Crawl Space Encapsulation & Foundation Repair in Northern VA
The mix of Pamunkey & clay soils in Washington DC & Northern Virginia have many implications for your home, especially when localized flooding occurs.Schedule Free Inspection
Basement Waterproofing and Crawl Space Repair & Encapsulation in Northern Virginia
Keeping your home dry and free from dampness and humidity is of the utmost importance when it comes to preventing avoidable damage and ensuring that your home is a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment to live in. Unfortunately, many homes in Northern Virginia are vulnerable to dampness and humidity. This is especially the case for older homes that did not have waterproofing measures installed at construction, or which have outdated features that were once, erroneously, believed to be helpful (like crawl space vents).
A lack of waterproofing in a property can be dangerous, especially if the weather is bad. The climate in Northern Virginia can be muggy and humid in the summer, and thoroughly wet and cold in the winter. Perimeter saturation and flooding can be fairly common, especially when there are periods of heavy snowfall and thaw. As well as things like seepage and generally high humidity, there are a number of more serious issues that can arise as a result of a lack of waterproofing in a home. Mold formation and wood rot, for example, can take a serious toll on your home and health.
Undertaking waterproofing with the help of a professional like those at JES Foundation Repair can have many benefits for your home and your health. Of course, waterproofing and encapsulation are flexible and easy-to-tailor processes that can be made to fit the needs of almost any space. With the right mix of preventive and proactive measures, we could render your property waterproof, warm, and stable in less than a day!
Your property’s foundation is one of the most important parts of the structure as a whole. Even a small amount of movement, lateral or vertical, can cause a number of problems for the whole structure of your home. Subsidence and settlement are unfortunately common problems throughout Northern Virginia, and they often lead to issues like bowing walls and uneven flooring in a property. These issues can be caused by many things, but are most often caused by issues in the soil.
Both subsidence and settlement are best dealt with via the installation of foundation piers as they provide support while bypassing the weak or unstable soil altogether. By transferring the weight of your home to competent strata below the frost line, foundation piers can lift your home back into place and provide a long-term solution to the underlying issues that led to the damage and movement in the first place.
The team here at JES Foundation Repair specializes in deploying solutions like these. We can talk you through the strengths and limitations of each kind of foundation pier and advise you as to the best solutions for your home. Likewise, we will be able to advise you as to the best possible solutions for any secondary issues and problems that might have arisen as a result of prolonged foundation damage and instability in your home. Finally, if you have a concrete slab foundation, we also have slab piers that can be used to provide a seamless and effective lift.
The same soil-based issues that can impact your property’s foundation are very much a threat to external surfaces and structures, too. Soil saturation, washout, erosion, and expansion or shrinkage can cause a lot of problems for your exterior concrete surfaces, sidewalks, and driveway very quickly. These issues include (but are not limited to) lateral movement, sinking, and cracking. As well as being unsightly, these issues can present a hazard to you and anyone else on your property.
Unevenness and cracking present a tripping hazard in many cases. While a fall on concrete can be serious for healthy adults, it could be far more serious for young children, elderly people, and those who have underlying mobility issues and concerns. These more exposed surfaces can act like canaries in the coal mine for your foundation. Acting quickly when you see a sunken concrete slab could save you a huge amount of hassle and stress in the long run.
Concrete lifting can take a number of forms, but while many firms use older methods like mudjacking, we prefer more up-to-date repair processes. Mudjacking is messy, disruptive, and very often ineffective. Mudjacking uses cement slurry to lift and set sunken concrete slabs, and while it does this effectively, it rarely holds the slab in place. In fact, the weight of the cement slurry can actually overburden already weak soil and lead to a recurrence of the damage. Here at JES Foundation Repair, we prefer PolyRenewal Foam Injection, because it uses the same principles much more effectively and gives long-lasting results without serious disruption to your home or wider property.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Waterproofing, Foundation Repair & Crawl Spaces in the Northern Virginia Metro Area
Seeing a visible tilt or lean to your property from the sidewalk is one of the most unnerving things that any homeowner can experience. By the time unevenness has become this visible, it is almost certain that the cause is foundation damage or movement of some kind. There is really no other issue that can sufficiently destabilize or shift the full structure of a property so dramatically. Of course, there can be a number of underlying causes of foundation damage.
The silty-loam soil in Northern Virginia is relatively stable and has good drainage capabilities, but in most of the state, this Pamunkey soil generally has layers of clay-based soil underneath it. This soil, by contrast, is far more reactive and expansive. As such, periods of intense rainfall and storm can lead to the clay expanding and cause the Pamunkey soil above to shift and move, leaving your home vulnerable to lateral movement or sinking. There is also the possibility of the clay soil underneath the Pamunkey soil shrinking during dry spells. When this happens, settlement is a far more likely outcome.
Subsidence is more likely to make your home look uneven from one side to the other in a semi-consistent way. This is because subsidence generally occurs when soil is loose or weak, and occurs because of the weight of the property in question. As such, subsidence does not always cause foundation cracking or fragmentation. Settlement, by contrast, is more likely to cause interior unevenness or localized sinking. Of course, fully diagnosing the causes of unevenness in your home should be left to professionals.
Hydrostatic pressure is, above and beyond all else, a natural force that all homes have to deal with on a pretty much consistent basis. You see, hydrostatic pressure is simply the weight of the soil and the water that it contains at any given point. All properties are designed and built to withstand a certain level of hydrostatic pressure. Problems only really arise when the level of hydrostatic pressure goes beyond a property’s threshold.
When this happens, there are likely to be a number of repercussions for any home that is being affected. For example, homes that have unsealed foundation walls and a non-waterproofed crawl space or basement are likely to see seepage when the level of hydrostatic pressure around your property starts to get too high. This will, of course, cause a rise in humidity and dampness, and increase the risk of issues like mold formation and wood rot. More serious, however, is the likelihood of structural damage to your home.
One of the main reasons that basement or foundation walls can start to crack, lean, or buckle and bow when faced with strong hydrostatic pressure is because of how it applies pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is applied laterally, and this is something that concrete has real trouble dealing with. Concrete has a huge compressive strength, of course, but next to no tensile strength. As such, any significant level of hydrostatic pressure can cause serious damage very quickly and make repairs complex and very costly.
Bowing walls are a very common issue in Northern Virginia, unfortunately. The nature of the climate and soil in this part of the U.S. makes flooding, perimeter saturation, and excessive hydrostatic pressure very common. Once a wall has started to bow, action is necessary. Unlike some other problems, bowing walls will not simply “settle” over time. Instead, they will get progressively worse until the wall in question collapses.
Thankfully, there are a number of solutions on the market right now, each of which has its own set of strengths and limitations that must be considered. Carbon fiber reinforcement straps, for example, are the most cost-effective measures on the market, but they are also the only repair option that does not allow for a bowing wall to be straightened. Furthermore, they are only suitable for walls that have deviated by less than 2 inches.
Walls that are more badly damaged can be stabilized and straightened with the use of wall anchors or wall beams. Both use the concept of applying opposing force to prevent further deviation, but can also be used to straighten bowing walls gradually over time. Wall anchors are far more invasive in nature and need a certain amount of exterior space for installation, though they are easier to disguise. Wall beams, by contrast, are harder to disguise but easier to install. They are far less invasive and require no exterior space to be installed, making them more versatile by far. In most cases, you will have options for bowing wall repair. You should contact a professional to ensure that you make a choice that suits the needs of your home well.
The average crawl space in Northern Virginia is somewhat of a contradiction. While a property’s crawl space is undeniably one of the most vulnerable parts of the structure as a whole, it is also one of the most important. As well as providing a buffer zone between your main home and the ground, your crawl space acts as a hub for your property’s utilities. Pipes, wires, and your HVAC ducts can all be found in this space.
As such, it is ironic and somewhat surprising that many older homes have next to no waterproofing measures in their crawl space. This can wreak havoc on their pipes, wires, and HVAC system, especially when there is dampness or humidity at work in the space. Older homes, in particular, are vulnerable because of the likelihood that they will have exposed crawl space vents. As such, waterproofing your property’s crawl space is a very good idea if you intend to protect your home from avoidable damage in the long run.
Waterproofing your crawl space will have immediate benefits, of course, like a reduction in the levels of humidity and dampness, but also more indirect benefits. For example, a property with lower levels of humidity will find that their HVAC system can provide results with much less stress and energy consumption. This will lead to lower energy bills in the long run, as well as a generally healthier and more comfortable environment.
A property’s sump pump system is very often the hardest working appliance in a home in Northern Virginia. Sump pump systems are often the first and last line of defense against flooding in a home, and as such, breakdowns can be incredibly damaging. This is why it is key to know the signs of sump pump deterioration and inefficiency, so that you can act quickly.
All sump pump systems have a basic lifespan, after which you can expect to see a gradual lowering in efficiency and a general increase in the frequency of breakdowns. For most sump pumps, this lifespan is between 8 and 12 years. Of course, upgrading your sump pump at this point is not necessary, but it will have some benefits (most notably an increase in energy efficiency and power). Most sump pumps will be operational for some time after they age, however, so do not worry too much. The main risk with waiting is that no spare parts will be available in the event of a serious breakdown. This is something to be cautious of.
The signs of sump pump deterioration and impending breakdown are many and varied, but there are a few that are more common. Changes in the sound that your sump pump makes, for example, are a bad sign, especially if they have a sharp, grinding edge. Likewise, a sudden reduction in the rate at which the sump pit is draining is a serious sign of damage. However, it can also be a sign of blockages or clogs in the system. As such, it is important to seek a professional opinion quickly.
Mold is a strange substance to have in a home. While it is rarely damaging to the structure of your home as a whole, it can damage organic materials like textiles, drywall, and decorations. Likewise, mold can be damaging to your health and wellbeing if you are exposed to certain species of mold over time. Black mold is particularly dangerous and can cause side effects that range from rashes and infections to fainting and seizures. That’s why learning to spot it can be a vital skill.
There are two main ways you can spot mold in your home: through sight, or through smell. Mold formations are generally very noticeable, but they also tend to form in dark, secluded areas where they are able to thrive without much interference. Mold formations cause changes in color and texture when they form, and they can be found on all kinds of surfaces in a home. They are more likely to form around appliances that are connected to your plumbing system, however, or in rooms that frequently see steam and condensation.
If you do not see mold formations, you may smell them. Mold can produce a unique, musty smell that is slightly sweet and dry. This smell will be strongest near large mold formations, and can produce reactions that are similar to those experienced by people with hay fever or other seasonal allergies. If you notice this kind of smell around your home, you should check some of the more hidden areas around your home for visible mold formations. If you find any, it’s best to stay away from the area and call in a professional who can help.
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JES Foundation Repair
8122 Bethlehem Rd.
Manassas, VA 20109
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 9 pm
Friday: 7 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 7 pm
Sunday: 12 pm – 8 pm