Your Home Improvements: Lingering water. What to do?

By Robert Lamoureux

Last update: Friday, August 26th, 2016


Question #1

Robert, I recently pulled up carpeting in my living room. When I pulled up the padding, there was moisture on the concrete in an area of the room. Over a year ago we had a flood to this room but dried it out and made necessary repairs, and there are no current signs of any leaking at the wall areas to this room.

Could it be that there was still moisture in the concrete from the flood and it sat that way under the new carpeting that was laid at the time? Since pulling it up, it looks completely dry again and we aren’t sure what to do to ensure that we aren’t putting new carpeting over a dangerous area.

Please advise! Robert G.

Answer #1

Robert, in a situation like this it is important to know if this is recurring. I’m glad that you wrote in and inquired about it.

A good way to know if this is still an issue is to take about a 4×4 piece of plastic and tape it down to the concrete, making sure that you tape completely around the square to trap any moisture. Wait a couple of days and if you see condensation under the plastic, you’ve still got moisture issues.

My best guess is that you had some residual moisture, so do the test and allow complete drying out of area. If this seems to still be a problem, rule out all nearby possible water issues such as irrigation, perhaps too much water?

From the photos there is another possibility. It could be static pressure. You have hills behind you and it could be the water coming down from the hillside in the ground, with the static pressure forcing the water to take the path of least resistance and enter your slab.

If this is not severe, you can put a water-proofing sealant that is usually used prior to putting down wood floors. Follow manufacturer instructions and then you’ll be OK to set your floors.

Good luck to you. My best guess is that you had residual moisture from the original leak.

 

Question #2

I have a large property and have hired help to tend the yards for me. I have timers for my landscape irrigation, but there seems to be some trickster changing the settings on me when I’m not home.

Aside from being disturbing that someone is doing this, it is frustrating that my watering schedule is being interrupted. I’m trying to follow the city requirements as well as keep my yard in decent shape, but I’m fighting a losing battle.

Is there anything you can suggest to help with this? Is there a lockable system that you know of? Please help with his problem, I’m at my wit’s end with this issue.

Thank you Robert, I enjoy learning from your article weekly. David F.

Answer #2

David, you are correct in saying that you need to follow the city’s requirements for irrigation, because though the major restrictions have been lifted, there are still some restrictions and we all need to do our part.

What you’ll need to do if you don’t already have this is get lockable boxes for your timing system and simply lock them up. If you’ve spoken to your landscaper and they are not the issue, you’ve got someone else on your property who needs to be kept at bay.

There are many different types of timing systems and boxes to secure them, so I would look online or at the big box stores for options. You are certainly going to see a wide variety, so just choose what will work best for you in this situation, making sure it is able to be secured with a lock. Good luck.

 

Question #3

Hi, Robert. I used to hose around my pool area and the sides of my house before the drought; now that we are allowed to water, I want to try and pressure-wash those areas and see if they look any better.

I have some red brick and the rest is different shades of concrete due to it being poured at different times. I see a pressure-washer on sale and I would like to purchase one.

Is there any other means by which I can make the areas look better? Thank you. Gerrie C.

Answer #3

Gerrie, you can try by purchasing a concrete cleaner. Follow the manufacturer recommendations and try to even out the area and wash it down.

If that doesn’t work well enough for you, then you can purchase muriatic acid, which is a pool acid, and dilute it at 50 percent water and 50 percent acid.

Before you begin using this product, you’ll need to take very important safety precautions. Wear eye protection, long sleeves and pants, closed shoes and finally, a respirator mask to prevent any inhalation of the gases, as they become airborne and are toxic.

Use a sprayer and spray the areas, including the bricks that you want to get clean, and let that sit for about 10 to 12 minutes. Come back and hose it off with water. The water will neutralize the acid and stop it from burning.

I would recommend that you do a small test area maybe two or three feet and see if it’s what you want.

Good luck with your project and I’m sure it’ll work.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at robert@imsconstruction.com.­

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Your Home Improvements: Lingering water. What to do?

Lingering water photo - signal newspaper valencia

Question #1

Robert, I recently pulled up carpeting in my living room. When I pulled up the padding, there was moisture on the concrete in an area of the room. Over a year ago we had a flood to this room but dried it out and made necessary repairs, and there are no current signs of any leaking at the wall areas to this room.

Could it be that there was still moisture in the concrete from the flood and it sat that way under the new carpeting that was laid at the time? Since pulling it up, it looks completely dry again and we aren’t sure what to do to ensure that we aren’t putting new carpeting over a dangerous area.

Please advise! Robert G.

Answer #1

Robert, in a situation like this it is important to know if this is recurring. I’m glad that you wrote in and inquired about it.

A good way to know if this is still an issue is to take about a 4×4 piece of plastic and tape it down to the concrete, making sure that you tape completely around the square to trap any moisture. Wait a couple of days and if you see condensation under the plastic, you’ve still got moisture issues.

My best guess is that you had some residual moisture, so do the test and allow complete drying out of area. If this seems to still be a problem, rule out all nearby possible water issues such as irrigation, perhaps too much water?

From the photos there is another possibility. It could be static pressure. You have hills behind you and it could be the water coming down from the hillside in the ground, with the static pressure forcing the water to take the path of least resistance and enter your slab.

If this is not severe, you can put a water-proofing sealant that is usually used prior to putting down wood floors. Follow manufacturer instructions and then you’ll be OK to set your floors.

Good luck to you. My best guess is that you had residual moisture from the original leak.

 

Question #2

I have a large property and have hired help to tend the yards for me. I have timers for my landscape irrigation, but there seems to be some trickster changing the settings on me when I’m not home.

Aside from being disturbing that someone is doing this, it is frustrating that my watering schedule is being interrupted. I’m trying to follow the city requirements as well as keep my yard in decent shape, but I’m fighting a losing battle.

Is there anything you can suggest to help with this? Is there a lockable system that you know of? Please help with his problem, I’m at my wit’s end with this issue.

Thank you Robert, I enjoy learning from your article weekly. David F.

Answer #2

David, you are correct in saying that you need to follow the city’s requirements for irrigation, because though the major restrictions have been lifted, there are still some restrictions and we all need to do our part.

What you’ll need to do if you don’t already have this is get lockable boxes for your timing system and simply lock them up. If you’ve spoken to your landscaper and they are not the issue, you’ve got someone else on your property who needs to be kept at bay.

There are many different types of timing systems and boxes to secure them, so I would look online or at the big box stores for options. You are certainly going to see a wide variety, so just choose what will work best for you in this situation, making sure it is able to be secured with a lock. Good luck.

 

Question #3

Hi, Robert. I used to hose around my pool area and the sides of my house before the drought; now that we are allowed to water, I want to try and pressure-wash those areas and see if they look any better.

I have some red brick and the rest is different shades of concrete due to it being poured at different times. I see a pressure-washer on sale and I would like to purchase one.

Is there any other means by which I can make the areas look better? Thank you. Gerrie C.

Answer #3

Gerrie, you can try by purchasing a concrete cleaner. Follow the manufacturer recommendations and try to even out the area and wash it down.

If that doesn’t work well enough for you, then you can purchase muriatic acid, which is a pool acid, and dilute it at 50 percent water and 50 percent acid.

Before you begin using this product, you’ll need to take very important safety precautions. Wear eye protection, long sleeves and pants, closed shoes and finally, a respirator mask to prevent any inhalation of the gases, as they become airborne and are toxic.

Use a sprayer and spray the areas, including the bricks that you want to get clean, and let that sit for about 10 to 12 minutes. Come back and hose it off with water. The water will neutralize the acid and stop it from burning.

I would recommend that you do a small test area maybe two or three feet and see if it’s what you want.

Good luck with your project and I’m sure it’ll work.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at robert@imsconstruction.com.­