Archive for wet basement repair vancouver

Drain Cleaning

Interviewer:  So I’m on site here today with Phil Russell of CrackMaster Concrete and Phil is cleaning a drain today.  Phil can you explain the equipment to us as some of it is new to me and I’m sure it is to a lot of people.  Maybe you can explain what it is that you’re doing here and talk about the equipment that you’re using so people can understand how it works.

Phil Russell:  Well, both of these machines here, one’s a “flusher” and one is a “snake” or an “eel” and they can be used in storm lines or sewer lines.  And with the flusher here, it’s got four heads going back and one going forward.  And the configuration can be changed too.

Interviewer:  So, that will do the backflush then?

Phil Russell: Yes

Interviewer:  It goes down the system and it flushes backwards.

Phil Russell:  It pulls everything back into a catch basin

Interviewer:  I understand.

Phil Russell:  And this is more for blockages of the iron — the red iron oxide that we have in the systems here in the Langley and Surrey area.  And then this is more for tree roots and stuff like that, major blockage.  This thing is pretty nasty.  It pulled back tree roots like you wouldn’t believe.  It’s (00:01:07).

Interviewer: Okay.  So, a recap here, if there is a blockage in the drainage system of some type, you’d probably send a camera down first, of course —

Phil Russell: Yes

Interviewer: To review where the problem is, determine what type of equipment you’re going to use.

Phil Russell: Yes

Interviewer: And then from that point, your decision to be made is which way to go and you solve the problem.

Phil Russell: Exactly, exactly.  Both machines do the job quite well but one is a little more for one area and one is for the other the major blockage is one, and the tree root is another.

Interviewer:  Okay.  I know that tree roots in Vancouver can be a real problem.  I guess the question I have for you, if a person is being prudent about the maintenance of their home, I guess one-year maintenance would be a good thing to do?

Phil Russell: It would be a great thing to do.  You know, one-year maintenance would probably make the difference between replacing your system ones every 20 years to you know once every 10 years kind of thing.

Interviewer: So it’s cost effective to do it.

Phil Russell: Yes and it’s preventable too, right?  You’re preventing your basement from flooding and the biggest thing for this, these “flushers” and “eel,” if your basement has that watermarks up the wall and then on the floors, that means it’s your weeping tile system.  That’s the telltale sign.  If that’s what’s showing around the perimeter of your property on the inside, then that’s weeping tile system.

Interviewer: Okay.  So if somebody were suspect of a problem in their house give you a call — you determine the nature of the problem and give a free quote?

Phil Russell: Yes, it’s a free quote, anywhere in the lower mainland, the greater Vancouver area kind of thing.

Interviewer: And when the work is done, your warranties are second to none?

Phil Russell: Second to none.  We have no problems in that area.  They can get a hold of us at 604-614-2615.

Interviewer: Excellent.  Thank you very much again Phil.

Phil Russell: Thank you.

Tree Roots – Could Cause Wet Basement Repair

Drain tiles are hidden from view and usually, the homeowner is not aware of a problem until it is too late and they are searching for some form of wet basement repair.

The good news is with today’s technology it is possible to find out what the problem is without excavating as they would have had to do a few years ago. In today’s world, a high tech TV video drain camera can be used to scope out the nature of the problem. This takes out the guesswork of wet basement repair and may very well lead to a less expensive solution.

In houses that are a little older, it is more than likely that clay tiles were used on your home’s perimeter to channel water away from the structure. In time ground shifts and clay tiles may also shift allowing access for tree roots.

It is very common to find that the water restriction problem is caused by tree roots that have penetrated the tiles. What many homeowners don’t realize is tree roots can be slowly but surely penetrating your drain tiles in search of moisture and nutrients. When this happens more damage is being done as roots are allowed to continue to grow.

Once a tree root is inside your tiles and it begins to grow there will be water restriction and damage to the tiles.

The most common way to remove tree roots from your drains is by using a drain snake, or an auger, to cut roots from the drains. It should be noted that roots grow each year so you may want to maintain your drain by scoping and possibly using an auger once a year.

In the right condition, it also makes sense to remove the roots by using a high-pressure water drain jetting system (this should be left for the experts). The jetting system is designed to blast water under high pressure backward out of your drains and consequently removing obstacles along the way.

The key thing is to identify to what degree the tree roots have affected your drains. Once you are armed with this knowledge than you can map out a solution and repair the problem with the least amount of cast and intrusion.

We are experts in keeping your basement dry. We provide video Drain Inspections, Water-Jet Drain Flushing and other solutions and services to concrete foundations including crack repair. Call Phil today for a FREE quote 604-614-2615

Cleaning Concrete Driveways

When we are called to do wet basement repairs we are often asked about stains on concrete driveways.

Spreading kitty litter on an oil stain is a commonly used method to remove grease and oil stains from concrete driveways. Kitty litter will draw out oil and grease, and will be the most effective if the stain is recent. If you use cat litter let it sit for about 2 days, and then sweep it up. This may remove all surface oils but deeper oil stains in the concrete may need something else. Try sprinkling a layer of dry concrete powder over the stain and let it sit for a day or two. Here is a tip, don’t do it in the rain or if you are expecting rain.

Older stains may require the help of a commercial cleaner. One degreaser is named Gunk another one is called Swab. Castro also makes a product called Super Clean. After a stain is removed, make sure you take out the hose and wash away any residue.

More aggressive cleaning chooses could involve the use of abrasive acids, but exhaust you’re cleaning opportunities first. Before using more aggressive techniques consider having your concrete looked at by a professional as some of the more aggressive techniques require precautionary measures. If you tackle this approach on your own make sure you follow all manufacturer guidelines.

Wet Basement Repair Vancouver – Waterproofing VS Damp-Proofing!

When you are looking for wet basement repair or wanting to prevent a leaky basement or future wet basement repair it becomes important to understand the difference between waterproofing and damp-proofing. The average consumer does not understand the difference between waterproofing and damp-proofing and they certainly should because they are not the same.

Damp-proofing uses a mixture that is mostly tar based. It covers the foundation and protects it from moisture. Waterproofing uses a material that contains rubber and is capable of stretching to cover cracks as your house settles.

Damp-proofing only slows the penetration of soil moisture through the concrete and it has no resistance against water under hydrostatic pressure. Damp-proofing products can become brittle when dry and can be easily broken down by groundwater. In addition to this damp-proofing does not have the ability to span cracks, this means when the concrete cracks, so do the damp proofing, consequently, it will not provide protection against water intrusion.

On the other hand waterproofing, your foundation is done by spraying an elastomeric membrane onto the exterior of the foundation. This membrane stops water from penetrating the concrete, even under hydrostatic pressure. The elastomeric membrane stop water because it will span foundation shrinkage cracks, ensuring your basement is completely protected.

When the average consumer truly understands the best fix for their wet basement repair waterproofing becomes the first choice.

Listen to Phil Rusell of CrackMaster Concrete talk about this in his Question and answer series.

There is a white stain on my concrete.. What is it?

The Meaning of efflorescence on your concrete wall

Stains are evidence of dampness in that area of the wall the acidic residue that you see is also called efflorescence. You will recognize efflorescence as it will be white and may even be fuzzy in appearance or to the touch.

Efflorescence forms when water infiltrates a concrete wall and dissolves minerals. As the water evaporates from the surface of the wall the mineral deposits are left behind. Usually, efflorescence is a visual problem, sometimes the efflorescence crystals grow inside the surface of the wall, and it causes spalling. Spalling is when the surface peels, or flakes off. The salt is pushing from the inside out and may be the cause of crumbling and deterioration.

In this video, you will see a lot of examples of efflorescence appearing. The setting is an underground parkade of a fairly new apartment. The situation is a commercial application but the principle is the same for residential and commercial. You may find in a residential house setting the process could be a little different depending on access and the types of foundation crack repair needed to do the repair.

If you see efflorescence you could have a moisture problem and if gone untreated it can cause deterioration.

If the efflorescence is removed, and then returns, it is a sign that water is entering the wall and forcing the salts out. If the efflorescence does not return, then it was probably caused by initial moisture and salts from when the concrete was placed.

If you are concerned about efflorescence on your concrete walls or if you are experiencing a leaky basement and are in need of wet basement repair of some time call an expert.

Phil Russell of CrackMaster Concrete is easy to talk to and is a Master in dry basements.

Call Phil 604 -614-2615 for all of your concrete foundation needs.

What is Concrete?..and Why Does it Crack?

What is Concrete?

Foundatin Crack

Foundation Crack

Quite often the terms cement and concrete are used interchangeably, but cement is actually an ingredient of concrete. Cement is made up of limestone, calcium, silicon iron, and aluminum. This mixture is heated to about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit or 1, 482 degrees Celsius to form a substance called clinkers (looks like marbles). Clinkers are ground to make a powder and then gypsum is added. As a result of this, a powder is formed and this powder is referred to as cement.

Concrete is a mixture of cement, water, sand, gravel or crushed stone.
When you add water to cement and rock mixture a reaction called hydration makes the cement and water harden and it binds the aggregates into a rocklike mass. This hardening process forms concrete and this hardening process continues for years. As a result of this concrete gets stronger as it gets older.

If the Concrete Mixture is so Strong Why Does it Crack?

The main reasons are:

The most frequent cause of cracks in concrete is shrinkage that occurs as the concrete dries. When concrete cures, the water that has been mixed with the cement begins to evaporate and this causes the concrete to shrink a little.

Support Problems
Some of the most severe cracks in concrete are caused by inadequate structural support. This lack of structural support may occur as the soil beneath concrete slab shifts or is eroded by natural elements such as wind and rain. It could also be caused by poor installation such as improper use of rebar or insufficient formwork.

Changes in Temperature
The temperature change can be a major cause of cracks in large concrete applications. This is because of the temperature variations between concrete that are poured first and subsequent layers of concrete. Temperature variations can cause some portions of the slab to expand while others are shrinking and this will lead to cracking.

The Spalling Effect
Spalling is a term given to concrete when it has a rough, flaky surface. Spalling is the result of hundreds of tiny cracks, which usually appear only on the surface of the concrete. Spalling typically occurs when too much water is added to the concrete mixture, or when the surface layer dries faster than interior layers.

If additional strength is required concrete may contain metal reinforcement, this will help increase the strength of concrete.  These reinforcement techniques may include wire mesh, rebar or steel beams. Should these materials begin to rust, the rust will cause an expansion in the concrete. This expansion may cause hairline cracks and small surface cracks. It is also possible that water could infiltrate these cracks and cause even more rust.

Of course, every case is different and if you have cracked concrete that you think is becoming a foundation problem or if you simply have a leaky basement or cracks in basement foundations you should have it reviewed by an expert.

Cracked Foundation Repair

Quite often repairs or solutions are not as expensive as you might think and the repair will be worth the peace of mind. In the following video, the house that is being repaired was getting ready to be sold and the owner wanted the foundation crack repaired properly. It is interesting to note that the foundation wall crack repair warranty is transferrable to the new owner. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you have a foundation problem and would like to have it reviewed by an expert, call Phil Russell of CrackMaster Concrete 604-614-2615. There is no cost or obligation for this service.

Wet Basement? – CrackMaster Concrete – the Masters in Dry Basements Since 1994

CrackMaster Concrete

Masters in Dry Basements Since 1994

CrackMaster Concrete is a full-service foundation repair and waterproofing company serving greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. We have been in business sinse 1994 and we have clients in most areas including, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge, Port Moody, Surrey, Coquitllam, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster,Vancouver, North Vancouver Nanaimo and Victoria.

If you have a Leaky basement, are in need of a wet basement repair, or have a foundation crack, CrackMaster Concrete should be your first choice. CrackMaster’s years of experience and advanced foundation repair techniques will save you time and money.


                                                                               Our services include:

  • Crack Repair – from the inside and outside
  • Drain Cleaning – Storm and Sewer (part of our Question Series)
  • Weeping Tile – interior and exterior
  • Sump pump installations
  • Waterproofing membranes
  • Repair Wet or Dry
  • Pools & Ponds
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Leaky Window Wells
  • Video Drain Inspections
  • Water-Jet Drain Flushing


Our Warranties are second to none and we have proven that we are in this business for the long hall. The CrackMaster Concrete lifetime warranty on crack repair is fully transferable to  new property owners. Just notify us in writing, within 30 days of the transfer.

Quick Friendly Response

If you have a wet basement in need of repair call Phil today. Our experience and advanced basement repair techniques will usually save you time and money. Our response time is quick and our Quotes are FREE with no hassle.

For sound friendly advice on wet basement repair call Phil today 604-614-2615

What Is a French Drain?

French Drain

Example of one type of French Drain

A French drain is highly effective and you will find it in a variety of uses. Generally speaking it is a drain, normally along a footing, constructed of tile laid in a bed of gravel and designed to collect water and carry it away from a footing or unwanted location. Consequently the term French drain is often synoptic with the terms drain tile or perimeter drain.

In Vancouver you may find your neighbor’s land is at a higher elevation than yours and you may have problems with excessive moisture on your property. Water from your neighbor’s property may be running down the slope on to your property. One remedy here is to install a French drain.

Historically the French drain was as simple ditch with a pitch that was ample enough to run water away from the protected area. Today French drains are made with perforated pipe known as weeping tile. French Drains are commonly dug down 36-48 inches. Then 1 1/4” rock is placed at the bottom of the trench and a corrugated pipe is placed over this rock. Once in place, the trench is filled with more rock to approximately 4-6” below grade. The last 4-6” are then topped with soil and/or sod.

Landscaping textiles are used to prevent migration of the drainage material and to prevent dirt and roots from entering into and clogging the drainage pipes. The primary reason for the perforation in the pipe is to allow the water to drain along the full length of the pipe and to discharge any surplus water at the pipes end .
If land is flat a catch basin and discharge pump (sump pump) may be necessary to contain water

Listen to Phil Russells Video Interview

Phil Talks about the Misconception of Repairing a Concrete Crack That is Leaking!

Listen to an interview with Phil Russell as he answers the question …can a basement crack be fixed when it is leaking?   From the Question and answer series.
This video series will also be discussing wet basement repair and the water management systems designed to keep your house dry.

Phil talks about one of the most common misconceptions in wet basement repair.

Phil is owner operator of CrackMaster concrete. CrackMaster concrete has been in business since 1994 and is a master in dry basements.

Phil can be contacted at 604-614-2615

I Am Finishing my Basement-I Have a Crack That doesn’t Leak. What Should I Do?

Call  CrackMaster and we will do an assessment for you. Generally speaking if you are wanting to protect your investments the crack probably should be repaired before you end up with a leaky basement. Hairline cracks can expand overtime as a result of freeze/thaw cycles.  You are better off being safe than sorry. The best thing you can do is call CrackMaster and let us discuss your options.

Chances are the cost of repair will be less than you think and for sure far less than trying to repair a flooded basement that has been finished.

CrackMaster is a master at wet basement repair and we are  more than pleased to make an assessement for your. Call Phil today at 604-614-2615  for a FREE no hassle quote.