If you are looking to encapsulate your crawl space, we recommend that you contact a professional to undertake the process on your behalf. This is far more effective and efficient. Trying to go it alone could have disastrous consequences.
DIY Encapsulation Can Go Wrong
Waterproofing and encapsulation are straightforward processes, but that doesn’t mean this is an easy task that should be undertaken by just anyone. This process can go wrong very quickly and will cause serious issues when it does. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made is to skip the inspection phase or to fail to inspect homes thoroughly. In order for encapsulation to be successful, it is important that you diagnose all damage and repair it.
If you do not notice and repair all structural and internal damage, you will either cover up the warning signs or create an environment that traps moisture and incubates any spores that find their way inside. When this happens, the process of things like wood rot will be accelerated. Worse still, the signs of structural damage or underlying issues will be covered up until they cause some form of collapse in the wider structure of your home.
Professionals Have the Right Skills
As well as having the ability to diagnose all underlying and co-occurring issues, professionals have the tools and skills to repair things like foundation damage and wood rot in a safe and effective manner. This means that by the time they start encapsulating your crawl space, your home will be in better condition than before they arrived. This guarantees that your waterproofing and encapsulation will be more durable in the long run.
Along with a good gutter and downspout system, there are other things you can invest in to improve your home’s drainage. Downspout extensions at least 10 feet long should be attached to the bottom of downspouts to properly move water away from the foundation. Extensions also can be placed in the ground to improve safety and appearance.
The slope or grade of the soil and landscaping around your home also is extremely important. There must be a positive grade so water moves down and away from the foundation. Otherwise, with a negative grade, water will move down and towards the foundation and then lead to problems like leaks and wall cracks.
If you have started to notice a lean, tilt, or buckling in some of your basement walls, then there are several issues that could be at work. Broadly speaking, however, the most common causes of bowing walls in any basement are hydrostatic pressure and foundation damage.
Hydrostatic pressure is a natural phenomenon caused by the weight of the water in the soil around a property. All homes are subject to hydrostatic pressure, and all homes are designed to withstand it. Of course, even the best designed property has a threshold for pressure. When hydrostatic pressure becomes too great for a home, it can cause bowing walls. This happens because of how it exerts lateral pressure.
Most basement walls are made of concrete, and concrete has a low tensile strength when compared to its compressive strength. Hydrostatic pressure tests its tensile strength by exerting lateral pressure, which is the main cause of a bowing wall. Many things can increase hydrostatic pressure around a home including poor drainage, heavy rainfall, underground water sources, and localized flooding.
Foundation Damage and Movement
Alternatively, bowing walls can be caused by foundation damage and movement. When this happens, it occurs because of the direct connection between basement walls and a property’s foundation. Any sinking, lateral movement, or fragmentation in the foundation can lead to an excess of pressure or a lack of support to the basement walls. This will then cause bowing, leaning, or buckling over time. Foundation movement and damage are also highly influenced by soil saturation.
Sudden flooding, heavy storms, or poor perimeter drainage can all contribute to foundation movement by making the soil unstable, marshy, or weak. In the cases of serious and dramatic flooding (for example, during a storm surge), the force of water hitting a home can also cause foundation movement. Any movement in your property’s structure poses a risk of cracking, fragmentation, and destabilization over time.
If you’re a handy person and you’ve fixed many things around your home by yourself, you might look at a settled slab and think you’re up for the challenge. However, concrete lifting isn’t a simple repair job—It requires a lot of knowledge and specialized tools to do the job right. The first thing you have to understand is that it’s not a one-man job. Concrete slabs are heavy, and you’ll need assistance in order to lift them enough to fill them with material. Handling heavy concrete is very difficult and dangerous and you can either seriously injure yourself or simply break the concrete and have to replace it anyway.
The second thing you should realize is that you won’t be able to obtain the right materials to do the job properly. Traditionally, contractors use cement to lift concrete slabs. Buying and making a cement mixture is pretty easy, but it’s not the best way to lift concrete slabs. Cement is too heavy and compresses the soil even further, eventually making the settling worse. What you need is polyurethane injections to put an end to the settling.
Polyurethane foam that’s used in concrete lifting is better than mudjacking because polyurethane foam is an inert material that neither places pressure on soil or erodes with water. It cures in 15 minutes and most concrete lifting jobs with the foam can be done in less than a day. AFS contractors are the only ones who can inject this specific foam with the care and expertise your slab requires. As tempting as it may be to try to do it all yourself, you should sit back, relax, and let us do the heavy lifting for you.