Basement & Crawl Space Waterproofing in Kansas City
Storms of all kinds make an appearance in Kansas City, MO, throughout the year. The volatile weather is caused by the city’s location in Tornado Alley. The summer thunderstorms, spring ice storms, and the humidity that rolls in from the Gulf of Mexico means our foundation will experience a lot of water damage. Without a proper drainage system, the water in a basement or crawl space will cause structural deterioration and promote mold growth.
Many signs of a wet foundation are obvious. For example, standing water, mold, a damp wall, condensation, window leaks, and wood rot are the most obvious indicators. Other signs might not be so obvious, such as high energy bills and concrete flaking. Having to take care of your home is hard enough without having to worry about your foundation too. Instead of stressing over your wet basement or crawl space, invest in waterproofing solutions that can get rid of the problem automatically.
The most important thing any homeowner in Missouri needs is a sump pump. When thinking of a sump pump, many believe that only basements need them, but if you have a crawl space, you’ll need one too. Crawl space water is not normal and is a problem that should be taken care of, even if your crawl space is made of dirt.
Kansas City Foundation Repair
Aside from causing damage inside the foundation, the groundwater that surrounds the foundation can also cause a lot of harm. The Marshall soil in Kansas City, MO, has a healthy amount of clay in it. This is a problem because of hydrostatic pressure, a term that describes how groundwater can accumulate against a foundation wall.
Whenever it rains or whenever snow melts, the water seeps down from the topsoil to the subsoil. Clay soils expand when saturated with water specifically because the moisture stays between the soil particles and doesn’t drain away. If the soil were sandier, the water would drain out instead of accumulating next to the foundation. If too much water accumulates, the weight will be too much for the wall to handle, and it will begin to bow inwards.
Bowing basement walls can be repaired with the use of either wall anchors or a wall brace. Wall anchors stabilize the wall by using an exterior underground anchor as leverage against the hydrostatic pressure. A bolt is tightened to secure the wall plates to the steel rods, and the pressure provided by the tightening is what stabilizes the wall. The bolt can be tightened more overtime to straighten out the wall too. If there isn’t any space for excavation, wall braces can be used instead.
Just like basement walls, settling foundations can be stabilized and straightened as well. Foundations settle due to erosion, and because of the shrinking and swelling of the Marshall soil of the region, Kansas City homes need proper foundation support. With the use of helical and push piers, foundations can be supported by strong, steel rods that never erode. These steel rods stay in place because they are installed into dense soil that never budges, making them a permanent solution for foundation settling.
Concrete Lifting in Kansas City
If you see any settling concrete around your home, you should think about repairs as soon as possible. Walking on an uneven path is a safety hazard, as it could result in injuries. Settling only gets worse as time goes on, so to protect yourself and your loved ones, consider using PolyRenewal™ as a concrete lifting solution.
PolyRenewal™ uses polyurethane foam to lift the settled concrete. Contractors drill small holes into the concrete and then inject polyurethane foam under the slab or steps. Concrete settles because of gaps left in the soil layer after a long erosion process, so something needs to replace the soil in order for the repairs to work. One of the many advantages of using PolyRenewal™ as a concrete lifting method is that it’s capable of expanding and filling in as much of the void as possible.
Once enough foam has been injected to lift the slab, the holes are patched up, and the polyurethane is left to cure. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes for the curing process to finish, making it the fastest concrete lifting solution you can get for your home. Homeowners in Kansas City, Mo will be particularly happy to know that polyurethane foam does not wash away, so the excessive storms in the area will not cause any more settling.
About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Kansas City
If you’ve done all you can to improve the energy consumption in your home and your energy bills are still high, you need to check your foundation. Because of the stack effect, 50% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your foundation. While this does mean that all the dust, mold spores, and humidity in the foundation rise into your home, it also means that whatever cold or warm air that is in your basement or crawl space will also rise and change the temperature of your house. During the summer, the humid air from the outside enters the foundation and rises, since warm air is lighter than cold air. Your AC has a difficult time keeping the house cool if it constantly has to combat the warm foundation air, causing it to overwork itself and consume more energy.
During the winter, the opposite happens. Cold air enters the basement or crawl space, and because cold air is so dense, it actually helps the warm air rise up to your upper floors instead of staying in your living area. You can tell when your foundation is causing this problem when you wake up to cold floors in the winter, warmer second floors of the house, and sudden cold drafts. Luckily, this can be fixed with proper foundation waterproofing and insulation. If you can’t control the humidity in your foundation first, you will not be able to control the temperature.
When thinking of waterproofing a basement, many homeowners don’t think beyond a sump pump for flooding, but humidity control is just as important. A vapor barrier can prevent water vapor from permeating through your concrete walls. A dehumidifier can collect the moisture in the air and keep the air pure and clean. Both of these solutions combined reduce your energy consumption by approximately 25%, but nothing helps lower your energy bills more than a good insulation panel like ExTremeBloc™. Insulation prevents air from going in and out of your foundation, so it’s the best tool you can use to tackle your air circulation problem.
Winters in Kansas City, MO can be unforgiving on both the homeowners and the foundations of their homes. Part of the reason it’s so important to waterproof your foundation is so that it doesn’t get affected by frost heave, which will be more severe the more groundwater there is around a foundation when winter comes. When water turns into ice, it expands by about 9%, so when all the groundwater surrounding a foundation freezes, the expanding ice displaces the soil and damages the foundation walls. As the ice expands, it puts pressure on the soil and the basement to the point where it even lifts the house slightly. As the house gets separated from the soil layer underneath, the soil itself gets displaced all winter long.
When winter is over and the ice melts, the house gets placed back down against a layer of soil that is no longer even, causing foundation settling. As for the structure of the foundation, as the groundwater freezes against the concrete, the pressure breaks apart the concrete and creates micro-tears. The concrete’s internal structure is affected too, since any moisture that was inside the concrete will have frozen and expanded, slowly tearing up the wall over time. When the ice and snow melt, all those micro-tears only make it easier for the groundwater to seep through and cause basement leaks.
There’s nothing we can do about the way the soil and ice react to temperature changes, but we can minimize the damage as much as we can. Drainage systems like BasementGutter™ are designed to collect the moisture from the surrounding groundwater. With less water to freeze during the winter, your foundation stays safe and structurally sound. For crawl spaces affected by frost heave, any damaged posts and floor joists can be supported with crawl space support jacks to stop sagging floors.
Concrete pitting and flaking refer to surface damage that appears on concrete. To the untrained eye, concrete pitting and flaking are very similar, but the way the concrete is affected and the reason for the deterioration varies. Concrete pitting shows up on the surface of a concrete structure looking like craters. The craters are jagged and can cluster up in one big group of craters, forming a big crater when enough of them have clumped together. It almost looks like someone created holes along the concrete with a chisel and hammer.
Concrete pits because of the materials used to create the cement. If the recipe was off or if too much of one ingredient was added to the mix, the concrete’s strength will have been compromised. Concrete pitting doesn’t happen because of any external factor but because there’s something inherently wrong with the concrete itself. You can test out the concrete’s strength by taping the wall with a hammer, and if the hammer bounces off, the concrete is sound, but if it creates another crater, the concrete is weak. This can happen on any concrete structure regardless of where it is.
Concrete flaking, on the other hand, means that the concrete is deteriorating due to an external element. Flaking concrete will see the surface ship off little by little until the rough undersurface of the structure is exposed. You can test your concrete for flakiness by dragging a sharp object across its surface, and if a white line is formed, it’s not flaking. Concrete flaking usually occurs on concrete that gets frequently exposed to moisture, such as pool decks, driveways, and basements. Concrete flaking and concrete pitting both need to be taken seriously, because they gravely compromise the structural integrity of your concrete structures.
Crawl spaces aren’t given much thought, since they are too small for many to enter and you can’t finish them and turn them into an extra room like you would a basement. Still, this doesn’t mean that crawl spaces aren’t an important part of your home. After all, if the crawl space deteriorates, the whole house falls apart since your foundation’s health determines the rest of the home’s health. Without a sump pump, your crawl space will get flooded every time it rains, which is something that should not happen.
Standing water in a crawl space promotes mold growth, which leads to wood rot. Mold is harmful, and if it exists in your crawl space, you are breathing it in due to the stack effect. Breathing in mold spores long-term can lead to mold poisoning and other serious health problems. Wood rot can weaken your floor joists to the point where they can no longer support your floorboards anymore. The same thing happens with waterlogged wood, since water can cause the wood to expand and soften.
The water can also damage any concrete and wood in the crawl space due to the freeze-thaw effect, and that’s something you cannot control unless you have waterproofing solutions in there. The existence of water in your crawl space also encourages pests of all kinds. Pests like cockroaches love damp, dark places where they are not disturbed by humans. A wet crawl space makes a perfect cockroach nest, so all the more reason to add get a sump pump.
Besides a sump pump, there are many other waterproofing solutions you need to keep your foundation healthy. After getting a good sump pump, every foundation in Kansas City needs a proper drainage system like BasementGutter™, a perimeter drain that collects the groundwater from the surrounding foundation. The soil in Kansas City, MO contains a healthy amount of clay, so groundwater damage is always going to be a threat. Because the soil that surrounds your foundation retains water so well, a drainage system must be put into place to protect your home from frost heave, hydrostatic pressure, and excessive amounts of water vapor entering your foundation. It can be attached to the sump pump to drain the water out automatically.
Next, you’ll want to think about getting a dehumidifier to control the humidity levels in the space. You might think that a dehumidifier is unnecessary if you already have a vapor barrier, but this isn’t the case. If the humidity levels of the foundation were to somehow rise, the vapor barrier wouldn’t be able to do something about that. The moisture would hang in the air until eventually turning into dew drops once it’s cold enough for condensation to occur. Like the drainage system, a dehumidifier can be connected to the sump pump.
Last but not least, you’ll need a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier is a thick sheet of polyethylene that is either applied to walls (in the case of basements) or used for encapsulation (in the case of crawl spaces). It is used to stop water vapor from entering the space through the concrete walls, which are incredibly porous. Our vapor barriers are completely white, which helps your foundation look clean and finished after installation is done.
Concrete settling occurs when the soil underneath the concrete can no longer hold up the structure. In Kansas City, this happens due to shrinking and swelling. The Marshall soil of the region contains clay, causing the soil to expand when exposed to water. When that moisture dries up, the soil shrinks and compacts together. However, the soil is no longer the same size it was before: the soil has shrunk in size so much that it lost a significant amount of volume, so there is now a gap between the concrete and the soil.
Because there is now a void left, the concrete settles against the soil layer, which now rests lower than it did before. Concrete settling is most likely to occur in areas of the house that get exposed to an excess amount of water, such as your pool deck or driveway. Rainwater and melting snow seep through the concrete and saturate the soil, causing it to expand. This shrink-swell process that soil goes through takes place over a few years, so it’s up to you to spot the problem signs early to avoid excessive settling.
There isn’t much that can be done to prevent concrete settling besides just getting repairs done when the slab does start sinking. Replacing the soil won’t yield many results because sandy soils wash out when exposed to water. The best you can do is protect your slab and soil from excessive moisture by keeping snow away from it during the winter and improving your yard drainage.
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