Home Improvement Blog

Code violations for basement egress window; 5 things you should know

Posted by william bateman on Fri, Jan 27, 2023 @ 05:08 AM

You have a home, and like most homes, you have a basement. Basements are a great addition to any home whether finished or not for providing extra space. When basements are finished you instantly add living square footage plus equity to your investment. Usually your foundation walls will be the same size of your home (Deduct for garages if you have them) leaving many finishing options. Entertaining area, play rooms, bedrooms, kitchen, storage, bathrooms, etc...... Another home under a home can all be added with all the amenities you can imagine. Basements can also be converted to mother/daughter living areas when approved by your local code enforcer. When performing any basement upgrade it is often overlooked to add an egress window. Egress window are a fire escape window installed for quick access during a time of emergency. Egress window aren't only for safety but allow for extra light and ventilation. National Building Code requires installation of egress windows for any bedroom in basement. Something to keep in mind when buying or selling a home is does the basement have a legal egress window.


5 things you should know about basement egress windows:

  • Window shall be minimum of 5.7 square feet
  • Net clear opening to be minimum 20 inches
  • Interior window sill height not to exceed 44 inches
  • Exterior window well interior dimensions to be a minimum of 9 square feet
  • Exterior window well depth not to exceed 44 inches without a solid fastened ladder installed


Fire is one of Mother Natures most powerful forces responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages and even deaths. Here in Orange County, NY firefighters respond to thousands of fire calls per year and the FDNY in New York City respond to on average of 2,200 structural fires per month. Leading cause of death from fire is smoke inhalation and inability to escape harms way. Egress windows, just like fire escape ladder systems, are installed for everyones safety during the time of dire need. Fires can easily reach temperates of 2,000+ degrees Fahrenheit quickly leaving anyone in a basement trapped without proper egress installed. Egress Window Codes are put in place for your safety in any home basement considered living area where you can sleep. In any basement it is advisable to have one installed for peace in mind to protect you and your loved ones.


Topics: Monroe NY, orange county ny, General Contractor, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, excavator, fire escape, window, foundation, water damage

7 Waterproofing drainage solutions for a wet basement Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Sat, Jan 14, 2023 @ 01:22 PM

Water is one Mother Natures strongest forces responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages around the country. Here in Orange County New York, part of the Hudson Valley region. we experience a full four seasons with a variety of precipitation throughout the year. Heavy rains and melting snows can leave our homes and properties a wet disaster. The geography of Orange County, NY is mostly made up of mountains and low lying valleys that make for unique weather at times. Weather systems we experience can be hard to predict at times especially due to the differences in atmospheric pressures at different elevations. Fast moving storms have the potential of heavy rains in a short duration of time causing runoff to be a concern while melting winter snows combined with spring rains cause ground water tables to rise. When runoff and ground waters combine, we experience hydrostatic pressure buildup which can potentially cause structural damage to you foundation and water infiltration into your basement. 


The water cycle is a unique system of recycling water throughout our ecosystem responsible for all organisms to sustain life on earth. It is essential for all homes to have some sort of drainage component to keep water from permeating into your basement, especially footing drains. Footing Drains are required by code for all homes built to keep all water, mostly ground water, moving away from your foundation. Hydrostatic pressure refers to water buildup around foundation walls and is a major cause of basement water problems. Water weighs slightly more that 60lbs per cubic foot. When the soils around your foundation walls become saturated with water , there could be tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure buildup against your foundation. Excessive amounts of hydrostatic pressure could cause extreme damage and complete failure to the integrity of your home. In many cases damage goes unnoticed for years, especially in finished basements where foundation walls are hidden and water seepage cannot be detected visually.


Besides structural damages, toxic mold and mildew from permeating water can grow at a rapid rate. All basements render the perfect atmosphere for mold and mildew to spawn due to the moist natural environment they create, Installing a dehumidifier or Egress Window can greatly help in controlling high moisture in your basement. 


10 Signs of hydrostatic pressure in your home:

  • Musty odors in basement
  • Spotting different forms of bugs such as earwigs, carpenter ants, centipedes, pillbugs..... They are a good indicator that you may have cracks in your foundation.
  • Cracks, big or small, are the most noticeable signs that you may have a foundation issue. Odds are your home is being effected by pressure.
  • Foundation walls buckling or bowing, now is the time to act fast. The integrity of your structure may be at stake.
  • Visible water and/or moisture corners where concrete floor meets foundation wall.
  • Water and/or moisture permeating through foundation walls and/or cracks
  • Visible water and/or moisture infiltrating through concrete floor.
  • Visible mold and mildew on foundation walls.
  • Evidence of rotting support columns.
  • Basement window wells that fill with water.

Different waterproofing drainage solutions for your basement/property:

Footing Drains:

Footing drains are a major component for any home when it comes to removing unwanted water that causes hydrostatic pressure buildup. National Residential Building Codes require all homes built to have footing drains installed. Properly installed footing drains with adequate pitch and generous amounts of aggregate applied around pipes will keep water moving freely. Keeping water pressure from building up is crucial for a dry basement. When footing drains are installed, it is also required to apply foundation coating to exterior of foundation walls and encase aggregate with filter fabric. Four inch corrugated pipes must drain out to daylight or a sewer drain. Properties without sufficient grade to drain elsewhere may need installation of a Dry Well to transport liquids to dissipate back into the ground. 

Curtain Drains:

Curtain drains are essentially in ground gutter systems used for containing and removing unwanted water around your home and property. Trenches are excavated usually around 18-24 inches deep and in some cases next to homes with excessive water can be dug as deep as the foundations footings. Standard installation procedures include excavation of a trench to proper grade and pitch, lining of filter fabric, installation of 4" corrugated pipe and trench filled with aggregate. Drains must discharged, like footing drains, to daylight, sewer drain or a dry well.




Swales make a great drainage component for containing water runoff onto your property, Basically an excavated trough, angled down to a divot that contains and removed water efficiently. When excavated, swales can be left for natural grass/swamp grass to grow or lined with filter fabric and riverstone applied. Swales have been used for centuries along rural roads and properties to contain runoff and storm waters. Also a common practice for farmers used to irrigate crops.



Sump Pumps:

Installation of a sump pump for a wet basement is very effective in removing unwanted water. Installed in your concrete floor using a sump pump basin and high flow pump, sump pumps help relieve hydrostatic pressure before reaching high levels. Ground water tables can rise dramatically  especially noticeable after heavy winter snows that combine with spring rains. Orange County, NY is also well known for severe thunderstorms and occasional hurricanes that can bring strong systems to the area with high liquid equivalents. A battery backup and/or generator may be a good investment for your sump pump in the case of an electrical outage. Sump pumps may also be used in conjunction with interior French drain systems. As water flows into sump pump basin. pump is engaged by a float switch that activates when water has reached a set level and removes water quickly from basement to be discharged outside.



Gutter Downspouts:

Gutters are found on most homes to remove waters from roof and into downspouts that discharge liquids away from the home. After water is collected, it is the job of the downspout to discard water quickly and efficiently. If gutters and downspouts are clogged, obviously their function is compromised. Gutters and downspouts should be clean inspected at least once a year in fall after leaves have fallen. Before winter is a good time to inspect roof for any potential leaks or any evidence that may render a new roof installation.

Dry Wells:

Dry well are used for containing water diverted from another source such as drainage systems or grey water. In footing drains, curtain drains and/or gutter downspouts, dry wells may be used if you do not have enough grade on property to relieve water to daylight. Other applications may be for diverting grey water from laundry and/or slop sinks to avoid contamination of your septic system if you have one. Heavy laundry detergents kill off good bacteria needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem in you septic system allowing solids to breakdown properly. Waters are routed to the dry well where they will permeate back into the soils.



Drylok is an interior application for coating interior foundation walls when moisture is evident. Block and cinder block walls are more porous than poured foundation walls but Drylok is always a recommended application for either especially before finishing a basement. Product claims to stop water pressure up to 15 psi which is nominal to the pressure buildup that can occur outside of your foundation walls. Recommended is two generous coats filling in all voids and holes. Cracks will be needed to be filled in preferably with hydraulic cement prior to applying Drylok.


Protecting your home and property from heavy weather systems can give you peace in mind for when these variety of systems hit. Your home may be one of your largest investments and maintaining and building equity with a well equipped drainage system will help before damage is too late.

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Topics: Monroe NY, orange county ny, General Contractor, Construction, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, septic, septic systems, backhoe, excavator, fire escape, foundation, water damage

7 Wet basement waterproofing drainage solutions; Orange County NY 10950

Posted by william bateman on Thu, Jan 12, 2023 @ 05:50 AM

Here in Orange County NY, just north of New York City,  we can experience many different forms of weather systems. Many areas located just out of the city have higher elevations combined with low lying valleys that make for interesting unpredictable weather at times. During these times potential systems can impact our homes and properties drastically when it comes to moisture systems. Here in New York we experience a full four seasons with a variety of different weather conditions. These conditions range from potential blizzards, thunderstorms, heavy rains and at times even a hurricane. Now, it's not all doom and gloom when talking about New York as most of the time the weather is beautiful, especially with all the changing seasons. Keeping your home and property protected with proper drainage solutions will leave you with now worries and have peace in mind when inclement weather strikes.


Water is one Mother Natures strongest forces responsible for trillions of dollars in damages and disrepair around the world each year. During potentially heavy downpours, especially after heavy melting winter snows are combined with rain, water tables rise drastically along with increased hydrostatic pressures. Low lying homes in valleys or on a mountainside, runoff can be of concern. Massive amounts of water can be produced during this time frame causing basements and properties to flood. There are solutions for your water issues and  some may require excavation, but diverting water away is key to a dry basement.


Water buildup occurs from excessive rainfall and heavy snow melts increasing ground water tables and return resulting in hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure refers to water pressure buildup and is a major cause of basement water problems. Water weighs slightly more than 60lbs. per cubic foot. When the soil around your foundation is saturated with water, there can be tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure buildup against your foundation. Required for every home built, footing drains are the most effective drainage component in relieving hydrostatic pressure. Buildup occurs during times where high ground water tables reach levels where oversaturated soils cannot dissipate water at an adequate rate.


Hydrostatic pressure buildup can be extremely harmful to your homes main structure, the foundation, causing damage to the integrity of your entire structure. Water infiltration into your basement can cause massive damage, plus most all basements have the perfect ecosystem for the rapid growth of toxic mold and mildew to spore. Due to the natural environment of basements, moisture and humidity are always a concern to control. Installation of egress windows and dehumidifiers can help lower moisture levels in any basement creating better airflow.

Signs of hydrostatic pressure in your basement:

  • Bowing walls with horizontal cracks and water seepage
  • Water infiltration where your basement floor meets the foundation wall
  • Water near basement windows and/or window wells
  • Deteriorated basement foundation walls
  • Musty smell in basement
  • Visual evidence of water seepage on foundation walls
  • Visible water seepage on cracks of basement floor


Unfinished basements will be easier to determine if you have a problem as opposed to a finished basement. Finished basements may hide problems for many years before discovering the immense damage that has occurred. Hidden behind your walls spawns the perfect environment for toxic mold and mildew to grow rampant that can lead to potential health ailments impacting your entire family. Not only water issues in your basement can contribute to these issues, your roof is another major main component in protecting your home from water damage.


Different drainage solution applications for your home and property


Footing drains

Footing drains are required for all homes constructed for removal of unwanted water from your foundation walls and footings. Without the installation of footing drains, you can potentially run the high of water infiltration and structural damage to your most important structural component, your foundation. As ground water tables rise combined with runoff, soils quickly become saturated, leading to high levels of hydrostatic pressure buildup. Pressure buildup against your foundation wall can reach as high as 33,000 psi. Relieving this pressure is essential in maintaining the integrity of your home and prevent water infiltration that can be responsible for thousands of dollars in water damage repairs. Most visible indications of a failing footing drain is evidence of water and/or moisture in corners where foundation meets basement floor. In order to replace footing drains excavation is a must from the exterior of your foundation down to the footing. Best application is to have footing drains discharge unwanted water out to daylight. This all depends on your properties topography and grade in coordination with the home. If grade is not sufficient, a dry well may need to be added on property to contain unwanted water to dissipate back into the soil.

Curtain Drain

Curtain drains are essentially an in ground gutter system used for removing unwanted water near home or low lying areas on property with standing water. These drainage systems may also contain runoff water that discharges of a hillside into your property and/or home. Excavated down usually 18-24 inches, these trenches are effective in catching and removing water effectively. Installed with corrugated pipe, filter fabric and aggregate, water runs freely away from your home. In extreme cases where water tables are high and flooding in basement is of constant concern, curtain drain mat be dug the depth of the footing drains and work in conjunction together. In general, adding a curtain drain is a fast solution for wet areas throughout your property.




Swales are excavated troughs down to a divot to contain and divert water efficiently from runoff or at the base of a hillside.  They are most commonly used for stormwaters that are used along rural highways and residential streets to convey runoff. Width of trench is excavated sloped at each end allowing water to flow down the the base. Swales can be left natural after excavation for grass of swamp grass to grow or lined with filter fabric and lined with river rock or rip-rap. A fast solution for wet properties especially with high rates of water runoff.



Sump pumps

Sump pumps are a great solution for removing water that has protruded into your basement. As ground waters rise and hydrostatic pressure increases water will usually infiltrate to the point of least resistance. A sump pump can help relieve this pressure before causing major damage. A sump pump basin is installed into your basements floor using a high flow pump to remove unwanted water quickly. Sumps pumps work off a float switch that activate when water rises to a set level and sufficiently excretes water outside of your home. Other systems can also be incorporated with pump such as French drains and minimal amounts grey water if necessary.  


Dry wells

Dry well are used for containing water diverted from another source such as drainage systems or grey water. In footing drains, curtain drains and/or gutter downspouts, dry wells may be used if you do not have enough grade on property to relieve water to daylight. Other applications may be for diverting grey water from laundry and/or slop sinks to avoid contamination of your septic system if you have one. Heavy laundry detergents kill off good bacteria needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem in you septic system allowing solids to breakdown properly. Waters are routed to the dry well where they will permeate back into the soils. 


Gutter downspouts

During heavy rains and snows, your roof per square footage handles extreme amounts of liquids in which is quickly diverted into your gutters. Liquids from your gutters then become the job of the downspouts to remove water quickly to ground level. Most downspouts discharge right at ground level right on your foundation walls leaving excessive amounts of water to pool and possibly permeate into your foundation. A simple extension can fix or the best way is to run downspouts into a solid underground line to divert water away from the home. 


Drylok basement sealer is a great application on all interior basement walls. Recommended two coats on walls helps achieve maximum performance of 11-12 psi to protect against water infiltration through your foundation walls. All concrete is permeable and Drylok will help seal out unwanted moisture and fill cracks up to 1/8" wide. Larger cracks may be filled with hydraulic cement or other concrete fillers on the market before applying Drylok. 



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Topics: Monroe NY, orange county ny, General Contractor, Construction, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, excavator, fire escape, foundation, water damage, Sullivan County ny

Selling or buying home and need an egress window installed? 5 requirements you should know

Posted by william bateman on Sat, Dec 31, 2022 @ 04:58 PM

      Are you in the process of buying and/or selling your home?Does the home you are buying/selling does have an egress window? Are violations holding up your sale or purchase? In that case you have visited the right site when having to install an egress window when buying or selling your home!!!!


You are in the middle of buying or selling your home and get hit with a violations report that brings everything to a standstill. Happens more often than you may think and an issue that we deal with quite often. While many different violations may come up, egress windows comes to the top of the list when it comes to basements especially finished basements. Egress windows are require in all basements that are deemed livable, mostly finished basements fit into this category, especially when bedroom(s) are added. You may asking, what is an egress window? In simple terms it is basically an escape window installed in the case of an emergency to keep you and you loved ones safe.

When did egress windows become a requirement?

You can see dates that bo back to the 1960's where egress became a concern with building departments. Some municipalities put in place more of a regional code enforced by local inspectors in whom observed the safety concerns by not obtaining a window and/or door for means of egress. In general the issue was for the most part overlooked for decades to come. In 1997 egress windows became part of the International Residential Code requiring all basement bedrooms to have obtain a form of egress. Decades ago most basements weren't converted to living area. Now over the years many people finish basements adding bedrooms, bathrooms, wet bars, entertainment areas, etc.... Most all basements today are converted to living area and new homes are being built with higher foundations in foresight of being converted. Adding a finished basement instantly increasing your square footage living area plus boosting value to any home. 


Fire is one of natures most devastating force and responsible on average of 2,260 deaths each year. The majority of home fire deaths are contributed to smoke inhalation and the inability to escape when disaster strikes. Nobody ever plans on a house fire, nor do many take the precautionary steps in the event of an unpredictable tragedy to occur. A home fire that starts on a first floor above a basement creates an inescapable inferno and unfortunately lead to the inevitable. Especially in the case trapped alone with nobody knowing your whereabouts, firefighters will not be able to determine that someone is in great danger. Finally after decades of unnecessary deaths and injuries that could have been prevented, the IRC took action to put into code and enforce egress windows in basements.


What are IRC requirements for an egress window :

  • Window must be 5.7 square ft
  • Window must have net clear of 20" when fully open with casement or 24" with a double hung
  • Interior window sill height from floor not to exceed 44"
  • Exterior window well to be minimum 9 square feet from interior of well
  • Exterior height from inside of window well to grade not to exceed 44"(if over 44" a ladder is to be installed inside window well)


Installing an egress window adds value instantly by protecting you and your loved ones during a dire event plus adds value in general to your home. In fact I've been told by many real estate agents that buyers are less likely to buy a home with any known violations and safety issues.  Off topic, another concern when selling or buying is a leaky/moist basement. Basements are underground and highly susceptible to water infiltration usually contributed to failing footing drains, exterior breakdown of foundation coatings, cracks in floors and/or walls, improper gutter downspouts, etc...... Basements are naturally damn and moist area of almost any home and perfect environment for toxic mold and mildew to grow rampant. Adding an egress window to your basement doesn't only add safety but will give you the much needed light and ventilation that will change the environment and promote a healthier atmosphere.

How long does an egress window installation take?:

On average, weather permitting, 2-3 days on average to fully install window and window well. Window location is obviously the first step in determining  and usually try to incorporate new window where there is an existing window. Excavating area outside of window comes next and depending on soil will be a factor in how fast that can be performed. Third is cutting through foundation wall which could take a few hours. This process is performed with a special concrete wet saw to make a clean cut straight through foundation wall. Fourth frame is constructed and new window installed. Fifth and final is install window well in place. Afterwards all dirt will be graded on property or removed upon request. Further and foremost, if basement is finished inside, additional work will need to be performed.

 Installing an egress window benefits all around with safety being #1 priority even if you aren't selling your home. When selling, keep in mind there is a very good chance of an issue that surfaces in a violations report. Before a buyer can purchase, seller must address all violations. Buyers should also be aware that even if violation does not surface during the sale it may be inherited when you resell. Here at WMB Construction we have all the tools and experience needed to complete your project in a clean and timely fashion.

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Topics: orange county ny, construction-general, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, fire escape, foundation

5 Reasons you may need a dry well installed/Orange County, NY 10950

Posted by william bateman on Fri, Dec 30, 2022 @ 09:38 AM

Dry wells are essentially excavated pits with adequate amounts of aggregate to catch unwanted water on your property. This usually consists of water from your home gutter downspouts, footing drains, runoff, curtain drains and sump pumps. Other applications may be used for grey water from your home washing machine or sinks to isolate excess water contaminated by detergents that flow into your septic tank and leach fields. Many detergents can be harmful to your septic system and kill off good bacteria needed to break down solid wastes and powdered detergents have been known to not fully dissolve and clog leach fields not allowing water to properly flow and dissipate into the soil. In drainage situations, dry wells are a great solution on properties where water needs to be transferred to a different location but doesn't have sufficient grade on property to relieve water piped to daylight. 


Dry wells can simply be a large pit filled with aggregate for a fast, simple solution. For longevity and a fuly functioning dry well system, it is advised to install an in ground corrugated dry well basin piped solid to a basin. Then filter fabric is installed around pit/basin with adequate amounts of aggregate applied around basin. Before installing a dry well, a perc test may be necessary in some municipalities to determine the rate of water percolation that dissipates into your soil. Dry well perc tests aren't as necessary as septic systems and leach fields as they are mainly for ground/rain/grey water applications. They can be easily performed by anyone including the homeowner. A small pit needs to be dug and filled with water while timed to see how fast water dissipates. This test should be performed under dry conditions, tested dry and after soil has been saturated. Soil containing high densities of clay and shale will not allow water to percolate into the ground at a fast rate which will indicate that more aggregate will be needed during installation.


5 Reasons you may need a dry well installed:

  • Removing unwanted water pooling on property with nowhere to drain
  • Removing water from gutter downspouts away from home
  • Relieving water from footing drains that have no outlet and pitch with grade to daylight
  • Draining down pool water(required by some municipalities when installing a pool)
  • Separating grey water from septic tanks and leach fields if you have a septic system

If you have a septic system why should you consider a dry well?

The area you live may not offer a sewer service in your municipality leaving you with no option but installing a septic system. Septic systems have been around since the early 1860's when the first actual septic tank was invented using concrete and clay pipe. While humans have been improving sanitation over the last 3,000 years, it wasn't until the 1940's that septic systems became a common method of waste water management in many parts of the United States. A good functioning septic system relies on good bacteria to break down solids to liquid that in turn is removed through an over flow pipe. It is then discharged through the leach field to dissipate into the soil and  and some of the liquid may evaporate from the surface as well. Heavy detergent agents used in your washing machine may kill off the good bacteria needed to sustain a healthy functioning septic system. Washing machines consume gallons of water during a wash cycle, as much as 50 gallons on older models. This will equate to massive amounts of unnecessary grey water into your septic system. By adding a dry well, waste water can be diverted from septic tank, greatly reducing the amount waste water into your tank and leach fields.


How a septic tank works:

Sewage both black and grey drain from all plumbing fixtures of your home into the septic tank. This is where heavy solids settle to the bottom where the bacterial action takes place producing enzymes to digest sludge and gases. The lighter solids, such as oils, fats and grease rise to the top to form a scum layer. Solids that are not decomposed remain in the tank. For a healthy septic tank to perform correctly, it is advised to have tank pumped out every 3-5 years. 


What is a leach field?

A leach field is a major component of a septic system integrated to remove and filter organic material from your septic tank. Leach fields are a constructed underground system of perforated pipes adjacent to your septic tank that allows waste water to dissipate into the soils and be filtered. Allowing sludge buildup in your leach field can result in complete failure of your entire system. This is a good reason to add a dry well to divert unnecessary excess water into your system.

Signs of a failing leach system:

  • Gurgling sounds in the plumbing system 
  • Standing water and/or damp spots near septic tank or drain field
  • Bad odors around septic tank or leach field
  • Bright green, spongy lush grass over septic tank and/or drain field, even in dry conditions 
  • Sewage backups into home

Now that we clarified how your home waste system works if you have a septic system and how a dry well can help in this situation, we can get back to basic drainage issues.  A simple gutter may not seem like much of an ordeal and it may not be if a gutter extension is added above grade and runoff is sloped away from the home. In areas with lower topography that allows water to pool next to foundations can add to hydrostatic pressure and creates strain to your foundation and create possible water infiltration. In this case it is advised to excavate and install a buried line to remove any excess water away from your home to a safe location that won't effect other areas. These areas include locations on property that can contribute to ice buildup in winter or onto neighbors property. If you have proper grade to relieve the water to daylight, do so, if not you may need a dry well installed.

All drainage components used on a property and/or home require an outlet somewhere. If the grade of property doesn't allow for proper distribution of water away from home, a dry well installation may be inevitable. Another thing to keep in mind when installing a new roof or your existing roof is to inspect gutter system for proper function.  Calculations can also be made to determine the volume of liquid consumed into the gutters and downspouts. This can help when choosing the size of dry well to install. All weather systems are different with a far range of liquid carried, so it is better to always go bigger than necessary especially when combining different drainage systems into one.

Determining whether or not you may need a dry well should have been explained here but hiring a drainage professional can help guide you through the process fairly easily. Water is one of Mother Natures strongest forces that is responsible for trillions of dollars in damages a year around the world and by determining the source and rectifying the the issues before damage is done is key.

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Topics: General Contractor, bathrooms, Construction, construction-general--monroe, Roofing Monroe NY, footing drain, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, septic systems, backhoe, toilet, foundation

5 drainage solutions to fix your property; Orange County, NY 10950

Posted by william bateman on Wed, Dec 28, 2022 @ 09:17 AM

Here in Orange County, NY we can experience some pretty harsh weather events throughout the year where in some cases leaving our homes and property in dire condition. New York is a true 4 season state that is exposed to all the elements in many different forms that Mother Nature throws our way. Heavy winter Nor'easters can dump substantial snows that are usually drawn out systems that can potentially last days. Clippers are normally a quick moving system with great potential for accumulating snow in a short period. After heavy winter snows come the torrential spring rains and possible thunderstorms that combine with the melting snow on the ground doubling the amount of water on your property. In the spring temperatures rise well above freezing and fall back down at night where you risk ice damming to occur on your roof. Ice damming is caused by the hot to cold melting/freezing cycle and if your ROOF doesn't have ice and water shield installed you can run the risk of water infiltration back into your home. Summers can be unpredictable in the northeast. Weather can be extremely dry or very wet and stormy. One thing to be sure of is the severe thunderstorms sometime accompanied with tornados that can form very quickly sometimes without little or no notice. Thunderstorms can produce heavy rainfall very quickly along with damaging hail and winds. Next into fall where we become exposed to the possible threats of hurricanes which can be devastating. Normally we don't experience the full Category 4-5 but even a Category 1 or tropical depression can dramatically affect our area. All of these potential systems that can occur year round can cause great damages. Water is one of Mothers Natures greatest forces responsible for billions, if not trillions of dollars in damages around the world.


Some homes and properties are more susceptible to water damage than others depending on location of property. By location that doesn't necessarily mean what town or city but moreless your geographics. If your home/property is low lying water is more likely to accumulate and infiltrate. A home/property on a higher elevation is more likely to shed waters away, that is unless you are situated in the middle of a hill where the grade is sloping towards your property where runoff becomes a concern. With any property perc needs to be taken into consideration. Perc is short for percolation and it's the amount of water your soil can handle and distribute water into the ground. Many areas on our area have clay and/or shale making water percolation almost impossible. Certain steps must be made when determining your water issues and what direction is needed when addressing causes and solutions.

5 Drainage solutions to help fix your wet property and basement:

  • Footing Drains
  • Curtain Drains
  • Sump Pumps
  • Swales
  • Gutter Downspouts Extended or Buried


Footing drains are required on all homes built around the country. Footing drains are installed around the entire perimeter of the foundation at the base of the footing and filled with an adequate amount of aggregate. This helps relieve water buildup also known as hydrostatic pressure and transport unwanted water away from your home and off property all together if possible. Hydrostatic pressure is the buildup of ground waters mostly and combined with runoff that can be catastrophic to the integrity of you foundation if not addressed. Pressure buildup can reach as high as 33,000 psi which is a tremendous amount of stress on your homes structure



Curtain drains are essentially in ground gutter systems excavated and put into place to remove unwanted water away from you home/property. Low lying areas of your property can cause accumulating water especially with geographics of sloping hills causing water runoff to run towards areas of your land and home. Excavating a trench with corrugated pipe and filling with aggregate, usually 3/4" gravel, is a perfect solution for moving excess water off of property.



As ground waters rise so does the hydrostatic pressure under your home and foundation. This pressure can be relieved by adding a sump pump in your basement floor on the interior of your home. As hydrostatic pressure increases water will usually go to the point of least resistance and by adding a sump pump and basin reduces the chances of water infiltration. When possible, using a laser level, install a sump pump and basin at the lowest point of your basement and discharge unwanted water outside away from the home. Another thing to keep in mind when installing a sump pump is adding a battery backup in the case of a power outage or purchasing a generator. Many times flooding will occur during a strong storm with water surges and power outages leaving pumps useless.



Swales are kind of in a sense like a curtain drain where it contains and relieves unwanted water on your property. Mostly is used for runoff water on a steep to flat grade to contain water before flooding your lawn/home. An excavated trench sloped at both sides kind is constructed, kind of like a moat you would see around castles in medieval times, just not that extensive or around your actual house but you can get the point. Swales can be left natural to grow swamp grass or filled with gravel and/or Riverstone. Swales are a great way to contain water around the perimeter of your property.


Gutters relieve all the water from your roof into one or two pipes on one individual gutter called downspouts. Per size of and any home, roof square footage can accumulate massive amounts of water at any given time in which is directed right into your gutter and removed away from the downspout. In many cases the downspout is relieved directly at ground level right next to the foundation. Large amounts of water can result in pooling water, water infiltration into your basement and home close to the ground possibility of causing rot to your homes wood structure. Adding downspout extensions above grade is fairly easy method to remove unwanted water away from your home quickly. Best way, if you have proper grade away from home to pitch water away, is to excavate a trench underground and install a 4" solid pipe out to daylight.

All of these systems, besides footing drains, may be necessary for you home/property. First step if you are dealing with water issues is to identify the source of water. Once you can narrow down the source then you can determine which system or systems you made need. In rare cases you may need all components but a professional in the field can help you determine that. Footing drains are the most important component as failing footing drains can cause extensive structural damages and water infiltration can also become a culprit for fast growing toxic mold and mildew creating unsafe living conditions and health ailments. Installing new footing drains requires excavation down to the footings and complete replacement of failed lines. If you are going through having to install new footing drains, you may want to consider installing an EGRESS WINDOW while foundation walls are exposed. An egress window is a national code for any finished basement with a bedroom as an emergency exit and also great for more light and ventilation for any basement considering basements are are naturally dark, gloomy and moist.


Topics: orange county ny, General Contractor, Construction, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, fire escape, foundation

Basement egress windows and 5 reasons to have one installed; Monroe, NY 10950

Posted by william bateman on Sun, Dec 18, 2022 @ 06:37 AM

Orange County, NY is located in the state of New York and was first created in 1683 and then reorganized with its present boundaries in 1798. Orange County is part of the Hudson Valley region and is today home for over 400,000 residents. Monroe, NY is one of many towns and villages that makeup Orange County in which has increased in growth rapidly over the years to over 10,000 residents. Many residents of the Monroe area as well as surrounding towns have been recently relocating. As residents move, new residents move in to their new homes and one of the main forks in the road that may be encountered when selling or buying is does the home have an egress window installed in basement. Current codes require all finished basements with a bedroom or any area considered living space to have a fully accessible egress in the case of emergency. Egress options can be a door, window and sometimes a garage door with an installed within the garage door(if approved by your local building department)that can provide an easy escape exit during an unpredictable emergency. By not acquiring  an egress window or any forms of legal egress, you may find your home in violation resulting in a holdup on the sale of your home. 


5 reasons to have an egress window installed:

  • Make your home compliant and up to date with national building codes
  • Peace in mind you and your loved ones will be safe during an unpredictable emergency 
  • Added light that is beneficial to any basement
  • Added ventilation, better air flow creates more air flow and cuts down the musky odors common in basements
  • Added value and safety to your home


A finished basement adds instant value to your home by increasing the square footage of your homes living area and making it more desirable for yourself and potential buyers if you may be considering selling. Finished basements offer you many different options creating an entire different atmosphere on the lower level of you home. Many basements are the same size of your constructed home, so for example a 60 x 30 home will offer you an added 1,800 square feet of living area. In some cases,  basement area may be attached to to the garage, in which this case square footage will be deducted  but garages too can be converted into living area. During a finished basement construction it is strongly advised to have a footprint of where to install an egress window. Location is key when installing an egress window especially when adding bedrooms. All basements should have an egress window, finished or not, in the case of an unpredicted emergency. 

What to take note of when choosing location of an egress window:

  • Where you would like bedroom(s) to be situated
  • Try and situate location of new window with existing basement window(s)
  • Take notice to any waste/water/gas/electrical lines that my be in the way
  • Do an exterior inspection to make sure location of egress window has a clear escape route from home and especially not underneath a low deck
  • If possible, try and pick a location with the least amount of digging

Installing an egress window is usually a 2-3 day project(weather permitting) that will provide a lifetime of safety and enhance the atmosphere of your basement ridding it of its already dark and gloomy natural environment. With all the right tools, the installation of an egress window is a quick and clean install in a couple to a few days.

Benefits of installing an egress window:

  • Peace in mind you and your loved ones will be safe during an unpredicted emergency 
  • Added natural light
  • Added ventilation to keep air flow moving where most basements have stagnant air
  • Added value to your home
  • Access for bringing in larger, longer items in basement if you have no door

National building codes are put into place for the protection of you and others. Fires around the world are responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages and thousands in injuries and deaths. With foresight before a possible unpredicted potential tragedy strikes, installing egress windows drastically cuts down the threat of loss of life and/or injury. Newer homes are required in all bedrooms on any level of home to carry the proper window dimensions and codes that apply.


What are egress window basement codes:

  • Window must be a minimum 5.7 square feet
  • Window must have a minimum 20" net clear opening when fully open
  • Inside window sill height not to exceed 44" from basement floor
  • Outside window well inside dimensions must be a minimum of 9 square feet 
  • Base of window well to grade of ground must not exceed 44" (if over 44" a ladder must be installed)

When considering an egress window contractor keep in mind to find an experienced one with the proper tools, Without the proper tools and experience the job can be disastrous and filthy. We have small machines that don't damage lawns and wet saws that keep dust down to nominal levels. 90% of the work performed is from the outside of your home keeping the inside virtually untouched.

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Topics: orange county ny, General Contractor, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, fire escape, window, foundation

5 Best basement drainage components for your home that help keep a basement dry in Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Wed, Dec 14, 2022 @ 08:58 AM

Nothing is worse for your home than underlying water issues created by one of mother natures most powerful forces, water. Water is responsible for billions if not trillions of dollars in damages each year. Many of us think about water and know it comes from the sky never understanding where it goes when it make contact with earth. It's what you don't see that can be confusing. In this article we will go over the process of absorption and ground water tables along with drainage components that help relieve water issues.


Here in Orange County, NY; one of the 10 counties that make up the Hudson Valley can experience severe weather at times. Weather systems come and go year round in many different forms throughout the seasons. These systems can bring heavy snows, thunderstorms, occasional hurricanes, torrential downpours, wind storms, etc...... Your Roof is a main component on your home to protect from the harsh elements and shed water away but where does it go after? Well, I think that is pretty common knowledge that the force of gravity pulls water down to the ground, but then it just magically disappears? In most cases water is quickly absorbed into your soil depending on the perc of soil on your property. Once in the soil it meets with an entire underground, unseen, water system. The underground water system is a major part of our ecosystem that helps sustain life life as we know it supplying water for our trees and crops and the water we drink. The ground acts a filtration system as water goes through the soil and rock beds to feed our wells and helps replenish our lakes and reservoirs. Water that isn't absorbed, especially during torrential downpours, can create massive runoff that feeds our streams, lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.... and all water returns to our oceans if not already evaporated to restart the process again.


What is Perc?:

Perc is used in the field as short for percolation and is the absorption rate of soils. Percolation tests are performed to calculate how quickly a known volume of water dissipates into the subsoil of a drilled hole of a known surface area. These tests may be required when installing a septic system or dry well on your property but can also be essential when installing any drainage system. In general, sandy soil will absorb more water than soil with high concentrations of clay or where high water tables are close to the surface. Once water percolation test has been performed you can calculate the amount of aggregate needed. Most common aggregate using in drainage projects is 3/4" crushed stone. Crushed stone acts natural drainage and in conjunction with pipe installed below grade keeps water moving fast and efficiently away from your home and property.

5 Best basement drainage components to help keep a basement dry:

  • Footing drains
  • Curtain drains
  • Sump pumps
  • Dry wells
  • Extended of buried gutter downspouts

During seasons with substantial moisture systems, ground water tables can drastically rise that result in hydrostatic pressure buildup. Hydrostatic pressure can reach as high as 33,000 psi putting immense strain on your foundation walls and basement floor. This can result in structural damage to your foundation walls. Hydrostatic pressure is also responsible for water infiltration into your home and with failing and/or inadequate footing drains you are at high risk.


What is hydrostatic pressure?

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure that any fluid in a confined space exerts. It is the pressure that occurs when gravity pushes stagnant dense water against below grade walls built entirely or partially below the water table or even on a hillside. The deeper below grade and high soil saturation increases hydrostatic pressure dramatically. 

Where is hydrostatic pressure found:

Hydrostatic pressure is a result of standing or resting water that creates great force. Found mostly around your basement exterior walls in saturated soils from rising ground water tables. Hydrostatic pressure can also be found coming from runoff from a hill or mountain and when combined with ground water the pressure increases. Hydrostatic pressure may also be evident on wet areas of your property are wet and/or marshy but this can also be contributed to low areas on property with low water percolation.


What are some of the drainage components you can install?:

  • Footing drains(required in all homes built)
  • Curtain drains(removes unwanted water from property and away from home)
  • Extended or buried gutter downspouts
  • Sump pumps
  • Dry wells
  • Swales
  • French drains


Sump pumps are a great way to relieve ground water pressure inside of your basement installed into your concrete floor below grade. Preferably they are installed at the lowest point of basement floor(this can be determined using a laser level) and used to remove ground water before reaching damaging levels to the outside of your home. During severe storms, sump pumps are proven to be very helpful. Something to remember tho, during severe weather there are high risks for power outages, so a battery backup is recommended. 

How to properly install footing drains:

  • Excavated dirt from exterior of foundation down to footings of home
  • Clean exterior of foundation walls and apply a foundation water sealing coating
  • Install 4" perforated pipe at base of footing with holes facing down(recommended filter fabric sock around pipe)
  • Apply sufficient amount of aggregate around pipe
  • Wrap aggregate in filter fabric
  • Backfill and grade soil back around foundation

What is a curtain drain?

A curtain drain is essentially an in ground gutter system designed to remove unwanted water from your property and/or home. Removal of water from your property in close proximity to your home greatly reduces the possible water pressure buildup and chances of water infiltration that can cause water damage.



How to properly install a curtain drain:

  • Excavate a trench down approximately 18-24 inches
  • Apply a base of aggregate into trench
  • Install 4" corrugated pipe on top of aggregate pitched to daylight or dry well if you don't have enough grade.
  • Preferably install filter fabric sock around pipe
  • Apply more aggregate over pipe up to grade leaving aggregate exposed(in some applications sand with light topsoil can be added if you don't want to see exposed aggregate and grow grass instead)

Installing a swale on your property:

Certain properties especially ones with large hillsides and mountains, a swale may be created to stop water runoff from saturating the soils on your lawn. Also, like the curtain drain, a swale is an excavated gutter into the soil to catch unwanted water runoff. A quick, efficient solution for fixing water issues in yards that contains unwanted water. In some cases, swamp grass can be added to your swale to soak up water and create a facade to hide the swale. Other applications you can add river rock to your swale or just leave it as is. Eventually something will grow within the marsh.


Protecting your home from water damage can all be achieved with the proper drainage components installed. When all used in conjunction, these systems will help you achieve a dry lawn and home. Now, not every home needs all components installed as every property is different. It must be identified the causes for water pressure and absorption rates along with where possible Walter infiltration may be occurring before establishing what system or systems to use. Nobody wants a wet, moldy, musty basement especially one that can create hazardous conditions and cause possible health ailments. 

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Topics: General Contractor, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, foundation

5 Benefits of installing an egress window/Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Sat, Dec 10, 2022 @ 07:34 AM

Fire is one of natures most destructive forces all around the world causing billions of dollars a year in damages and thousands of unnecessary deaths per year in the United States. Interesting fact, earth is the only known planet where fire can burn. Fire is the rapid oxidation of material in the exothermic process of releasing light, heat and many different reacting products. There is a certain point in the combustion reaction process in what is call the ignition point which and when reached flames ignite. This becomes potentially dangerous and potentially deadly if caught off guard and/or properly prepared.


7 facts about fire:

  • Fire is a chemical reaction that releases heat and light
  • Fire requires heat, oxygen and fuel to burn
  • Fire is an occurrence or event, not a thing...
  • Assuming stable heat, fuel and oxygen levels, a typical house fire will become twice the size with every passing minute
  • Earth is the only known planet with enough oxygen to sustain fire
  • Spontaneous combustion is real. Some sources can generate their own heat  like rotting wood for instance. Even old newspapers and magazines along with compost piles and gas cans
  • Fires like forest fires move uphill faster than downhill and same with a home  fire that started In the basement will quickly move to your roof consuming the entire home at a rapid rate.


3 different ways fire can be stopped:

  • Removing the fuel source by exhausting or taking it away
  • Remove oxygen by exhausting or taking it away
  • Removing heat by saturating it with water


Beneficial tips in case of a basement fire in case of emergency:

  • Identify sources of egress also known as escape routes
  • Installing fire rated doors on utility rooms
  • Do not block any sources of egress at at time
  • Always have a mounted fire extinguisher ready
  • Do not store any highly combustible items in basement or any items near a heat source even outlets especially overloaded outlets



National building codes across the country require installation of egress windows in any finished basement with a bedroom. In my opinion any basement should have an egress window installed due to the fact that at any given moment you can be trapped in your basement with no forms of escape. Having an egress window could mean life or death for you and your loved ones which in the same aspect why fire escapes are installed on high rise buildings. 

Building code requirements for a legal egress window:

  • Window must be minimum 5.7 sq. ft.
  • Window must have minimum 20" net clear when open
  • Exterior window well must be 9 sq. ft.
  • Inside of exterior window well depth not to exceed 44" without installation of a ladder
  • Inside of interior, window well not to exceed 44" sill height from basement floor

Benefits of installing an egress window:

  • Peace in mind you and your loved ones will be safe in time of emergency 
  • Added light
  • Better ventilation
  • Humidity and moisture control
  • Added value to your home

Like noted before, fire is an unpredictable force of nature that is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. With the proper steps, installations and educated decisions you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from harms way. An egress window installation takes about 2-3 days and comes with a lifetime of protection. WMB CONSTRUCTION has been performing egress window installations all around Orange County, NY and Sullivan County, NY for many years along with all your home improvement needs. 

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Topics: orange county ny, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, improvements, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, excavator, fire escape, foundation

5 main drainage components to protect your home and property in Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Wed, Dec 07, 2022 @ 12:07 PM

We are here today to go over your home and property drainage components. Most of us with homes have experienced some kind of water issues whether it may be a roof, leaky faucet or toilet, water heater, roof, etc..... but wanna focus on basements and outside ground water that can potentially infiltrate your home and cause immense damage to your homes structures and valuables you may have inside. Water damage is responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages that can cause a great number of issues not only to your homes structure but can potentially create hazardous environments that affect your health. May seem extreme but most of the time, especially if your basement is finished, you cannot tell you have water damage until the damage has been done. Another factor is if your basement is fully underground surrounded by saturated soils you may have a higher risk of water and/or water permeation.


Damage like this is quite common in basements with insufficient drainage. In a finished basement the damage would be hidden behind your walls creating mold and mildew not only to the foundation walls but your sheetrock, insulation and wall studs. Cement and cinder block foundations are the most susceptible due to their porous nature as poured foundations are far less porous not allowing water to permeate as easily. Evidence of water damage on the walls is more likely associated with runoff water that saturates the soil and infiltrates through walls due to failing exterior foundation coating. Evidence of water and/or moisture in the corners of foundation walls where meets concrete floor is evident your footing drains have failed and ground water has created hydrostatic pressure from rising water tables. Footing drains are your homes main drainage component to remove water from your footings and foundation walls. Failing footing drains largely increases the risk of water infiltration and structural damage to your foundations integrity due to water pressure buildup. Damaging water can reach as high as 33,000 psi causing great strain.


As water tables rise from the ground combined with water runoff the force of pressure can be crucifying to your foundations structure resulting in complete failure requiring replacement which can be very costly. Block and cinder block walls are more susceptible to failure and have less integrity than a poured foundation but both run the risk of damage. Common components can help relieve your water issues and when used in conjunction can greater lower your risks.

5 Key drainage components to protect your home and property:

  • Footing drains
  • Curtain drains
  • Sump pump
  • Extending downspouts away from home preferably underground if possible
  • Create a swale to catch runoff on your property 

You may not need all components considering your properties grades and depending on the perc of your grounds soil. First you will have to indicate where the source of water and/or moisture is coming from. Once indication is made then you can come up with a solution. Like noted previously, finished basements may be harder to spot where water and/or moisture has infiltrated as its hidden behind walls and/or flooring.


7 signs to look for in a potentially wet/moist basement:

  • Wet or moist walls
  • Water or moisture in corner of foundation walls where meets concrete floor
  • Water pooling and collecting outside of foundation from gutter downspouts 
  • Any basement window wells that may not drain properly during heavy rains
  • Musky smell in basement
  • Wet or damn carpet and/or warping wood/composite floors
  • Pooling water and/or grade of property sloping towards home
  • Visible water and/or moisture in any cracks of foundation walls or floors

Sump pumps can be a great drainage application to relieve ground water from hydrostatic pressure under the concrete slab of your basement floor. These are installed by cutting open concrete floor preferably at the lowest point of basements floor and installing a permeable catch basin with sump pump that drains to the exterior of your home. As water tables rise water will most likely go to the point of least resistance into the basin and removed outside quickly. Also to keep in mind when installing they run off electric and many times when needed the most during inclement weather electric goes out leaving pump useless. A battery backup is recommended in to avoid a foreseeable issue.


When its comes to your property itself you must determine if you have water issues surrounding your home. Low spots and wet marshy areas are a good indicator of water issues. Some may not effect your home at all beside just creating marshy wet areas but when drastic slopes cause runoff towards your home or low areas of water that pools near foundation these can be potential problems. Curtain drains are a great application for removing unwanted water on your property. Essentially curtain drains are in ground gutter systems that efficiently move water from one area of your property to another area away from the home. 


Wet marshy areas around property can also be contained building a swale. A swale is essentially another gutter type system dug into the ground to catch water runoff. Usually installed when you have a grade coming off a hill and to divert water. This system does not use a pipe, just an angled hole for water to catch and divert. You can also install filter fabric and river rock to your swale.

After going over the few components of drainage the idea is to identify if you you have a water problem and if so then where. Once determining where, then you can come up with a solution to address the issue involved. Like noted all applications may not be for your home and property and must be assessed to see what application is needed. Footing drains on the other hand are on every home built and is a national code requirement. Water must be removed from foundation walls and foundation walls must be sealed from the exterior, Proper installation always requires an adequate amount of aggregate usually a 3/4" gravel around a 4" corrugated pipe in conjunction with filter fabric for a properly functioning footing drain system and maintain longevity to keep water flowing away from foundation for years to come.

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Topics: orange county ny, General Contractor, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, foundation, bi-level