All homes built on or below ground level require some form of waterproofing in order to avoid moisture-related issues. A basement that is exposed to moisture will feel damp, giving off a musty odor. It can also provide the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can pose serious health risks if left untreated.
Damp, musty, moldy — does this sound like your basement? If so, you would be wise to consider waterproofing your basement right away, and here’s why:
Waterproofing your basement can save you a lot of stress and money in the long run. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to give us a call!
7 Actions You Can Take
To Minimize Your Water Damage Losses,
Get Your Insurance Company to Pay for Repairs,
Save Time, Grief, and Save Thousands Out-of-Pocket…
Having a workable Contingency Plan ready
To deal with unexpected water intrusion
Is a vitally important First Step…
When a crisis hits, it’s only natural to panic – since you’ll usually find yourself in unfamiliar territory.
But, as professinally-trained emergency response teams have proven, being prepared can make all the difference in the ultimate outcome. Knowing all of your resources, as well as being able to take the right actions – calmly and quickly – should always be part of your plan.
And, whether you’ve got serious water leakage or flooding issues ‒ right now ‒ or you’re attempting to be proactive in the hopes of preventing them, the following 7 Action Steps are priceless.
Action 1 – Safety should always come first…
Mixing water and electricity is always dangerous, since it can cause shock and even death. If you experience basement or crawl space flooding, make sure your electrical appliances, fixtures, receptacles, or cords are not in contact with the water before you enter. And, above all, don’t plug anything in while you’re standing in or near the water.
Being smart and taking the right actions can keep you safe and free from injury. So, if you’re unsure about anything associated with the flooding, be sure to call your local fire department or emergency response team.
Action 2 – Pump, vacuum or clean up the water right away…
If you leave flood water standing for even just a few hours – it can irreparably damage building materials, your furniture, appliances, your heating/cooling systems, your personal effects, etc. – and especially your peace-of-mind.
So, if you have a water leakage or flooding issue, be sure to pump out the water as soon as you possibly can (or vacuum, bucket, or whatever it takes to get it out). Getting things dried out quickly can help prevent much of the potential damage, as well as helping prevent mold from developing. Taking quick action can save you literally thousands of dollars.
And, if you don’t have the equipment or capacity to clean up or pump the water out, you can always…
• Call your local fire department or emergency response team
• Call your insurance agent
• Call Fenwick Building, Renovation & Waterproofing RIGHT NOW!
We have a ‘prompt-response’ water damage restoration division.
Call us RIGHT NOW at these numbers…
856.753.1570 • 609.601.9400 • 215.627.2224
Action 3 – Dry everything out as quickly as possible…
Unfortunately, cleaning up or pumping the water out isn’t enough. When flooded, your rugs, carpet, drywall, and insulation can stay wet for a long time, which quickly creates the ideal environment for mold and bacteria damage.
You can help reduce the residual water and moisture even more by using commercial-grade fans and air movers, and installing a dehumidifier. In many cases, you may also need to use commercial-grade heater units.
You’ll need to implement any or all of these different ways to dry those soaked areas within the first 24 hours after a flood… but preferably much sooner.
You may need to dispose of soaked building materials, like drywall, wooden wall panels, structural wood (studs, etc.), insulation, stored items, carpet, or anything else that can hold water or moisture. You may need to cut openings in your partition walls to allow wall cavities to dry out. Remember, taking quick action can save you thousands in repair dollars later.
Action 4 – Check your sump pump, gutters & drains…
Sump pumps are designed to pump water out of the ‘sump’ in your basement (usually a 2-3 foot diameter concrete well casing or drain pipe, 3- 6 feet deep), where, due to the hydro-static pressure, water from a high water table will collect. So, knowing if you have a sump pump, and where it’s located is a good idea.
With storms and flooding, the ground around your foundation walls can become saturated, and subsequent storms or rain can aggravate the condition, or cause secondary flooding.
Since sump pumps are notorious for failing without warning, if you have one, make sure yours is always in good working order. Consider having a professional inspect your current system, and then have it inspect periodically going forward.
Have a look at your gutters – make sure they’re clean and free of debris.
Inspect your drains – Look for any evidence of clogging or backing up. These inspections are a kind of preventive maintenance that can offer quick fixes, help prevent repeat floods, and save you lots of time, money, inconvenience, and frustration.
Action 5 – Be sure you document everything…
If you experience flooding or water damage, will your insurance cover the repair costs? Is flooding or seepage a covered peril? Most homeowners don’t know if they’re covered, or, if they do have coverage, they’re not sure what’s covered, how much is covered (or the dollar value of the coverage).
If your home or building is flooded right now, it’s too late to worry about the insurance or to review your policy – since nows the time you should be in the highest, ‘quick action’ mode.
After you’ve ensured everyone’s safety, called your insurance broker and the fire department – it’s time to take action by taking pictures. Can’t find your camera? Use your smart phone – most take reasonable pictures (more than good enough for your purposes) – and you can take all the pictures necessary in only a few minutes.
If you have insurance coverage, these pictures will provide good evidence to document your loss. The insurance adjuster will need them – and anything else you can provide – to better process your potential claim. Quick action and good documentation provides proof, helps defend your claims, and can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket losses.
Action 6 – Call your insurance agent right away…
Since they’re experienced in flooding & water damage claims and the restoration process, a quick call to your insurance agent should give you answers to all your questions.
They should be able to tell you if you have coverage, and the extent of your coverage. But, sometimes facts or details are uncovered or discovered later, so it’s important to make sure you follow Action 5… just in case.
A good agent should be helpful and sincere in dealing with your loss, your fears, and your frustrations. If your agent seems evasive or seemingly uncaring ‒ it may be time to start shopping for a new agent.
Remember ‒ a quick action call to your agent should get you back on course and headed in the right direction.
Action 7 – Review your insurance policy…
When was the last time you looked at, much less carefully reviewed your current insurance policy? Do you know what the term ‘endorsement’ refers to? ‘Contents’ coverage? Sump pump? Drains? ‘Sewer back-up?’
Do you have adequate protection or coverage? How about any clause that limits mold and fungi coverage? And, if you do have coverage, what the perils are covered, and what’s excluded? What are your limits and deductibles?
If you’re not sure, or even confused, you’re in good company. Most folks rely on their insurance agents to make sure they have adequate protection and coverage. Unfortunately, insurance agents are only human, and many have been known to miss, overlook, or leave out little details that could end up costing you lots and lots of money.
In fact, they might not even realize you have coverage for your loss.
Did you know you can usually add a sump, drains, and sewer back-up endorsement to your existing policy, usually for under $100? Having this added endorsement – if your sump pump fails – could cover thousands in water-related damage.
Similarly, adding a mold and fungi endorsement could pay for damage caused by, and the necessary mold and fungi treatment resulting from water intrusion.
And, if unpredictable weather patterns continue, and disastrous storms increase wouldn’t it be nice to know you have an insurance ‘life jacket’ just in case? Take action now – take the time to read your insurance policy. If there’s anything in it you don’t understand, get answers from your agent. Add coverage you think is necessary.
As a property owner, this may be the best advice you’ll ever receive.
As always ‒ Dedicated to providing you healthier living…
And that’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?
Jim & Mike Allen, Owners
Fenwick & TermiGuard Services
Former Master Carpenter Reveals…
The Sensible, 5-Step Approach
To Eliminating Your Water Problems
And Create a Safe, Dry, “Water Free” Living Environment…
Read as a carpenter’s tale proves beneficial to
Philadelphia and South Jersey property owner’s
Who are experiencing water and flooding
In their basement or crawl space…
It was a hot and humid summer evening, and I was just home from a long, 12-hour day working in the sun. Don’t know if you’ve ever worked on a construction site, but it’s tough, physical, demanding work… and mentally exhausting, too.
And, like everyone, my job demands sometimes got the best of me.
As the skies darkened, thunderbolts roared, the rain literally came down in buckets… I was no mood for the unexpected. Water began pouring over my gutters like Niagara Falls, filling my garden beds and, most troubling, filling our outdoor basement storm entrance.
I couldn’t bail the water fast enough to keep up – and in no time – my basement was sloshing in water, lots of water. Turns out I didn’t have the right insurance coverage, so got nothing from insurance at all. And, as a young family, money was, to say the least… really tight.
I needed a waterproofing solution, and I needed it fast…
So, I searched the Internet, called in a few waterproofing contractors… and the rest, as they say, is history.
My search for a contractor was quite an experience. I heard it all… from contractors who…
• Didn’t bother to listen to my concerns – sure didn’t make me feel good about buying from or working with them.
• Never fully inspected or investigated my water issues – so, didn’t give me much confidence.
• Delivered a 3-hour, high-pressure, ‘won’t take no for an answer,’ sales pitch – which made me angry & defensive.
• Tried to sell me something I didn’t need – which made me question their motives and integrity.
• And every other trick in the book.
And of course, not having enough money to pay for anything any of them proposed… well let’s just say, my frustration levels skyrocketed.
To make a long story short, because I was a construction trades professional with years of experience doing building inspections, combined with a strong understanding of building and design, I ended up doing the job myself.
Unwittingly, I’d gotten myself into the waterproofing business…
I wanted to really understand waterproofing and make sure I was doing the right thing for my home and my family, so I did a lot of research, nosing around, and asking questions. I got to see lots of different waterproofing systems, from the very complex (loaded with gadgetry), to the most simple (purpose-driven) systems.
With that experience (and experience sometimes is the best teacher), we developed our “Sensible, 5-Step Approach to Managing Your Water Problems Forever: W-A-T-E-R.” And here’s how it works…
Step 1 – Water Intrusion Inspection…
Having inspected well over 16,000 homes, we know all to well, that water represents the most negative potential issues to your home or building. We also know our Water Intrusion Inspection is the most vital, first step to getting your problem area dry and keeping it that way.
Because if you don’t have a professional who knows what they’re doing fully investigate and identify the source of the water, you could end up spending a ton of your hard-earned money on so-called ‘fixes’ that have nothing to do with the real problem.
Is water finding its way into your basement because of drainage issues? Is your gutter system poorly designed or inadequate? And if, for example, you’re looking for a preventive system because you’re thinking of finishing your basement, is the contractor (to ensure the proper design) looking at all of the ways you could and should be managing the rain water on your property?
The way your home or building was built has a significant bearing on what you can and should do, so it should be considered during the Water Intrusion Inspection. For example, are your foundation footings poured concrete or a rubble (stone) foundation base? Are your foundation walls cinder block or poured concrete? Is the floor in your crawl space exposed dirt, or is it poured concrete?
All of these and more will make a difference in terms of possible waterproofing solutions…
Step 2 – Articulate the findings…
While you don’t need to know all the specifics of how your home or building was constructed, you should get accurate information on how and where the troublesome water is actually getting in, and the best way(s) to fix and/or manage it.
And that information should be presented to you in a clear, concise, and easy-to-understand report.
Good, well-presented information should also give you details on how water damage can cost you thousands in repair bills, and do so in ‘free-from-scare-tactics’ lnaguage – yet still be chock-full of tested and proven facts, tips and fixes.
When explained well, you should gain an appreciation for simple engineering principles – like the dynamics of water and its effect on building materials, and the role your landscape plays in managing water and keeping it away from your home or building. In other words, we’ll tell you what our inspection found, provide sensible solutions, and deliver them in a no-BS report format.
Step 3 – Treat and cure the ‘disease’…
It’s typically true that if you treat the disease the symptoms will go away. And lets face it water is the ‘disease’ that causes most of the symptoms, including damaged building materials, cracked or bowed foundation walls, poor indoor air quality (resulting from the bacteria and mold it causes), and more.
So, getting the water issues dealt with the right way, right away – the first time – using tested, proven engineered designs and approaches is absolutely critical. Properly designed and installed systems using the most appropriate building materials (not necessarily the cheapest) are the least likely to clog, fail, or mis-perform.
For example, by installing the right sump basin and sump pump, each sized for your unique requirements, will allow the pump to operate reliably, and at optimum levels.
Not treating your water issues in the optimum way the first time, would be kinda’ like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound… it’s just not going to work very well or very long, is it?
Step 4 – Expense it…
Agreed, band-aids are cheap. But, as the old saying goes,“don’t be pennywise and a pound foolish.” Remember – quality design, materials, and professional workmanship may cost a bit more in the short-term, but they can save you a bundle in unecessary service calls and repairs over time.
Unexpected water damage repairs not only hurt emotionally,
But can be really tough on your wallet, too…
Because we’ve experienced it ourselves, we’ve listened to our clients. Now, instead of dishing out (potentially) thousands of dollars from your savings, retirement account, equity line, or credit union… you can expense the necessary repairs, instead.
Through our “same-as-cash” or “0% interest loan payment” options, you can turn the potentially large waterproofing or mold repair bills into a manageable, monthly expense item. Even if you can pay for the project outright, why not use someone else’s money instead, with our true, “same-as-cash” option.
With cash flow problem-solving programs like these, you won’t have to worry about fees or costs. And, because approvals can can be given in as quickly as 10 minutes, you’ll have the peace-of-mind of knowing your project will be done without delay.
Step 5 – Renewable Warranty…
When any solution has been designed and installed, it’ll usually include a decent warranty on the performance of the drain lines themselves. But what about the mechanical components used in the solution? A quality sump pump should come with at least a one year, manufacturer’s warranty… but what happens if the float happens to stick, or an electrical storm causes mechanical damage? Are you prepared to check periodically to make sure all the mechanical ‘thingies’ are working as they’re supposed to? Will your warranty cover the components?
Let’s face it, soil will settle, landscapers can (and do) make grading mistakes, patios will settle, and gutter systems will age (and begin to fail). And since you’re not likely an expert in water management, or dealing with water intrusion issues, wouldn’t it make sense if you could have a professional inspect your system for those issues on an on-going basis? To become a little proactive?
Everything requires on-going maintenance, and your home (or building) is certainly no exception. After we’ve fortified your foundation and warranted it not to fail, our annual Water Intrusion Inspection will to help identify and prevent any new, potential threats.
With our 1-year renewable warranty, you can rest-assured you’ll have a second set of eyes looking out for your property, on a regular basis… and if something should go wrong with the pump we’ve installed… we’ll replace it. Ask us for details.
So when flooding or chronic seepage threaten the health of your home or building, remember… “W-A-T-E-R: The Sensible, 5-Step Approach to Managing Your Water Problems Forever…”
And that’s worth thinking about, right?
As always – Dedicated to providing you healthier living,
Jim & Mike Allen, Owners
Fenwick & TermiGuard Services
If you or someone you know are worried
About water leaks and the damage it can cause…
Don’t let high-pressure salespeople & scare tactics
Influence your waterproofing solution decision process…
Instead, look for someone with a common sense approach
To waterproofing solutions that will really work!
A professional who’ll listen to you and you can trust…
That’s who can solve your waterproofing problems
And save you time, money and grief, too – Guaranteed!
It’s early Monday morning, and the skies unleashed relentless wind and torrential rain in the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas overnight. Going to the basement to dump dirty clothes into your washing machine, and what do you step into? Rainwater where you’d never expect to find it… your basement is flooded.
A heavy storm! A flooded basement! Now what are you going to do?
You know you’ll need professional help, so maybe you’ll fire up your computer and do a Google search for “Waterproofing Companies” hoping to find a quick and easy fix. Instead you find countless, look-alike websites, that bombard you with tons of questionable information and solutions.
Unfortunately, most of it is either way too technical, way too basic, way too sales-focused, totally misleading, way too conflicting… or just completely useless.
When faced with a flood crisis and water damage – it’s best to use some common sense…
You’ll certainly want to make good decisions, and you’ll certainly want to choose the right contractor. But even more importantly ‒ you’ll want to ensure you get what you need, instead getting what someone else wants to sell you.
I know when I’m shopping, I want clear, concise, easy-to-understand, useful information ‒ not fluff or a dumb sales pitch – and you probably feel the same way, too… right?
But, when it comes to flooding and water damage emergencies in your home or building…
How can you be sure you’ll get the help you really need?
We’ve designed the information you’ll find on this website to clear the clutter, cut to the chase, give you the tools you’ll need to make an informed decision, and provide you a sense of clarity ‒ all intended to let your common sense prevail over typical, knee-jerk, reactive, impulsive decisions.
The content here isn’t fancy, full of jargon, or overloaded with too much information. Rather, it’s net and to-the-point ‒ to help you solve your water problems…fast!
You’ll get what you want and deserve with Fenwick & TermiGuard Services… a reasonable solution.
It’s the least you should expect from any professional, isn’t it?
To deal effectively with your water leaks and flooding problems effectively…
Takes a different approach than the ‘other guys’…
With our initial inspection, we’ll determine whether all you really need are simple gutter and surface drainage improvements, or a complete, custom-designed drainage system to deal with your roof run-off issues.
Because you’ll want the problem fixed as soon as possible, finding out what’s causing your water leakage problems, and then giving you our recommendations to resolve them, along with an estimate for the work as quickly as possible… is a top priority.
And because emergencies like these ‒ and their repairs ‒ are almost always unexpected, catching you off-guard, we offer both ‘same-as-cash,’ and affordable, ‘0% interest, monthly loan payment solution,’ options too… just in case you need a bit of a life jacket.
What you can expect from us…
At Fenwick Building & Renovations, we’re homeowners, too ‒ and we’re embarrassed to admit ‒ we’ve had our fair share of ‘bad contractor horror stories,’ maybe just like yours. And, since we wanted to ensure we’d never, ever be guilty of being one of them, we developed our take-it-to-the-bank Customer Pledge.
With that in mind, here are the highlights of that pledge…
We Pledge to…
• Eliminate annoying contractor nightmares and frustrations
• Welcome and appreciate your business and provide a positive experience with realistic expectations
• Listen to you and ease your fears about your purchase decision and the solution we’ve proposed
• Provide genuine, down-to-earth, customer service, ‘holding your hand’ through each step of the process,
from our initial contact, through scheduling, building permits, final inspection, to follow-ups
• Respect you, your home (or building), and to treat it as if it were our own
• Behave professionally and courteously, and always dress as cleanly and neatly as the job allows
• Not to disrupt your daily activities any more than the scope of our work with you requires.
Above all, we pledge to provide you with an effective, cost-effective, and permanent drainage/waterproofing solution.
That said, we hope to welcome you, your family, and your associates as Fenwick Building & Renovations and Waterproofing clients..
Dedicated to providing you healthier living,
Jim & Mike Allen, Owners
Fenwick & TermiGuard Services
As home and property owners, we know you have plenty to deal with…
And understanding all the elements of a company’s waterproofing services
Probably isn’t at the top of your list…
However… No matter how busy you are, it’s still important to understand the basics of how the various systems installed in your home or building actually work.
You do want to understand how those systems are helping you protect your investment… don’t you?
For example – if you were thinking about installing a French drain system, in addition to choosing the right contractor to do the work, it would be important to…
• Understand how a French drain system works
• Be prepared for the scope of work, construction, and disruption involved to install one
• Know what maintenance you’ll be responsible for between planned contractor service visits.
Consider a sump pump…
There may be instances where adding a sump pit and a sump pump may be all you need to control minor or seasonal water from getting into your basement or crawl space.
How the heck does a sump pump work, anyway?
Depending on the unique characteristics of your basement or crawl space, and the water table levels in your area, you’ll typically install your sump pump below the concrete floor or soil line.
You’ll install the basin in a sump pit or crock and surround it with clean gravel to let groundwater flow freely into it.
As water flows into the sump, the sump pump turns on. If you connect a perimeter, or French drain to the pit, the water from it will also flow into the basin. The sump pump then pumps the water up through the discharge pipe, to the outside of your home or building and away from the foundation.
Typically the discharge pipe will have a check valve (a one-way valve) located above the pump that keeps the water from flowing back into the pit.
There are two kinds of sump pumps, a pedestal sump pump (we don’t recommend these), and a submersible sump pump (we do recommend these)
Giving credit – TermiGuard Services and Fenwick recommend and use Zoeller® Submersible Sump Pumps. Manufactured in cast iron, they’re time-tested, reliable workhorses.
A sealed and waterproof submersible sump pump typically sits on a pump stand at the bottom of the basin, and includes a filter on the water intake valve to keep dirt and debris from getting inside.
A sump pump uses a float activator to turn it on/off. Think of it somewhat like the float inside the water tank on your toilet. Because the ball floats on the water, when you flush the toilet, the ball drops, opening the water valve to refill the tank.
It’s kinda the reverse with a sump pump in that as the sump pit fills, the water moves the float activator arm upwards – signaling the sump pump to turn on and start pumping water out of the sump pit.
While a submersible sump pump doesn’t require specialized wiring – and you can plug it into a standard household outlet – to prevent possible failure, you should always use a dedicated circuit.
You might want to consider adding a 12-hour battery back-up option to your sump pump set-up – especially if you lose power every now and then during our stormy season.
For better perspective, have a look at the sump pump diagram below…
So, what do you think? Easy as 1, 2, 3… right?
The sump pit fills with water, the sump pump turns on and pumps the water out – and you, my friend, have just added a critical waterproofing component to your basement or crawl space.
A final thought – You’ll need to maintain your sump pump system with regular checks (inspections) to make sure everything is working as it should – or you can choose to have a professional like TermiGuard Services & Fenwick take care of it for you.
By giving your sump pump set-up regular preventive maintenance attention, it’ll give you long and reliable service… but even with that attention, as with anything mechanical – it will eventually wear out and you’ll need to replace it.