Remodeling for the Future: Preventing Basement Water Damage

Basement living area
Photograph provided by Black Ice Studio

After nine years in their home, Thomas Kammeyer, software engineer with Sun Nuclear Corporation in Madison, and Joan Bartel, associate principal at Sun Prairie Area School District, had a need for more living space. Like most families, needs change over time. Thomas’ father moved in, and the family decided it was time to remodel the basement to allow for additional family-friendly space for their children, Sam, 19, and Taylor, 14, to play and watch movies, and there would be room for an office.

“We didn’t build for something like that,” says Joan. Their 2,000-square-foot, two-story home was built for their needs fifteen years ago, in February 2002, on a lot off Monroe Street with three bedrooms and a 726-square-foot basement. For an update this big, they needed a professional remodeler.

It was Thomas’ mother who had first worked with Tony Trapp Remodeling and Repairs. She hired the team for work on her house. “She’s since passed away, but she had great things to say about Tony,” says Joan. “We got to know him a little through her experience.”

This was the first time Thomas and Joan hired a remodeler for a large project. “We decided if we wanted to do this, we wanted to install zone heating,” Joan says. “It has since drastically decreased our heating/cooling bills.” Tony and his team began the basement remodel in 2011 and finished in about two months.

Overall, Tony says basement remodels are less disruptive compared to other types of home remodels. “We took out a basement window to transport materials,” he says. “We didn’t have to track through the house.” The finished basement now has a smaller room/office; a three-quarter bath, where none had existed; a great room; and a utility room with space for a freezer.

When Joan hired Tony for the basement remodel, one of her main concerns was water damage. Soon after the home was built, a cement tie came out. “We hadn’t been in the house long and we already had water leaking,” she says. “The builder took care of it, but we knew we never wanted this to happen again.”

Interior perimeter drain tile was added beneath the basement floor, and a radon fan was used to help with moisture reduction. The fan circulates air beneath the drain tile and evaporates water before it enters the house. Exterior walls were built so the walls could dry on both the back and front side. Instead of fiberglass insulation, Tony used ridged Gator board foam. This foam allows water that might seep through the outer walls to run into the drain tile and not soak the drywall. He says this foam adds thermal comfort and isolates the wood framing and drywall from water that might seep through the outer walls on its way into the drain tile.

By adding a whole-house, zoned dehumidifier and a zoning system to the existing furnace and air conditioner, the homeowners gained the ability to have a thermostat for each level. This elevates their comfort. “Thomas and Joan have a more sophisticated heating and cooling system than most typical homes, which helps with comfort and moisture control,” Tony says.

The preventative measures taken for water and moisture control damage paid off. In 2016, Thomas and Joan had a large flood due to a burst water softener. One inch of water soaked the carpet throughout the basement. “Luckily, the burst was caught quickly and nothing needed to be replaced or painted,” Tony says. “Not even the carpet after the water restoration team was done because of the extra measures we took in managing moisture.”

Tony Trapp founded Tony Trapp Remodeling and Repairs in 2002. His goal was to provide reliable home improvement services to develop long-term relationships with his customers.

Now, the company of seven also provides services to the community. They donate time and materials to Hammer with a Heart, donate used and surplus materials to Habitat ReStore of Dane County, and provide support for organizations, such as Sharing Active Independent Lives (SAIL), which works to keep seniors in their homes. Tony Trapp Remodeling and Repairs also is a member of community organizations, such as NARI of Madison, Latino Chamber of Commerce, and Middleton Chamber of Commerce.

“Tony and his team are very detailed oriented,” Joan says. “There is a real genuine quality to Tony. You can tell he wants things to be done right and well.”

When Thomas’ mother died, Tony sent the family a bouquet. “I was totally blown away,” Joan says. “It shows the type of person he is.”

As for the future, it seems Tony has secured a lifelong client. “We haven’t done anything in a while, but at some point our kitchen will need to be updated,” Joan says. “Tony Trapp and his team will be the contractor we choose.”

Chelsey Dequaine works as director of social media strategy for designCraft Advertising and is a freelance writer.

Photographs provided by Black Ice Studio.

Tony Trapp Remodeling and Repairs
222 N. Midvale Boulevard #29
Madison, WI 53705