Crawl space water is difficult to prevent if you have a ventilated crawl space. When your crawl space isn’t properly protected, that is when problems with moisture arise.
- How to Prevent Crawl Space Water
The only true way to protect your crawl space from moisture problems is by hiring your local experts and installing waterproofing solutions. Without these solutions, your crawl space is vulnerable to many things. Rain, flooding, and soil moisture are all naturally occurring events that you can’t prevent.
By waterproofing your crawl space, you’re ensuring that standing water in your foundation never becomes an issue again. Without a sump pump, dehumidifier, vapor barrier, and drainage pipe, a simple leak can cost you thousands in repairs.
- How To Help Your Crawl Space
Once you have all your crawl space waterproofing solutions in place, there is a key element that helps the machinery in your crawl space remain efficient for years to come. This is especially important in rainy places like Alabama, where sump pumps often malfunction after storms.
To avoid overworking your sump pump and dehumidifier, you need to check your yard’s grade every few years to make sure it’s positive. A yard with a positive grade will have water flowing away from the foundation when it rains. The terrain changes with time, so even if you bought the home with a positive yard grade, you might be due for a re-grading job.
Unless your house was installed with push piers from the moment it was built, foundation settling is inevitable. This is because no matter how much you try to stop it, soil will become displaced. External factors like soil quality and weather are what determine soil displacement, so there isn’t much homeowners can do. However, there are certain changes you can make to make sure the soil degradation process is as slow as possible.
Outdoors, you should talk to a landscaping expert to determine the grade of your yard. A negative grade means that water flows toward your foundation whenever it rains. If needed, you can regrade your lawn so that water drains away from your home. Downspouts should be extended so that they drain water as far from your home as possible and no water gets the chance of saturating the soil.
During the rainiest time of year, make sure to continuously check your drainage systems for any debris. You don’t want water flowing down the side of your home because of clogged gutters. During the winter, shovel the snow out of your yard as often as you can, especially during the beginning and end of winter, when the temperature isn’t cold enough to keep snow from melting. You don’t want any water from the melted snow seeping into your soil.
Indoors, you need to set up a proper drainage system for your foundation. This means installing an interior drain system and a sump pump if you don’t already have one. Keeping your foundation dry is just as important as keeping the soil outside dry as well. Water is an erosive element that can damage the materials your foundation is made of. The more cracks and breakage in a foundation, the faster it will settle.
Consider getting a second sump pump, especially if you live in Alabama. Sump pumps get overworked during rainy seasons and often malfunction as a result. A second sump pump will guarantee that your foundation stays as dry as possible no matter how severe the weather is.
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.
Most concrete slab foundations are four to six inches tall. Although it would be preferable for a slab foundation to be reinforced with rebar, most aren’t. Does this affect the way the slab settles? It does, but not as much as you would think.
How It Helps
Concrete has amazing compression strength but terrible tensile strength. This means that it does not lose its volume when supporting a heavy weight, but if the pressure becomes too much, it will break apart. Concrete is especially vulnerable to substantial amounts of pressure that focuses on one spot and is not evenly distributed throughout the slab, which is why concrete breaks so easily when hit with a hammer.
Rebar is meant to increase the tensile strength of concrete, which is why it’s called reinforced concrete. What makes a slab crack when a house is settling is its inability to support the weight of the home as the foundation tilts and the pressure of this weight is focused on one side. With rebar in place, the slab would be able to handle more pressure, making cracks a lot less likely.
How It Doesn’t Help
Rebar may help a slab handle pressure, but it doesn’t stop the slab from settling. Even if the slab does not crack, the house will still sink because settling has to do with the soil under the house, not with the slab itself. Your home will still experience most of the structural damage that comes with settling, such as cracked walls and jammed doors, even with reinforced concrete.
This is why replacing the slab with one that has rebar is a wasted effort. The only way to truly stop settling is to allow the slab to be supported by something other than the soil underneath. This can be achieved with polyurethane foam injections or with slab piers.