America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 05/09/2002

Dear Glenn: My husband and I purchased a house in December 1999. I have learned in the last two years that the people from whom I bought the house painted over a crack in the basement wall. Water is now leaking from the crack, and my basement is starting to have mold. What can I do? We have tried to patch the hole in the wall, but it just isn’t working.

Is the problem covered by my insurance? Will it pay for someone to clean up the mold?

— Kari, St. Clair Shores

Dear Kari: Cracks in basement walls can often be cured using an injection procedure performed by companies such as Mr. Sponge Waterproofing, (800) 491-4686. If there is a mold problem, you might want to have the air tested by Sanit-Air, (888) 778-7324, or Christopher Chote’s Air Analysis, (800) 416-2323. We are not experts on insurance. Water and mold damage claims are problematic. You can always try your insurance company, but you admit that it was a pre-existing condition.

You also should call your real estate agent and see if you bought the house “as is,” or if the prior owners signed something saying there were no major problems. Then you might want to see a lawyer that specializes in real estate, such as Lynklip and Taub, (248) 746-3790.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 03/04/2004

Dear Glenn: I have a crack in the foundation of my basement where water is coming in. What is the best way to patch this? It is a poured wall basement. The crack is small, but big enough to let water in. The crack runs from the basement window down to the floor.

— Derek, Macomb Township

Dear Derek: Cracks in poured walls are best repaired by the injection method. The leader in this type of repair in our part of the country is Mr. Sponge Waterproofing, (800) 491-4686.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 01/30/2008

Dear Glenn: We knew we had a crack running about two-thirds of one basement wall, ending at the base of the window. This crack is now opening and we’re not sure what to do. Should we have braces installed (inside the house) or should we have a contractor repair the wall from the outside?

When we moved in, our neighbor recommended we water around the attached garage to seal any cracks. He also told us that the way foundations are put in now is different from how it was done 50 years ago.

Carroll, Grosse Pointe Woods

Dear Carroll: If you have poured basement walls, call Mr. Sponge, (800) 491-4686, Mr. Sponge has developed a system for sealing cracks such as you describe. They also will tell you if your home needs other structural help.

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Business finds success through top service, cost-efficient methods

The Detroit News publication April 11th, 2011

April showers bring leaky basements. But what if this unwelcome harbinger of spring easily could be repaired, without breaking the bank? Mr. Sponge Waterproofing in Novi, an owner-operated company whose roots go back to a family business founded in 1969, offers that alternative.

While many waterproofing efforts are geared toward installing drain tiles, most leaks can be fixed using the high-pressure injection waterproofing method that Mr. Sponge spe­cializes in, according to Dean Teaster, one of three company owner-operators who provide all basement repair services.

“This makes us unique because we don’t try to offer every type of repair,” Teaster says. “We offer repairs for the most common leak situ­ations in poured foundation walls.” The company devel­oped SP-3, its own unique water-activated polyure­thane, in 1996.

“Our specialty is stopping all types of poured wall leaks from cracks, rod holes [holes left after the concrete-form­ing mechanism is removed by the foundation contractor] and honeycombs [formed pockets of excessive aggregate]. This is where 90 per­cent of basement leaks occur,” he says.

Teaster says his is an easier and more cost-effective way to fix leaks. “While many customers have already been quoted thou­sands of dollars by the time we arrive, they are surprised and in disbelief that the remedy is much easier than they were told,” he says. Most leaks can be fixed in a matter of hours. For do-it-yourselfers, Mr. Sponge now is offer­ing its patented TRX Compressed Swell Plug, which is available online.

Delivering Quality Service

Though they easily could have expanded, Teaster says remaining an owner-operated business with no additional employees – he and busi­ness partner Keith Potts do all on-site jobs while Shelley Kunz handles office and administrative duties – is a means of having complete control over the quality of services delivered.

“When we do a repair for a private home­owner, we have to warranty it for a 20-year period,” Teaster says. “Doing it ourselves gives us self-assurance that everything is done cor­rectly.”

Because many customers begin with phone or online consultations, Teaster says it’s im­portant to use experience and care to develop a rapport with them.

“It takes many years of education in the business to know how to explain things,” he says. “You need to be warm, friendly, have expertise, and take the time to explain the problem properly.”

Staying Vital

Teaster says the company has stayed vital by developing new products and embracing the latest technology in an effort to make life easy for the customer. Some of Teaster’s insights on good customer service include:

If a solution doesn’t exist, invent it. Mr. Sponge offers its patented TRX Compressed Swell Plug to homeowners who want to fix rod-hole leaks themselves. “The new TRX delivers a quick, user-friendly, cost-effective solution and gives the homeowner the best state-of-the-art waterproof product available for this rod-hole leak problem,” Teaster says. • Make it easy. Mr. Sponge operators offer over-the-phone consultations and online in­spections, requiring the customer to do noth­ing more than submit photos to its website. If a customer has further questions, Kunz, who handles these inquiries, can call the other own­ers out in the field. • Sell solutions in addition to services. “You have to go above and beyond the norm of today’s service industry in order to set yourself apart,” Teaster says. “You have to provide a solution. If it’s outside the scope of your company, then refer them to the appropriate contractor. Be honest, and give the customer not only value for their dollar, but save them money where possible.”

Good to Know

Mr. Sponge Waterproofing, based in Novi, is an owner-operated com­pany that serves all of southeast Michigan.

The company offers a patented TRX Compressed Swell Plug for do-it-yourselfers with rod-hole leaks. The product and tutorial videos are available at

For more information, visit or call 800-491-4686.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 09/22/2009

Dear Glenn: I’ve got a basement wall crack that leaks, and I need to make a good repair. Through the Internet, I have read about polyurethane and epoxy time-injection methods.I’d like to choose the right product from the right company for a do-it-yourself repair. Can you help?

Mike, via e-mail

Dear Mike: Mr. Sponge, (800) 491-4686,, has been around since 1967 and they use a proprietary injection method using SP-3 Proprietary Urethane.It is a two-step process that stops the leak instantly. It is injected into the wall using an average pressure of 1,200 pounds per square inch.It is my belief that you cannot accomplish the same results by doing the job using a Jake Gun that only produces 90 PSI.

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NOVI, Mich., May 21 /PRNewswire/ — Mr. Sponge Waterproofing, the leading polyurethane injection waterproofing company in southeast Michigan, announced today that it is now offering a unique “Wall to Wall Waterproofing” solution. The “Wall to Wall Waterproofing” service covers all leaks from wall fractures in one service call. Consumers can now save time and money when all waterproofing procedures are completed in one visit.

‘Wall to Wall Waterproofing’ includes sealing all tie-rod locations with their patented tie-rod repair system as well as their proprietary SP-3 polyurethane to deliver instant water shut-off to wall fracture leaks. They have applied their SP-3 and their patented tie-rod seal system since 1995. The ‘Wall to Wall’ system gives customers one stop waterproofing for the entire basement to save money on basement repairs.

Mr. Sponge Waterproofing’s philosophy of “Owner Operated Repairs” is one that provides our customers with the best service possible, states Keith Potts of Mr. Sponge. “You can’t get any better service than that.” “We’re not here to get big, but rather be cost effective and accurate at what we do. Our “Wall to Wall Waterproofing” process allows customers to save thousands by getting everything done in one visit.” Their owner operated philosophy means that the owner’s actually do the waterproofing work.

Glenn Haege, America’s Master Handyman(R), is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and newspaper columnist based in Detroit.  “I’ve been telling homeowners about Mr. Sponge in both my newspaper articles and radio show for more than sixteen years,” said Haege.  “I’ve found that the performance of Mr. Sponge and their proprietary injection techniques have gained them an international reputation.”

About Mr. Sponge Waterproofing

Mr. Sponge Waterproofing, originally a family-owned business, was established in 1967. The company has repaired an estimated 67,000 homes, including many of the southeast Michigan federally subsidized homes through HUD and MSHDA. Mr. Sponge’s dedication to “Owner Operated Repairs” provides customers with cost-effective and accurate waterproofing solutions.

SOURCE  Mr. Sponge Waterproofing

Shelley Kunz, 800-491-4686, for Mr. Sponge Waterproofing

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 08/06/2010

It seems I preach the value of preventative home maintenance every week on my radio show. My philosophy is that fixing things before they turn into problems is the best way to eliminate headaches and save you money.

Preventative maintenance will cost you some money. But it is much cheaper to pay to maintain something now than to have to deal with the costs of repair or replacement when a big problem occurs. However, there are so many things that need to be maintained around the home that it can be overwhelming, so here are some things I recommend you focus on:

Clogged drain lines in the basement can lead to water backing up into your basement. And even if you have never had a drain backup, there are tell-tale signs that a problem is imminent.

“If you hear gurgling sounds in the drain when doing laundry or even flushing a toilet, it may mean your drain is clogged,” said Matt O’Rourke, vice president of Plumbing Professors, (800) 654-1300,

O’Rourke said drain lines are often clogged with debris or tree roots that have grown into the drain pipe and are blocking the flow of water. The best way to determine if there is a potential problem is with a special video sewer camera that is inserted into the drain and can see what is clogging it. In many cases, simply snaking out the drain will fix the problem, although with tree roots, snaking may only get rid of 30 percent to 50 percent of the roots. If you have a more serious tree-root problem, it is best to have a plumber use the hydro-jetting process.

“We use high-pressure water and shoot it into the drain at between 3,000 to 4,000 PSI at 18 gallons of water per minute, and this process will eliminate 99 percent of any tree roots that are clogging the drain,” O’Rourke said.

Basement walls are another area where preventative maintenance can make a huge difference. Dean Teaster from Mr. Sponge, (800) 491-4686,, said wall cracks and tie rods account for about 95 percent of the water leakage he sees in basements.

“We see a lot of people that have had new drain tiles put into a home, but that doesn’t fix the leaks that are coming from rod holes or cracks,” Teaster said. “It is better to fix the source of the problem so you don’t have anymore leaks.”

To fill a crack, it is best to inject polyurethane, water-activated resin into the crack. Mr. Sponge uses this injection waterproofing method and has its own SP-3 proprietary urethane formula that is designed to create a lasting, pliable seal.

Fixing tie rod holes is also an important preventative maintenance tactic to keep your basements dry, but just using hydraulic cement to patch the hole is not always the solution. For a more permanent solution, Teaster and Mr. Sponge developed a patented hydrophilic swell plug that fits tightly into the typical 5/8 -inch rod hole opening and seals the hole, eliminating rod-hole leaks.

While you are in the basement, you should get into the habit of draining 3-5 gallons of water from your 40-gallon hot water heater every six months to remove sediment that builds up. If you haven’t done this regularly, you can clean the sediment out by using two gallons of canning-strength vinegar (five percent) per full water heater. Turn off the burner, drain the tank and let the vinegar soak in the water heater for two hours. Rinse out the tank, then refill it with water and turn on the burners.

And if you haven’t had your air ducts cleaned in the past seven years, now is a great time to do it to help your heating and cooling system work more efficiently and improve the indoor-air quality of your home. Make sure you call a company that is a certified member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, such as Dalton Environmental, (800) 675-2298, Dusty Ducts, (313) 381-7801, Fresh Air Solutions, (800) 341-4076, or Safety King, (800) AIR-DUCT.

With our recent run of warm weather, you can look for your energy bills to rise right along with the thermometer. This is a great time to consider having your home’s insulation brought up to code: R-49 in most ceilings. Rebates are in effect and you can save real money when you heat or cool your home.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 11/16/2000

Dear Glenn: I would like the name of a waterproofing company. I had several estimates, and now don’t know whether or not to get the problem repaired from outside or inside.

Are there professionals that can be trusted to tell us whether the leak needs to be repaired from outside or inside and where the leak is really coming from? We didn’t hire anyone, because each company had a slightly different technique. Should we check references or prior jobs?
   — Dina and Dwight, Detroit

Dear Diana and Dwight: Finding the right waterproofing company is tough. You can call the National Waterproofing Council: (800) 245-6292, or check out its web site:, for information on certified waterproofing contractors. The phone list on my web site,, lists some of the waterproofing contractors I respect. You’ll find the companies listed under basement problems.

Whether you get inside or outside work done is really a philosophical difference. If the problem is cracks, injection by a company such as Mr. Sponge, (800) 491-4686, is the cheapest and probably the best solution. If the problem is structural, companies such as Calculus Construction and Jackson Water Proofing have the edge.

As a general rule, if a waterproofing company only uses one waterproofing technique, they will tell you that is the solution to every problem. If a company does several techniques you have a better chance of being recommended the best solution.

Certainly you should always check references. Ask for references from folks who had similar problems to yours. Get references where the work was done at least 2 or 3 years ago. You want to know whether the fix stopped the leak and and that it did not return over a period of time.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 03/02/2006

Dear Glenn: I discovered several cracks in our basement walls while removing paneling. I solicited bids from several contractors, and they suggested three different methods for “sealing” the cracks.

The methods were: filling the cracks with epoxy; filling the cracks with urethane; and placing fiberglass panels over the cracks and allowing water to seep into the footing drain previously installed along the interior perimeter of our basement.

I am confused. Which method is best?

John, Grand Rapids

Dear John : “Best” lies in the eyes of the beholder. I recommend injecting the cracks. Mr. Sponge, (800) 491-4686,, is a specialist in this type of repair.

They probably will not go up to Grand Rapids, but they might give you a recommendation on contractors.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 08/24/2000

Dear Glenn: After living in my home for 23 years, we are having problems with water in the basement. Thus far, we have two estimates and are troubled by the differences in procedure. One suggests outside ground work while the other wants to do urethane injections.

The urethane injection company will give me a lifetime warranty, but I am concerned with the possible impact of urethane. While I understand it is ‘legal,’ I am concerned with the environmental impact of urethane and the possibility that it may contribute to future respiratory problems or environmental illnesses. Please comment.
   — Sharon, West Bloomfield

Dear Sharon: Injection cannot fix all basement leaks, but if it is the right fix for your problem, it would be my first choice. Injection is usually a faster, less expensive method of fixing leaks. The elastromeric compounds hold up to the expansion and contraction brought about by seasonal changes. Companies like Mr. Sponge, (800) 491-4686, have developed the procedure to a high art. Neither you, nor the environment, should have any problem.

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 09/20/1997

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America’s Master Handyman ® Glenn Haege

Publication date 03/30/1996

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