Lynchburg, VA has a humid subtropical climate, so summer storms put foundations at risk of flooding. JES Foundation Repair waterproofing solutions can protect your home.Schedule Free Inspection
Basement And Crawl Space Waterproofing in Lynchburg
Basements and crawl spaces are not built to be waterproof. Because of this, many homeowners, especially those that live in humid subtropical climate regions like Lynchburg, VA, experience a lot of foundation flooding and leaks. However, just because a wet foundation is common doesn’t mean that it should stay that way. If you’re a homeowner who is tired of mopping up standing water in your basement, it’s time to invest in waterproofing solutions.
Completely waterproofing your basement or crawl space will require a few different solutions. For one, there needs to be a way to drain all water that seeps into the basement, be it through the upper portions of the house, or through a window. This can be taken care of with a sump pump, which automatically collects water and drains it away from the foundation. Because of the clay in the soil, you’ll also want a perimeter drain so that the groundwater that surrounds the foundation gets drained out too.
For humidity control, a vapor barrier will prevent water vapor from entering the crawl space through the walls. A vapor barrier can be paired up nicely with a perimeter drain since the plastic sheet allows moisture to flow into the drain faster. To control the humidity levels of the space, a dehumidifier can be placed so that the air can be moisture-free and completely purified.
Lynchburg Foundation Repair
Though the topsoil is fine and sandy, the soil in Lynchburg, VA contains clay past 9 inches. The clay poses a problem for your basement because it means that the soil surrounding it is excellent at retaining water. When a large amount of water accumulates against the foundation wall, it exerts a force known as hydrostatic pressure, and it’s this force that causes the basement wall to bow inwards. After experiencing hydrostatic pressure long-term, the wall will begin to break.
The cracks on the wall make it easier for the groundwater to break through and cause leaking. Significant wall bowing will see groundwater seep through the wall-floor joint. All of this can be avoided with a proper yard drainage system and waterproofing solutions. If you are experiencing wall bowing and it’s too late for preventative measures, repairs can still be made.
Depending on your foundation’s needs, we can stabilize the wall using wall anchors or IntelliBrace™, a wall bracing system. Wall anchors require excavation, but IntelliBrace™ does not. The steel I-beams that can be attached to your basement floor and floor joists can provide homeowners with fast results and a convenient installation process. Both IntelliBrace™ and wall anchors are permanent solutions with the potential to straighten out your bowing wall.
Concrete Lifting in Lynchburg
Like many other places in Virginia, Lynchburg has a four-season climate with cold winters, pleasant springs, rainy summers, and chilly falls. It’s also a region with soil that is very grainy and fine, though it does contain more clay the further down the soil layers you go. During the summer, the rain causes the grainy soil under the slab to wash out, and because of the displacement of soil, gaps form under the concrete.
Before the washout, the concrete slabs and concrete steps had an even layer of soil they could rely on to keep them steady. After soil washout, the soil layer now has gaps the concrete settles against. Because the slabs settle, they become uneven and dangerous to walk on, so contact an expert as soon as you notice that your concrete is settling.
For concrete settling repairs, we use polyurethane foam. The goal is to provide the concrete with a material that does not wash out with time, like the soil does. The polyurethane foam is injected under the slab via previously drilled holes, and the foam expands and fills the voids left by the soil. As it expands, it forces the concrete up and evens it out. The polyurethane is left to cure, and once it is completely hardened, it provides the slab with proper support.
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About Waterproofing, Foundation Repair & Crawl Spaces in Lynchburg
If you put a vapor barrier and a white plastic sheet side by side, many might not be able to tell them apart. Although vapor barriers and regular plastic sheets look similar, the material they are made out of makes them very different. It’s because of these differences that the vapor barrier is capable of protecting your basement from water vapor while the plastic sheet cannot. Vapor barriers are made of polyethylene, which is a type of polymer that is molecularly denser than normal plastic. It’s because of this density that vapor barriers are so good at blocking off water vapor, whose particles are incredibly small and difficult to contain.
Polyethylene is among the most durable plastics in the world, which is why vapor barriers are able to withstand years of moisture exposure without breaking down. Because regular plastic sheets were not made with foundation waterproofing in mind, they tend to be too thin to be effective against water vapor. Vapor barriers like WallSeal™ are 20-mil thick and designed to be durable and difficult to tear. The same cannot be said for regular plastic, which can be torn through and pierced with sharp objects. Another difference between the two is the different ways they interact with bacteria.
Regular plastic sheets have no protection against bacteria. After years of being in your basement, a regular plastic sheet can harbor so much bacteria that mold grows on the sheet. Mold may not be able to eat plastic, but it can eat the bacteria on the plastic with no problem. Vapor barriers like WallSeal™, on the other hand, have antimicrobial properties that protect them against bacteria and mold. So, although they look similar, you cannot use a plastic sheet in place of a real vapor barrier.
When a basement wall is up against hydrostatic pressure, it needs to exert just as much force against the groundwater in order to stop bowing. This isn’t something basements can do on their own, so wall anchors are needed to stabilize the wall. First, contractors determine where each earth anchor needs to be installed. Holes are excavated outside and the anchors are put into place. Once everything is set, the excavated hole is filled back up and your yard looks untampered with.
Inside, holes are drilled into the bowing basement wall and steel rods are pushed through until they are attached to the earth anchors outside. A bit of the rod pokes through the hole, and this bit is used to secure steel plates against the wall. The plates are bolted to the walls and as the bolts tighten, it creates enough pressure to stabilize the wall. Over time, the bolts can be tightened even further so that the wall can be straightened as well. This needs to be done slowly sometimes because you don’t want to compromise the already weak concrete, so it’s best to tighten the bolt over time.
The reason wall anchors work is because of the same reason helical and push piers work for settling foundations. The anchors and rods are placed in deep, load bearing soils capable of holding the anchor down while the plates, bolts, and rods work together to apply pressure against the wall. Every component used for the wall anchor system is made of solid, galvanized steel, so you won’t have to worry about rust. Wall anchors are a permanent solution to basement wall bowing and once they are installed, they will stay there for as long as they need to be there. Because the plates take up zero space on the walls, you can finish your basement and add drywall knowing that the wall is protected.
If you’ve noticed the signs of basement wall bowing, you need to act fast. These kinds of foundation problems can damage your home so severely, you could end up paying thousands in repairs. However, if you noticed that your wall isn’t bowing too severely, you might be wondering if it’s worth calling a foundation expert for. Repair solutions like wall anchors and wall bracing systems are meant for walls that are bowing further than two inches, so where does that leave your wall? Even if it’s minor bowing, you can still ensure its stabilization before it gets worse by using carbon fiber straps.
Carbon fiber straps are sheets of carbon fiber that are used to stabilize bowing walls. Carbon fiber straps may look flimsy, but you have to remember that carbon fiber is stronger than steel. It’s more than capable of combating hydrostatic pressure. Contactors must first apply a coating of high-strength epoxy resin wherever the straps will be. Once on the wall, the straps are secured into place with another layer of epoxy resin.
Never wait long after finding out that you have some sort of foundation problem. Your foundation is too important for you to just ignore whatever issue it has, so contact your local experts if you have any doubts. Structural damage is unpredictable, so while the wall could be fine today, it could look completely different overnight. Whether it’s minor bowing or cinder blocks that are nearly bursting, there is a solution for your wall.
At JES Foundation Repair, we recommend that all our clients interested in a perimeter drain use BasementGutter™. It’s a perimeter drain for basements that is designed to drain groundwater from the surrounding foundation and capture moisture seepage from the walls. BasementGutter™ is similar to French drains except that it’s a lot less expensive and a more efficient drainage system because it’s located indoors. With exterior drainage, excavation is required, which is what shoots the price for French drains way up. Interior drains, however, don’t have such an extensive installation process.
The drain pipe is placed inside a small trench that runs along the perimeter of the basement. This trench is right against the basement walls so that the drain has an easier time collecting groundwater from the wall-floor joint. This area is the one most susceptible to flooding when a foundation is experiencing hydrostatic pressure, so its placement is used to optimize the drainage system’s performance. The drain can be connected to your basement’s sump pump so that all the water collected can be reliably pumped out.
The drain is designed to resist clogging, which is a big problem with exterior drainage systems. You won’t have to worry about whether or not the drain is doing its job during a storm because it’s capable of handling a lot of water without getting backed up. A lack of clogging also means less maintenance work and expensive repairs, so a money-conscious homeowner would love this particular drainage system. BasementGutter™ is only available through JES Foundation Repair, so if you’re interested, give us a call for a free inspection.
Jammed doors and windows are a common sign of foundation settling. Foundation settling occurs when the soil layer under the foundation erodes and becomes uneven. There are different types of settling and the one that causes jammed doors and windows is differential settling. Differential settling refers to a house that is settling sideways while part of the foundation is breaking off the rest of the house. Because the foundation is tilting sideways, the rest of the house is too, which is what causes the jammed doors and windows.
As the house tilts, the door and window frames warp, making it very difficult to use the doors and windows. If the house is settling, the floor might be affected too. If the floor is uneven and one part of it is raised enough to graze the bottom of the door, it could be another reason why it’s so difficult to open and close it. Jammed doors and windows are a huge indicator that the settling has been going on for a while, so before things get worse, you need to think about contacting your local experts for foundation repair solutions.
The best way to repair a settling foundation is with the use of helical and push piers. Helical and push piers are installed deep underground and attached to the foundation so that they can transfer the weight of the house over to denser soils. The rods are made of steel and are coated in zinc to protect from corrosion. Both these systems are permanent solutions to foundation settling, so they don’t require replacing every few years. They also have the potential to lift your house back in place, so you won’t have to worry about the unevenness ruining your doors and windows any longer.
Concrete settling is difficult to detect in its early stages. When it does begin to settle, the signs are subtle and easy to miss. After settling, however, the concrete and the soil underneath rapidly deteriorate and, before you know it, you’re looking at an uneven, broken slab. Broken slabs are not impossible to repair, but the more cracked it is, the more likely you’ll have to replace it instead. To avoid costly slab replacement, keep a close eye on the concrete around your home and try to spot the problem signs early.
One of the indicators that your slab is settling is wobbliness. When you step on your slab and it doesn’t feel firm, it indicates a problem with the slab’s foundation, the soil. While it may feel slight at first, that wobbliness will increase as the concrete settles further until you no longer feel safe to step on it. Another indicator is cracks since concrete cracks more easily after settling. This is more likely to happen to your driveway slabs since they have to withstand the weight of a car when the driveway is used.
Take a moment to inspect slabs that are next to soil. If there is a hole that allows you to see under the slab, it won’t be long before the slab settles against that gap. Even if the slab doesn’t feel like it will give way, the gap has opened a door for water to flow under the slab and erode the rest of the soil. So, if you see these problem signs, don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can lift your slab and even it out permanently with polyurethane foam injections.
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JES Foundation Repair
456 Old Courthouse Rd
Appomattox, VA 24522
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 9 pm
Friday: 7 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 2 pm