Crawl Space & Foundation Repair in Northeast, NC
The mix of red clay and Cecil soils that are common in Northeast, NC may cause problems for the structure of a home in wet & muggy climates.Schedule Free Inspection
Sinking, settling, and fragmentation in the concrete surfaces around a property can be caused by several different issues, but the most common is undoubtedly instability in the soil. The red clay and Cecil soils that are so common around Northeast, NC are generally fairly stable, but they can be reactive to water, and lighter soils can be displaced by heavy rainfall or storming. Soil displacement is less common than saturation, of course, but either will lead to sinking, movement, and cracking in concrete surfaces and slabs.
These days, there are a number of concrete lifting and repair methods that can be deployed to restore these surfaces to full health. The team here at JES Foundation Repair is highly skilled and trained in the most up-to-date concrete lifting measures. Unlike other firms who utilize out-of-date concrete lifting methods like mudjacking, we use modern and effective processes like polyurethane foam injection and slab pier installations.
Mudjacking (and many older methods of lifting) is ineffective in the long-term for many reasons. First and foremost, the slurry used to lift concrete surfaces is heavy and porous when it sets. This can overburden already weak or problematic soil. PolyRenewal polyurethane foam, by contrast, is lightweight, water-resistant, and quick setting. As such, it will not put pressure on already unstable soil. Slab piers, as another solution, can transfer the weight of concrete slabs to soil beneath the frost line, thereby mitigating the issue of unstable, loose, or reactive soil altogether. Of course, if the situation is particularly severe, these measures can be used together to fix the problem.
The same forces that can impact your property’s exterior concrete surfaces and slabs can also impact your property’s foundation over time. Unlike standalone concrete surfaces that have shallow roots, so to speak, the average property’s foundation is beyond the reach of surface level disruption like soil erosion. Soil saturation, expansion, or washout, however, can have a huge impact on your home’s foundation very quickly, and may lead to issues like settlement, subsidence, and lateral movement. Homes with a basement also face the risk of bowing walls should the levels of hydrostatic pressure around a home become too high.
Repairing foundation settlement or subsidence can be relatively straightforward for those who have the appropriate training and tools at their disposal. Here at JES Foundation Repair, we have a team of highly skilled and trained foundation repair specialists who are always ready to help homeowners restore their home to full health. The most common repair process for foundation settlement and subsidence is the installation of foundation piers.
There are, broadly speaking, three kinds of foundation piers: push piers, helical piers, and slab piers. Slab piers are specialized piers that are used for concrete slab foundations and smaller structures. Push piers and helical piers, by contrast, are most commonly used in homes that have poured concrete foundations. Push piers are best used for heavier homes that have intact foundation footings. These piers are driven into the soil hydraulically and must be installed vertically. Helical piers, by contrast, are essentially screwed into the ground and can be installed at an angle. This makes them good for lighter properties and properties that have cracked or fragmented foundation footings.
Crawl Space Repair, Encapsulation and Basement Waterproofing in Northeast, NC
The wet and often humid, subtropical climate in Northeast NC can be challenging for a number of reasons. Soil saturation, rainfall, storms, and generally high levels of humidity mean that homes in this area are often more vulnerable to issues with dampness, flooding, and humidity. Older homes can be especially vulnerable because of the likelihood that they will have outdated structural features like crawl space vents or external basement access hatches. Offsetting these features with comprehensive waterproofing can have many benefits for a home.
If you own a home in Northeast NC, it is likely that you already have a sump pump system in place to drain water from the lowest area of your home, but true waterproofing requires a little more. While sump pump systems are often the first and last line of defense against dampness and flooding in a home, it is far preferable to keep water out of your property in the first place. This is where waterproofing comes in.
If you want to protect your crawl space or basement, JES can help. Our team has a portfolio of passive and proactive waterproofing products that will protect your crawl space or basement from dampness and humidity, and provide a range of benefits that go far beyond simply keeping moisture out of your home. These benefits include, but are not limited to, higher levels of energy efficiency, a consistent internal climate, and lower energy bills.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Waterproofing, Foundation Repair & Crawl Spaces in the Northeast NC Metro Area
The soil that surrounds your property always has some water in it – this is simply a fact. In a more wet and humid state like North Carolina, however, the soil can become overwhelmed by water during some months and this saturation impacts your home (especially if you have a basement). If you have a basement, excessive soil saturation can lead to issues like seepage, dampness, flooding, high humidity, and even damage like cracked or bowing walls. Proper drainage is crucial to preventing this.
Interior drain systems are some of the most effective systems on the market right now. This is why they are so common in and around Northeast NC. Of course, they are not really standalone products. While interior drains are effective, they are at their best when connected to a sump pump system and used in conjunction with other waterproofing measures. When they are a part of a larger waterproofing system, however, interior drains are some of the best options for indoor spaces.
What sets interior drain systems apart from others is their placement around the perimeter of a room, below ground level. Their underground placement makes them easier to disguise with gravel (which also filters water and prevents avoidable blockages), while their placement at the perimeter of a room means that they can also collect condensation that forms and runs down the walls. This dual functionality means that they are very efficient in many ways.
Mold is a very common substance to find in homes of all ages because it can flourish in even the toughest of conditions. What’s worse, because mold tends to thrive in dark, hidden corners first it can be quite hard to spot unless you know what you are looking for (or it has progressed quite far inside a home). There are some problem signs that you can be on the lookout for, however! When trying to figure out whether you have mold, you should consult all of your senses.
Mold is a fungal growth that needs certain conditions to grow. The presence of spores, organic material, and a certain level of moisture or humidity are needed to allow it to grow. So, if you notice condensation in your home, or you feel that levels of humidity have risen around your property, you should start to look for signs of mold. The first sign of mold formation is discoloration. Surfaces that are hosting mold will start to show discolored patches that can be anything from green or brown to black in color. This is often the first sign of mold, of course, but is not always the one that people notice first, especially if the mold is forming in a hidden area.
Most people notice the smell of mold first. Once mold has started to really take root in a space, it will let loose spores in huge numbers. This is bad for a number of reasons, but has one silver lining: it produces a very distinctive, musty smell. This smell is dry and slightly sweet, and can often produce low-level irritation in the same way that mild hay fever or seasonal allergies do. If you notice this smell or some patches of discoloration, you should contact a professional to assess your home properly.
The red clay soil that is found through much of Northeast NC is iconic. It is rich, fertile, and has many strengths. Unfortunately, it can also present a number of challenges to homes and structures that are built on it, especially during the stormier seasons of the year. This is because clay soils are expansive and water reactive in nature, and can become quite unstable when they are extremely saturated or dehydrated. Of course, many parts of Northeast NC also have the state soil (Cecil soil) that is far less reactive, but also has some limitations and weaknesses.
In fact, almost all soil has some weaknesses to consider. This is why contractors often seek to build in areas that have balanced, mixed soil. While expansive soils can be strong, you see, they are changeable. Keeping them stable requires careful and consistent moisture management around a home. If the soil becomes very saturated, it will swell and become soft and marshy. This can lead to subsidence and even heaving in concrete surfaces and structures.
If the soil becomes very dehydrated, however, it will shrink and become brittle. While prolonged droughts are rare in Northeast NC, they can happen. When they do, the soil can recede and crack quite dramatically. This leads to an issue known as settlement, whereby a foundation fragments and sections of it fall into the voids left in the earth. This destabilizes a property, and when the drought breaks, it will let water seep into your home.
Crawl space vents are fairly common in Northeast NC and were installed in homes that were built between 1950 and 1990 as a matter of best practice. This was done because industry specialists believed that crawl space ventilation would prevent dampness and humidity in a property by increasing airflow. Of course, later studies found that such vents do in fact increase airflow. Unfortunately, it is not a good thing.
The increased airflow has two main effects on a home. Firstly, it contributes to something called the stack effect. The stack effect, also called the chimney effect, is a process by which a channel of air runs from the bottom of a property to the top. This can cause issues in any home, and will be most pronounced in mid-summer and winter when your HVAC system is in full use. The stack effect is fueled by how air reacts to being heated or cooled. Since artificially-processed air rises or sinks, it will exit your home and draw in air from outside.
This causes a number of issues, the foremost being high relative humidity. The summers in Northeast NC can be muggy and humid, anyway, so keeping a property’s interior relatively arid can be a challenge. In a home that has exposed crawl space vents, it is almost impossible. Dampness, of course, has a number of negative side effects, including the increased risk of wood rot and mold formation. So, all in all, it is best to cover your vents where possible.
Insulation is absolutely crucial to maintaining the health and wellbeing of your home, as well as your comfort. By improving heat retention and increasing energy efficiency, insulation makes your home more comfortable and reduces energy costs, but it can do far more than this. Insulation in a property’s crawl space or basement, for example, is also imperative to preventing dampness and protecting your plumbing system. Good insulation will keep your home warm and dry and prevent your pipes from freezing.
Of course, insulation generally has a long lifespan (anywhere from 15 to 25 years, or even longer, depending on the material), and some can be classed as having no exhaustible lifespan. Nonetheless, many forms of insulation will degrade over time and all are susceptible to some form of damage. The only form of insulation that is generally resistant to organic decay is foam insulation. Fiberglass insulation, by contrast, is quite vulnerable to things like dampness and can degrade quite badly when they are faced with prolonged dampness.
The signs of damage to insulation include, but are not limited to, discoloration, warping, structural breakdown (for example, insulation hanging in strips), and a rotten or pungent odor in the areas around insulation. If you notice these signs, or you have concerns about your insulation, you should contact a professional to discuss your home’s health. Replacing insulation is fairly straightforward. So as long as there is no secondary damage to deal with, this process should be quick and cost-effective. Acting quickly is key to preventing avoidable secondary issues and problems, however, so do not ignore signs of damage, no matter how small they may seem.
Hydrostatic pressure is something that every home has to deal with. After all, it is simply the combined weight of the soil and the water that it contains. This is something that every home is designed to cope with to a certain extent. Hydrostatic pressure only really causes problems when it reaches levels that are unbearable for your property. When this happens, the damage can be significant and widespread.
The reason that hydrostatic pressure causes issues like fragmentation, cracking, movement, and bowing in basement walls is because the pressure that it applies is lateral in nature. Concrete, as a material, is incredibly durable and strong. It can hold huge amounts of weight and has incredibly compressive strength. However, its tensile strength is a fraction of this. In short, concrete cannot stretch and lateral pressure forces it to flex in ways it is not made to.
When this happens, it is common for affected concrete structures and surfaces to move, crack, lean, or buckle. Once the structure of your home has been damaged, furthermore, the water in the soil will start to seep through these cracks and into your home. This, in turn, can cause increased humidity, dampness, mold formation, wood rot, and many other moisture-related issues, as well as making your home far more inviting to pests of all kinds.
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