Basement and Crawl Space Waterproofing in Cleveland
When thinking about the most exciting part of a home, almost nobody mentions a crawl space or basement. While it is true that the idea of a well-decorated kitchen or bedroom is more fun, it doesn’t mean you should neglect your Cleveland home’s basement or crawl space. Just as you would a room in your house, you should plan out how to make your basement or crawl space a functional space.
This doesn’t mean that you have to finish the basement, but it does mean that it should be waterproof. A wet basement or crawl space will have many structural issues in the future. If your foundation begins to fail, then so will the rest of the house.
The basement of your Cleveland home should have an interior drainage system and a sump pump for drainage, a vapor barrier to stop water vapor, and a dehumidifier for the humidity levels of the space. If all of this seems like too much or unnecessary, you have to remember that just because foundations aren’t built waterproof from the get-go doesn’t mean they are fine the way they are. Mold, wood rot, cold drafts and leaks are problems that can be improved with the right solutions.
Besides waterproofing, your insulation is also incredibly important. Without proper insulation, all the dust, mold spores, and humid air that’s in your foundation will rise into your home thanks to the stack effect. An insulation material like AquaStop ExTremeBloc™ is great for cities like Cleveland, OH, which have extremely cold winters.
Insulating your foundation can actually save you a lot on energy bills too. Because of air buoyancy, the cold air in your basement or crawl space pushes out the warm air in your home. During winter, Cleveland homeowners with poor foundation insulation often find that their house is still cold even though their HVAC system has been blowing out hot air for a long time.
Cleveland Foundation Repair
Keeping an eye out for foundation damage is an important part of being a homeowner in Cleveland, OH. When a foundation settles, the entire house breaks down. If it’s differential settling, it means that a piece of the foundation itself is tearing away from the home. This kind of structural damage usually starts off slowly but picks up speed after it has advanced significantly.
Many Cleveland homeowners don’t go about repairing their foundation until much later, and it’s mostly because the problem signs start off as simple problems. Cracks on the walls and ceilings get patched up, windows are replaced if they are hard to open, and new floorboards are bought if the floor is sagging. What homeowners don’t realize is that these are all signs of foundation settling.
Foundation settling can be completely stopped with the use of foundation piers. Depending on what you need, your foundation will either be supported with helical piers or push piers. The piers are made of galvanized steel and can transfer the weight of the house to load-bearing soil.
If your crawl space joists are what’s causing uneven floors, SettleStop IntelliJack™ can be used. SettleStop IntelliJack™ is a foundation support jack that helps floor joists keep floorboards even. Like helical piers and push piers, SettleStop IntelliJack™ is galvanized and has a long product lifespan. These foundation repair solutions and more are available to the homeowners of Cleveland, OH, from Ohio Basement Systems.
Concrete Lifting in Cleveland
If your concrete slab has settled, don’t panic. Concrete settling is normal for all residential concrete, especially in Cleveland, OH. Cleveland’s soil is grainy, loose, and easily susceptible to surface runoff. When a slab’s soil has washed away with the rain, that slab will no longer have an even foundation. Concrete settling can happen to any of the concrete in and around your home, including your concrete steps and garage floor.
The more the settling advances the more uneven the slab will become, until it cracks and you’re no longer able to even step on it. A cracked slab is a lot harder to repair than one that is settled, but intact. Before the concrete breaks, you need to get it repaired using a concrete lifting solution.
Many Cleveland homeowners make the mistake of patching up the corner of their slab when they first spot the signs of unevenness. However, patching up concrete won’t work because the problem lies in the fact that the concrete needs to be supported. DIY methods don’t work because they don’t tackle that crucial issue, so before you think about repairing the slab yourself, contact your local professionals.
At Ohio Basement Systems, we repair residential slabs with SettleStop PolyRenewal™. By injecting polyurethane foam under the slab, we are able to fill in the gap left by the washed out soil while also lifting the slab back into place. Once evened out, the slab looks like it never settled in the first place. Unlike soil, polyurethane does not wash out, so it acts as a permanent support for your slab once it’s done curing.
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About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Cleveland
Crawl space insulation is important for the thermal control of your home. A proper insulation material can reduce your Cleveland home’s energy consumption by 15%. However, not all insulation materials are good for crawl spaces and some of them might even worsen the conditions of your foundation. If you’ve inspected your crawl space insulation and feel that it’s wet, there could be a few reasons why.
The first reason is because the insulation material does not work well within a crawl space. When crawl spaces are built, very little thought is given about insulation. Many times, fiberglass is used because it is a cheap, common insulation material. The problem with fiberglass is that it’s absorbent, so when it’s a part of a humid crawl space, it takes in all the moisture and gets soggy. The moisture in the material eventually weighs it down, causing it to fall out of place.
If your insulation material isn’t fiberglass, there are two reasons as to why it may be wet. If the crawl space is humid and the conditions are right, the wetness you feel could be condensation. Another reason could be mold, which can sometimes feel wet and mushy to the touch. Even if your insulation isn’t absorbent, if it’s made of any kind of organic material, there’s a chance for mold to grow on it. Regardless of the kind of insulation you have, if you feel like it’s damp, you need to replace it and focus on revamping the waterproofing solutions in your crawl space.
Mold in your foundation is more than just an ugly stain. Even Cleveland homeowners with an unfinished basement who don’t use it for anything other than storage should preoccupy themselves with removing the mold from their foundation. Mold is a microorganism that is capable of triggering allergies in the best-case scenario and mold poisoning in the worst of cases. Long-term exposure to mold damages your respiratory system, so a moldy basement or crawl space is a health hazard. Even if you don’t spend much time don’t in your basement, you’re still at risk of having respiratory problems.
Because of the stack effect, the air in your basement or crawl space rises into your home and pollutes the air. Mold often releases spores into the air, which are the tiny reproductive cells of the mold. The air that rises into your home contains those spores plus all the moisture and dust that is in the crawl space. Breathing that in for months on end can lead to health issues. If you want to get rid of it permanently, there are a few things you need to do.
Mold is so persistent that you need to get remediation specialists to remove it. If you try to remove it yourself and you miss some, it will grow back. Professional mold removal is guaranteed to remove all mold from your basement or crawl space, even the mold in places you never considered. Next, you’ll want to waterproof your basement with the help of the experts at Ohio Basement Systems. As long as there is some sort of dampness in the air, mold will always find a way to grow.
The most important item in a basement is a sump pump. Without it, flooding would be an all-too-common occurrence for many homeowners. That said, some basements experience flooding that is just too much for the average sump pump, especially in Cleveland, OH, where flooding isn’t uncommon. A good sump pump can run its own and keep things dry automatically, but it’s still important that you are aware of the state of your basement.
Your basement can still flood despite there being a sump pump. The most common problem homeowners have with sump pumps is that they malfunction in the middle of a storm while there’s water still coming in. Sometimes, the water simply comes in faster than the sump pump can drain it out. Most sump pumps don’t warn when they’ve malfunctioned, so homeowners don’t find out that something is wrong until they see the water in their basement. This is why you should get a sump pump with a battery backup.
The sump pumps in our AquaStop series can be installed with a battery backup that lets you know when the primary pump has shut down. It also alerts you when water gets too high in the basin, which means that it might overflow soon. These features are a great way to warn homeowners that there might be a problem with the sump pump. By staying one step ahead of the incoming water, you can mitigate the damage to your foundation and then take the necessary steps to get your sump pump running properly again.
Concrete that is structurally weak is very porous, so it allows water to seep through spaces easier. You can identify structurally weak concrete by looking at its surface. For example, if concrete is pitting, it will have multiple craters along its surface. Structurally weak concrete is more likely to crack under specific circumstances, such as settling and when dealing with hydrostatic pressure. If the concrete was stronger, the damage wouldn’t be as severe.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to make concrete stronger after it has already been made and poured. The characteristics that the concrete has, such as its permeability, strength, and flexibility are all determined while the concrete is being created. Concrete is supposed to get stronger as the years go by, so if you’re seeing structural damage on concrete, especially if it’s only a few years old, there’s nothing you can do about its weakness except make sure that it’s as protected as possible. If it’s pitting, you need to make sure that it doesn’t get affected by freeze-thaw, since the damage from the ice can cause it to break quickly. The craters you see along the surface exist inside the structure as well, so the expanding ice only widens the craters and breaks the concrete apart.
While your weak, outdoor concrete should avoid freeze-thaw damage as much as possible, the concrete in your Cleveland home’s foundation should be supported at the slightest hint of bowing. Weak walls will buckle quickly under the stress of the accumulated groundwater. To avoid excessive foundation damage, contact us for foundation repairs. Even if the wall is bowing less than two inches inward, this can be solved with the use of carbon fiber straps. The straps serve as a sort of reinforcement system that stabilizes walls and keeps them from buckling.
Homeowners don’t realize how important stable concrete steps are until they feel them wobble. Unstable concrete steps are a sign of concrete settling. Cleveland, OH, has fine grained soil that has very little organic matter. This means that it’s susceptible to washing out. If the drainage around your steps is not good, the water will cause severe soil erosion under the slab.
Besides soil washout, grainy soils shift when under a lot of weight. Grainy soils with little clay do not compact well, meaning that they don’t get denser when pressed together. Because they are so loose, if the soil under the steps begins to settle the weight of the steps themselves will quickly advance the settling. This is why you shouldn’t ignore wobbly concrete steps. With the kind of soil the region has, a single step could force the concrete to abruptly settle a few inches into the ground.
Before an accident happens, contact your local experts for concrete repairs. Concrete steps can be lifted with the use of polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is ideal for concrete lifting in this area because it prevents settling in two ways. The foam is lightweight—only 4 to 6 pounds per square inch—which means that it will not cause major disruption to the grainy soil. Polyurethane is also impermeable, so it blocks water from reaching the sol and washing it out further.
Hydrostatic pressure is the accumulation of water against your basement wall. The amount of groundwater that surrounds your basement isn’t always the same year-round. As the weather changes, the water table rises and more water soaks the subsoil layers with increased precipitation. That said, there isn’t any particular time in Cleveland, OH, in which hydrostatic pressure gets worse. It rains consistently throughout the year and the rainiest period only spans a month during the summer.
You should be worrying about possible hydrostatic pressure against your basement wall all the time. During the fall or winter, when drainage systems are likely to get clogged up, more groundwater does accumulate underground, but the amount is minimal compared to the amount of groundwater that accumulates due to consistent precipitation over the year. Instead of worrying about when you’re likely to see your walls bow, try to spot the signs of hydrostatic pressure in your basement. Bowing walls can sometimes sneak up on you and cause severe damage seemingly overnight. Don’t let it catch you by surprise and be ready to handle the situation before it gets worse.
You should worry about hydrostatic pressure the most when groundwater starts leaking into the basement from the wall-floor joint. This is a clear sign that a great force is causing the wall to detach itself from the floor. Even if you don’t see any bowing itself, the groundwater seepage is a clear sign. Another sign is efflorescence, which are salt deposits on the surface of the concrete. They indicate that moisture is saturating the wall to the point where it’s displacing the mineral content of the concrete.
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Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Amherst, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Andover, OH.
Ashtabula County, OH
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Ashtabula County, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Ashtabula, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Aurora, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Austinburg, OH.
Avon Lake, OH
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Avon Lake, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Avon, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems has been performing basement waterproofing and crawl space repair since 1999, providing foundation and basement solutions and waterproofing systems for homeowners in Barberton, OH.
Ohio Basement Systems
7950 Bavaria Rd.
Twinsburg, OH 44087
Phone: (330) 235-1229
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 9 pm
Friday: 7 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 2pm