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Here’s How Heavy Rain Can Affect Your Foundation

Heavy rainstorms can wreak major havoc on your basement, crawl space or slab foundation. Learn how you can fight back.

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When you think of the wettest regions in the U.S., what comes to mind? Many people may guess the pacific northwest, known for its gloomy disposition. However, southeastern states consistently fill out the list of the top rainiest states in the nation: 

  1. Hawaii 
  1. Louisiana 
  1. Mississippi 
  1. Alabama  
  1. Florida 
  1. Tennessee 
  1. Georgia 
  1. Arkansas 
  1. Connecticut & North Carolina (Tie) 
  1. South Carolina 

We all know what kind of an effect excessive rain can have on your plans, but when it comes to your foundation, basement, or crawl space, an overload of moisture can cause major structural issues. Learn about the potential effects that rain can have on your Tennessee or Alabama home, and what you can do to stop it. 

Water In Basement After Heavy Rain  

Having trouble with your leaky basement? Your basement may develop condensation or puddling after a heavy rain because of one unexpected natural element: soil.  

From Tennessee to South Central Alabama, clay is the primary soil type. While the combination of rain and healthy clay soil makes the area a hotspot for summer cash crops, you may run into some issues down in the basement.  

Hydrostatic Pressure 

Clay is an expansive soil, meaning that when it encounters water, it swells up and levies pressure against the walls of your basement. Before you know it, you’ll see water seeping in through cracks in your walls or even your basement cove joints (the corner connecting your wall and floor). Since hydrostatic pressure is a natural process, damage like this is unavoidable if you don’t have the proper waterproofing protections in place.  

Poorly Compacted Soil 

When homes with basements are constructed, large amounts of soil are excavated to build the partially-underground structure. Builders will then refill the cavity with the previously excavated soil. Natural soil compaction cannot be replicated once it’s displaced; no matter how much builders pack down the soil, it won’t go back to its original, tightly-packed state.  

This process alters the drainage properties of the soil around your home. Now that the soil is looser, water has an easier way of sinking into the soil and eventually, your basement.  

Tips For Keeping Your Basement Dry

Moldy, Wet Crawl Space

For home builders in the 1950s and 60s, there was a popular line of thought that constructing vents, windows, and various other entry points into a crawl space would help air out the space and prevent moisture and mold buildup. While an earnest thought, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.  

Crawl space vents actually encourage excess moisture to seep in through to your crawl space, where it can collect and stagnate. This rings especially true when water collects around your foundation What happens to your crawl space when water and humidity creep in?  

  • Mold and mildew growth 
  • Pest infestation 
  • Wood rot 
  • Sagging or bouncing floors 
  • Worsening allergies or asthma from mold 

Did you know that about 50% of the air in your home, especially your first floor, comes from your crawl space? When your crawl space is left to fester without any water management protections, you’re breathing in air infected by mold spores, pest droppings, and humidity. When a heavy rain comes in, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared.  

Tips For Protecting Your Crawl Space During a Heavy Rain

Crawl space encapsulation is the process of drying off and completely closing up your crawl space in an attempt to protect it from outside humidity and flooding hazards. Encapsulation involves a combination of multiple waterproofing solutions customized for your home’s needs. Here are a few:  

  • Vapor barrier 
  • Crawl space dehumidifier 
  • Crawl space sump pump 
  • French drain 
  • Insulation 
  • Crawl space vent cover 

Cracking or Sinking Foundation 

slab foundation may not see much immediate water damage like a crawl space or basement. However, the aftermath of rain is where your foundation can incur damage, and here’s how.  

Drying Out Expansive Soil 

Just like clay soil expands during a heavy rain, it will shrink after the water evaporates and the soil dries out. When this happens, it causes your foundation to settle and sink into air pockets formed into the soil. This process is called differential settlement, and it’s the culprit behind many common foundation problems in Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri.  

After a heavy rain, you may notice: 

How You Can Repair Foundation Damage After the Fallout of Heavy Rain 

Since almost all foundation issues are caused by the soil beneath your home, repairing these issues will typically entail adding extra support down below. This may be solved using helical or push pier systems, which are galvanized steel piers drilled deep down into the bedrock beneath your home. These will help re-level your home and provide permanent support for as long as it stands.  

While this type of repair may seem intimidating, the problems set into motion by rain will not slow down over time. In fact, they only grow worse by affecting your daily life, increasing in complexity, and digging a deeper hole in your wallet. Investing in these repairs today can save you lost of money tomorrow.  

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    Foundation Specialists at AFS Can Prepare You For Rain 

    For over two decades, AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists have been a staple for homeowners in one of the rainiest regions in the US. We take pride in our local roots in Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri, and we’ve seen it all. When you’re ready to waterproof your basement, encapsulate your crawl space, optimize your gutters, and repair your concrete and foundation, we’ll be your guide.  

    We understand how daunting it feels to approach large-scale home repairs, and that’s why we don’t put pressure on you during your repair journey. We offer free inspections of your home, where our certified field inspectors will review your whole home to find the true source of your home’s issues. We’ll then provide you with a no-obligation quote, outlining a plan to restore your home.  

    Booking your first appointment with us is easy. Just fill out this form or give us a call.  

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