sure that our homeowners can make the most of any space, and for the Miles family, the result was a beautiful, open, and unified with the style of their home.

Where did your initial design inspiration come from? (i.e. Pinterest, Houzz, homewalkthrough, FBC website, etc.)

(Miles) Many of our initial design ideas came from magazines like Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and Interior Design. However, most of the designs were in areas larger than our basement space. So, we were very interested in seeing what our principal designer and the team would design for our space.

How did your designer(s) collaborate with you to create the final designs?

(Miles) Our principal designer listened carefully to our wants/needs to ensure she and the team designed a space we’d love. It was important that the basement looked unified with the Mediterranean style of our home. We didn’t want the basement space to look like an after-thought.

What was your favorite part of the design-build process and why?

(Miles) After the design came to life, we really enjoyed seeing the process come to fruition through updates on Builder Trend. Our space was initially just used for storage, but as each step progressed it was amazing to see the additional living space we’d soon enjoy.

Prior to the project, what were some of your biggest concerns, and how did your project team help address them?

(Miles) Our two biggest concerns were that our less than 1000sq foot space looked as roomy as possible, and that the climate was adequately controlled. From the beginning the design team offered suggestions that would enhance the openness of the space. Their results were terrific. The space suits our needs perfectly! The team also had a HVAC analysis done early in the process to ensure our climate control needs were met.

What was your favorite part of the design-build process and why?

(Miles) After the design came to life, we really enjoyed seeing the process come to fruition through updates on Builder Trend. Our space was initially just used for storage, but as each step progressed it was amazing to see the additional living space we’d soon enjoy.

Prior to the project, what were some of your biggest concerns, and how did your project team help address them?

(Miles) Our two biggest concerns were that our less than 1000sq foot space looked as roomy as possible, and that the climate was adequately controlled. From the beginning the design team offered suggestions that would enhance the openness of the space. Their results were terrific. The space suits our needs perfectly! The team also had a HVAC analysis done early in the process to ensure our climate control needs were met.

How did your project manager address any issues or set-backs during the construction process?

(Miles) Our project manager was excellent in keeping us updating, discussing a delay, and letting us know why. His communication was very helpful and helped make the process go smoothly.

What is your family’s favorite element of your newly finished space?

(Miles) We love the entire space! We most often use the family room/bar area for relaxing and entertaining. We’re very pleased with FBC!

Project of the Month: The Peters Family

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Project of the Month: The Peters Family

It all starts with an idea. We contemplate the look and feel we want our space to have. But usually, we aren’t sure how to bring that idea to life. Every client comes to us with a unique design idea. Our designers use their training and talents to bring those ideas to fruition. The Peters family recently had that very experience. From small details and personal touches, their designer not only met the Peters’ space needs, but blew them away with more than they could imagine.

FBC: Where did your initial design inspiration come from?

{Peters}: We knew the feeling we wanted to have from our basement. We wanted it to be cozy and a bit rustic — a haven to relax and create memories as a family. But we didn’t want to replicate what we had in other areas of the home. So, we forced ourselves to think outside of the box as far as traditional basement layouts or what was designed for the space by our initial home builder. We decided to place the fireplace as a central focal point for the basement and designed the lounge and TV room around the fire to take advantage of that warmth.

As opposed to a traditional bar area, we created a lounge that would be more conducive to conversations with friends. Upstairs in our kitchen we found ourselves entertaining friends and family by standing around our kitchen island, so we didn’t want to replicate that design. We decided on a lounge space to replace a more traditional “bar” as we thought this would be different and unique from the feeling of other spaces in our home. Natalie managed to twist Ryan’s arm into getting a sauna as well, adding even more warmth during the cold MN winter months.

FBC: How did your designer(s) collaborate with you to create the final designs?

{Peters}: Our Finished Basement Company designers were tuned into our taste from conversations and our “tags” on Houzz. They made suggestions that fell right in line with our dream basement. They were also very conscious of our budget and made adjustments to the design to fall in line with what we had outlined.

FBC: What was your favorite part of the design-build process and why?

{Peters}: Seeing it all come together and picking out materials as a team. I am usually very particular and take a lot of time to make decisions. They narrowed in on our taste and made suggestions that made the process very fast and easy for us.

FBC: Prior to the project, what were some of your biggest concerns, and how did your project team help address them?

{Peters}: Our budget! We weren’t sure that everything on our dream list would be attainable. Finished Basement Company helped us adapt our plan to get the basement we wanted and also stayed within our budget.

FBC: How did your project manager address any issues or set-backs during the construction process?

{Peters}: They were always quick to respond. If we had any concern, they’d address it right away.

FBC: What is your family’s favorite element of your newly finished space?

{Peters}: We love creating new memories together as a family. We just finished decorating the space for the holidays, and we can’t wait to enjoy the space for special moments in the future.

FBC: How do you use your finished space? (i.e. day to day, entertaining, kids parties, crafting, etc.)

{Peters}: We use the space as a getaway and relaxation space as much as we can. We watch movies together as a family, sit by the fire, entertain friends, host parties, host Girl Scout meetings, and have spa days together in the sauna.

FBC: Any other thoughts or feedback from the project!

{Peters}: We love the space more than we could have imagined. I hosted a party with some girlfriends a few weeks ago, and we received so many compliments. Everyone felt that it was the perfect space for entertaining, and a very cool new addition to the house.

 

Square Footage: 1,000 – 1,500 sq. ft.
Price: $110,000–$150,000
Style: Transitional, Rustic

Radiant Floor Heating: Pros and Cons

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Radiant Floor Heating: Pros and Cons

Radiant floor heating is NOT a fancy new trend. This method of climate control has been used for centuries, dating back as early as Early Roman times. As with any construction method, there are pros and cons. In many applications, the pros will outweigh the cons. If a homeowner is considering radiant floor heating, they should research their options and obtain the professional opinion of a designer, project manager and installer.

FBC Remodel | Home RemodelingWhat is radiant floor heating? According to Scientific American, “Underfloor radiant heating involves under laying the floor with a hot element or tubing that transfers heat into the room via infrared radiation and convection, obviating the need for forced or blowing air”. This method has been used for centuries! Ancient Romans heated their spaces with a similar in-floor method. Radiant floor heating can be retro-fitted to a space or can be applied to new construction.

FBC Remodel Home Remodeling | Radiant Floor HeatingWhy is radiant floor heating a good method of climate control? Efficiency is an important consideration in any design. Most applications allow for radiant floor heating to be far more efficient than forced air heating because energy is not being lost in the duct. When forced air is not used, ducts will no longer be required. Eliminating ducts and forced air will greatly reduce heat lost, cold and hot spots, and airborne dust and allergens. See the diagram below to get a visual of how the heat is dispersed through a space using forced air versus radiant floor heat. The diagram clearly shows that temperature is more consistent using radiant floor heat. When the heating is consistent in a space, less energy will be used to keep the space at a certain temperature, ultimately lowering energy costs.

Are there any reasons not to consider radiant floor heat? Everything about radiant floor heat sounds positive, but there are always cons to consider in any construction application. Radiant floor heating has a higher upfront cost due to the increased amount of labor with the install. If a hard surface is being used, radiant floor heating can be installed with in-floor tubing such as what is pictured below. If a wood floor or carpet is used, warm board will be applied under the finished floor. Warm board can be more costly but allows for all types of flooring to be applied and have radiant floor heat.
In many retrofit applications, radiant floor heat can be an incredible cost saving alternative to forced air. This type of flooring is ideal for any homeowner concerned with dust, allergens, and energy efficiency.

For more information, check out these resources below:

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/benefits-radiant-heating-bathroom-floors.htm
https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-radiant-floor-heating-cost.htm
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/2161-radiant-floor-heating-101/#.V71JEHpWUto
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/radiant-heating-history/#.V71LZXpWUto
http://www.bobvila.com/articles/installing-radiant-heat/#.V71L-npWUto