Both the cities of Richmond and Petersburg, VA have quite a high average amount of rainfall per year. In fact, Richmond, VA averages 44 inches of rain annually while Petersburg averages at 46 inches of rain annually. Not only does it rain all throughout the year, but these cities also experience snow in the winter season, with Richmond averaging 11 inches of snow and Petersburg’s averages sitting at 6 inches. This can amount to quite a bit of water that can accumulate in the ground of your home, and thus, impact the likelihood of water and structural damages if you are not careful.
The state soil of Virginia is known as Pamunkey soil, a combination type soil that has a sandy loam surface with sandy clay resting within the lower layers. Sand-based soils are highly vulnerable to soil erosion by either wind or water due to their fine soil particle size and texture. Clay soils, on the other hand, are susceptible to swelling when saturated with water and shrinking when water evaporates from it, causing surrounding soil to shift and become weakened with time. Soil that has been eroded or weakened can easily be compressed downwards, leaving more room for water to collect in the ground, and thus, within your home.
Since it rains all year round in Virginia, the soil is always going to be exposed to some water one way or another. More water, regardless of whether it takes the form of rain or melted snow, means that it can accumulate underground and can alter your home in different ways. Large volumes of water in the ground can leak into your crawl space or basement quite easily and even affect the structure of your concrete slabs. Furthermore, water-exposed and shifted soils can alter the stability of your foundation, resulting in crack formation and buckling in walls.
JES Foundation Repair offers a wide number of drainage systems that can be installed within your basement for efficient moisture and water control. Arguably one of the most important drainage systems are sump pumps: basins that can intake large amounts of water found in and around your home and redirect this water elsewhere so that you do not experience leaks or floods. The SafeDri™ ProPlus 330 is the most basic model, and the SafeDri™ UltraPro Triple Sump Pump System has an additional pump for heavy duty jobs. Homeowners also have the option of the SafeDri™ ProPlus with Battery Backup System, which includes a battery backup that kicks into gear in the event of a power failure.
If you notice that water is entering your basement from any doorway openings, the BasementGutter™ Grated Drain Pipe is the solution for you. It is installed directly into the floor at any entryway, therefore capturing any water that may enter your basement through them. The holes of the grate are also small enough to block larger pieces of debris from entering, and even then, the drain pipe is easy to clean. Another option is the BasementGutter™ Interior Drain System, which lines the perimeter of your basement that is both resistant to being clogged and non-invasive to your space.
JES Foundation Repair also offers a basement dehumidifier that can remove 4 times the amount of water from the air than the commercial brands. It is also highly efficient since it drains on its own and can be adjusted to remove as much or as little moisture as you deem necessary.
Many of the basement waterproofing solutions are also suited for crawl space waterproofing as well. There are a couple that are also made specifically to fit inside your small crawl space: the SafeDri™ Pro 330 and the Crawl Space Dehumidifier. They have much of the same abilities as the sump pump and dehumidifier that is built for your basement but are constructed to be much more compact. Be sure to ask one of the JES Foundation Repair experts to see if any of the other sump pumps, such as the SafeDri™ UltraPro Triple and the SafeDri™ ProPlus with Battery Backup System can fit in your crawl space.
However, there are several other solutions that can further work to waterproof your crawl space. The CrawlSeal™ Vapor Barrier is a thick, durable plastic lining that can be installed on the walls and floors of your crawl space. It is thoroughly waterproof and can even resist condensation, buildup of humidity, and the growth of mold. There are also the ExTremeBloc™ Crawl Space Insulation panels to double waterproof your crawl space, since it is also resistant to moisture penetration and can help to better control the temperatures within your home. With better temperature control comes lower energy bills, saving you more money in the long run!
Waterproofing your crawl space is an important task that all homeowners should take on. The reason for this is because about 30-50% of the air that is circulating throughout your home originates from your crawl space. This means that any particles, odors, or moisture that is present in your crawl space can also be inside your home too and can be reflected on your indoor air quality. Any inhabitants with asthma or those that are sensitive to allergens in the air may have exacerbated symptoms.
The specialists at JES Foundation Repair offer a wide variety of solutions for you, depending on what part of your foundation needs repair. If you are looking to realign and stabilize your bowed-in foundation walls, you may want to look into the IntelliBrace™ system, JES Foundation Repair Wall Anchors, or the Carbon Fiber Wall Repair. The IntelliBrace consists of a number of incredibly sturdy I-beams that are installed on the inside of your foundation wall to prevent them from buckling inwards even more. The JES Foundation Repair Wall Anchors are installed underground, directly into the hard, densely packed soil so that it can support your foundation wall from below. The least invasive method goes to the Carbon Fiber system, which has a lightweight, sleek, and non-stretchy design constructed to repair cracks and even provide your foundation wall with much needed stability.
If you are mainly experiencing sagging foundation floors, you may want to look into the various Pier Systems or even the Crawl Space IntelliJack™ Support System. There are 3 pier systems to choose from: the Slab, Helical, and Push Pier Systems. Each pier system is catered to both the type of foundation problem, as well as the space constraints of your landscape. Although the IntelliJack™ was made primarily for sagging floors due to crawl space problems, it can also dually work to support foundation floors that are sinking as well.
Sometimes, the amount of water that builds up around your foundation walls can result in immense pressure against your foundation structure. The SMART VENT Flood Vents offered at JES Foundation Repair provides an alternate pathway for this water so that it does not accumulate onto your foundation wall. This can prevent buckling and structural damage. This water can then be removed via other drainage systems in your home.
Sinking and settling concrete slabs is not entirely uncommon, especially if you live in Richmond and Petersburg, VA. If you leave your concrete slabs without repair for long enough, these sunken or settled slabs can even crack or break. This is not only disruptive to your landscape aesthetics and unsightly to look at, but sunken or broken concrete can also be hazardous, as it can cause you to trip and possibly hurt yourself. There are several reasons why concrete may sink or settle:
- Soil erosion
- Soil shrinkage, compaction, and settlement
Soil erosion, or soil washout, is a very common phenomenon in sand-based soils because sandy soils are very fine in texture and have tiny soil particles. When exposed to water or wind, sandy soils can become easily washed away, or eroded. Constant rainfall and seasonal melted snow is typical of Richmond and Petersburg, VA, so soil erosion is very common. When soil becomes eroded underneath concrete slabs, this can leave gaps. Less soil means less support for these heavy concrete slabs, resulting in sunken or settled concrete.
Virginia also has part clay-based soil mixed with the sand-based particles. Clay soil particles are infamously difficult to manage because they swell to double or triple their size when they absorb water but shrink back down to their original size when it dries out. Repeated cycles of shrinking and swelling during rainy and drier seasons of the year can cause surrounding soil to shift, which can weaken the integrity of the soil. Weakened soil can easily become compressed under the heavy weight of concrete and settle to lower levels. Concrete beds have less support when this happens, thus, resulting in sunken or broken slabs.
Cold temperatures, particularly freezing temperatures, can certainly impact your home structures—but not for the better. Freezing temperatures are most problematic for any systems that transport water since the water inside these systems can freeze. This can alter the function of these systems and even damage them if not properly maintained. This is true for your sump pump discharge lines and even your crawl space itself.
Water freezes at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Those that live in either Richmond or Petersburg, VA are no stranger to this type of weather, especially in the winter months. It can reach at or below freezing temperatures in January, February, and December, averaging around 27 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Sump pump discharge lines that freeze can become backed up, increasing the risk of backflow and flooding, or can even become overworked, resulting in overheating and sump pump failure. Furthermore, crawl spaces that are not waterproofed or insulated can experience extremely cold temperatures, which can affect the temperature within your home as well, disrupting how comfortable your living space can be.
For sump pump discharge lines that are vulnerable to freezing over during the winter, JES Foundation Repair offers the FreezeGuard™ to curb leaks or flooding due to blockage. It works by providing your blocked, frozen sump pump lines an alternate path for the water to flow out through so that you do not experience flooding within your basement, crawl space, or wherever your sump pump basin is located. For crawl spaces, homeowners may want to consider insulating it with the ExTremeBloc™ Crawl Space Insulation panels, which have graphite particles woven into the foam insulation to increase the amount of heat that is reflected back into your crawl space. Not only will this protect it against the freezing temperatures of winter, but it also resists moisture penetration from snow and improves the temperature retention of your home.