Chicago Licensed Masonry Contractor
Waterproofing refers to a process of making structures waterproof or water-resistant so that they remain reasonably unaffected by moisture / water or resist water penetration under certain conditions. Waterproofing in building construction is performed by the use of membranes and coatings that protect its contents and their structural integrity.
OUR SPECIAL OFFER
Free 6 point MASONRY and Basement water-resistant EVALUATION:
- Caulking condition
- Mortar condition
- Efflorescence on the exterior masonry walls
- Inspections of cracks
- Prior to waterproofing your building, we inspect the inside walls of your house, specifically will check all water leaking window, door frames, wooden floor baseboards, carpets, tiles ,hardwood floors.
We specialize in basement and masonry waterproofing systems.
Water may enter a basement through various means including joints, walls, or floors. There are many systems available of varying cost and effectiveness. BASEMENT WATERPROOFING may be done internally and externally, because basement foundations can be brick, block, or concrete. It is important to pick the right waterproofing system for the right foundation.
Gralak Tuck pointing . Masonry Sealing .Waterproofing contractors specialize in foundation’s cracks and repairs.
Water and moisture considerably reduce the value of a basement as living space or storage area. When moisture enters a basement ,the conditions for the formation of mold become favorable, which not only causes a musty smell but also reduces the living quality and even causes health disorders. The damage and possible mold growth caused by unchecked water problems can be extensive, invasive and expensive to repair.
Determining the sources of the water problem on the most effective solution is an essential course of action.
CAUSES OF WATER PROBLEMS
Basement and crawl space water problems are almost always caused by water pressure, or hydrostatic pressure against the walls, foundation or floor of the basement or crawl space. Hydrostatic pressure can result from a number of different sources, including poor grading, defective gutters and downspouts, a high “false” water table, or the failure of foundation’s footing drain. The solution to stopping the flow of water forcing its way into the house vary depending on where the problems lies, though persistent water problems are often solved only by relieving the water pressure itself. Reputable and experienced waterproofing companies will know how to maintain the water issues to ensure the home owner will get the best performance from his/her investment. Waterproofing of new structures is often neglected and does not provide permanent protection. A recent survey of leaking basements showed water comes from variety of sources, but walls are the usual culprit: Occurrence of moisture only on walls (82 %),only on the floors (4%),on walls and floors (14%). A recent survey from “Waterproof Magazine”, issue 2011, January, page1.
MASONRY WATERPROOFING Includes CONCRETE BLOCKS (CMU) , BRICK/STONES, PARAPET WALLS and WINDOW OPENINGS.
- CONCRETE BLOCKS (CMU)
Although there are numerous reasons why a building’s water barriers might fail, there are some that are more common reasons. Among the most likely are CONCRETE BLOCKS known as CONCRETE MASONRY UNITS (CMU). CMU are much larger than ordinary bricks. Furthermore, CONCRETE BLOCKS typically have much lower water absorption rates than brick. The CONCRETE BLOCKS have been used in many new construction projects in Chicago area and they have not been waterproofed properly in many cases. Our company specializes in the applications of Siloxane waterproofing agents that infiltrate deep into the concrete blocks substrate and bond chemically to provide a superior barrier against the elements and minimize block’s exposure to water damage.
If brickwork is not properly maintained, every masonry joint as well as brick can serve as a point of entry for water. Replacement of deteriorated BRICKS/STONES and/or replacing of sealants (caulking) is cost-effective maintenance that helps prevent more serious issues from developing. Old mortar joints can deteriorated and crumble leaving a breech in the façade for water intrusion. Cracks in the masonry ,originally hairline in sizes, over period of time, with moisture freezing and thawing ,develop into larger masonry cracks creating additional sources for leaks.
- PARAPET WALLS
Parapet walls often have deteriorated and exposed bricks. The solution to such a condition is to provide appropriate roof flashing on the backside of the PARAPET WALL, replacement of damaged bricks, loosed mortar re-pointing, resetting the stone/clay caps, and proper caulking. Before you finalize your next parapet wall project, understand the type of flashing system that you’re purchasing. The right flashing could be the difference between a leaking parapet wall and watertight parapet wall. On the top of the parapet wall we install the capping stones flashing, clay tiles flashing (breathable) and metal flashing. These methods of covering the top of the parapet walls usually fail at the vertical and horizontal joints and need periodically inspections and applications of new caulking every 7-10 years. The rear of the parapet is commonly exposed brickwork or stonework with the roofing terminating at the base of the parapet. The solution to the walls water intrusions problems is to provide appropriate roof flashing on the backside of the parapet wall and caulking properly. There are three types of roof and wall counter flashings:
- through-wall counter-flashing
- surface-mounted counter-flashing
- reglet counter-flashing
Counter-flashing is the piece of metal that is applied to the masonry wall designed to shed water off of the wall and down onto the roof surface.
Through-wall counter- flashing flashing extends though the exterior masonry wall, and ties into the wall cavity. This type of flashing is the best method of protection against moisture and water leaking into your building. However, this method needs to be incorporated into the original construction of masonry walls.
Surface-mounted counter – flashing uses metal cap flashing that is attached to the wall and sealed along the top edge with a bed of caulking. This is the fastest, easiest, and least expensive method of counter-flashing. While effective if properly installed, it is also the most likely to fail. Surface -mounted flashing is heavily reliant on caulking, and requires regular maintenance to ensure the flashing remains in the water tight condition.
A reglet counter –flashing is ¾” to 1 ½” deep cut in the masonry. This cut is formed using a grinder or masonry cutting saw. This method allows the installer to insert the counter-flashing into the wall. The inserted piece of metal flashing is then packed with lead plugs, and the reglet opening is filled with polyurethane caulk. This additional step of cutting a reglet provides an extra layer of protection against water intrusion, and is typically recommended over surface mounted flashing.
The flashing should protrude from the wall by at least ¼” at the following locations: the top of the foundation wall, above the masonry pockets where the floor joists are set into the concrete blocks or bricks, above and below every window and door. Missing or improperly installed wall flashing can allow moisture to enter the home and cause rot, mold growth ,and structural damage, because due to the creation of a large amount of moisture. At the time of our inspections ,the staining is visible viewed from the outside and also past moisture damage is noted at some drywall finishes . Improper flashing detail at the floor joists and missing flashing underneath the cap stones or metal capping can lead to moisture damage and over time ,unchecked this can lead to weakening or even collapse of the structural floor framing.
- WINDOW OPENINGS
Window openings are often responsible for water intrusions into inner the walls from rusted lintels, damaged flashing (membranes), or old window wood frames and deteriorated caulking. Rusting is the most common issue with steel lintels. The wall structure above the lintel may fail if the lintel is rusted. Due to the chemical process, the rusted lintel can grow up to ten times its original thickness which causes the metal to bow and masonry around to crack and shift under severe pressure. The rusted lintels are additional source of the water into the inner walls. Rusted and corroded lintels should be replaced with a new one and painted with a rust-inhibitor. New flexible flashing should be installed together with the weep holes. In newer construction, relatively newer lintels have faulty installed or missing elastomeric flashing systems. The window and door opening without correctly installed flashing systems are often in new buildings one of the primary water intrusions inside the window and door wooden frames . Outside window and door frames, unless properly maintained, can trap moisture .The constant expansion and contraction of the wood due to weather conditions will stress the caulking sealing the joint between the wood and the masonry. Old caulking looses its flexibility, consequently, the movement of the structure will cause the caulking to literally fall off the joints or creates large gaps and holes by the window frames, providing additional points of entry of water. Gralak Waterproofing and Masonry Sealing Team uses for window and door frames (wood and metal) and glass blocks the best quality caulking as well as backing rods where necessary to insure caulking does not crack or collapse with time and due to heat and cold of extreme climate changes. It lasts longer and it is stronger and more effective, when applied in professionally ways with personal supervision of our the best Pros.
Gralak Construction Co. Applies only the most effective and Eco-Friendly water proofing products:
CAULKING AND SEALANTS REPLACEMENT
Caulking sealant protects the exterior and internal masonry walls components from moisture damage. Masonry walls are designed with expansion joints, that expand and contract with different temperatures. Caulking sealant is designed with elasticity so that it can stretch and compress, maintaining a water tight seal. Sealing expansion joints by replacing old caulking is cost effective maintenance and helps prevent more serious water issues from developing. Gralak Waterproofing and Tuck pointing Team will do the caulking and sealing job right and in a high quality workmanship. We will start our work by cutting out the failed caulking and cleaning out all debris from the joint, including all of the caulking. The surfaces need to be fully cleaned in order to ensure a quality bond between the new caulking and the wall. Joints surfaces are treated by Gralak Waterproofing and Tuck pointing Team with a liquid primer matched to the substrate material. Where necessary, backer rods are installed in the joints. This allows for proper joint profile and depth-to width ratio ,maximizing the movement capability and life of the new sealant. The depth of the backer rod needs to be consistent along the entire length of the joint. Joints are then filled by Gralak Waterproofing and Tuck pointing Team completely with new sealant in a color approved by the customer. Our most popular caulking sealant for outside and inside applications is 116 Vulkem Tremco and now it is available at the Home Depot and Amazon .
In chemistry, efflorescence (which means “to flower out” in French) is the loss of water of crystallization from a hydrated or solvated to the atmosphere on exposure to air. Efflorescence is sometimes referred to as “saltpetering”. Since primary efflorescence brings out salts that are not ordinarily part of the cement stone ,it is not structural, but, rather, an aesthetic concern-that can be brushed off or clean with vinegar. The intensity of efflorescence increases after rainy winter seasons, decreases in spring and by summer has practically disappeared. Various methods have been used in attempts to remove efflorescence from masonry structures. It has found that when efflorescence is caused by soluble alkali salts, the salts will dissolve in water applied to the structure and migrate back into it. It is very important to neutralize the acid before it can attack other compounds. There are many sources for water soluble salts with some salts more soluble than others. The movement of groundwater into building foundation and by capillary action, or wicking, upwards into masonry is very often the cause of efflorescence. In Chicago a lot of buildings and houses are build with the brick foundations .The bricks are often severely deteriorated by long term efflorescence effect in the basements or ground level areas . Because of poor masonry conditions of damaged bricks ,sometimes at the exterior walls too, the structural integrity of a brick foundations is at risk and the bricks replacement should be recommended. In the older brick buildings an efflorescence effect, existing for decades, creates the bricks deterioration in higher the elevations, parapet wall areas, and window and door openings. Our free inspections will evaluate the conditions of the bricks, stones or blocks, where ” efflorescence effect “ is appearing at the masonry walls and it will allow the Homeowners to make the most effective decisions to find the right solutions.
Gralak Construction Co. Applies only the most effective and Eco-Friendly water proofing products: