Basement Terminology

BASEMENT TERMINOLOGY

BASEMENT TERMINOLOGY


B

• BACKFIL

Lay plastic or drop cloth around work surface

• BASEMENT FLOOR SLAB

The 4 or 5 inch layer of concrete that forms the basement floor.

• BOWED WALLS

When outside pressure exceeds the design capacity of a wall resulting in a bow or curve.


C

• CARBON FIBER

A reinforced polymer that is characteristically very strong, light and a composite material known for its high strength to weight ratio. Carbon Fiber will not stretch or bend over time making it perfect for reinforcing concrete walls.

• CARBON FIBER STAPLE

Carbon Staples can be used as a crack control stitching system designed to transfer load away from repair materials.

• CARBON FIBER KEVLAR WEAVE

This carbon fiber product has a Kevlar weave that produces some horizontal strength. A necktie is attached to the sill plate, which can disperse the outside force.

• CARBON FIBER SHEETS/PLATES

Carbon fiber plates that are pre-pregnated with an epoxy resin. The plates do not secure to the sill plate or floor where the major problem areas occur.

• CINDER BLOCKS

A pre-fabricated structural component constructed of concrete and cinders that is utilized to construct foundation walls, retaining walls, etc. Large, rectangular blocks used in construction usually made from sand and fine gravel. The use of block work allows structures to be built in the traditional masonry style with layers (or courses) of overlapping blocks. American homes are typically built with a concrete foundation and slab with a concrete block wall on the perimeter.

• CLAY BOWL EFFECT

Backfill soil that’s been removed as the foundation is dug is looser, more porous and much more absorbent of water than the unexcavated soil around it. As the soil around the house settles, it begins to dip lower than the unexcavated soil. As the water runs downhill into this depression, it pools and absorbs into the dirt around the foundation. In areas where the soil contains clay, this is called the “Clay Bowl” effect which allows water to seep anywhere it can go resulting in pressure on basement walls. This pressure can create cracks that can allow water to come through.

• CLAY SOIL

Soil, which is composed of very fine particles, usually silicates of aluminum and/or iron and magnesium. Clay soil impedes the flow of water, meaning it absorbs water slowly and then retains it for a long time. Wet clay soil is heavy and sticky, and tends to swell from the added moisture. When dry, clay soil shrinks and settles. The top layer can bake into a hard, concrete-like crust, which cracks.

• CLAY BACKFILL

The replacement of excavated earth containing clay around a basement foundation wall. Clay backfill can result in poor surface and subsurface drainage leading to water ponding around the house, leakage of ground water through the basement or crawlspace walls, and structural damage to the foundation.

• CRACK STRAP

A one inch carbon fiber strap designed by the head technician of The Basement Guys® used to repair concrete wall cracks. Characteristically, the long and noticeable vertical crack is accompanied by several small horizontal cracks that are not strengthened by the traditional method of a crack injection. The result is two weak spots on each side of the vertical crack. The crack strap method is installed by drilling holes on each side of the vertical crack and securing the one inch carbon fiber straps along the duration of the crack. This method leaves the sides weakened by the initial crack stronger than they ever were before.

• CRAWL SPACE

A crawl space (as the name suggests) is a type of basement in which one cannot stand up — the height may be as little as a foot, and the surface is often soil. They offer access to pipes, substructures and a variety of other areas that may be difficult or expensive to access otherwise. While a crawl space cannot be used as living space, it can be used as storage, often for infrequently used items. Health and convenience issues accompany a crawl space as water from the damp ground, water vapor (entering from crawl space vents), and moisture seeping through porous concrete can create a perfect environment for mold/mildew to form on any surface in the crawl space, especially cardboard boxes, wood floors and surfaces, drywall and some types of insulation.


D

• DIG AND PUSH

A method in repairing a bowed foundation wall by excavating soil against the wall from the outside and applying pressure to push the wall back to a straight position. The area outside is then backfilled with gravel.


E

• EGRESS WINDOW

Code compliant and fire-escapable windows created for basements.

• EPOXY INJECTION

A method of sealing or repairing cracks in poured concrete by injecting epoxy adhesives into the cracks in order to fill them.

• EROSION

The wearing away of land or soil by the action of wind, water, or ice.

• EXCAVATION

FTo dig out and remove, as earth.


F

• FLOOR CRACK

Masonry failures due to vertical shear.

• FLOOR JOISTS

Horizontal supporting members that run from wall to wall, wall to beam, or beam to beam to support a floor. It may be made of wood, steel, or concrete.

• FOOTING

A footing is a poured concrete structure embedded below the frost line, and is typically twice the width of the wall that it supports. The footing transfers the weight of the foundation walls to the soil or bedrock beneath it.

• FOUNDATION

The lowest and supporting part or member of a wall, including the base course and footing courses; in a frame house, the whole substructure of masonry.

• FRENCH DRAIN

A French drain, drain tile, perimeter drain or land drain is a ditch covered with gravel or rock that redirects surface and ground water away from an area. A French drain can have hollow pipes along the bottom to quickly disperse water that seeps down through the upper gravel or rock. French drains are common drainage systems, commonly used to prevent ground and surface water from travelling towards the foundation.


G

• GLASS BLACK WINDOWS

An architectural element made from glass. Glass bricks provide visual obscuration while admitting light. Commonly used in basements for privacy and security.

• GRADE

This typically refers to the pitch of a slope such as a hill, road or railway; with respect to waterproofing, it is the height of the soil, or other surface, surrounding the foundation.

• GRAVITY FEED

The movement of materials from one location to another by force of gravity.


H

• HAIRLINE CRACK

A crack in an exposed concrete surface that is barely visible because of its extremely narrow width.


K

• KEYWAY

A joint between the footing and foundation wall.


M

• MORTAR JOINT

A brick being secured to another similar brick or bricks by means of mortar or grout.


P

• PIER

Columns of concrete usually poured into drilled holes in the ground, on which the concrete slab will rest. This ensures that the slab is ultimately resting on the ground sufficiently solid to support the weight of the home.

• POURED CONCRETE

Any concrete structure or slab that was poured and formed in a liquid state.

• POWER BEAM

A 13lb steel H-beam that is bolted into the floor using a bracket at the bottom. At the top is an adjustable bracket that supposedly allows you to move the wall back overtime.


R

• RE-ENTRANT CRACKS

Cracks at the corner of windows and other openings that are usually the result of stress build-up at the corner(s).

• RHINO CARBON FIBER

The most advanced carbon fiber wall repair system on the market.

• RIM JOIST

Also referred to as a “band joist”. A rim joist rests on the sill or sill plate functioning to keep the joists true also providing a surface for completing the edge of subflooring and a flat base to support the exterior walls. The rim joist is the "box" of a floor's structure.


S

• SCARIFY WALL

The process of removing paint from a masonry wall using a dustless system.

• SILL PLATE

A sill plate, or sole plate, in construction is the bottom horizontal member of a wall or building to which vertical members are attached. Sill plates are usually 2×4 lumber. In the platform framing method the sill plate is anchored to the foundation wall. The bottom of the sill plate is ideally kept 6 inches above the finished grade.

• SILL PLATE BRACKET

The bracket used to attach Rhino® Carbon Fiber to sill plate.

• SLAB

A solid concrete structure. Typically, slabs are installed as ceilings over cold cellars as well as over a gravel base for the construction of basement and garage floors.

• SOIL EXPANSION

Expansive soils contain minerals such as smectite clays that are capable of absorbing water. When they absorb water they increase in volume. The more water they absorb the more their volume increases. Expansions of ten percent or more are not uncommon. This change in volume can exert enough force on a building or other structure to cause damage.

• SPALLING

The chipping, splintering, and breaking into smaller pieces of poured concrete, concrete blocks or cinderblocks, bricks, and stone. Spalling usually occurs when water that has permeated pourous materials freezes and causes surface deterioration.

• STACK EFFECT

A term that refers to the way air moves throughout a home. Due to the upward movement of warm air in a home, a vacuum is created in the lower levels. If a basement or crawl space is infested with mold or other unpleasant airborne pollutants and allergens, they are then pulled upwards into the home along with the air.

• STATIONARY BEAMS

The most common type of wall support on the market the uses a 13 lb steel H beam concreted into the floor and framed into the floor joists above.

• SURFACE REPAIR

Repair of a concrete surface that constitutes only a small portion of the depth of a member or element.


T

• TUCK POINTING

Also referred to as “repointing", involves the placement of wet mortar into cut or raked joints for the repair of weathered joints in old or damaged masonry. Repointing: See Tuck pointing.


U

• UNDERMINING

To dig or wear away the base or foundation.


W

• WALL CRACK

A thin and usually jagged space opened in a previously solid material.

• WALL REPLACEMENT

If the inward bowing of a basement wall is not excessive, walls damaged by excessive inward pressures may often be repaired by excavating behind the wall, allowing the wall to flex back into vertical position. If the inward bowing of the wall is excessive, the wall requires replacement. The foundation drainage system will also require replacement at that time. The details for these repairs may be determined by a qualified and experienced contractor or a structural engineer.

• WALL SHEARING

Movement of a basement wall due to outside pressure that eventually cause the bottom of the wall to slide over the foundation floor. This is most common in concrete block walls.

• WALL THE BACKS

A solution for repairing bowed walls using an interior wall plate, an exterior earth anchor and a connecting steel rod to stabilize foundation walls.

• WATER LEAK

To let water or other fluid in or out through a hole, crevice, etc.