Basement And Crawl Space Waterproofing in Roanoke
Out of all the weather-related hazards that can befall Roanoke, VA, the most common is flooding. The city experiences severe flooding from hurricane remnants, which wash down the hills and flow towards the narrow valley. This is a yearly problem, so the homeowners in this area are no strangers to foundation flooding.
In areas where flooding is common, most basements come equipped with a sump pump. However, this isn’t the only kind of waterproofing solution you need. Besides flooding, homeowners should worry about humidity. Humidity in a basement or crawl space promotes mold growth, wood rot, and can increase your energy bills due to the stack effect.
Basements and crawl spaces aren’t designed to ward off humidity and leaks on their own, so they need special units and waterproofing solutions that can do that for them. vapor barriers are needed if you want to stop water vapor from entering your foundation. Water vapor can pass through anything that is impermeable, including concrete and drywall. Even if you have a wall that has been coated with a waterproof paint, you need a vapor barrier since waterproof paints are inefficient.
To control the humidity levels and keep them adequate, a dehumidifier can be installed in both a basement and crawl space. Our dehumidifier can take in 100 pints of water a day while cycling 90% less than conventional dehumidifiers. Don’t worry about emptying out the container, because our dehumidifier can connect to your sump pump so that the water collected gets drained automatically.
Roanoke Foundation Repair
The Dekalb soil in Roanoke, VA is sandy and highly permeable. Because water so easily drains to the lower soil layers when it rains or when snow melts, the water table rises quickly and the groundwater surrounds your foundation. Over the years, all of this exposure to water leads to soil wash out and foundation settling. When your foundation is settling, it means that the house is sinking to the side because the layer of soil under it has eroded to the point of unevenness.
After the foundation begins to settle, the house will experience structural damage. Jammed doors, uneven or sagging floors, and a lot of basement flooding is common. If you have an attached deck, you might also notice that the handrails are warped. All of this and more can slowly occur as the foundation breaks apart the more it settles.
To stop the settling, the foundation needs to be supported by something that is strong enough to hold it up and will not deteriorate with time like the soil does. This can be done with helical or push piers. They are foundation support systems that uses steel rods to transfer the weight of the house to the load-bearing soils under the property.
Concrete Lifting in Roanoke
If you feel like your slab wobbles every time you step on it, you might have a concrete settling problem in your hands. Concrete slabs settle when they don’t have an even layer of soil that can support them. Any weight placed on a settling slab will cause it to wobble, settle even more, or break. Concrete settling doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with the slab, so replacing the concrete isn’t necessary unless it’s severely broken.
Instead of replacing the slab, you can contact us at JES Foundation Repair for repairs. We can get your slab even again with the use of PolyRenewal™, a convenient, permanent solution for concrete settling. Polyurethane foam is injected into the slab so that it fills the void left by the eroded soil. As the polyurethane foam expands, it lifts the concrete until it’s even again. Once the polyurethane cures after 15 to 30 minutes, it becomes the solid support your slab needs to stay stable.
Unlike the cement slurry used in mudjacking (an older form of concrete lifting), polyurethane is impermeable, a characteristic that grants PolyRenewal™ many advantages over other forms of concrete lifting. While other materials under the slab erode and wash away, the durable closed-cell polyurethane remains supporting the slab no matter how much it rains or snows.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About Waterproofing, Foundation Repair & Crawl Spaces in Roanoke
The stack effect is a term used to describe the way air circulates throughout your home, particularly during extreme weather. During the summer, the humid air outside makes its way inside the foundation. Hot air is lighter than cold air, so the air in your foundation rises into your home. It’s because of the stack effect that 50% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your foundation. During the winter, something similar happens.
Because of air buoyancy, the hot air in your home rises and has trouble circulating through your home because of the dense, cold air that is flowing from the foundation. Your floors remain cold while all the warm air from your HVAC system escapes through the attic or chimney. The stack effect influences many aspects of your day-to-day life, such as your energy consumption during winter and summer. Because of the invading air, your HVAC and AC have to work harder, thus consuming more energy than it needs to. Waterproofing and encapsulating your foundation gets rid of this problem and lowers your energy bills considerably.
The stack effect can also contribute to a health hazard. If there is any mold in your basement, the spores will be brought up into your home as the warm air rises. Mold spores can trigger allergies and cause eye, skin, throat, and nose irritation. Long-term exposure to mold can lead to permanent problems with your respiratory system, so waterproofing your foundation should be a priority. If you control the humidity in your foundation, you’ll be able to control the air circulation a lot better.
When it comes to moisture problems in a basement, there are few solutions out there that have been proven to work. Waterproof paints are not one of them. Despite their popularity, waterproof paints are used, not because of their effectiveness, but because it is a cheap solution that requires no professional installation. The problem with waterproof paints is that they are only semi-effective at blocking water vapor and moisture for around two years. After that, they completely deteriorate to the point where the coat of paint may as well not be there at all.
Waterproof paints aren’t thick enough to completely stop moisture seepage. As the moisture permeates through the concrete and reaches the thin layer of paint, it raises the paint and causes bubbles to form along the surface of the concrete. After the paint disintegrates, you can’t even paint over the wall again since most waterproof paints advise not painting over walls that already have a layer of paint on them. So, not only is it a short-lived solution, you can’t use it again after the first time. If you do paint over the old layer, it will be even less effective than before and your basement will remain humid.
A superior waterproofing solution to waterproof paints would be a vapor barrier. Vapor barriers are made of thick polyethylene and are mechanically applied to the walls, so they never fall off. They are durable, anti-piercing, and extremely tough, so they never tear or flake off, even after years of exposure to moisture. If you want a job well done, vapor barriers do require professional installation, but don’t let this discourage you from using it for your basement. Because it’s a one-time investment, you’ll be saving up money in the long run, as opposed to the constant painting that some homeowners put themselves through because they choose waterproof paints.
A foundation settles because it cannot rely on the soil layer for support anymore. When the foundation was built, the soil was even and dense, but due to erosive elements, it will have shifted over the years. The soil in Roanoke is sandy, so the more it erodes, the more easily it is displaced by a large amount of weight, meaning that the weight of the house itself was contributing toward the settling. To stabilize a foundation, the house needs to be held up by something other than a loose, uneven layer of soil. This is where the helical piers come in.
Helical piers are steel rods that have helix blades welded to one end of the shaft. A hole is either drilled or excavated where the pier needs to be installed and then the rod is mechanically drilled into the soil. Anybody that looks at a helical pier might think that they are too thin to support an entire house, but the truth is that the helical piers aren’t the only ones that will work to support the home. The piers will be driven down until reaching load-bearing soil.
The deeper down you go, the tougher and denser the soil is. Load-bearing soils are dense enough to support the house, unlike the shifty soils that originally failed the house. When the helical piers are attached to the home, they help transfer the weight of the foundation to the competent soil layers. This is how helical piers, despite their slim frame, are able to stabilize a settling foundation.
The floorboards in your house are held up by wooden floor joists that are in your foundation. If a part of your floor feels bouncy one day, you’ll need to check on those support joists. It’s very easy for them to get damaged, especially if your basement or crawl space is not waterproof. When inspecting your foundation, look for signs of wood rot, which is common in humid foundations. If your wood is infested, there should be some clear visual signs in the form of colored stains, but you can also check the wood’s softness with a pencil if you’re unsure.
If the wood is soft, it could also be due to water absorption. Wood expands when waterlogged and becomes soft and weak, which can cause the floor to bounce. Another reason could be that the floor support system is badly constructed, and the floor joists are breaking under pressure. Regardless of what it is, you need to contact your local foundation specialists to figure out what can be done about repairs. While the problem may seem like it can easily be fixed by simply sistering a joist, professionals can help you get down to the ultimate source of your foundation problems.
Bouncy floors don’t automatically mean that your floor joists need to be replaced. Sometimes, all they need is a bit of reinforcement. Depending on the damage, they can be saved and aided in supporting the floor with IntelliJack™. It’s a crawl space support joist that helps weak floor joists do their job. IntelliJack™ can be adjusted to fit any crawl space and any future settling problem.
It was once believed that vents would help crawl spaces with air circulation and humidity. Unfortunately, we now know that this isn’t the case, and that crawl space vents allow water in as well as hot air from the outside. With this new information, homeowners are now purchasing crawl space vent covers to seal off the opening and improve the health of their foundation. While this is an excellent first step, it isn’t enough to solve all your flooding and humidity problems. You’ll need more than just a vent cover if you wish to lower your energy bills and keep the humidity at an all-time low.
Water vapor can still seep through the concrete walls and raise the dampness levels. At a certain point, when the temperature of the crawl space reaches its dew point, the moisture in the air turns into water droplets along the surface of your concrete, wood, pipes and HVAC ductwork. If there are enough droplets, they will pool together and form a puddle inside your crawl space. This becomes dangerous during the winter because of the freeze-thaw cycle. All the moisture in your crawl space will freeze, expand, and displace the soil, tear up the concrete, and deteriorate wooden posts.
If the humidity is allowed to persist, there will be foundation damage so significant that water will seep through despite the existence of the vent cover. Besides a vent cover, your crawl space needs a vapor barrier, a dehumidifier, and a sump pump. It may seem like much, but you have to remember that crawl spaces are built partially underground. They are the part of your home that gets exposed to moisture the most, so you need to cover all your bases to truly protect it.
Once you notice that your concrete is settling, it’s important that you make sure the slab doesn’t break. Concrete breaks easily when it’s settling because it has poor tensile strength and cannot handle weight as well. Concrete is great at handling pressure if the force is evenly distributed, but if it isn’t it will crack in no time. Settled concrete slabs are easier to repair when they are intact, so to avoid replacing it (which is a lot more expensive), avoid putting weight on the slab as much as you can.
Next, you’ll need to contact your local experts for concrete lifting repairs. A settled concrete slab, no matter what, needs professional solutions instead of DIY repairs. Not only do you risk breaking the slab when handling it, but you also need to fill the gaps under the slab with a good material for the whole thing to work. It needs to be a material that doesn’t erode so that the slab won’t settle again in the future. A professional solution like PolyRenewal™ is the only repair method available that provides a permanent solution, so you would be saving more money by hiring professionals than if you were to do things yourself.
After the repairs are done, our home repair specialists can help you figure out how to avoid concrete settling in the future. The slab that settled may be fixed, but there’s always a chance that other slabs on your property will settle too. Because soil in Roanoke, VA has great surface runoff potential, you’ll want to keep flowing water as far from your property as possible. With the right drainage systems, this can be taken care of automatically by the solutions provided by us at JES Foundation Repair.
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JES Foundation Repair
2033 Cook Dr.
Salem, VA 24153
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 9 pm
Friday: 7 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 2 pm