Foundation Recovery Systems (FRS), a Groundworks Company, specializes in helping homeowners with their foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, and concrete needs. Our top priority is providing high-quality home repair solutions and personalized service throughout Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. With fully trained technicians, industry-leading products, and nationally backed warranties, FRS is here to restore your foundation or crawl space.
Foundation Recovery Systems, founded in 1992, is a subsidiary of Groundworks, a family of companies that offers superior, proven solutions for your foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, dehumidification, and concrete lifting needs. We provide services throughout Missouri, eastern Kansas, northern Arkansas, and southern Iowa, and we operate out of four offices in Lee’s Summit, Moberly, Springfield, and St Louis.
Many homeowners use their basement as a bonus room, storage room, exercise room, and more. That is why it is so important for Kansas City homeowners to consider basement waterproofing to protect their belongings and their home. Clay soil is expansive, so it shrinks when dried out and expands when wet. Due to the heavy rainfall in the spring, your Kansas City basement is bound to experience some type of water damage. Mold growth and other harmful issues will start to occur when you’re suffering from a damp basement.
Foundations in Kansas City are also vulnerable to the clay-like, expansive soils in the area. The stability of the soil your home’s foundation is built on greatly affects whether your foundation will experience damage and settlement. While some settlement is to be expected, it is when the settlement causes cracks and other damage around the foundation that it is considered harmful settlement. In addition to the soil conditions, the heavy summer rainfall can cause what is known as the “clay bowl” effect, which happens when water is trapped around the foundation, creating pressure that causes damage to your foundation.
Because of the clay-like soils in the Kansas City area, your crawl space is extremely vulnerable to the soil’s expansion and contraction. This occurs because clay soils hold water, so when they’re wet, they expand, and when they’re dry, they shrink. This creates instability that affects the structure of your crawl space. Kansas City also experiences heavy rainfall and flooding in the spring, making it even more imperative that you have your crawl space encapsulated to protect it against mold, excess humidity, and other effects of water damage. If you own a home in Kansas City crawl space encapsulation can ensure your crawl space doesn’t fail when exposed to the elements.
If the concrete around your Kansas City home is beginning to crack, sink, or become uneven, then it is time for concrete lifting. Due to the expansive clay soils of the area, which undergo expansion and contraction when wet or dry, your sidewalk, driveway, patio, or pool deck will eventually crack and deteriorate. When Kansas City experiences dry weather, the concrete structures around your home may begin to sink into the shrinking soil, creating cracks and other damage. Sunken, cracked, or uneven concrete is a liability as damaged concrete can lead to you or anyone visiting your home to trip and fall.
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.