Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair on the Mr. Fix-It show
Saturday February 22, 2014


Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-it.
Jim Peck, WTMJ
Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair

recording: Need help around the house? Even the handiest do-it-your-selfer needs an extra hand sometime. Let Mr. Fix-It, Tom Feiza help you out. During the Fix-it Show, on 620 WTMJ.]

Jim: The Fix-It Show is brought to you by Plumbing Parts Plus, Rupena’s Fine Foods, All Parts, Signing Unlimited, J&B Construction and your locally owned neighborhood True Value stores. Up to 20 degrees over here at Radio City, 9 minutes after 8. I’m Jim Peck, Mr. Fix-It is here, you can join us by calling 414-799-1620 or the Accunet Mortgage Toll Free talk line 1-800-877-1620. And for the second time today I look across and say, Good morning Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-it.

Tom: Hey Jim Peck it’s a great fix-it day! But I’ve got to warn you, if you want it to warm up, if it warms up Jeff Wagner says it’s going to snow.

Jim: Oh yeah.

Tom: So you want it cold or you want it warm and snowy?

Jim: There is no break coming this year.

Tom: There’s nothing in between. You know what, that does, that really makes a mess, wreaks havoc with rain gutters, downspouts, drainage and basements.

Jim: Which leads us into our guest in the studio today, Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. Chris, nice to have you with us.

Chris: Good morning everybody.

Jim: And you are the man. And it was funny, off the air we were talking about the fact that we haven’t had too many problems with leakage yet because nothing has melted. But it’s going to.

Chris: It’s going to. I think this week was a good example of some of the folks probably experienced some water that they haven’t seen in quite a while. Us as a company haven’t received many calls for water leakage over the last several months because it’s been so dang cold out there.

Jim: Yep.

Chris: But we have seen a lot of wall movement…

Jim: Oh you have?

Chris: …over the last few months. I think a lot of it had to do with the frost in the ground…

Jim: It’s not a good idea is it, walls aren’t supposed to move.

Chris: Oh, not they’re not supposed to move. And most folks don’t notice it unless they’re absolutely looking for it. So today we’re going to talk to the people out here and tell them what they should look for.

Jim: What should you be looking for?

Chris: Well, what you should do is you should make a conscious effort as a homeowner and take a look downstairs and try to be proactive and catch some of these things that might be going on in the basement before they get really bad. So some of things you can do is you can go downstairs with a good flashlight and just take a look at those walls. Because not many people want to go look at those basement walls, but it is something that you need to do. And take a look, see if you notice a crack or some staining or some water seepage.

Jim: Now are there some cracks that are okay that you expect to find and other cracks that are, whoa, look out, danger.

Chris: Absolutely. Some cracking would be considered normal. Tom knows that, he’s done thousands of home inspections. Some of them are normal. Some of them, though, are not what you want to see and that’s when you want to get an expert involved and we can come out and take a look at that.

Tom: Yeah so typically masonry surfaces are going to shrink a little bit and move around a little bit. So sometimes those stepping cracks, people call them step cracks or stepping cracks, ladder cracks. A lot of times that’s not an issue. It’s that horizontal one, displacement that people need to worry about.

Chris: Absolutely, the displacement is what people want to worry about. And there are some areas you can focus on when you’re down there taking a look at your basement. You want to look near the window edges. That’s where you’ll see some cracking coming down. OR what Tom has just mentioned, some of the horizontal cracks. And usually you’ll see those about the third or fourth course down which is near the frost level on most houses. And sometimes you’ll even see them at the very bottom which is called a base shear. But these are all things that as a homeowner you want to be proactive about so you don’t get caught with a really big repair. You can get these things early enough it usually can be a little bit more minor.

Tom: Sure, so people can go down, take a good look. The big, bright flashlight is a big help. You can put a straight edge on the walls too, drop a plumb bob if you think it moved. But if there’s any significant movement and significant I’m talking about an inch or something. But you’ve got to be smart enough to measure it to the corners and there’s a whole lot to evaluating that. So if people do have an issue, though, you would help them evaluate that problem?

Chris: Absolutely, and that’s when you need to have an expert in. We come out and we’ll take a look at your walls and we can measure them with laser levels and Accurate is the only company in the entire state that we have nationally certified structural repair specialists on staff and also nationally certified waterproofing specialist on staff and that would be me. Also we have a certified home inspector on staff so we have the qualified people that can come out and take a look at your foundation.

Jim: Okay, this is a…that’s one of those things I can feel the chill going up my spine as we even talk about it. But the point that I think you’re making, Chris, and you’re making it well is, get down there and look at it now. Don’t wait until you’ve got water coming in or you’ve got a wall that you can spot from across the room that’s out of sync.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely, that’s an excellent point. Just because you don’t have water doesn’t mean you don’t have a structural problem, and vice versa. Some basements you’ll go into and they won’t have a bit of water but they’ll have significant foundation or structural damage. And then you get homes that have the opposite. There’s not a crack in the wall, looks perfect, but they’re getting water all over. This time of the year while you’re down there looking at those walls is a really good time to look at that sump pump, too. A lot of the water intrusion issues this year have been caused by sump pumps freezing and having some gutters overflowing with some ice and then when you do get that snow melt off of the roof…

Jim: Right.

Chris: …because of the temperatures, that can cause some issues, too. So those are a couple of the other things you want to look at.

Jim: Well, we’ve got basement calls coming in but let’s finish up. We’ve got to talk to Pat Maloykas. Pat has had such patience and has stayed with us virtually all morning. And Pat, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting that long but it’s so nice to have you with us and how can we help you today.

Pat: Well, first of all are you good at dogs because I have a 20 month old puppy, Boston Terrier, remember? Maybe I’ve called before. And she’s driving me crazy. She’s house bound.

Jim: Oh, and she doesn’t want to go outside?

Pat: Well she goes out, but the thing is she has so much energy and the snow is taller than she is.

Jim: Yep.

Pat: So there’s nothing I can do with her and she sits in front of me and barks, cause she’s like “do something,” you know?

Jim: Can you get her to retrieve a little ball?

Pat: She’s been chasing that but you know, it’s never ending because you know how young dogs are.

Jim: Oh yes.

Pat: And terriers are so full of energy.

Jim: And Boston Terriers are just a great breed.

Pat: Yeah, I love her to…this is the fifth one I’ve had over many years.

Jim: Wow.

Pat: But the thing is, I’ve never had one that was snow bound like this.

Jim: Yep, that’s where you need to call Amy Ammon over at Amiable Pets. She will have an answer for you, I guarantee you. But you’ve got a question about something else.

Pat: Okay, yeah. I have a septic system. Now, last night on Madison News, because I can’t get Milwaukee television here, they were talking about, a plumber was on talking about freezing pipes and all those things. And then he said there as a concern with a pipe outside to the sewer system. And he suggested throwing salt crystals down the toilet. I mean, I’ve lived here a long time and we’ve never had a problem but we haven’t had a winter like this before, at least not in recent times. So the thing is, I have a septic. Do I have to worry about my septic system getting blocked by frozen…because they say it’s eight feet deep now. The frost line.

Jim: Well, that’s, but that’s an exaggeration. I mean, and Chris and I are looking at each other, we kind of talked off the air before. Do you have snow cover in your yard? Is it…

Pat: Oh yeah, I mean it’s like I say, the puppy can’t even go outside, it’s so deep.

Jim: Sure. So what the snow is insulate the ground and the heat comes up. So the ground is warm. If you go down ten feet it’s 55 degrees in the ground. And so the snow cover will insulate it and you won’t have a frost problem.

Pat: Oh, good.

Jim: So I wouldn’t put a bunch of salt down my septic system, no.

Pat: Well that’s what I was afraid of and I thought I’d call you this morning but like I say…

Jim: Chris Mancuso is here and he’s saying the same thing, right Chris?

Chris: Yeah, I’ve never heard of the salt down the toilet idea. But generally I haven’t heard much about septic lines freezing. Is it possible? Possible, but not really probable.

Jim: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about that. Worry about your puppy, that’s more important.

Pat: Well, I appreciate that because I do heat with wood so my walls on the outside, I have wood stacked against them in the kitchen area and down the hall where the laundry is and I think that insulates too for the pipes and stuff and I’ve done all the other precautionary things like running the water and leaving the cabinets open. But I’ve never thought about my septic system so you’ve just relieved my mind.

Jim: Isn’t that nice? Well that’s what we’re here for. But one thing Pat, you should be careful of and we’ve talked about this in the past, particularly on the Designer Yard Show, if you’ve got wood stacked up leaning against the house you’ve got a good possibility of getting carpenter ants or termites jumping from that wood and starting to work on your house so be careful about that. That’s, that’s…

Tom: Now you’re worrying her, now you’ve got a new thing to worry about.

Jim: Well, it’s okay, she’s a good person and she can call in and talk to the Pet Vet about the problem with the Boston Terrier but I think Amy Ammon is the one to go to. Any rate, let’s see, we’ve got acceptable limits for basement wall being out of plumb…now there’s a question we all want to deal with. Coming up next, right here on 620 WTMJ, Wisconsin’s radio station.

[recorded voice: This is the Fix-it Show with Mr. Fix-it, Tom Feiza on 620 WTMJ.]

Jim: Hang out with the WTMJ 620 folks at the 2014 greater Milwaukee Auto Club Show. You just heard about that. We’re going to bring you the Pet Vet and All About Cars from the Wisconsin Center later today. Libby Collins has all the fun, she gets to go down and do that. That goes on of course right after the Badgers’ basketball game this afternoon. Then it’s Wisconsin Sports Weekend starting at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning. Boy we’ve got you covered all the way into Sunday.

Tom: Busy weekend.

Jim: Yes. I’m Jim Pack along with Mr. Fix-it Tom Feiza today we’re joined in the studio by Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair, you heard his voice earlier. And Chris, I’m remiss because I should have asked you what the phone number is over there.

Chris: Our phone number is 414-744-6900.

Jim: And the website?

Chris: Is Just the name of the company. And again 414-744-6900. And you can call immediately and he’s there waiting for some phone calls this morning.

Jim: And you have something, if that’s a senior, you’ve got a special going on?

Chris: Absolutely. If you call in today an you book an appointment with Angie you’re going to get a free water alarm when we come out to take a look.

Jim: Whoa, that’s a good thing to have.

Chris: Yeah, we can set it up in the basement for you and if something seeps in an area you’ll hear an alarm go off and you’ll know it’s leaking.

Jim: No surprises.

Chris: No surprises.

Jim: Then you send your wife down to take a look at it.

Chris: Yeah, mop that up.

Jim: Yep. Let’s see who’s been holding on the longest and it is Leo in New Berlin. Leo, how can we help you today?

Lee: Oh hi, it’s Lee.

Jim: Oh, Lee, I’m sorry.

Lee: No, that’s okay. I had a question about a toilet that the seal was broken. I had it replaced?

Lee: I just wanted to know quickly, is it normal for the plumber to take the water out of the toilet and drain it into the sink?

Tom: You mean out of the toilet tank?

Lee: No, out of the toilet itself.

Tom: You mean he’s removing the toilet to replace the seal.

Lee: Mm-hm.

Tom: Well, you’ve got to put it somewhere I guess, if there’s no tub nearby. I would just sanitize it and wash it out really well.

Lee: Well, that’s what I did..

Tom: Yeah.

Lee: I just thought that they used a wet/dry vac.

Tom: No, not necessarily.

Lee: Really?

Tom: I wouldn’t do that, no. It messes up your vac…I would dump it wherever I could dump it.

Lee: Really?

Jim: Lee, you’ve heard it from the horses mouth.

Lee: Okay, but that’s pretty gross..[inaudible 12:29]

Tom: Yeah, well it’s all porcelain and can be cleaned up and sanitized. Throw a little bleach and water in there and go for it.

Jim: Well, I don’t know, I think I agree with that. I don’t think I would like that either, but, what the heck.. That’s just me. Let’s see, we’ve got Jerry from West Alice, has been holding on the next line. Jerry, you’re on the air with Mr. Fix It and Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair.

Jerry: Good morning. I was wondering what are guidelines for how far a basement wall can be off a vertical; if it’s 1/2 inch off [plum] does it need to be braced?

Chris: Well, it depends on the original wall construction itself. Some walls just aren’t built plum to begin with, so that would depend on that. Also, it depends on if you have cracking too. Some walls are out of plumb, and there’s no cracks in them, they were probably built that way, so the likelihood of them getting repaired is pretty slim. But, you can have some walls that are, for example, like what you have; 1/2 inch that would be repaired if they were built plumb to begin with, and there’s some associated cracking with that. So, about that 1/2 inch mark is where we start looking at doing some reinforcing, that would be without excavating. Once you get to a point where you’re about an inch out of plumb, then you’re not only looking at reinforcements but also excavation and wall straightening. That’s why we keep telling people to be proactive and take a look at those walls before they get to the point where they need excavating.

Jim: So if it’s 1/2 inch out, they should give you or someone like you, not that there’s anyone like you, Chris, but get it checked now because it may be getting worse.

Chris: Absolutely. Especially if you see some cracking associated with that.

Jerry: Okay. If it was roughly the same 1/2 inch seven years ago, would you say that was pretty stable, or built that way, and it wouldn’t be required to repair?

Chris: Probably, but again, has there been any crack movement, or any different signs on that wall that weren’t there seven years ago? So if you looked seven years ago and it was whatever, 1/2 inch or so and now it’s 5/8 but has associated more cracking then you want to be more aggressive.

Jim: You talk about basements, you’ve got 1/2 inch out, spend just a little bit of money, get Chris to come out and look at it and let you know. As opposed to spending a huge amount of money in a year or two if it’s moving.

[Recording: Now back to Mr. Fix It, Tom Feiza on The Fix It Show, exclusively on 620 WTMJ.]

Jim: I’m sure you’re aware the cold weather is leaving people with the cold and flu, but they’re still going to work. Should employers be required to pay sick leave for something like that? Jeff Wagner dives in at 1:35 on Monday. I’m Jim Peck along with Mr. Fix It and Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. And Chris, someone called in off the air and asked if you would repeat your phone number.

Chris: Our phone number again is, 414-744-6900. That’s 414-744-6900.

Jim: And the website

Chris: is

Jim: It can’t get much simpler than that. Let’s see, Steve in Lodi has been hanging on for a long time because he’s got some help for our previous caller. Steve, what have you got for us?

Steve: All right. Thanks guys for taking the call. Previously this caller was interested in getting a refrigerator but he was concerned that the height of the refrigerator would conflict with the cabinet heights.

Jim: Right.

Chris: Right.

Steve: I had the exact same problem less than a month ago. I wanted a taller refrigerator, my cabinet was going to be a problem, I didn’t want to butcher the cabinet or create other problems. With the help of a local handy man we were able to take that single cabinet that’s above the refrigerator, and we moved it up about three inches. We had to change the crown molding so it looked right with the other cabinets. We didn’t change the height of all my cabinets, just the one above the refrigerator, and I would say that if most people came and looked at it you wouldn’t know it wasn’t there all along.

Mr. Fix It: Cool. So if you’ve got space above you can slide it up, that’s a great idea.

Steve: Exactly right. As long as your cabinets aren’t already up to the ceiling you can move it up, and then, in a lot of homes actually, the cabinets aren’t all installed at the same height anyway. So that turned out to be a good solution. A little touch up paint where I could kind of hide where the cabinets have moved up, you know. I had to touch up the paint beneath it, but I got the refrigerator I wanted and the kitchen was straight.

Jim: Thanks very much for that, that is awfully nice of you to call in Steve. We appreciate it, and it sounds like a good solution. Let’s go to now Stu in Merton. Stu, you’re on the air with Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair, and of course, Mr. Fix It.

Stu: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I have a home, and we built our home about seven years ago and it has a poured basement in it. The seams within the basement are probably about 3 to 3 1/2 feet in distance, and in two of the areas there are cracks that go from the top of the basement down to the floor of the basement. And, in the corners of the basement there are some fine spider hairline cracks as well too. My question is, being a newer home, or relatively newer home, is this a normal thing to see and should I expect this? And, if not what should I look for to see if it gets worse and what should I do?

Jim: Okay. Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair, sounds like it’s up your alley, my friend.

Chris: Absolutely. Some of those seam cracks are normal. Tom probably sees a lot of those too, in his home construction. Generally Stu, we won’t call those out unless you’re getting some seepage from those or some wall displacement. Some of those cracks, they’re in the seam, and that’s where they should be cracking if there’s any crack at all. It’s more of an unsightly thing than probably a structural problem at this point. Again, if you see some water coming in, or if the faces of the walls don’t match up anymore, then that would be something that you would want to address.

Mr. Fix It: So it’s no headache, and concrete shrinks as it cures, and as it cures it will crack, and so that’s just a common issue. So, don’t worry, cross that one off your list.

Jim: It sounds like you’re okay Stu. We appreciate the call. Stu drops off. We haven’t given the phone numbers out in quite a while. 414-799-1620. We do have some open lines right now, or use the Accunet Mortgage toll free talk line, 1-800-877-1620. And let’s go to Larry in Beloit has got an interesting problem; toilet water sloshing around, is that what’s happening Larry?

Larry: Yes sir. And the wind, it’s been so windy the last couple of days and stuff I’ve noticed that the toilet bowl water is kind of like, moving around and stuff.

Tom: Sure.

Larry: I don’t know what that’s caused by.

Tom: Its caused by believe it or not it’s caused by the wind. The wind is so strong it’s making some pressure differentials.

Jim: Really?

Tom: The top of your plumbing system, there’s a vent pipe that goes up, people call them stink pipes sometimes, but drain waste and vent so at the top of your house you have at least one four inch pipe…

Larry: Right.

Tom: And the wind is effecting that, and making the water down in the toilet bowl bounce around a little bit. So, it’s the wind, yep, you analyzed it correctly.

Jim: All this time I thought it was poltergeist.

Tom: It’s a weird thing. Not your house shaking yet, but it’s the wind that’s causing pressure differentials.

Larry: I notice I hear that wind noise too in my fireplace, I’ve got a gas fireplace. I leave the pilot light on all the time because they say it’s better to leave that on versus turn it off and then try to ignite it during the holidays and stuff. Is that natural, hearing that wind and stuff, like, howling through the fireplace?

Tom: Yep. Because, we just don’t, absolutely. My house, I have a relatively new house, you can hear the flaps on the bathroom exhaust fan. So it will actually open and close the flaps.

Larry: Okay.

Jim: That must scare the soup out of you the first time you hear that.

Tom: Well, you know, because here whenever it gets really windy you hear it. So, it doesn’t scare me too much, no.

Jim: Not anymore.

Tom: Maybe just a little bit.

Jim: I told the story about when I was a kid we moved into a house and it had blocked in heating pipes, and I had never had that before. And I was home alone and was reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” I got to the point where he hears the bolt being slid back in the crypt and suddenly the heat went on and bang, the heating pipe made a crack. I came out of that chair, I was terrified. That was the last time I read Poe living by myself. Let’s see: Building a new home? Should you leave some of the basement wall exposed? Interesting question coming up next on 620 WTMJ.

[Recording: Making sure your honey do list doesn’t turn into a honey what did you do list. It’s the Fix It show with Tom Feiza, on 620 WTMJ.]

Jim: The 2014 Greater Milwaukee Auto Show is this weekend. Steve Daniels has the highlights on Wisconsin Weekend Morning News at 8:40 tomorrow. Listen for that, Steve always has some exciting things. Let’s see, next caller is Pat in Menomonee Falls. Hey Pat, you’re on the air with everybody, how can we help you today?

Pat: Well, I just wonder if Tom has any idea when the cardinals are coming back? We haven’t had any cardinals all winter, and also, I want to give a testimony about Accurate. They did my basement repair several years ago, and now when we have one of these 100 year rains, I run downstairs, look at my basement and I say thank you very much.

Jim: Well, how sweet. Thank you Pat, we appreciate that call.

Pat: Yes, yes.

Chris: Thank you Pat. I appreciate it.

Pat: I’ve just been so happy.

Jim: It’s nice to have you call in. I know you’re Chris Mancuso’s mother, so it’s very sweet of you to do this… Just kidding.

Pat: I would like him to be my son.

Chris: Well, thank you Pat.

Jim: Isn’t that nice.

Chris: Thank you. Well, we can talk about the will later. Mr. Fix It, any idea on when the cardinals are going to be coming back?

Tom: No idea about the cardinals, but I can tell you Chris is a good guy, he runs a good straight ship and does great basement repairs. I’ve known him for years, he’s a member of NARI and on the ethics committee at NARI, and a great guy. If you’re looking for a basement issue, or correction of a basement issue, Chris is a good guy to call.

Jim: That’s why we have him here. Natalie, good morning, you’re on the air. And how can we help you today?

Natalie: Good morning, my husband and I are going to be building a home and half the basement will be finished, the other half will be dry walled. My concern is, or my question is, should we leave the other half of the basement exposed so that we can monitor for any defects in the future?

Chris: Well, that’s an excellent question, Natalie. I think that if you’re going to be covering half of those walls you’re probably going to do like, a half finished basement, and half exposed or something like that. What you can do is, during the original construction you can have them build in like an access panel, and it will almost look like a cabinet door or something like a wood framed, more of a decorative finished area that you can open up at times to take a look. You don’t need much, maybe just one panel on a long wall. I think it’s a good idea, because 10 years down the road or 15 years down the road you’re going to want to take a look at that. That’s an excellent question.

Tom: Is the house under construction?

Natalie: No, we break ground next month.

Tom: Well, the one key, and I think I would be interested in what Chris says about this, but carefully check on what they’re going to use for back fill around the foundation. The more stone the better. Now the minimum is like two feet, but the minute it becomes 18 or 12 inches pretty quick. Like, back filling around the drain tile system with much more gravel will pretty much solve any basement problem.

Chris: Absolutely. It’s always worth that extra money to have the stone back fill put in. People don’t do it because it costs a little more, but that’s always a good idea like Tom mentioned is to have that stone fill put in all the way to grade.

Natalie: Okay, so access panel and clarify the back fill.

Tom: Absolutely, Nat.

Natalie: Okay, sounds good. I can tell my husband I told you so.


Jim: That’s worth a couple of bucks or so.

Tom: Oh boy. How could you do that?

Jim: Thanks Natalie. We appreciate it. See, sometimes we inject ourselves into these family problems without even realizing it.

Chris: Boy, we might have created one there, I don’t know.

Jim: Yep. I would say, don’t talk to your husband, bet him. Then next week tell him you called and you can win something out of him. By the way, Kathy in Jefferson has called in and said they’ve got 10 pair of cardinals out in Jefferson already.

Chris: Well they’re coming in.

Jim: Yeah. They must be, so that’s kind of cool. Let’s see, Dick in Brookfield. Dick, you’re on the air, how can we help you today?

Tom: Hi Dick, how can we help you?

Dick: Ah, Good morning. I’ve got a problem with plumbing. It isn’t a basement, It’s close to what you’re talking about. I’ve got one bathtub in my house, it’s the lower bathtub on the first floor, whenever I turn the hot water, not whenever, but once in a while I turn the hot water faucet on the whole system starts banging away, like there’s a bunch of air in there or something, and it’s not always the case. But, nowhere else in the house does that happen and I wondered if you had any ideas on why that happens?

Tom: And it’s when you turn it on, not when you turn it off?

Dick: Its Real slow. It takes a little while for the hot water to come out.

Tom: Okay. How old is the house?

Dick: Oh, the house is about 66 years old.

Tom: Okay. So the control is two handled…

Dick: Yeah, two handled right. Now, I replaced the inside of the handles, maybe, I don’t know, six months ago. Went to Plumbing Parts Plus and got my parts.

Tom: Okay. So, did the problem start about when you replaced those?

Dick: Yeah.

Tom: Yeah, you’ve got a loose part in there, the washer is loose, probably. Something is loose in there and that’s probably causing the problem. You can talk to Plumbing Parts Plus they’ll know exactly what it is, but it’s a loose washer or loose fitting inside that fixture that’s causing your problem.

Jim: Good luck on that one. We’ll be back with more calls on WTMJ 620, Wisconsin’s Radio Station.

[Recording: Now, back to The Fix It Show, with Tom Feiza on 620 WTMJ.]

Jim: We’re joined in the studio today by Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair, and we’re talking with Jerry right here in Milwaukee. Jerry, how can we help you today?

Jerry: Yeah, say for a basement, or a house that’s over 100 years old, it’s kind of an old house. It’s got stone walls and a room that’s been insulated and got some panel board on it. How do you determine movement there? I mean, we don’t see any issues, no water, where the walls are…

Chris: I’d say, you said it’s a field stone, did you say? It’s an old field stone 100 year house, you said?

Jim: Jerry, did you say it’s an old field stone? I think we may have lost him.

Tom: I think we lost him.

Jim: Let’s assume that he did..

Tom: Let’s just give him the answer.

Jim: His phone went dead.

Chris: Yeah, Jerry, I wouldn’t be too concerned about if it’s a field stone type foundation and you don’t have any problems with it. Especially those structures that are that old, unless you see something on the upper portion of that structure that would be a dead giveaway. But if you don’t see any cracking in some of the upper areas along doorways or window framing and so forth then I wouldn’t worry about it too much. And, if you do get some seepage in those pretty old buildings, that’s pretty normal. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

Jim: And we go to Janesville and we’ve got another Jerry. Jerry, how can we help you today?

Jerry: Good morning. My house is four years old, I’m down in my basement right now and I’m noticing that my basement floor is cracking, and when I had this built I was still working full time and I called the city, to see whether or not, because somebody said that when they did the floor first they were to put down gravel then plastic, and then pour the cement. But, I don’t know, I’m just kind of worried about some of these cracks I see.

Chris: Well, some of those cracks, Jerry, in the basement floor, you should have some joints in that basement floor where the cracking should be located. Those will be stress joints that would be fairly normal as long as they’re not overly large. Wouldn’t you agree Tom?

Tom: Yeah. And the cracks, the floor is flush, right? It’s not heaving up or moving down?

Jerry: No, no, it’s flush, but they’re like hair, it almost looks like a roadmap, they’re wiggly going this way and that way..

Tom: That’s no problem at all. Absolutely no problem at all. So, you don’t have to worry about that, that’s a shrinkage crack and like Chis said, sometimes they’ll put control joints in, sometimes they won’t. But that’s not an issue. It’s the modern standard of gravel and plastic, is the building officials should have checked for that if he was there to inspect, but you won’t have an issue. You don’t have to worry about it.

Jerry: Okay. Thank you.

Jim: Well, isn’t that nice to be able to say.

Chris: Absolutely.

Tom: Basement floor’s cracked, eh, so what. What are you going to do? Throw some caulk on it make it look worse.

Chris: Absolutely. At least he’s down there looking. That’s what everyone should be doing today. Take a good look at your basement today and make sure you give us a call. Remember, estimates are always free at Accurate Basement Repair.

Jim: And the phone number that they should call is

Chris: 414-744-6900 and just ask, Angie’s at the phones right now, just waiting. Just waiting for your call.

Jim: Just waiting for your call.

Chris: Absolutely.

Tom: And you’re giving away a free, we should explain that. It’s a little battery operated alarm that looks like a little plastic box. You put it on the floor.

Chris: You put it on the floor, it’s a little water alarm and you can set that just about anywhere; a corner that you think is in question, or you can set it next to your sump pump or your floor drain even, or even your water heater, and if one of those items would leak and that monitor is in that area, it will go off.

Jim: If you’re on the line, stay with us. We can take your call off the air. Right now, I want to tell everybody that the Fix It Show is brought to you by Plumbing Parts Plus, Rupena’s Fine Foods, All Parts, Siding Unlimited, J and B Construction, and your locally owned neighborhood True Value stores.

Mr. Fix It, you’re going to be where?

Tom: I am going to be at the Waukesha Home and Garden Show, which runs today and tomorrow at Waukesha Fair grounds. I’ll be there from 2 to 4 today, I am going to sell some of my $30 books for 10 bucks, and I’m going to give away some books and will be able to answer questions.

Chris: And that is an excellent book.

Tom: Thanks. Two to four today Waukesha County Fairground.

Jim: Our guest today was Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair. Stick around, Stephanie Graham is coming in with the news, followed by Rose Gray and the Fox World Travel Show on 620 WTMJ.