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Damp Proofing Scottish Borders

First Time Buyers Guide To Damp

Buying a new home is an exciting time, especially if it’s your first property. However, it’s important to take the process seriously to ensure that the property you intend to purchase is in a safe state. When buying a property, you will always have a survey produced by either your mortgage provider or external body. These reports determine the value and quality of the property, which includes pointing out any causes for concern – including damp.

Most old properties show signs of damp simply due to their age, and a lot of properties have damp that are caused simply by not opening windows or adequately heating the property, whereas others have detrimental causes that are deep down and unseen. I often come across people who have moved into a new house and not realised the severity of the damp in the property.

Some people simply assume that damp is a minor issue, whereas others decide to investigate the problem post-purchase. However, in doing so, repairing the damage caused by the damp and prevent it from reoccurring can be extremely costly, so it’s always best to have a damp proof assessment prior to completing your purchase so you know exactly what’s causing the damp and more importantly, how it can be treated, repaired and prevented.

If you’re in the processing of buying your first home, I’d always recommend a damp proof survey, just so that you’re aware of the potential risks and damage, and of course, how to prevent this moving forward. If the quote for repair is more than pocket change, you always have the option to renegotiate the buying price of the property to account for the cost of repair.

As a first time buyer, it’s important that you do your homework so that you’re able to spot the tell-tale signs of damp in a property so that you can rest assured that the damp – if any – is able to be repaired and of course, affordable. I’ve put together a few pointers on how to spot signs of damp, but don’t forget, just because you can’t see damp, doesn’t mean it’s not there! If you’re unsure, seek the help of a professional damp treatment expert to advise you.

RISING DAMP

Rising damp is particularly common in older buildings, and on the whole, the MOST common problem I am requested to investigate when people are buying their first home. Rising damp is caused by moisture rising through the stone and brickwork and in most circumstances, it can be dealt with a chemical damp proof course and renewing any affected plaster to the walls. Rising damp can be spotted if wallpaper is peeling from the walls, tide marks on the walls, areas that are damp to the touch, crumbly or paste-link plaster, and even rusty nails in skirting boards. There are, of course, other solutions available, especially if the rising damp has managed to cause secondary issues, such as dry/wet rot or salt contamination to the plaster.

PENETRATING DAMP

Penetrating damp is generally the result of leaking down pipes, leaking gutters or roof related issues. These problems allow water to get into your property, causing the walls the become wet. This type of damp is usually seen on the outside of the house, with the damp patches increasing in size after a bout of heavy rain. There are a number of solutions available to repair penetrating damp, including using membrane systems. If left untreated, the structure of your home could become seriously unsafe as wet and dry rot become present in large joists and lintels in the area.

CONDENSATION

Condensation is potentially the most ‘ignored’ sign of damp in your home, simply because people think it’s ‘common’ and it ‘happens’. However, condensation can definitely be a sign of a more serious issue at play. Condensation itself is caused by a lack of heating, ventilation and/or insulation, and can often be misdiagnosed as rising damp. Signs of condensation in your home include but are not limited to: mould growth on carpets and wallpaper and water on cool surfaces such as worktops and windows. The main way of dealing with condensation is to seek out the cause and source ways of reducing the amount of moisture being created in the property, for instance, by increasing ventilation.

Do you think your new property may have damp? Does your home report or survey suggest that damp is a serious issue but you’re unable to figure out how to fix it? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey your home and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage caused by, and further prevent, damp in your home. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Condensation Control

Everything You Need To Know About Condensation

Condensation is not uncommon.

In fact, most people have experienced some form of in their home at one point of another, especially during winter.

Did you know that 1 in 5 UK homes suffer from condensation problems?

Perhaps not, but you do now. However, when you discover how condensation occurs, it makes sense.

What is condensation?

Condensation appears when warm air collides with cold surfaces or in fact, when there’s too much humidity in your home. When warm air that’s packed with moisture comes into contact with a cold surface, it cools down at a quicker rate and releases the water, which turns into the liquid droplets we then refer to as condensation.

Where does condensation form?

Although we’ve discussed condensation forming on chilly surfaces, it can actually form on any surface. It’s more commonly seen on surfaces that are non-absorbent; surfaces in your home such as bathroom tiles, bathroom suites and windows. Don’t forget that just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there! Condensation can be quickly absorbed by household furnishings and upholstery, so condensation on windows can also means condensation on your bedspread, carpets and curtains! If you’re concerned that condensation may be an issue, it’s best to seek the help of a professional to put your mind at rest and restore your property.

What actually causes condensation?

Believe it or not, it’s nothing out of the ordinary that causes condensation in your home. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Everyday activities such as drying clothes, washing up, cooking and showering can all causes condensation that could damage your home. Without adequate ventilation, you’d soon notice issues in your home which could even lead to worse problems, such as damp. You can actually prevent condensation in your home yourself by following this easy guide.

Why is condensation worse when it’s cold?

It’s no secret that during winter months, people spend more time indoors that they do outside. Keeping your home warm during December months can in itself cause issues when adequate ventilation isn’t available, not to mention others household activities such as using a tumble dryer, can contribute to the cause of condensation. Naturally, with all this going on in the home, moisture and humidity levels increase, and we’re not opening our windows to allow for natural ventilation. Be aware!

What kind of health risks does condensation pose?

The health risks posed by condensation aren’t dissimilar to those that can be caused by damp, and babies and elderly people should be considered with due caution due to their weaker immune systems. Condensation can contribute to, and cause problems, to people with allergies or respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis, so it’s vital to not allow any condensation or damp issues to be left alone or forgotten about.

What damage can condensation do to my property?

Condensation can cause a number of issues to your home if left untreated, even over a short period of time you may start to notice changes to your home. Of course, there are strong indicators of damp and condensation which include but are not limited to: black mould, peeling wallpaper and damp patches. Other tell-tale signs of condensation in your home can include: black mould around window seals, water droplets on window and kitchen counters, etc.

How can I prevent condensation in my home?

There are obviously many ways to prevent condensation in your home but the most important is to make sure that your property has adequate ventilation, and that any opportunities to ventilate to your home are taken e.g. after you’ve had a shower or bath, open the window to allow the additional moisture and humidity in the air to escape. If you believe your home might have an issue with damp or condensation, we would always recommend having your home assessed by a professional to pinpoint the causes of condensation and more importantly, the preventative measures to take.

Thinking about condensation control for your home? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey the condensation issue and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Damp Is Bad For Your Health

Is Damp Bad For Your Heath?

If your home has damp, you know it’s a problem and one that, unfortunately, some people ignore until it’s too late and they’re left with not only a home with structural issues, but large and costly repairs too. However, most homeowners take damp seriously and proceed to seek the help of a damp proofing specialist to fix the issue and more importantly, prevent it from reoccurring.

The reason that people sometimes ignore the odd patch of damp is because they believe that apart from the cosmetic problems damp causes, it doesn’t cause any other issues. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Damp does not just have a negative effect on your home, it can also have many negative effects on your health too. In fact, your health could be deteriorating as a result of damp in your home without you even knowing it.

What kind of damp can have implications on your health?

Black mould is one of the most common kinds of damp to affect health. Damp walls, floors and ceilings can quickly lead to the growth and spread of black mould spores which are toxic to humans when inhaled. Allowing black mould to grow in your home could pose a real risk to the health of you and your family.

Although black mould is potentially the most serious health concern that comes from having damp in your home, other forms of damp can be just as worrying; even condensation can be bad for your health if you live with it in your home for a long period of time. A humid atmosphere is not only unpleasant, but it can certainly (unknowingly to some) cause long-term health complications.

You may be thinking that you’ve had damp in your home and haven’t experienced any health implications, but it’s also important to consider the health of the inhabitants too. If you have an elderly relative or children living in a property that is showing signs of damp, their immune systems are much weaker than that of a healthy adult so they would be more high-risk.

What health implications can damp cause?

Health implications caused by damp include but are not limited to:

  • Chronic coughing and other respiratory issues
  • Asthma attacks
  • Serious lung damage
  • Allergic reactions
  • Common colds and flus
  • Pneumonia
  • Infections e.g. Bronchitis/Tonsillitis

How can you remove damp from your home?

Fortunately, damp can be killed, removed and prevented by either yourself or a specialist, depending on the severity. We would always recommend that you seek the help of a damp proofing specialist to first, perform a damp survey your home. There may be patches of black mould or bits of visible damp that could be removed with the uses of a dehumidifier, but the issue may be more deep rooted, hazardous to health and unseen, but a specialist will be able to find the cause and more importantly, help and advise you on how to fix and prevent it.

Do you think your property may have damp? Are your health conditions worsening as a result of damp in your home? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey your home and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage caused by, and further prevent, damp in your home. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Woodworm Treatment Scottish Borders

How To Identify Signs of Woodworm In Your Home

What is woodworm?

Woodworm essentially refers to the larvae of any wood-boreing beetle. In the UK, the most common are the Common Furniture Beetle, the Deathwatch Beetle, the House Longhorn Beetle & the Powderpost Beetle. All of these species of beetle invade and consume wood, and then leave. Woodworm can have a disastrous effect on the structure of your home and can also lead to further problems. This is why it is vital that you’re able identify signs of woodworm in your home to avoid any damage or issues to the timber within your residence.

How do I know if I have woodworm?

Unfortunately, in some cases, you may not even know if your property has woodworm. The woodwork in your home may be hosting woodworm without your knowledge and unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this. However, you can certainly identify signs of woodworm in your home. Have a look out for:

  • Small round holes in woodwork
  • Dust around holes in woodwork
  • Boards and joists with crumbling edges
  • Beetles present around your home

These signs may mean you have woodworm but could also be the result of a previous infestation. The best thing to do if you spot any of these tell-tale signs is to have your property specially assessed by a professional woodworm treatment specialist.

Did you know? Woodworm does NOT only affect old properties, it can cause damage to newly constructed buildings too.

How do I prevent woodworm infestation?

There are a few different ways you can prevent a woodworm infestation. If you already believe or know that your property has a woodworm infestation, you must seek the help of a professional in order to eradicate the problem. However, if your home is clear of woodworm, you can take necessary precautions to prevent an infestation from occurring, including keeping humidity levels low and ensuring wood is well-ventilated.

What treatments are available for woodworm?

If you have determined that your property has sufficient evidence of woodworm, there are a few things you need to do before seeking the appropriate treatment. Firstly, you must identify the species of woodworm. Local pest control firms can provide this service. Secondly, you must find out whether or not the infestation is still active. As previously mentioned, the damage to your timber could have been caused by a previous infestation so may require a different form of treatment to repair the damage.

After you’ve ticked those boxes, it’s important to seek a timber specialist to determine the extent of the damage and the overall current state of the structural integrity of your property. There will be a variety of appropriate treatments available to fix any damage but this is all dependent on the extent of damage, the status of infestation and the species of beetle.

How do I repair woodworm damage?

If you have taken the appropriate steps to eradicate a woodworm infestation, the next step is repairing the damage caused. Of course, structural timber can be replaced at your discretion or even restored. There are a number of beeswax polishes that are readily available for you to use to provide ample protection against the problem reoccurring in the future.  However, structural timber will be treated and replaced by a professional timber specialist.

Do you think your property may have woodworm? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey your home and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage caused by woodworm. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Timber Decay Treatment

Timber Decay: What To Look Out For

What Causes Timber Decay?

Timber decay is when wood is affected by conditions that cause it to deteriorate, such as damp. This can then, as a result, lead to fungal infestation such as dry rot, or even insect attacks such as woodworm. There are two main types of timber decay that can become a problem in your home.

What Are The Types of Timber Decay?

Dry Rot

Dry rot can be a tough problem to repair, but it can be done once you’ve found the source of the issue.

Dry rot fungus thrives in conditions that are both moist and unventilated. This means that dry rot generally occurs in areas within your property that aren’t necessarily in clear view, for instance, under flooring. Unfortunately, this means that dry rot can cause a lot of damage to your home or property before it is even recognised as an issue.

There are a few different methods to repair and prevent dry rot within your property, however selecting the correct way to fix it should be left to the decision of a trained professional so as to appropriate address the problem and prevent any further occurrences.

Wet Rot

Contrary to popular belief, wet rot is in fact a much more manageable issue to tackle than dry rot.

Wet rot occurs when there are large amounts of moisture in timber, which then causes the timber itself to naturally decay. High levels of moisture can normally penetrate timber via structural defects and the likes. It is important to seek out any vulnerable areas of timber to prevent this from happening. This includes but is not limited to: door frames, window frames, etc.

You will be able to spot wet rot in your timber quite easily. Timber that has wet rot is usually quite spongy as opposed to being solid in its intended state, and will be a darker

Any structural problem needs to be tackled at the same time as the timber is treated, otherwise the problem is likely to recur. Timber suffering from wet rot will feel spongy and look darker than the surrounding timber.

How Do You Repair Timber Decay?

As you can expect, this all depends on the severity of the decay or damage to the timber.

Minor damage caused by timber decay, such as rotting window frames, can sometimes be repaired quite easily with simple drying and resin treatments. This isn’t always the case, however the less damage there is, the easier it can be to fix.

Major damage generally calls for the whole piece of wood to be completely replaced as they extent of decay would usually deem the timber unfit for repair.

In any instance, it is always best to seek the advice of a professional so that you can confidently eradicate the root cause of the problem in addition to repairing any damage.

If you want to effectively eradicate the problem then as soon as you find the decaying timber, remove the moisture source. The second thing to do is call out a professional, who will then attempt to reduce any further risk of structural destruction.

Thinking about timber decay treatment for your home? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey the timber decay and wood rot issue and make a thorough, professional assessment on the relevant works required to repair any damage. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Condensation Control

How NOT To Prevent Condensation In Your Home

What IS Condensation?

Condensation is possibly the most common form of dampness you can find in your home, and occurs when warm, moist air meets a cold surface. This is why people often see condensation on their windows and it is often found in both kitchens and bathrooms, where ventilation can be restricted.

Condensation, although it may seem like a small issue, can cause big problems within your property. It can cause damp patches to appear on your walls, in addition to causing wallpaper to peel, and creating a build-up of water and moisture on windows.

There is a long list of the effects of condensation and it’s important to be able to spot the problem quickly and seek a professional to fix and prevent the problem from reoccurring. A lot of people try their hand at managing condensation in their home, and without knowledge of the root problem or how their efforts might work out, they actually end up making the issue worse.

If you’re hoping to manage a condensation issue before seeking the help of a professional, be sure to avoid doing the following:

Heating Your Home on a High Setting Once Daily

It’s no surprise that many people put their heating on when they come in from work on a very high setting so that the house warms up quickly, then they proceed to turn it off. However, this can cause big condensation problems in your home. To avoid this, rather than letting temperatures go from one extreme to another, try and keep your home at a constant temperature, not to mention that heating a cold house (rather than a warm house) uses more energy.

Using Extractor Fans Incorrectly

When you’ve finished cooking in the kitchen, or showering in the bathroom, it’s important that you leave your extractor fan running for around fifteen minutes afterwards. There will still be moisture in the air that you can’t see. By turning the extractor fan off too soon, you’re leaving the room at risk of developing serious condensation problems. If you don’t have an extractor fan in your kitchen or bathroom, be sure to keep a window open as this will have a similar effect.

Placing Furniture Flush Against Walls

Whether it’s a cupboard, a bookcase, a bed, a settee, or any other type of furniture, do not push it right up against the wall. If air becomes trapped between said furniture and the wall, it could quickly condense and would eventually form mould. To prevent this from occurring, you should always try and leave a small gap between the walls and the furniture to stop black mould from appearing and causing issues.

Putting Wet Items on Hot Radiators

Normally, your clothes come out of the washing machine damp, but certainly not soaked. If you find yourself often hanging wet items on radiators throughout your home, all that moisture will evaporate back into your home. Where possible, hang washing outside, tumble dry or ensure that items aren’t sodden if they are placed on radiators around your home. This will work to prevent any issues with condensation in the future.

Thinking about condensation control for your home? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey the condensation issue and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Damp Proofing Scottish Borders

How To Spot Signs Of Damp In Your Home

Damp proofing your home is vital

Did you know damp can be a serious health risk?

Contrary to popular belief, damp might not always be obvious to spot in your home. In a lot of instances, it can actually take a number of years before any damp-related problems become physically visible around your home. Damp can appear rapidly, for instance after flash flooding, or alternatively, it can be very slow to emerge. If your home has damp, unfortunately this isn’t a problem that will simply go away.

It is important to be able to spot the signs of damp in your home, so that you’re able to contact a specialist in plenty of time to fix the issue.

No two cases of damp are the same, so the correct diagnosis by a specialist surveyor is vital to prevent unnecessary expense on a solution that, ultimately, may not solve the underlying cause of the dampness. Keith Rennie can identify damp problems that may be affecting either the interior or the exterior of your property, diagnosing the extent of the affected area, the kind of damp issue affecting your home and offer the most suitable solution to resolve it.

Damp isn’t just a case of a wet patch on the wall. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Not only can it cause dangerous structural problems within your home, but it can also be extremely hazardous to your health if not correctly treated. There are three common forms of damp you can find in your home, which are condensation, penetrating damp and rising damp, and there are a variety of ways to spot it in your home and more importantly, treat it and prevent any further occurrences.

Signs of damp to spot in your home:

  1. Damp and musty smell
  2. Mould or mildew forming on walls
  3. Staining of wall coverings, peeling wallpaper and blistering paint
  4. Dark patches and damp walls
  5. Discoloured and fragmenting plaster
  6. Decay of timber
  7. Rising damp visible on skirting boards eg. rusting nails
  8. Rusting on angle beads within damp plaster work
  9. Salt stains on outside walls
  10. Crumbling mortar on the exterior of the property

Signs of rising damp to spot in your home:

  • Skirting boards or plaster within your property may be damaged or rotting
  • Wet patches may become visible which can often lead to paint or wallpaper peeling off or blistering
  • You may notice floor coverings lifting or damp patches on the floor
  • A white, powder-like substance can be left when soluble salts dissolve from the ground
  • A tide line of yellow-ish or brown-ish staining on the lower area of your wall above your skirting boards

How do you fix damp?

As a home owner, you shouldn’t attempt to fix damp problems yourself. It is vital to assess the cause of the damp, and preventing any further issues, so it is best practice to seek a professional to ensure the damp proofing treatment is effective, preventative and long-lasting. Don’t let damp cause you unnecessary distress – the quicker you can spot the issue, the faster it can be dealt with.

Think you may have damp in your property? Contact Keith Rennie today!



Damp Proofing Edinburgh

Epoxy Resin Repairs: Revitalise Your Woodwork

Damaged woodwork?

Repairing damaged woodwork can be a costly and messy endeavour, leaving you with a large bill to pay and a headache to match! However, it is not always necessary to fully remove and replace woodwork in order to make a sturdy, safe and eye-pleasing repair. Repairs by this method are typically seen in roofing structures, but also in flooring and other timber structures.

Epoxy resin is a durable and flexible wood replacement solution that when used correctly, can revitalise wood that has been damaged by rot, age or exposure to the elements. There are two main applications for epoxy resin: structural repairs and cosmetic repairs.

Where localised damage to structural timber has taken place as a result of insect infestation or rot, a timber splice resin with reinforcement rods can be affixed as a replacement for the damaged wood and affixed to the remaining healthy timbers, retaining the load distribution ensuring that the structure is sturdy and safe.

Epoxy resin is also ideal for cosmetic repairs to damaged or degraded timbers. Unlike generic wood fillers, epoxy resin will not crack or fall out as it is designed to flex with the wood and is incredibly sticky. Once applied, it can be sanded, grained and finished to match the existing structures, meaning that the repairs look flawless.

Where this can be particularly useful is in old buildings such as churches, where woodwork may be ornate and incredibly difficult to entirely replace, particularly if the buildings are “listed” or protected. Instead the damaged part of the wood can be repaired with epoxy resin.

There are multiple benefits to using epoxy resin for your timber repairs, firstly there is the reduced need for large scale repairs for a small problem. Secondly is the durability of the repair. Epoxy resin is resistant to insect attack, and will not rot, therefore the chances of a repeat repair being required over time is reduced massively.

Thinking about an epoxy resin timber repair? Get Keith Rennie to assess your property, he will thoroughly survey the damaged timber and make a full assessment on works required to repair any damage. Contact Keith Rennie today!



Condensation Control

What is Condensation Control?

Condensation Issues?

It has been reported that around 70% of problems associated with damp in the home are as a result of condensation, however few are aware that condensation is the problem, instead blaming it on issues such as rising or penetrating damp.

Condensation occurs when there is a considerable imbalance between heating and ventilation within the home, resulting in higher than optimum levels of humidity, or moisture in the air. In the evening, when the temperature drops, the moisture in the air turns to liquid and is often deposited on windows and walls in the form of condensation.

How can you tell if you may have a problem with excessive condensation? Well, you may have opened your curtains in the morning to discover “steamy” windows, have noticed mould growing on your walls, window frames or even furniture, mildew accumulation in the bathroom, or even peeling wallpaper and damp plaster.

Left unchecked, this regular accumulation of condensation can lead to multiple problems. Damage to furniture, walls, woodwork, carpets and curtains can leave you with a large bill for replacement, not the mention the health issues, particularly respiratory problems, that are also associated with high condensation levels.

What can you do about condensation? Well, many people choose to run a dehumidifier in their home, which extracts the moisture from the air. This can be effective, however running one long term is not only costly, but is merely treating the symptoms rather than finding the cure.

Condensation can be reduced by ensuring that homes are always well ventilated, particularly in areas where high levels of moisture are put into the air such as kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms. Installation of extractor fans is often a recommended action, as these will remove moisture from the air quickly and effectively at the point of use.

If issues with condensation are seen throughout the property, a whole house condensation control solution may be recommended. Whole house condensation units ventilate the property with clean filtered air, diluting the level of humidity and contaminants in the air, thereby creating a healthier living environment.

Think you may have condensation issues? Get in touch with Keith today! He can help assess the situation and diagnose whatever problems you may have.



Basement Waterproofing

Create extra space with Basement Waterproofing

Avoiding your Basement?

The basement area of a home is often a neglected space, used for storing odds and ends or maybe the home for a washing machine. It is also an area of the home that is highly susceptible to damp, meaning that it is impractical for day-to-day use.

However, with a quality waterproofing system in place, areas such as this can be transformed into a usable living space. Not only will this provide extra space in your home, but it can also add value to your property.

Damp problems in underground areas usually occurs due to the natural moisture in the ground seeping into your property, particularly if the water table is high. People that reside in flood plain areas for instance, are much more likely to have issues with damp in the underground areas of their home.

In the past, attempts to waterproof underground areas of the home have been a failure, mostly due to the types of systems used. A wet slurry applied to the walls was the most common practice, attempting to hold back the water that is attempting to penetrate the wall. These systems failed due to not only the pressure of the water breaching these systems, but due to bad drainage systems and shoddy workmanship.

Modern systems differ greatly from this. Cavity Drainage Systems do not hold the water back, instead channelling it away ensuring the interior surfaces stay dry. The water is then dispersed either by natural drainage or pumped away using a sump pump.

Prior to any work being completed, it is firstly important to check that there are no additional issues that could be exacerbating the damp in your cellar or basement. Leaky drains or guttering can be the main cause of issues such as damp, therefore it is vital to rule this out beforehand.

Once any underlying issues have been addressed, the walls are then lined with a sealed membrane, allowing for an air gap where the water can flow to be channelled to the drainage system.  The walls are then finished, usually with plasterboard. A sump pump is usually then installed under the floor to remove the excess water.

After the work is completed, and thorough checks have been done, your brand new living space can be utilised. Whether it’s a home office, extra bedroom or even a play room for the kids, having your basement area waterproofed can provide you with the extra space you need to make the most out of your home.

Keith Rennie is a Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW), and has over 30 years’ experience in the damp proofing and waterproofing industry. He is dedicated to providing a service that is second to none. Want to revitalise your basement or cellar?  Contact Keith Rennie today for more information about basement waterproofing.