Types of Mold That Indicate You Have a Leak or Crack

Basements, more than any other space, are known for their cold, moist, and undisturbed atmospheres. You might even find yourself greeted with the slightly sour smell of mildew buildup as you walk down the steps. Without the proper waterproofing and precautionary steps taken, moisture can easily build up in a building or house’s basement.

After exposure to water, materials in the right setting can take less than two days to develop mold. If your house or building has undergone water damage or water exposure, there are several types of mold to keep an eye out for:

Fusarium: This mold is unique in that it can grow and thrive at colder temperatures than other molds. It is typically found in homes with water damage, specifically within wallpaper, carpeting, and fabric. If discovered, carefully inspect adjacent rooms as this mold spreads quickly and easily;

Alternaria: This mold follows damp environments, meaning that there is a possible nearby leak or exposure to the outdoors. It can spread relatively quickly, so it is important to stop it early;

Mucor: Mucor is found most commonly near areas with high condensation and moisture, for example air conditioning units or HVAC units;

Chaetomium: The presence of chaetomium likely means severe water damage. It is indicated with a musty odor, and either a gray or black cotton-like texture depending on the growth stage;

Penicillin: Similar to the other molds on this list, penicillin can be traced to areas with high moisture levels. It can be easily spotted with its bright blue or green surface, and can spread quickly through the air;

Stachybotrys: Also known as black mold, stachybotrys is found in areas with consistently moist and unkempt environments. More specifically, black mold typically grows on cellulose materials such as drywall or cardboard;

Ulocladium: If this mold is found in a basement or building, it is a sign of extreme water damage. It may grow alongside the aforementioned fusarium, another indicator of inadequate waterproofing.

This is not an extensive list of all the possible molds, but it is still a good idea to keep a careful eye out for all and any growth. Though each mold may vary in danger and severity, each is an indicator that your building spaces may be in need of a check up. If there is suspicion of any dangerous molds, always be sure to contact a professional to inspect and remove.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

What is the World of Concrete Exposition?

The annual World of Concrete expo is back this year, and Mar-Flex will be joining hundreds of contractors, companies, and competitors in Las Vegas this June. And while this might not be an event that is on the tip of every American’s tongue, this gathering is an important milestone for those groups to make connections, share best practices.

Events like these grease the wheels of American industry and growth.

World of Concrete bills itself this way:

World of Concrete has been serving the global concrete & masonry construction industries for 46 years. We connect and educate buyers and sellers through live and digital events throughout the year, facilitated via worldofconcrete.com, WOC360.com, and our bi-monthly WOC360 e-newsletter. Our goal is to provide this important community with the connections, intelligence, and opportunities that help customers grow, do business, and make better informed business decisions.

There is a mix of selling, buying, information, and entertainment throughout the week at World of Concrete.

Annual bricklaying competition is a popular attraction

One popular event is the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500.

In this huge draw, 26 teams race to complete a 26-foot wall. Their work is not merely judged on speed. A trained crew of 30 expert bricklayers inspect the completed walls to judge the quality and accuracy of the workmanship on the walls.

The winner not only gets the satisfaction of a job well done, but the lion’s share of a $125,000 overall purse and a new Ford F-250 XLT pickup.

More importantly, the winning company attracts additional attention to their quality work and craftsmanship. This can lead to additional contracts and the opportunity to increase prices as demand soars.

Stop in and see Mar-Flex

Mar-Flex will be at this year’s event. We will be promoting our amazing line of products and expertise designed to make your next building project easy, and secure it for years to come.

Stop on by June 8-10 at exhibition booth #N871 to see what we can offer you to simplify, strengthen, and waterproof your next major building project, or even meet your home waterproofing needs.

Screenshot from Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 Youtube promotional video

What is a Polymer and Why is it Important?

Polymers are found in all aspects of life, whether you know it or not. They can assume all different textures and stiffnesses, from plastic water bottles to glass. You even carry polymers around with you on your body.

Scientifically, a polymer is a material made from repeating macromolecules, and they can be either naturally occurring or synthetic.

Synthetic or man-made polymers are most often referring to a wide range of plastics. There are four types of man-made polymers, classified by how they are created. They are thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, and synthetic fibers.

Natural polymers are almost always produced by living creatures. Common examples are human hair, wool, spiderwebs, fingernails, and more. These polymers share roughly the same qualities with man-made polymers, in that they repel water, and are generally very durable.

Waterproofing products are almost always polymers

Polymers have become an effective and popular waterproofing material. This is due to several factors including adhesion to material and durability. In scientific terms, polymers are hydrophobic. While this doesn’t mean they are literally afraid of water, it does mean that they repel water instead of absorbing it. This is handy for containing water, like in a bottle or a straw, or in keeping water away, like in a raincoat or waterproofing a building.

Though most waterproofing polymers come in liquid form, they are also available in pebble or powder forms and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

These polymers can be heated, extruded, shaped, poured, or otherwise transformed into a wide range of waterproofing materials. These include waterproof sheeting from low to high grade and thickness, caulk and gels designed to be liquid for a short period of time to fill cracks and crevices before setting and becoming an effective water barrier. In some cases they can be poured into specific molds to create form fitting and water-moving channels that help keep a property dry by deflecting and removing the standing water that reaches the outside of the structure.

Polymers have a downside

Sadly, though, the fact that polymers are hydrophobic also means that they do not naturally biodegrade over time. Waste piles, oceans, and beaches often display discarded products made from polymers. While scientists look for enzymes that break polymers down and perfect the art of re-using them, we must be intentional about how we dispose of them

What is an Egress Well or Egress Window Well?

An egress well or egress window well is a specially designed window well that allows a person or animal to climb out of a basement window in an emergency. They are often required in homes where the basement is being used as living quarters. A window egress well allows a homeowner to count that window as a second exit, making it compliant with fire codes that require sleeping quarters to have two exits in case of fire.

An egress window well saves lives

Perhaps you are familiar with typical concrete or even aluminum window wells, where the sides drop vertically to the bottom and the well is the same size and shape throughout.

This works for the typical use of a window well, which is to allow light and air into basements, making them more livable.

However, with the expansion of building codes designed to expand livable space while saving lives, these tropical wells are not enough in themselves.

An egress window well is larger and sturdier than typical window wells. And it has a built in ladder or steps that a person can use as needed to get out of these deeper wells.

These also work to allow pets or even wild animals to get themselves out if they fall in the window well.

Does every basement need an egress window well?

If hearing the benefits of an egress window well makes you think you need one in your basement, ask yourself these questions:

How will the basement be used?

If the basement will be used as a place for sleeping and expanded living, you will likely be required to offer multiple exits. If the answer to this question is yes, you might need an egress well, read on.

How many exterior exits are in the basement?

If the basement only has one exterior exit, and you plan to make it a sleeping space, you will likely want to add an egress window well. This is a cheaper alternative to building a second door and stairwell, and meets codes in most localities for safety.

How big are your basement windows?

If your basement windows are so narrow a person would have to crawl through them, these windows are not for you.

How much space do you have around your foundation?

You will need several feet of clearance around your foundation. Many urban homes don’t have room for this sort of safety feature.

Check with your local Mar-Flex waterproofing expert for more information on the best way to protect your foundation while creating the most welcoming, livable space you can.

Waterproofing Membrane Suppliers

For your next residential, commercial, or industrial building project, you will want to pick the most reliable and trusted name to be your waterproofing membrane suppliers.

You want Mar-Flex.

Mar-Flex is the best solution for your waterproofing membranes, because they offer a full line of options that match your situation.

While some suppliers might focus on one big brand name, and push that down your throat as a consumer, Mar-Flex knows that what you really want is the right fit for your project, not the right fit for what the company wants to sell.

Better yet, their wide range of options can fit your budget, and your LEED goals as well.

Waterproofing membrane options let you choose

Mar-Flex waterproofing membrane options let you customize your purchase to your situation.

Perhaps you have heard about the superior affordability and durability of the Armor and Armorair series of waterproofing solutions? Mar-Flex expert installers are trained and experienced in working with these trusted brand names in the most demanding work environments. You can trust their craftsmanship and can’t beat their overall economical impact on the project.

The Armor line offers you a complete range of options to waterproof your next project, with a lifetime warranty.

Perhaps you value the combination of using recycled materials and a lifetime warranty. The Mar-Flex 5000 option meets LEED certification qualifications and comes with up to 60 years of protection for your residential project. This cost-effective and effectively lifetime solution is surprisingly affordable compared with multiple treatments of an inferior product.

Our GeoMat waterproofing membrane offers an even higher LEED certification than the Mar-Flex 5000, for the demanding client who expects both a lifetime warranty and the smallest potential ecological footprint. Two variations of the GeoMat roll are designed to work either under ordinary circumstances, or in situations where hydrostatic pressure can present problems.

As always the choice is yours, based on the circumstances of your building needs.

Finally, Mar-Flex’s exclusive Shockwave drainage boards are made of 100% recycled materials. They are designed to the highest LEED levels for the most demanding clients, while not compromising on quality. This durable and compression-proof solution is designed to provide an impenetrable underground barrier between water and your wall, to offer a lifetime of protection.

Whatever your waterproofing membrane needs, LEED goals, and budget are, Mar-Flex offers solutions to match your particular situation. Contact our experts today to discuss your project, and rest assured you have made the right choice by calling Mar-Flex.

Damp Proofing Products

Everyone is familiar with the concept of waterproofing. With waterproofing you take something that would normally allow water to pass through it, and you change it in such a way that water can no longer come through.

Some things you might waterproof are tents, shoes, a coat, or a basement.

In some of these cases, it is not necessary to keep out all of the water. For instance, while a coat may be considered waterproof, it can still allow through a tiny amount of water or moisture an still be effective in doing the job it was supposed to do.

This is true in some basements and exteriors as well. Some homeowners are okay if there is some moisture getting through their basement walls through cracks or weak seals on casement windows.

But not every application allows for this sort of leakage. Sometimes you need your basement completely damp proof.

When do you need damp proof products?

In construction terms a century ago, a little water was an accepted part of a major project. Even the basement of a house would be constructed so that dampness was allowed, as long as it was not wet or flowing water that could ultimately do damage to the foundation.

Today, we know more about construction and how to keep a house – and its occupants – happy and healthy. This means dampproofing a basement.

Dampproofing, or damp proofing, means keeping out all unwanted moisture. Doing this in a housing or industrial building situation can add years to the duration of the building, and it can keep your house healthier.

How does damp proofing protect your home?

Water has a corrosive effect on pretty much material used in construction. Wood, most metals, drywall, and even some foam products degrade when exposed to water over time.

We know that even small amounts of water, what someone might describe as “damp” instead of “wet,” can slowly work away by rusting or weakening the structure of your home.

When those construction pieces bear weight and shifts over time, it is important that they work as they were designed. Even small weaknesses caused by water can threaten the whole structure.

Also, it doesn’t take much water to invite the accumulation of mold. Mold spores will penetrate every structure and land where they can find moisture.

In order to keep your air, your building, and its occupants healthy, you need to keep out as much water as you possibly can. This means going beyond waterproofing and adopting an approach called dampproofing.

Mar-Flex offers a wide range of materials to damp proof your structure.

Does Waterproofing a Basement Add Value?

Before starting any sort of project around the house there are a couple of questions every homeowner wants to ask themselves. The first question typically revolves around affordability relative to what will be gained from the Improvement.

The average homeowner, for instance, cannot afford a huge spray water feature in their front yard that would be at home on a Town Square. Sure, it would be beautiful and a real talking point, but for the average homeowner it would be prohibitively expensive, and probably damaged the resale value of the house.

However there are certain kinds of improvements and upgrades that should happen in your house as soon as they are affordable.

One of these no-brainer improvements is waterproofing a basement.

Waterproofing a basement is a no-brainer

Keeping water out of your basement is important for many reasons.

First and foremost wet basement is a place where mold can grow. Mold in the air of your home can cause allergic reactions or even worse effects on breathing and your body. Mold ca n even render your home unlivable.

A second reason to keep water out of your basement, is that water often comes through cracks or weaknesses in the foundation. so at the first sight of water one concern should be stopping the water, and the other concern should be making sure your foundation is sturdy and stable. Water doesn’t mean your house will fall down but left untreated it can contribute to the quicker demise of your biggest investment.

And a third important reason to waterproof your basement is to get it ready for an upgrade.

Remodeling your basement is a good investment

According to general estimates, remodeling your basement to add new living space and useful room, is  one of the better Investments you can make in your house.

It is estimated that in resale value alone, you recover about 70% of your investment in your basement remodel.  This means a $2,000 investment in your basement will likely get you about $1,400 in resale value, and a $10,000  investment would net you $7,000.

Of course, a remodel of any space typically isn’t done solely thinking about the resale value. This is true about the basement as well. For many people, a basement represents 1/4 to 1/3 of the entire space in their house. Converting that to useful space such as a den, TV room, or spare bedroom can make your house more welcoming, spacious. In all, a happier place to live.

And in order to be remodeled, it must first be waterproofed.

What better investment is there than that?

Commercial Waterproofing Products: Waterproof Membranes

When gearing up for your next construction product, you will want to consider the wide range of commercial waterproofing products available to pick the perfect option for your project.

While each of these products does what it was designed to do – keep out water and moisture – it is important to choose the right product for the specific job. This involves taking into consideration the location, depth, accessibility, and amount of water that the surface will be exposed to when the work is completed.

With so many different options, and so many different companies with their own proprietary lines of these products, one could be forgiven for being confused or overwhelmed by the options.

For this reason, we offer a light introduction to different commercial waterproofing products. One common type of waterproofing product is waterproof membranes.

Here are some products you might consider for your next major project.

Waterproof membranes

Waterproof membranes are separate materials that are designed to be attached to your structure, usually entirely below grade, to keep out water. They come in many different types and have different primary materials.

Some of these membranes are rubberized, providing an impermeable non-porous surface that works in applications where there is likely to be less compression and movement. These are placed on the foundation in the way you might put on a raincoat to go outside in the rain (though you might use less spray adhesive!)

Some waterproof membranes contain clay or similar materials that help absorb water without passing it through to the structure. This loose material, sandwiched between semi-permeable layers, allows for a more dynamic response to water below the surface. These filler ingredients can dry to allow the building to breath and contribute to evaporation. However, they are designed to self-seal when the conditions demand it.

Still other waterproof membranes are made of first use or recycled plastics. In many cases, these can be specially formed to not only keep water away from your foundation, but to direct or carry water away from it.

Some of these products can contribute to the LEED score of your building, as well as providing a lifetime warranty and guarantee against water invading your major investment.

Are waterproof membranes the right solution for your next building project? Talk to your Mar-Flex representative to discuss the specifics and find out what your situation demands.

 

 

Why do so many contractors protect their foundations with ShockWave Drainage Board?

At Mar-Flex, we have been producing quality lines of waterproofing products for years. We occasionally get asked which are our favorite lines.

And of course, to us, waterproofing products are like our children, and we love them all equally.

But for the most common applications, we find our technicians and our customers turning time and again to our ShockWave drainage boards. Why are they trusted so deeply?

We think there are three primary reasons.

ShockWave drainage board protects from an impressive amount of water

ShockWave drainage board’s most impressive statistic reveals how well it does the thing it is built to do: handle water.

ShockWave can soak up over 100 gallons of water per hour per linear foot of drainage board. 101.11 per hour, to be precise.

This helps protect your foundation – and your investment – against the equivalent of a stream running into your foundation. Knowing that our drainage board can handle this amount of water, which is unusually large, means that our customers know they can count on ShockWave to deliver the expected results in normal circumstances for the life of their investment.

ShockWave drainage board is virtually crush-proof

Of course, When you put drainage board on the outside of your foundation and then backfill tons of clay and dirt against it, you need to know that it will retain its strength and vibrancy over time.

So we designed Shockwave to be virtually crushproof. Let’s get to the numbers:

ShockWave can withstand up to 283.72 psi while still humming along, doing its water work. This is the equivalent of running a bulldozer across the ShockWave surface. This amount of weight and concentrated pressure would STILL not damage ShockWave drainage board.

You can be sure that your building demands will not diminish its effectiveness.

ShockWave drainage board adds to your LEED score

And here’s the kicker for many contractors. Sure, it handles more water than any other drainage board. Sure it is essentially crush-proof and …

It is meticulously constructed from 100% post-consumer recycled materials.

So, it does everything you could want, and using it actually increases your LEED rating, making it easier to reach your project’s goals. Not many waterproofing options can do that.

It’s clear that so many contractors rely on ShockWave drainage board because of its unparalleled strength, effectiveness, and LEED rating.

The real question is, why would someone choose anything else?