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A Homeowners Guide to Foundation Waterproofing!

foundation waterproofing kansas city

How’s it going everybody? My name is Lucas Scheele and welcome back to another Kansas City Real Estate Industry Leaders Podcast. I’m here with my cohost, Eric Scheele, as well as structural consultant for KC Pier, Erik Lancaster. Today we are discussing foundation waterproofing. You want to start it off for us?

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, you bet. So we’re kind of coming back from our COVID break and we’ve been safety construction on KC Pier and KC Property Guys. So we’re busy, but we’ve taken a break from the podcasting as we’ve kind of navigated through these waters and let things kind of pace themselves out. But we’re going to jump back in to discuss foundation waterproofing and today we’re going to spend some time with Erik on from the KC Pier side and welcome to studio by the way.

Erik Lancaster:

Glad to be here.

Kansas City Foundation Waterproofing

Eric Scheele:

But we’re going to spend some time talking about something that we think is really timely, which is foundation waterproofing, and waterproofing basements specifically for our Kansas City foundation is something that we hear a lot. Especially this time of year, probably seven out of 10 calls are foundation waterproofing calls, and Lucas is out filming and marketing and documenting our work with Brian our operations director. And so you’ll see if you ever go to YouTube and look up our channel, you’ll see a lot of his work, and a lot of it is based on foundation waterproofing that Erik is consulting and selling. So, we get-

Lucas Scheele:

And that’s just a KCP on YouTube if you guys are interested.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, you bet. Well, thank you. So we have Erik in here today to talk about different types of foundation waterproofing from the most affordable to the real extensive, from remediating foundation waterproofing to addressing it from the source. And so we’re going to kind of walk you through all those options and hopefully some of the things that you can talk to talk about that we talk about, that you can relate to at home. And of course, if you ever need us to come take a look in more specifics and actually add a consultation, we’re happy to do so.

Eric Scheele:

So let’s kind of jump right in. We’ll start kind of talking from the affordable to the most extensive and the different types of repairs, and maybe you can kind of start on that and then we’ll kind of go from there.

Kansas City Wall Crack Repair

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah, yeah. One of the most common that we probably see, would be our wall crack injection repair, and what that is, is really done on is just a single crack that someone may see. A lot of times it comes off a window or something, and people see where it’s got some water staining, maybe even some dirt and silt just kind of come through that crack. You guys, I’m sure you’ve seen this before. And then sometimes there’s a little bit of the white material left behind. It indicates that water has been coming in there for quite a while.

Eric Scheele:

Right.

Erik Lancaster:

So at that point, you really want to address that, but don’t fret about it. A lot of times people, when they see cracks, they immediately think, $20,000 or something.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah.

Erik Lancaster:

With the crack injections, it’s very affordable. We can do it in a couple of hours. Snap us some pictures if you want to, send it to us through the app, things like that.

Eric Scheele:

You bet.

Erik Lancaster:

And we can certainly talk to you about it and get it done at a very affordable price, and it’s something we’re going to put a warranty behind as well.

Eric Scheele:

So when a crack injection takes place, can you kind of understand, or maybe describe the process itself?

Erik Lancaster:

Absolutely. Again, it’s very quick. We can do this a couple of hours, most of the times. The face of the crack itself is covered in our two-part epoxy. Then if you do this with your hand about every six to eight inches or so, there’s a plastic port that’s put on that crack. That allows us to actually get our injection material into the crack.

Eric Scheele:

Got you.

Erik Lancaster:

It goes in like a liquid and then it rapidly turns into foam, once it hits the air. What that allows it to do is spread through the entire crack, no matter how big or how wide it is, and tightly secure that, so that no water can then come through.

Eric Scheele:

And that face that you put on the surface of that crack and those ports are there for a reason, because when you inject that epoxy, you don’t want that epoxy coming back out the crack.

Erik Lancaster:

Exactly

Lucas Scheele:

Mm-mm

Eric Scheele:

We want to inject as deep into that crack as possible, ideally actually getting to the other side because that’s where the water is coming from.

Erik Lancaster:

Correct.

Eric Scheele:

Right? And so that’s what those ports are there for. And so, we see a lot of work. In fact, we were just working on a house out in Gladstone that KC PG Realty Group was selling and they’re having us out to actually resolve the issue because it was DIY.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah.

Lucas Scheele:

It was, it was bad.

Eric Scheele:

Right? And so you see the old, “Hey, I’m going to take plaster. I’m going to take grout and I’m going to kind of shove it in that crack and cross my fingers and hope for the best.” Well, there is truly a strategy to a port injected epoxy and-

Lucas Scheele:

Long story short, that DIY failed.

Erik Lancaster:

Right.

Eric Scheele:

It does fail and you could actually see the water and you can see the residue still coming through that crack. So by sealing it, porting it, injecting it and trying to address the other side of the crack from the inside, it’s affordable.

Erik Lancaster:

Correct.

Eric Scheele:

Yet extremely effective, and you can warranty it.

Erik Lancaster:

Correct.

Eric Scheele:

Right?

Erik Lancaster:

Yep.

Eric Scheele:

That’s the best part. So yeah, we do a lot of work with realtors as well.

Erik Lancaster:

Right, I was going to say that, yeah.

Types of Wall Cracks

Eric Scheele:

… And homeowners. So for realtors that see those cracks, are there differences, and even for homeowners, differences between the diagonal crack and the horizontal crack? Can you inject both of those equally?

Erik Lancaster:

You can inject both of those equally. They tell you different things structurally, which we can talk about at some point, but they can all be injected, yes.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, okay, and some of those cracks aren’t bad cracks. You know, you ever see cracks that you don’t have to address?

Erik Lancaster:

Sometimes, absolutely. A lot of them are on the form seams because when this concrete is initially poured, they have forms. So where those forms come together, you all can see this in your basement, you see a little bit of excess concrete right? Now a lot of times those crack, because it is a natural weak point, it doesn’t mean we have to address it. It doesn’t mean it’s going to leak. It’s just concrete cracks.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, the ones we really want to address are the ones that are showing some signs of a true intrusion.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah, showing a staining.

Eric Scheele:

Right, some form of staining. All right, so that’s an affordable fix, crack injections. Now the next level, let’s say there’s more water coming in, or it’s not coming from the cracks is coming from other places. Where are some areas that water will intrude that we ultimately address with homeowners for foundation waterproofing?

Erik Lancaster:

Probably, a lot of times it would be the hydrostatic pressure element of it. When these basements are poured, the concrete slab in the bottom and your concrete foundation wall are not poured at the same time. It’s not a congruent concrete pour there. So there’s a natural seam there at the bottom. And so when we get all this water, like we do every spring in Missouri and Kansas, it builds up a lot of pressure underneath the slab and on the walls, and so water is going to take the path of least resistance.

Erik Lancaster:

So even if you don’t have cracks on your walls, it can still come through that seam down there. Sometimes it’s weird. You get water, you don’t have any cracks. You’re like, “Why is the water here?” And it’s coming through that seam down at the bottom.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, it’s a cold joint, right? It’s actually set concrete on concrete.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah.

Eric Scheele:

So the water table builds up with a lot of rain. This is really timely for our spring foundation. So the water table’s building up, that pressure is building, you call it hydrostatic pressure, is building on the outside of the wall. And if it builds up enough, it’s going to find the path of least resistance into the home. So if that cold joint is not heavy enough to hold that water and that pressure out, it leaks.

Erik Lancaster:

It comes in.

Eric Scheele:

All right. So what do we do for foundation waterproofing?

Sump Pump System

Erik Lancaster:

A lot of times we do our … Well, we can start with doing our pump, our pump system. Our pump system, the base in itself is about 30 inches around. It goes down about three feet below the slab itself. And we also dig that out a little bit bigger, so that we can encase the whole thing in gravel. So we’re basically creating the path of least resistance at that point.

Eric Scheele:

There you go.

Erik Lancaster:

So it doesn’t ever get a chance to build up enough pressure where it comes through that joint, it goes to our pump, pump pumps it out away from your house.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, that’s the great thing. So if you can kind of think of a water table as like a pond or a lake that’s underneath your house.

Lucas Scheele:

Yeah.

Erik Lancaster:

Right.

Eric Scheele

Right? And when enough rain comes in, that lake has to rise.

Erik Lancaster:

Right.

Eric Scheele:

Same thing is happening under houses. People don’t realize it because you don’t see it, but it’s happening. So if you build up enough and reaches that cold joint, it’s going to come through that cold joint, if there’s enough pressure. Or you can put in this basin that will cut that off because it’s built underneath the foundation. So as that water level rises, it hits that sump pump.

Erik Lancaster:

Correct.

Eric Scheele:

We put gravel around there to diffuse the water and allow it to hit the pump before it hits the cold joint to improve foundation waterproofing.

Erik Lancaster:

Exactly.

Eric Scheele:

Dry basements then are the result, right?

Erik Lancaster:

Exactly. It is, yeah.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, but some pumps address one side of the home. You can’t put some pumps, every six foot, it’s not cost effective, right.

Erik Lancaster:

Right, right.

Eric Scheele:

You don’t do that, but what if we have multiple places at which that water table is rising, then how do we address that ultimately for foundation waterproofing?

Interior Drain System

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah, so we do that with our interior drain system, probably our most popular system, especially when someone is trying to finish out their basement, they have us put the system in there. So just like you said, rather than putting a bunch of sump pumps all the way around, we’re going to take a drain. Most homes are built with a drain tile on the outside of the home.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah.

Erik Lancaster:

So again, going back to why it’s so popular, it’s cost effective as well, because we basically take that same drain, if you imagine on the outside, we just do it on the inside. So we take a little bit of concrete slab out there next to all the walls, and then we dig down six to eight inches in there, put a four inch corrugated pipe down there right next to the footing.

Eric Scheele:

Right.

Erik Lancaster:

And that is able to carry the water from several different places that it may be coming in and direct it all back to the pump system.

Eric Scheele:

Right, yeah.

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Eric Scheele:

That’s the beauty of that, and Lucas sees this a lot on his marketing videos.

Lucas Scheele:

Yeah, I do.

Eric Scheele:

He sees a lot of drain work. So we actually break through the concrete. You’ve seen these guys work.

Lucas Scheele:

Yeah, break through the concrete, and then they add the gravel, after the draining system. And sometimes even with the rock walls, they’ll actually have to add a grate in there to get it down into the draining system, which is really cool.

Eric Scheele:

A really good point because now people are saying, “I’ve heard that you can address a rock wall.” We’ve got a lot of rock foundations in Kansas.

Lucas Scheele:

A lot of them. We’ve had three in the past week actually.

Eric Scheele:

And Kansas city just has quite a few of them. They have block. It doesn’t matter, right?

Erik Lancaster:

It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah. We have an interior drain system regardless of the types of sedation.

Erik Lancaster:

To suit everyone.

Lucas Scheele:

Regardless of the basement, our sump pump will be strong enough. And if you guys are interested in seeing what kind of sump pump we use specifically here at KC Pier, we do have that video on YouTube as well. So go check it out.

Eric Scheele:

Actually Jay just put it up, so it’s excellent. So we’re addressing, if you’ve kind of caught on what we’re doing, we’re addressing the problem from the inside of the home, because that’s always most affordable, right? It’s almost like you’re not necessarily addressing the problem from the source and which we’re going to get into next. But obviously if you address it from the source, that’s the outside of the home, you got to be able to dig all that out. So we’re going to talk about that.

Eric Scheele:

We’ve been doing it from the inside of the home. So creating that interior drain, we actually break through the concrete, we’ll create that drain. We’ll run it to a sump pump, we’ll get the water out of there and then the concrete guys will all come back and replace those. And you can combine by the way, an interior drain with other resolutions.

Erik Lancaster:

Absolutely.

Eric Scheele:

Which we’re not necessarily talking about, but if you’ve got a wall that’s leaning in, or what we call rolling or that horizontal crack that you mentioned earlier, that structurally is compromising the integrity of the wall, we can address that along with an interior drain.

Options with KC Pier for Foundation Waterproofing

Erik Lancaster:

We can. Here at KC Pier, we are all about options. We want to give you options on what to do. So say for instance, three of your walls are having a lot of water intrusion. We want to make sure we catch that with the interior drain, but say the fourth wall has one small crack on it. We can inject that crack. We don’t have to run the drain all the way down that side.

Erik Lancaster:

There are definitely many different ways that we can do something on the same house with several different types of repairs to again, be cost effective for the homeowner.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, we call those AP&Cs and give homeowners kind of the power to choose, and actually talk about the repercussions and longterm effects of doing-

Erik Lancaster:

Do some warranties.

Eric Scheele:

Each of those.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah, absolutely.

Eric Scheele:

So, I think there’s some power there. All right, so now, we want to make sure that all the repairs that we’ve talked about so far have warranties to them.

Erik Lancaster:

Yes.

Eric Scheele:

There is a lifetime warrantied product that involves waterproofing the exterior of the home. You want to kind of go into that piece?

Erik Lancaster:

Absolutely. You talked a little bit about different types of cracks earlier, and a lot of times when we have diagonal cracks on each side of a wall, the wall starts to lean in, in the center. Or if you have horizontal cracks down the middle of the wall, it goes in the center. So, those type of cracks that are kind of offset on the inside that you can see, they’re basically telling you, number one, you probably got water coming in, but number two, you’re having too much pressure on that wall to the extent where you have to then dig it up.

Erik Lancaster:

When we dig up these walls, we’re able to alleviate that pressure by removing the soil burden on the wall. The clay. The clay is what does all this.

Eric Scheele:

Right.

Erik Lancaster:

It expands and contracts with water. We remove that clay, we’re able to then straighten those walls. We brace them, but then going back to the main point of what we’re talking about today, waterproofing, we put our rubber membrane on the outside of the wall. Now again, with what you’re saying, that stops the water before it even has a chance to penetrate that crack at all.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah.

Erik Lancaster:

So of course that’s the A number one lifetime warranty, let’s stop it before it gets in, type of fix.

Eric Scheele:

The Cadillac fix, that’s the exterior waterproofing. And a new construction, it should already have a waterproofing component to it. It tends to be sprayed on-

Erik Lancaster:

Sprayed on, it’s real thin.

Eric Scheele:

Right, and the drain that sits at the footing on the exterior, sometimes sits there a little too early. And as contractors come in and out and big equipment comes in and out as they’re working on that side, a lot of times that drain will actually get pushed away from the foundation. So it’s not operating to its fullest potential.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah, it gets clogged.

Eric Scheele:

It gets clogged. The gravel doesn’t get set or sometimes it doesn’t get set at all and we’ve seen everything.

Erik Lancaster:

Right.

Eric Scheele:

So coming in and basically redoing what should be done in much higher quality is ultimately what our exterior waterproofing produces.

Erik Lancaster:

It is, yeah.

Eric Scheele:

It’s a lifetime product. It’s the membrane is not a spray. It’s an actual membrane that’s adhered to the exterior of that home.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah. And again, going back to creating path of least resistance for the water, that’s what we do again with this system. Really ideally foundation walls would be back-filled with gravel right from the beginning, but it’s just something that contractors don’t spend money on a lot of times. So again, when we remove that soil burn, you’re talking about two and a half, three foot wide trench on the entire length of a wall, and then once that new pipe’s put in, the wall’s waterproofed with the membrane, the kicker is we fill that trench back up with the gravel.

Eric Scheele:

Gravel.

Erik Lancaster:

Because the gravel’s not clay, it won’t expand and contract. It won’t push your wall and getting back to the path of least resistance, it sheds that water, real quick.

Eric Scheele:

Right.

Lucas Scheele:

Puts it down into the pipe.

Erik Lancaster:

Exactly, and then that pipe runs to a pump. We pump it away. So it’s all about creating that path of least resistance before the water has a chance to get set.

Eric Scheele:

There are differences, because a lot of people won’t take the time, the expense to coordinate that gravel in, in terms of the competitive matrix that we see.

Erik Lancaster:

Absolutely.

Eric Scheele:

So we actually take the time to bring that gravel in because we don’t want the clay back on the exterior of the home. That clay expands, it will repressure that wall and potentially burden the warranty over time.

Erik Lancaster:

Right.

Eric Scheele:

So by bringing in the gravel, we’ll leave the last 20%, so you can do your gardening, right?

Erik Lancaster:

Sure absolutely. Yeah.

Eric Scheele:

But let’s put 80% gravel, so it’ll filtrate and won’t pressure that wall, and we can put a lifetime warranty on that work. In fact, we’ve done this enough now, and Lucas has been out in the field enough that we’ve documented a lot of great video. And there is a-

Lucas Scheele:

I believe we’re up to 32 videos on YouTube now.

Eric Scheele:

That’s fantastic, and there’s one for every type of fix. One that really kind of comes to mind is our gardener-

Lucas Scheele:

And that’s not even including the podcasts that we do for the KC Pier site too.

Eric Scheele:

Right. Our gardener video that we did a couple of weeks ago, it says an exterior or big exterior waterproof, I think in gardener.

Lucas Scheele:

Yeah.

Eric Scheele:

That’s a really good one to take a look at and walk through that project because not only are you going to see the exterior waterproofing, but you’re also going to see a little bit of everything.

Erik Lancaster:

You will.

Eric Scheele:

You’ll see some beams, you’ll see some sump pumps, you’ll see some repair of the concrete.

Erik Lancaster:

Interior drainage.

Eric Scheele:

You’ll see a white wall. I’d like to talk about the wall shield a little bit.

Lucas Scheele:

Great white wall, at that job.

Eric Scheele:

We kind of skipped over that, but now we mentioned the wall shield.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah. The wall shield is another component to our interior drain system that we do on the inside. So in other words, with the interior drain system, along the bottom of the wall, we’re going to catch a lot of it that’s trying to roll in the cold joint, right? We’re going to catch a lot of that pressure. A lot of people will say, “What about if the water comes through the wall at all? How’s it going to get down to the drain?” That’s where the wall shield comes in.

Eric Scheele:

Right.

Erik Lancaster:

So along with that entire wall where we have our interior drain at the bottom, we’re going to put this wall shield up. It’s four by eight sheets of mold-resistant, rot-resistant, hard paneling, is what it is.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah.

Erik Lancaster:

And that is attached to the wall there. So you can imagine if anything would come in behind that through the wall, it has no choice but to go down to our drain. Again, we’re just redirecting water to get it out away from your house, and then we pour that concrete back down there. And you’re left with a really nice product, quite white-

Eric Scheele:

It’s a very great finished product.

Lucas Scheele:

Looks so clean too.

Eric Scheele:

Built into the interior drain. That’s the key there, is building it into the drain. So it effectively can work in congruency with the interior drain itself.

Erik Lancaster:

And a lot of people leave it. I mean, a lot of people don’t even finish their basements over it because it looks so nice. But if you do want to finish your basement, you can stud right up to it. It doesn’t affect the interior finish of your basement at all.

Eric Scheele:

Absolutely.

Erik Lancaster:

In fact, a lot of people have us do it before they finished their basements, just to get that lifetime warranty for water so that they can be confident in finishing their basement out and foundation waterproofing.

Eric Scheele:

You bet. You bet.

Lucas Scheele:

If you have kids, you have a nice canvas.

Eric Scheele:

Yeah, really.

Erik Lancaster:

That’s true.

Eric Scheele:

And it’s washable.

Erik Lancaster:

Yeah, exactly.

Eric Scheele:

So, yeah. Good point. So anyway, if you guys are going down to your basement, we always like to talk about this too for foundation waterproofing. There is a KC Pier app.

Lucas Scheele:

There is.

Eric Scheele:

Which we can download, and on that app, it’s real simple. It’s point and shoot, put some comments. It comes directly to us. It goes to Erik and Brian structural consultants here at KC Pier. They’re going to call you within 24 hours and give you an idea of what you’re looking at. And then if we need to come out and obviously look at it personally, we’re more than happy to do that, but it’s a great way to operate, especially for realtors.

Eric Scheele:

If you’re in houses and you want to give your buyer some confidence, and you want to be able to talk professionally about what you’re seeing, take a look at that app. It’s contact-less, which is actually a really a heavy term right now as well. So for those that are sensitive, it’s a great way to communicate to us directly without us necessarily, not necessarily being there.

Eric Scheele:

And then if you want to see these fixed, I talked about a lot of the work that Lucas is doing on YouTube with KC Pier and we’re documenting all of our fixes. Please go to YouTube and search KC Pier and you’ll see our channel with all our fixes.

Lucas Scheele:

Yeah, and as well as an app walkthrough. So if you guys are a little bit confused on how to use it, it’ll be right there for you.

Eric Scheele:

There as well.

Erik Lancaster:

Right.

Eric Scheele:

All right. Anything else to add on foundation waterproofing?

Erik Lancaster:

I think that’s it.

Eric Scheele:

The foundation waterproofing is a really hot term. We’re going to have two to four inches of … Actually from here through Sunday or Monday of this week. So if you ever need to get ahold of us, just give us a call here at KC Pier. We’ll be happy to get these guys out here and take a look, and help you get straightened up and get you on a warranty that will last up to a lifetime.

Lucas Scheele:

Yeah, absolutely.

Erik Lancaster:

Absolutely.

Lucas Scheele:

Well, thank you so much guys, for joining this episode of Kansas City Real Estate Industry Leaders Podcast. Go ahead and like us on Facebook as well as our YouTube channel at KC Pier, and we’ll catch you on the next episode. You guys have a great day.

Eric Scheele:

Take care.

Erik Lancaster:

Have a great day.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for joining us this week on the Kansas City Real Estate Industry Leaders Show. Please support all things local to Kansas City and hey, be sure to subscribe and share our podcast on Facebook and LinkedIn. This has been a KC Property Guys Production. KCpropertyguys.com.