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What is a Crawl Space and Why It'll Help You for the Future

A crawl space is a type of foundation that is primarily characterized by its low height. It keeps the floor of the house closer to the ground compared to basements such that people who try to enter the space will typically have to crawl their way around it, hence the name. In certain areas, it is preferable to slab foundations and basements due to its numerous advantages, including the following:

Protection Against the Damp Ground

Homes with a slab foundation sit very close to the ground. In places that get a lot of rain and snow, the soil's dampness underneath can cause a lot of problems. Wood may begin to rot away which will weaken the structure. Foul odors may begin to make their way to the living spaces above. If the water rises then the flooding may get inside quickly. On the other hand, homes with a crawl space are slightly elevated so damp ground will have little effect on the flooring. Floods, unless severe, are unlikely to reach the house.

Protection Against Insects

Insects and rodents can burrow underground and end up beneath the house where they can cause much damage. Termites, for instance, may eat the supporting wooden beams and cause them to buckle over time. This may result in a slight tilt of the floor due to imbalance. Hairline cracks may appear on the walls. An encapsulated crawl space makes these issues insignificant as the pests will not be able to make their way through to the inside. Homeowners can rest easy about their foundation knowing that these small yet dangerous creatures will be kept at bay.

More Economical Compared to a Basement

Basements are bigger and can be used for various purposes depending on the need of the household. They could be converted into additional bedrooms for a growing family, a playroom for the kids, a mini bar for entertaining guests, or even a home theater for relaxation. However, basements also tend to be expensive to build as they require a lot more work. Crawl spaces are smaller, simpler and cheaper by comparison. Those do not see the need for future expansion or are just trying to bring down the cost of construction should opt for a crawl space instead.

Easier to Service Ductwork and Plumbing

Another great thing about crawl spaces is that they make it easy for technicians to access vital lines for servicing. The ductwork is usually exposed underneath the floor so it is just a matter of getting inside the space to reach the ducts for the HVAC system and the pipes for the plumbing. This makes regular maintenance and repair straightforward affairs. Service technicians could come in and finish their job in no time. Since they are generally paid by the hour, homeowners can keep the cost to a minimum.

Crawl Space as Storage Space

Sure, a crawl space offers less storage space than basements but it is certainly better than none in the case of a slab foundation. The area can accommodate all manner of items as long as it is kept clean and low in humidity. Instead of dumping everything into the garage, put some boxes inside the crawlspace and free up precious square feet for another car. There might even be enough room for a home office or a personal workshop. Crawl spaces are clearly beneficial but they do need to be maintained and improved in some cases. Adding a dehumidifier helps in preventing mold growth and improving the air quality inside. Complete encapsulation systems keep out the water and the rodents with an impenetrable barrier. Ask crawl space specialists about these options to enhance your foundation.

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Is it Neccesary for a Crawlspace to be Encapsulated for a Dry Crawlspace?

An encapsulated crawl space may be a vital part of the home.? When a crawl space is left unsealed, it can negatively affect the whole house because it is always damp. Often, this is an area that goes ignored by homeowners. However, it is important to consider the space and the reasons why it is best to encapsulate the area.

How a Crawl Space Affects the Home

As hot air rises throughout the house, cool air is sucked up from the crawl space. This will have a large effect on the air quality that residents breathe. When a crawl space goes ignored, gases may enter the home along with unwanted bugs and rodents. There may also be higher heating costs to deal with as well. Finally, structural damage may occur from rotting and mold in the area. This will be expensive to repair.

What Exactly is an Encapsulated Crawl Space

When a crawl space is encapsulated, it usually means that a vapor barrier has been installed over the walls and floors. Supports and plumbing are sealed as well. The entire process is meant to create a controlled environment.

Is it Necessary to Have an Encapsulated Crawl Space in the Home??

In past years, most contractors did not feel that it was necessary to encapsulate a crawl space. The traditional thought was to keep the area vented. However, these vents almost always caused the area to get wet and remain damp. In fact, contractors who were hired to waterproof these parts of the home would lay plastic on the floors and add drain tiles while maintaining the venting. No one viewed the vents as a problem. However, by 2005, people began to recognize the problem, and encapsulation became very common. In 2005, a building science research team studied what would happen when a crawl space was completely closed, waterproofed, and insulated. In effect, this made the space an additional part of the home. Results were extremely positive and proved that encapsulation would keep this part of the home dry. Due to this research, building codes were changed in favor of closing crawl spaces. Therefore, all new construction included encapsulated crawl spaces.

What Happens to Older Homes?

Even though new building practices encapsulate crawl spaces, it is important to understand how to treat existing homes with vents. Retrofitting contractors are now abundant and are hired to close crawl spaces. They treat the area like it is a true part of the home. Besides providing a dry area, there are other benefits that come with an encapsulated space. With the crawl space encapsulated, indoor air will be cleaner and fresher. Also, electric bills will be lowered, and every room will feel more comfortable. Overall, it will make a vast improvement within the house.

Is Encapsulation the End to Problems?

Encapsulating a crawl space is the last phase of creating a dry area. Before the area can be retrofitted, it is essential to solve any underlying water problems. If leaks or other water issues are not properly dealt with, closing vents and lining the space will only add to the problems by trapping water. However, after all water issues are resolved, and the space is encapsulated, everything will be dry and improved. Even though it was not always a common practice, encapsulating a crawl space and resolving all water issues will be necessary to ensure a dry place. After cracks are filled and leaks are fixed, the encapsulation process can begin. An encapsulated crawl space will improve the overall comfort level in the home, keep the space dry, lower electric bills, and make the air healthier to breathe.

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Is Your Crawlspace Contaminating Your Home?

CrawlspaceHomeowners should remember that well maintained property is likely to fetch a higher price, so every area of your house should be marketable, and this brings us to the subject of your crawlspace contaminating your home. The aftereffects of the financial crisis that shook the global economy in 2008 are slowly being erased. Property prices that fell to an all-time low during that period are gradually increasing. This is an opportune moment for individuals interested in selling their property.
An improperly built basement may lead to ground water seeping in the basement and contaminating it. Neglecting this issue can cause problems to the entire structure. If the basement of your building is damp, even during the summer season, and if you find termites in other parts of your house, then you can be sure it is due to your crawlspace contaminating your home. Check the walls of your house for cracks or dampness. A damp foundation can even cause your house to tilt, and in severe cases, the entire structure may collapse.

Crawlspace Renovating & Waterproofing

The cost of renovating your crawlspace depends on the severity of the damage. Serious cases might require an alteration in the current layout and even structure of your house. You should also remember that the electric and plumbing system pass through your property's basement. You will have to pay much more if you need to renovate them as well. At the same time, neglecting them can prove to be hazardous. In such a scenario, it is best to get in touch with a company that specializes in basement waterproofing and renovation. Searching online will provide you with details of many local companies that specialize in basement repair. Get in touch with a few of them and request that they send personnel to check the basement of your house. Once you receive confirmation that they can fix the problem, request that they provide you with an estimate along with details of any related jobs they have done recently.

Check The Terms And Conditions

It is not a fact that the company that gives the highest quote is best suited for fixing your basement, especially if it hardly has any experience in this field. You should also request that the company provide an itemized quote instead of a comprehensive one. This will make it easy for you to tally their proposal with that of others. The completion time is another important factor. If you have a prospective client waiting to purchase your property, you should get it fixed up as soon as possible. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure that there are no hidden costs. You should also make sure that the basement restoration company allows you to settle any dues in installments. This is vital if your basement has to be rebuilt from top to bottom and requires lots of money. Ensure that the terms and conditions of the agreement contain a compensation clause detailing the amount the company will pay if they fail to complete the work by the date agreed. Insist on a warranty covering the repaired area for a certain number of years. If any problems arise while it is under warranty, then the company should take care of them free of charge. Typically, a professional company should dig your crawlspace, remove termite damaged floor joists / beams and replace them with new ones. They should also replace faulty seal plates, level the flooring, use chemicals to treat all the wood and encapsulate your crawlspace to prevent moisture related problems in the future. They should also provide extra protection to your basement if you live in an area that is subject to flooding on a regular basis. They can do this by installing a proper drainage and encapsulation system in the basement. This will take care of any worries of your crawlspace contaminating your home and causing related problems for year<

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Moisture Control in Foundation Repair: The Mobility of Moitsure and Weathering

Moisture Control in Foundation Toronto

It is important to inspect and maintain your homes foundation to prevent any leaks, damage or flooding. Weathering, poor grading and poor drainage are all issues you need to be aware of.

What is Weathering?

Weathering causes the disintegration of rocks near the surface of the earth. Not only does moisture cause weathering, but plant life, animals and the atmosphere are all major causes of weathering. There are two types of weathering: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical weathering is the disintegration of rock into smaller and smaller fragments. Ice is very effective at causing mechanical weathering. When water seeps into fractures and pores of rock and freezes, it expands, and can eventually cause the rock to shatter. Chemical weathering transforms the original material into a substance with a different composition, for example, moisture condensing on a rock and then evaporating will cause the rock to slowly dissolve. The weathering process can have negative effects on your home if proper measures aren?t taken, such as installing a drainage system, maintenance and proper coatings.

What is a Home?s Foundation?

Every home is built on a foundation. There are 3 main foundation types:
  • Slabs A slab is the easiest foundation to build and it is a flat concrete pad. It is mainly used in warmer climates where freezing isn?t an issue. Freezing can cause a slab foundation to shift and can damage it.
  • Basement A basement usually starts off as a hole 8 feet deep. The bottom of the hole is filled with concrete and then concrete or cinder-blocks for the walls of the basement. When building a basement, the goal is to keep it as waterproof as possible.
  • Crawl Space A crawl space has some advantages over the other 2 foundation types. The crawl space keeps the house off the ground, which is useful for areas with a lot of moisture and it is less expensive than a basement, but comparable in price to a slab.
A crawl space also offers an area to run ducts and plumbing, which allows for easy access if any maintenance is required. Crawl spaces are usually made of cinder blocks with a brick facing. One common problem with crawl spaces (and basements) is moisture. To keep the water out of a crawl space, perforated pipes and gravel are used in a trench around the crawl space to keep the water away.

Foundation Maintenance and Repair Tips

Here are some general tips on what to keep an eye out for and how to keep your basement water-free.
  • Maintain Consistent Moisture Levels Consistent moisture levels are important when maintaining your foundation. During dry periods, the foundation will need to be kept moist to avoid any issues caused by shrinking soil. Installing a rock bed 1.5 to 2 feet away from your home will allow rain and sprinkler water to penetrate deep into the soil around the house. Be mindful of over-watering and weather patterns though. Too much water can damage your foundation.
  • Inspect the Foundation for Cracks All foundations will develop cracks over time. Any cracks that are found should be cleaned out filled with epoxy glue or any other material used for concrete crack repairs.
  • Check your Drainage System Too much moisture can cause damage to your foundation. Make sure you have an adequate drainage system to handle any flooding or heavy rainfall. All drains should discharge excess water at least 5 feet from the foundation on sandy soil and 10 feet away from foundations on expansive soil.
  • Moisture Barriers If the grading around your home can?t be fixed, installing a moisture barrier is your best option. When installing a moisture barrier, make sure it is at least 5 feet deep.
  • Plumbing Yearly inspections on your entire plumbing system is advised. Any leaks should be repaired as soon as possible, as to avoid any damage to your home.

The Professionals

If you are having any moisture leaking into your foundation and you can?t find the source of the problem (or if you can?t fix it), call in the contractors. Contractors will have the experience and knowledge to make the proper repairs to your foundation and help prevent any future issues.

Moisture Control in Foundation Toronto

It is important to inspect and maintain your homes foundation to prevent any leaks, damage or flooding. Weathering, poor grading and poor drainage are all issues you need to be aware of.

What is Weathering?

Weathering causes the disintegration of rocks near the surface of the earth. Not only does moisture cause weathering, but plant life, animals and the atmosphere are all major causes of weathering. There are two types of weathering: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical weathering is the disintegration of rock into smaller and smaller fragments. Ice is very effective at causing mechanical weathering. When water seeps into fractures and pores of rock and freezes, it expands, and can eventually cause the rock to shatter. Chemical weathering transforms the original material into a substance with a different composition, for example, moisture condensing on a rock and then evaporating will cause the rock to slowly dissolve. The weathering process can have negative effects on your home if proper measures aren?t taken, such as installing a drainage system, maintenance and proper coatings.

What is a Home?s Foundation?

Every home is built on a foundation. There are 3 main foundation types:
  • Slabs A slab is the easiest foundation to build and it is a flat concrete pad. It is mainly used in warmer climates where freezing isn?t an issue. Freezing can cause a slab foundation to shift and can damage it.
  • Basement A basement usually starts off as a hole 8 feet deep. The bottom of the hole is filled with concrete and then concrete or cinder-blocks for the walls of the basement. When building a basement, the goal is to keep it as waterproof as possible.
  • Crawl Space A crawl space has some advantages over the other 2 foundation types. The crawl space keeps the house off the ground, which is useful for areas with a lot of moisture and it is less expensive than a basement, but comparable in price to a slab.
A crawl space also offers an area to run ducts and plumbing, which allows for easy access if any maintenance is required. Crawl spaces are usually made of cinder blocks with a brick facing. One common problem with crawl spaces (and basements) is moisture. To keep the water out of a crawl space, perforated pipes and gravel are used in a trench around the crawl space to keep the water away.

Foundation Maintenance and Repair Tips

Here are some general tips on what to keep an eye out for and how to keep your basement water-free.
  • Maintain Consistent Moisture Levels Consistent moisture levels are important when maintaining your foundation. During dry periods, the foundation will need to be kept moist to avoid any issues caused by shrinking soil. Installing a rock bed 1.5 to 2 feet away from your home will allow rain and sprinkler water to penetrate deep into the soil around the house. Be mindful of over-watering and weather patterns though. Too much water can damage your foundation.
  • Inspect the Foundation for Cracks All foundations will develop cracks over time. Any cracks that are found should be cleaned out filled with epoxy glue or any other material used for concrete crack repairs.
  • Check your Drainage System Too much moisture can cause damage to your foundation. Make sure you have an adequate drainage system to handle any flooding or heavy rainfall. All drains should discharge excess water at least 5 feet from the foundation on sandy soil and 10 feet away from foundations on expansive soil.
  • Moisture Barriers If the grading around your home can?t be fixed, installing a moisture barrier is your best option. When installing a moisture barrier, make sure it is at least 5 feet deep.
  • Plumbing Yearly inspections on your entire plumbing system is advised. Any leaks should be repaired as soon as possible, as to avoid any damage to your home.

The Professionals

If you are having any moisture leaking into your foundation and you can?t find the source of the problem (or if you can?t fix it), call in the contractors. Contractors will have the experience and knowledge to make the proper repairs to your foundation and help prevent any future issues.

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Moisture Control in Foundation Repair: Crawling Water in Low Foundations

crawling water low foundationFor the foundation of your home to remain steady, the soil moisture levels should neither be too high nor too low; otherwise, problems may arise and you will begin to notice crawling water, especially in a low foundation. To control moisture, you need to ensure that insulation, ventilation, and air sealing are done to standard and you can do this by assigning the job to a qualified foundation repair company. Before applying any control measures however, it's important to understand how moisture moves into and out of your home.
Moisture can be transferred from outside through air currents, diffusion, or heat transfer. Air is the fastest process nonetheless as it can get in through any crevice or hole in the structure. With regard to heat transfer and diffusion, most of the materials available in the market today are designed to slow down these processes and because of this, their impact is less significant. Foundation problems begin when the soil beneath settles unevenly and this can arise due to certain things including:
  • Excessive or reduced soil moisture
  • Uncontrolled moisture levels at the point of construction
  • Poor building pad compaction
  • Poor yard drainage

Too Little or Too Much Soil Moisture

Since soil is more likely to expand than shrink, swelling of the soil due to moisture retention is one of the most serious concerns when it comes to the stability of a foundation. Such a problem may come about due to rainy weather, improper drainage, or plumbing issues and these will often lead to crawling of water up the foundation walls. Moisture loss can also make a foundation settle, but the settling in this instance is often as a result of reduced humidity levels.

Uncontrolled Levels of Moisture During Construction

Before a slab mixture is poured, the moisture in the soil shouldn't be too low because when this happens, the edges will absorb more moisture fast, and subsequently transfer it up the wall. In addition, if the water content is on the higher side, the slab will be excessively damp and the edges will lose moisture at a higher speed than other parts making the building to settle.

Poor Compaction

Foundations depend on the topmost layer of soil to remain stable. For this reason, the bearing soil has to be well compacted before construction. If this is not done, major problems may be experienced.

Poor Yard Drainage

When a building is being constructed, any drainage should be directed away from the site. It is only when this is done that pooling of water around the foundation can be avoided. Remember, stagnant water can obstruct the foundation's ability to support the house and cause problems both during the dry and rainy seasons. If you notice your foundation settling, it's important to get help from foundation repair companies before things get out of control. Regardless of the problem you may be experiencing with your foundation, you need to remember that when it comes to moisture concerns, more emphasis should be placed on getting the content reduced rather than completely eliminating it. Still, in some cases, it is possible to fully get rid of the moisture; it all depends on the severity of the problem. Even so, to get good results, you should aim to act as soon as you detect something unusual. Some of the things that may indicate crawling water in a low foundation include standing water, mold growth, peeling paint, rusting pipes and rotting wood.

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