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Crawl Space & Foundation Repair in Columbus, GA

A home needs a dry and stable foundation to be healthy. It’s accomplished by installing permanent solutions to repair and protect the home and its foundation.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Repair and Basement Waterproofing in Columbus, GA

As much as 90% of all Georgia homes will experience some sort of humidity problem at one point or another. That’s why it’s essential for Columbus homeowners to prepare and always keep their property dry and safe. 

Most of the time, the best waterproofing move a homeowner can make is to install a sump pump that will remove excess water from their Columbus home’s basement or crawl space when there’s a need. Heavy rain and severe storms are common in the area and they can easily cause your home to flood. A sump pump will only activate when needed and therefore it can last for decades, consuming energy only when it’s in use. 

Even though winters are relatively mild in Georgia, there are still occasional snowstorms in December and January, especially in the northern parts of the state. When the snow melts, the water puts extra pressure on your home, often causing leaks and smaller floods. Having a vapor barrier installed can help with this as well as with the ensuing humidity. 

Roof gutters should also be installed and maintained regularly in order to prevent rainfall from adding to the hydrostatic pressure around your property. Gutters sometimes seem like a minor feature, but they do a great deal when it comes to directing water away from your Columbus home and therefore your basement.

AFS Crew in Crawl Space giving thumbs up

Foundation Repair in Columbus, GA

Helical pier installation

Foundation issues are common in Columbus, GA. That’s why we offer a variety of different solutions for bowing walls and foundation settling. It’s important to start by knowing which action to take and that’s best done by consulting one of our expert inspectors and letting them come up with the solution and the quote for the job.  A lot of the foundation issues facing homes in Columbus happen seasonally and due to how the harsh summer weather affects the soil. The soil tends to shrink when it’s not humid enough and this causes the home on top of it to become structurally unstable. 

We offer the best solutions for homeowners by providing a support system of helical piers and push piers. They are a long-term fix for homes that are sinking or have an uneven foundation. The soil that erodes below the home causes the issue and you need a solution that deals with this underlying cause and not just the manifestation of it. The piers are used to transfer the weight of the home to the sturdy ground.  Having the piers best suited to the needs of a Columbus home also depends on local conditions. 

Sagging floors often appear due to foundation problems. They are easy to notice since the floor is bouncy when you step on it. There are also gaps between the floor and the bottom of your walls inside the property. This is what happens when floor joists fail and you don’t always need to replace them. A support jack for the crawl space can be installed instead. It’s used to stabilize the floor and make it even. Chances are that the issue is caused by the excess humidity in the soil. However, older, Antebellum homes are often made out of wood entirely and their structural integrity can also be affected by insects and rodents.

Concrete Lifting Repair in Columbus, GA

Concrete steps and slabs on your Columbus property may start to sink and crack after a few years. They are resting on soil and use it for support. That’s something that can become an issue if the soil starts to erode over the years. The concrete will sink since it doesn’t have the soil to rest on. The soil in Georgia often contains a lot of clay and that’s what causes it to shift under the pressure of a concrete slab. When there’s an excessive amount of rain, clay soil will expand but it will also shrink when it’s dry. This leads to gaps and voids beneath the slab and that’s where the cracks will appear.   

One of the best ways to do this is to use PolyRenewal™ foam. It’s a far superior solution to any of the old alternatives. The process for installing it is much less invasive and less complicated. The foam will lift your Columbus home’s concrete in less than an hour and it’s safe to use as soon as the process is done. It’s also a better solution in terms of its environmental impact. The foam is injected through small holes in the concrete that installers will easily cover afterward. Since the foam doesn’t react with water it won’t be affected by the washouts caused by the ever-changing Georgia weather.

AFS crew members hard at work using our Settle Stop Concrete Raising system

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Frequently Asked Questions

About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Columbus

Understanding what causes settling and foundation problems in your home can lead to more questions rather than answers. All evidence points to expansive soils being the reasons homes develop structural damage, so what can be done about it? Can replacing the soil with one that drains water better help? What about just replacing the old expansive soil with newer, fresher clay soil? Actually, while most problems can be fixed by tackling the source, foundation damage due to expansive soils is not one of them.

Replacing your soil will not solve the issue because whatever soil you replace the original with will cause problems eventually. Soil erosion and displacement is inevitable no matter what the soil is. Clay soils have a problem with shrinking and expanding while grainy soils have a problem with erosion. Even loam soils, which are considered to be perfectly balanced, will cause problems in the future. Besides, excavating to replace your soil only to backfill it with loose soil does not solve the clay bowl effect.

Replacing your foundation soil is expensive and invasive. You would have to move out of your home while the job is being done. Instead of trying to do something about the soil, the best way to save your home is by repairing the foundation with all the necessary installations. Bowing walls can be stabilized and even straightened with wall anchors if there’s space in the yard and the settling foundation can be lifted with either push or helical piers. Interior drains can also be installed to help with drainage from within the foundation.

Foundation settling occurs no matter what kind of foundation you have. Because most houses are built similarly, regardless of the kind of foundation you have, a lot of the problem signs will overlap. Whether it’s a slab foundation, crawl space, or basement, if your foundation is settling, there will be cracks along the walls. These cracks can often be found either near the floor or near the ceiling. Cracks along door and window frames are also common since wooden frames break easily under any sort of tension.

Uneven floors and increased humidity are other common signs to watch out for. The one difference between slab foundation settling and the rest is how water enters your home. When slab foundations settle, water is able to seep through the cracks easier. Because the house is attached to the slab, any water that comes through the slab from the ground will wind up in your home. With other foundations, the flooding was at least contained to the lower levels of the house.

With slab foundations, however, flooding due to foundation failure is much more destructive, especially when the flooding ruins things of monetary value. Because slab foundations are prone to settling faster than other types of foundations, it’s in your best interest to contact a foundation repair company who knows how to help you. Certain parts of slab foundations can be lifted and repaired using polyurethane foam. For more complicated settling, slab piers are the best support piers for slab foundations.

The three most common types of foundations in Montgomery are slab foundations, crawl spaces, and basements. Other kinds of foundations exist, but they aren’t very common in Alabama. Crawl spaces and basements involve digging deep into the soil in order to create a sub-level from the ground floor. They serve to separate the floor from the soil, especially in places where the temperature can reach below freezing. With slab foundations, on the other hand, what separates the ground floor from the soil is a thick concrete slab and the pipes and ductwork under said slab.

Slab foundations are popular in places where the freeze-thaw effect would not be able to harm foundations. Even though it sometimes snows in Montgomery, it’s not significant enough to require all homes in the city to have sub-levels. Slab foundations are easy to build and inexpensive, but they do have a lot of drawbacks. For starters, foundation settling in slab foundations is a lot more disruptive because of the proximity to the slab. Slab foundations are also difficult to modify or waterproof once they have been built because of all the ductwork under the slab.

Settling in slab foundations is also more likely to happen because the HVAC vents under the slab tend to dry out the soil. By drying out the clay soil, it accelerates soil shrinkage, which in turn, accelerates settling. Traditional waterproofing methods don’t work on slabs because there simply isn’t enough space to install them. There are ways in which you can waterproof foundation slabs, but not all contractors work with those materials. Other than drain tiles, there’s not much you can do except repair the foundation with slab piers once there’s settling.

If your basement is leaking, it can sometimes be pretty easy to spot where it’s coming from. The window, the pipes, and the washing machine are all common sources of basement leaks. If you walk into your basement and see water coming from the floor, however, that might be a bit more confusing. If the pipes and vents are fine, the window is dry, and the machines are working as normal, there should be no water, right? Well, due to Montgomery’s clay soil, the answer is no.

Clay soils are able to retain water really well for long periods of time; it’s actually one of its many defining features. When a lot of water accumulates in the soil surrounding your foundation, it can often pool right alongside your foundation and put a lot of pressure on the wall. This is known as hydrostatic pressure. This refers to the weight of the water that pushes up against the foundation wall until it begins to bow inward. Long-term pressure on the foundation eventually causes cracks along most of the wall, but the most significant damage can be found at the wall-floor joint.

If your basement is flooding and the water is coming from the floor, it’s a clear sign of hydrostatic pressure. Look for other signs of it throughout the house, like uneven walls or floors. Do not let this problem sit for too long, because if you don’t do something about it quickly, you’ll have more than just a bit of flooding to worry about. The foundation is the most important part of the house, so don’t let it fall apart by allowing it to settle. Hydrostatic pressure accelerates foundation settling, which sets off a slew of other structural problems that you will have to pay to fix down the line.

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.

The importance of insulation in a home is a pretty easy concept to understand. Insulation keeps the warm air in during the winter and keeps it out during the summer. It makes sense to install some sort of thermal control barrier in a space where people will frequent, but how necessary is it in a crawl space? After all, nobody spends time in crawl spaces. A basement would make more sense, especially one that’s furnished. The truth is, your crawl space plays a very important role in how well your house is insulated and how protected your foundation is from frost related damage.

Due to the stack effect, the warm air that is in your crawl space rises to your living spaces during the summer. During the winter, whatever warm air that’s in your home escapes through this same crawl space. This lack of thermal control makes it so that you run your HVAC for longer than you need to, effectively raising your electricity bill. A properly insulated crawl space will not have any airflow going in or out of it because the material will keep it all trapped in one enclosed spot. Crawl spaces are usually the most humid parts of the house, so make sure you get reflective, rigid thermal insulation panels instead of an absorbent, soft material like fiberglass, lest mold grows on it.

As for protecting your foundation, soil and concrete suffer greatly from the freeze-thaw effect. This is when moisture makes its way through a material, freezes, and then expands. When liquid freezes, it expands by around 9%, and this expansion has the strength to create micro-tears in materials, including your foundation walls. Although winters are short in Montgomery, there are a handful of days where the temperature hits below freezing. A properly insulated crawl space will trap enough heat to make sure that moisture does not freeze within the foundation, preventing freeze-thaw damage.

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Columbus, GA

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Columbus Local Office

AFS Foundation & Waterproofing
2701 Opelika Road,
Phenix City, AL 36870

Phone: (334) 209-5411
Phone: (334) 203-4899

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