Birmingham Basement Waterproofing & Foundation Repair
Birmingham is at the heart of Dixie Alley where storms are frequent. With such severe weather disrupting the soil, foundation issues run rampant.
Basement And Crawl Space Waterproofing in Birmingham
Birmingham, AL, has a humid subtropical climate, meaning that rain is abundant throughout the entire year. Anybody who has lived in a rainy area will know how frequent basement flooding can be. Crawl spaces also get flooded, but most homeowners do not concern themselves with the state of their crawl space. However, just because you don’t spend much time down there doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry about flooding or leaks. A water damaged basement or crawl space will pave the way for future issues that will cost you a pretty penny if you don’t get them resolved quickly.
If your basement has trouble keeping water out, look for the following signs around your home: Mold, pest infestations, high energy bills, efflorescence stains on concrete, moldy drywall, sagging floorboards, and musty smells. If you spot any of these problem signs, you have to start thinking about waterproofing your Birmingham home’s sublevel. Apart from being a health hazard, standing water under your house will only ever serve to damage your foundation. Once your foundation is damaged, your entire house begins to fall apart. If you thought a little basement flooding was bad, wait until you’re dealing with jammed doors.
Birmingham Foundation Repair
The majority of Birmingham’s soil is expansive clay, so water is absorbed making it very heavy. The existence of hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls may not be noticed until it is too late and problem signs begin to pop up all over your house.
When a foundation is unstable, it means the house can no longer be supported, so it starts settling and tilting towards the side. This is a serious issue, but it’s not one without a solution. If there’s enough room for it, SettleStop™ Wall Anchors can help brace your wall so that they are straightened out. These can even strengthen your wall with time!
Helical piers and push piers are another great choice for foundation repair, especially if you’re looking for a long-term option that will hold your foundation up for the rest of its lifespan. If you have a slab foundation, slab piers are the way to go. It’s important that you get in contact with experts in Birmingham that have all these solutions available to you. Many companies advise that a complete foundation overhaul needs to be done when oftentimes, this is untrue and unnecessary.
Concrete Lifting in Birmingham
When you’re walking on an uneven floor, you can almost always tell immediately. There’s nothing more annoying than feeling as if you’re about to trip due to a settled concrete slab. Concrete slabs normally settle due to soil expansion and shrinkage. With Birmingham’s clay soil, this process often happens, causing sinking or cracked concrete slabs to be an all too frequent occurrence.
If you’ve noticed that the concrete in and around your Birmingham home has settled, you’ll want to do something about it as fast as you can while the slab is still intact. Our concrete lifting solution can lift the settled slab back in place. This non-invasive process leaves your concrete looking like new and protects it from further settling and future soil changes.
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Frequently Asked Questions
About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Birmingham
Soil erosion is defined as a natural occurring process in which soil wears away due to an external factor. Soil erosion is extremely detrimental to your property because it displaces the soil that is supposed to be holding up your home. Without the soil, your foundation is at the mercy of any extra weight, pressure, or movement that comes from within or outside your home. Soil erosion can cause settling, ruin the way water flows through your property, and allow for the over-saturation of soil. All in all, it’s a pretty disruptive occurrence for a homeowner.
There are many different things that can erode soil, but in Birmingham specifically, there are two main causes for erosion: Rainfall and wind. On a very minor scale, earthquakes also degrade the soil. Alabama is ranked the third U.S. state with the most annual precipitation. Rainfall results in both splash erosions and surface runoff, so already you have two types of erosion displacing the topsoil during heavy rain. The best way to counter this would be to plant bushes that serve as cover from the rain as well as soak up the moisture in the soil to deter surface runoff.
Birmingham is located in Dixie Alley, a region famous for its high frequency of tornadoes. The fierce winds caused by tornadoes is one of the most disruptive forces wreaking havoc on your yard. Even if the tornado isn’t very strong, the intense winds pick up a bit of the topsoil each time and spreads it around. After years of this, the topsoil becomes very loose and, making displacement even more possible. In truth, it’s very difficult to prevent soil erosion because it’s dependent on the unstoppable force that is nature.
A good way to determine whether your basement or crawl space has high humidity levels is to check if the concrete has efflorescence stains. Efflorescence is a white, powdery substance on the surface of concrete. If you touch it or scrape it, it feels grainy and some of it flakes off. At times, homeowners will confuse efflorescence for mold, but this is incorrect. Efflorescence is salt, which you can feel the texture of if you scrape it off the concrete.
Efflorescence appears on your concrete either due to primary efflorescence or secondary efflorescence. Primary efflorescence usually occurs 48 to 72 hours after the concrete is poured and it’s a result of an excess amount of water in the cement mixture. As the cement cures, the water evaporates and rises to the surface of the concrete but brings along with it all the salts and minerals from the cement. Even professionals get a bad mixture from time to time, but an experienced contractor is less likely to make cement that produces efflorescence.
Secondary efflorescence is what indicates the humidity in your basement or crawl space. Secondary efflorescence is when an external water source saturates the concrete. When this moisture evaporates, it brings up the concrete’s salts and minerals to the surface. If you have efflorescence stains on your concrete, it’s possible that outside moisture is permeating through the concrete and causing the stains. Efflorescence stains may not seem important, but the displaced salt particles clog up the concrete’s pores and traps moisture inside, causing cracks.
Bowing walls are one of the later signs of foundation problems, as well as one of the most severe. Bowing walls mean more wall cracks and flooding, so repairs are a must if you want to stop water from entering your foundation. AFS offers a long-lasting, reliable solution to this problem in the form of SettleStop™ Wall Anchors. These anchors are made of galvanized steel and they are made to support your wall with tough, stable soil from the outside so the walls aren’t affected from nearby soft soils. When one of our field experts inspects your tilting foundation walls, they’ll let you know where the anchors need to be installed.
Installation starts by carefully boring holes into the ground where the earth anchors need to be installed. Next, holes are drilled into the foundation walls and the steel rods are pushed through. The threaded ends of the rods are then attached to the earth anchors by screwing them together with a nut. The holes are then filled with compacted soil that holds the assembly in place and then the wall anchors are secured to the wall itself. One type of wall anchor, a channel anchor, extend along part of the foundation wall, so it’s all bolted down alongside the wall, and this motion can straighten the wall.
What makes our method and materials so great is that we keep you, the homeowner, in mind. The holes drilled on your foundation walls are only 1″ in diameter, so very little of the wall is disturbed in the process. The triple-galvanized steel ensures that no corrosion interferes with the anchor’s ability to support your wall. SettleStop™ Wall Anchors can be installed in your home in a day or less, so no need to worry about supervising our contractors for too long while they move about your space.
Sagging floors is one of those problems homeowners don’t usually see to right away. Sometimes, the floor begins to sag slowly over time, so it may not seem like a big deal as homeowners become accustomed to walking on an uneven floor. Other times, the thought of having to replace the floorboards and wooden joists is such a hassle that homeowners would rather put it off for later. However, did you know that if you act fast, not a single piece of wood in your foundation needs to be replaced? It all depends on what’s causing the sag and how quickly you’re able to fix it.
One of the reasons your floor is sagging is because of damaged wood. This can be either due to breakage or due to wood rot. If it’s wood rot, you can kill the mold if it hasn’t softened up the wood significantly. To make sure the wood rot is completely gone and to protect yourself from manipulating dangerous chemicals yourself, contact an expert who can eliminate the rot and coat the wood with a primer to strengthen it. Another reason your floor is sagging would be due to foundation settling.
In both cases, if the problem is detected early on, you don’t have to replace the wood. Instead, you can use a crawl space support like SettleStop Floor Support to old up the floor and stabilize it. As for basement foundations, you can straighten things out with helical piers and wall anchors. Both can be used to tackle the source behind the sagging floors. As long as you’re able to get these solutions installed before the floorboards or joists break, there should be no replacing needed.
Uneven concrete slabs are pretty dangerous on their own, but things get even riskier if it’s an uneven pool deck. The settling that occurs around pool decks are more likely to cause accidents because of the water, and those that don’t know how to swim run the risk of falling into the pool. But what exactly causes uneven pool decks? Is it the same thing that causes concrete settling in your driveway or garage? Well, sort of, but there’s a bit of a twist to it that involves the pool’s construction.
A pool is made by digging a hole large enough to fill a pool. Once all the walls are put into place, soil is backfilled around the excavated area until there’s no sign of the hole. The problem with this is that while the soil surrounding the pool is compacted, dense, and capable of holding up the pool, the soil that’s used as backfill is very loose. Because of the soil’s looseness, when the concrete slabs are poured over the soil, it compresses together, forming a gap under the concrete that causes settling. There’s very little that can be done about this during the construction of the pool itself, so all you can do as a homeowner is repair the settled slabs.
Concrete lifting using polyurethane foam injections is the best way to fix a pool deck with settled concrete slabs. Replacing and repouring all the slabs does nothing to address the real issue and will leave you dealing with the same problem in a few years’ time. Polyurethane foam allows you to conserve your slabs by filling in the gaps under the concrete and letting a more reliable material support the deck. Unlike the cement slurry used in mudjacking, polyurethane foam is light, so it won’t put any more pressure on the soil. Not every contractor has the tools or the experience to use polyurethane foam, so bypass those that offer mudjacking as a solution and go with a contractor who provides the best methods.
Crawl spaces are often neglected by homeowners. Basements at least often contain washing and drying machines and have sufficient space to be used for storage. Crawl spaces, however, are not places homeowners spend much of their time in. Even if you understand the importance of a sump pump in your crawl space, you might be wondering why you should encapsulate it in the first place. A basement you might understand, but what’s the point of applying white sheets to a crawl space you’ll never spend time in?
Encapsulating your crawl space is more than just closing off your crawl space and making it look nice with white sheets. Those white sheets are actually vapor barriers that serve a very important purpose in the fight against humidity in your crawl space. Proper reflective insulation can also be installed along with the vapor barrier, even if your crawl space has already been insulated with another material. High quality reflective insulation like our patented thermal insulation panels makes sure that the warm crawl space air stays in the crawl space. This improves the energy efficiency in your home, reduces energy bills, and keeps the air in your home fresh at all times.
The vapor barrier is meant to block off any water vapor that tries to enter your crawl space. Water vapor can be very persistent and is capable of passing through any porous material, including wood, plastic, and concrete. If this water vapor stays in your crawl space, it could promote mold growth or invade the upper levels of your home and create a stuffy environment there. In a city like Birmingham, with its humid summers and abundance of rain, you’ll need as much help as you can get to deter moisture.
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AFS Foundation & Waterproofing
130 Interstate Commerce Crt. Bldg. 100 & 200
Alabaster, AL 35007
Phone: (205) 286-5520
Phone: (205) 859-8550
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 6 am – 8 pm
Friday: 6 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 7 am – 1 pm