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  • September 29, 2019 07:34:57 PM
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A Little About Us

Bay Crawlspace and Foundation Repair was founded in 2014 and has quickly grown. We provide various services for foundation repair and crawl space repair in the greater Virginia Beach area. Our experts can provide a free inspection and estimate for your property and the solutions needed to repair your foundation and crawl space.

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Benefits of a Crawl Space Dehumidifier

Did you know that high humidity can cause or exacerbate a whole host of health issues, including allergies and skin irritations? It can impact your HVAC system’s ability to effectively regulate temperature and make it work harder than it needs to. And humidity can even attract unwanted pests. Eliminating humidity from a large, uninsulated space may...

Did you know that high humidity can cause or exacerbate a whole host of health issues, including allergies and skin irritations? It can impact your HVAC system’s ability to effectively regulate temperature and make it work harder than it needs to. And humidity can even attract unwanted pests.

Eliminating humidity from a large, uninsulated space may sound like a daunting undertaking. But there are a few straightforward fixes, like installing a crawl space dehumidifier. What solution is right for you depends on the severity of your issue.

If you are experiencing higher than normal levels of humidity inside your home, it could be a result of moist air drifting up from your crawl space. In fact, without implementing proper precautions in the area, these problems are almost inevitable.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can mitigate humidity in your crawl space and your home. It can help improve your quality of life, save on energy costs, lengthen the life of your HVAC system, and protect your home’s structural integrity.

Humidity Basics

Humidity is a measure of water content in the air. When you hear about humidity on weather reports, it is referring to “relative humidity.” This is a percentage of the maximum amount of water the air can hold at the same temperature.

The water particles in humid air hold heat, which means humid environments trap heat better than dryer ones. This creates the feeling that the climate is warmer than a dry one at the same temperature.

But some humidity is good. If an environment is too dry, then dust and other particles disperse through the air and cause other problems. A little bit of humidity also is good for your skin and respiratory system.

So, what should the humidity be in a sealed crawl space? A good ballpark range is 30 to 65 percent. Above 65 percent, you will begin to see problems, and anything above 75 percent is cause for concern. 

The Problems

You may think to yourself, “I never spend any time in my crawl space. Why would I care if it is damp?” The short answer is that air in your crawlspace or basement can make its way up into your living space through porous wood, flooring, and insulation.

Air at the lowest point in your structure naturally flows to upper levels. This is known as the “stack effect,” the same dynamic as smoke rising up a chimney.

And it means that as much as half of all air in the first level of your home could be some that has migrated up from your crawl space.

There are three main causes of humidity in crawl spaces: 1. From the damp ground 2. From the humid outside air and 3. From groundwater and flooding. In dirt crawl spaces, although the top layer may appear to be dry, moist dirt lies just beneath the surface. It is a constant source of moisture that seeps into your crawl space air.

Most crawl spaces have ventilation that allows air to flow freely in and out of the area. So, if the humidity outside is high, this means the air in your crawl space likely is as well. There are myriad problems this can cause for your home.

House Structure

Humidity in your crawl space means the foundation is more susceptible to mold, mildew, and fungus, which can each cause rot and decay. This can impact support beams and subflooring, which may be in direct contact with the crawl space air.

Humidity also can cause floors to sag and threaten the integrity of your home’s structure. As it moves into your home, it can bring about damage to upholstery, furniture, and clothing.

Discomfort

As already stated, a humid room is more difficult to cool off than a dryer one. Conversely, a dryer environment feels cooler, due to the lack of heat-trapping water molecules in the air.

This also means that more humid rooms are difficult to make comfortable. They can feel warmer than they are, as well as produce a “swampy” feeling.

Humidity can impact air quality as well. Mold and fungus spore in the air can cause breathing issues. It can trigger allergies and irritate your eyes and respiratory system.

Pests

Moisture in your crawl space can get the attention of a variety of pests, including dust mites, rodents, and a variety of insects. These include termites that cause billions of dollars in property damage every year, more than natural disasters.

If you have noticed an abrupt insect infestation, it could be the result of high humidity. Addressing the source of the issue could be the first step to eliminating it.

Strain on HVAC System

Excessive moisture in your home’s air also means that your air conditioning system is working harder to compensate. This creates strain, particularly in the summer months when it is already running at full steam.

Some HVAC systems have built-in dehumidifiers. These can help cut down on humidity, but not at the level of a dedicated dehumidifier. And, these components can make your AC unit work even harder, as it tries to dehumidify your home at the same time that it is trying to cool it.

The Solutions

Reducing moisture can help prevent all these problems. There are many approaches to doing so, and each will depend on how significant the problem is in your home.

Note that, if you have standing water in your crawl space, you should address this issue before proceeding with dehumidifying. The same with mold: you should hire a professional to do remediation before you address humidity.

Crawl Space Vapor Barriers

Vapor barriers can help block moisture that rises from the soil in your crawl space. These are plastic liners that cover the entire flooring throughout the space. They block both vapors and moisture from seeping into the air.

One advantage of vapor barriers is that you can install them yourself. It is merely a matter of getting the dimensions of the crawl space, buying the appropriate amount of liner, and installing it in the area. It may require adding stakes through the top of the material, but no adhesives are necessary.

While vapor barriers can do a lot to cut down on humidity from the ground, they won’t fix everything. You can expect to see deterioration over the years so a high quality liner is recommended. Also, vapor barriers do not address humidity circulating into the crawl space through the outside air.

Crawl Space Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air, then cool and condense it. The residual water is either stored in a tank (that you must empty on occasion) or drained through a water line. Dehumidifiers further reduce bacteria, viruses, dust mites, fungi, and allergens found in the air.

You may be wondering, “Can I put a regular dehumidifier in my crawl space?” The answer is ‘No’. Small, portable dehumidifiers are a great, temporary solution for problematic areas of your home, such as rooms with poor ventilation.

But these machines cannot produce the same results as a dedicated crawl space dehumidifier. They are not designed to run constantly or handle the type of extreme humidity that exists under some homes. They may provide some minor relief, but ultimately are dangerous and not meant to operate in a crawl space.

A crawl space dehumidifier will work well in combination with vapor barriers. Together they will be attacking two main sources of humidity: ground and air.

You can install these on your own but the work may be best left up to a trained professional who can determine the best configuration for your home. The size of the right dehumidifier depends on various aspects of the crawl space.

Crawl Space Encapsulation

Encapsulation is the most assured way to address severe and ongoing moisture issues in your crawl space. It involves the installation of a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier that completely covers the crawl space area, including the ground and walls. A waterproofing sealant tape helps seal the ends of the material to create a uniform capsule.

Like the other methods, DIY crawl space encapsulation is possible, but you should be sure you know what you’re doing. If done improperly, the advantages of the humidity solution could be diminished. And the project involves a great deal of prep work to the entire crawl space area.

If you’re in doubt about your installation expertise, it may be best to leave it up to a trained technician. That way you know they are installing the encapsulation materials correctly so that you can see the best results in your home.

Don’t Wait to Address Crawl Space Humidity Issues

Now you have an idea of how a crawl space dehumidifier, in combination with other solutions, can reduce humidity and improve air quality in your house. Installing these can greatly improve your health and quality of life, help you save on energy costs, and even lengthen the lifespan of your HVAC system.

Bay Crawl Space and Foundation Repair serves the Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, and surrounding areas. We can address any structural or moisture problems you are experiencing in the crawl space, no matter how big or small.

We provide free estimates and consultations. So, you have nothing to lose by talking with one of our trained professionals about prospective solutions to your crawl space humidity problem.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Crawl Space

Are you reluctant to clean your crawl space because of what you might find inside? It may be time to dive beneath before it’s too late. Crawl spaces that are neglected over time can detract from the livability of your home. You may find that your allergies are getting worse over time, or maybe there...

Are you reluctant to clean your crawl space because of what you might find inside? It may be time to dive beneath before it’s too late. Crawl spaces that are neglected over time can detract from the livability of your home. You may find that your allergies are getting worse over time, or maybe there are odors in your home that you can’t identify.

Cleaning the space beneath your home may also reveal structural damage to your home before they worsen. This can lead to saving your home–and your wallet–from repairs that would have been extensive and expensive. 

With this in mind, read on to learn our top do’s and don’ts for cleaning your own crawl space, along with some helpful information on why it’s so necessary! 

Why Should You Clean Your Crawl Space? 

Crawl spaces are simply an area beneath your home that’s large enough to crawl beneath on your belly or on hands and knees. Homes are built with crawl spaces out of convenience–dirt doesn’t need to be completely leveled before the home is built. A crawl space also makes it easier to install building utilities like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and irrigation. 

Unfortunately, this convenience doesn’t come without its negatives. Since crawl spaces are exposed to the air outside, this makes them prone to moisture-related issues that attract all kinds of insects we don’t want in our homes. This also makes them more prone to issues such as odors, mold and mildew, and structural damage to your floors. 

Dirty crawl spaces that are attracting moisture can also exacerbate your allergies over time and decrease the quality of your air. Crawl space insulation and encapsulation can make your home a more livable place. Even though there are many methods for making your crawl space a less humid environment, cleaning it is the first step you should take. 

Crawl Space Cleaning Tips

Now that you know the importance of cleaning your crawl space, here are some of our top do’s and don’ts as you get started. We recommend starting with a solid plan and a budget in order to keep you on track.

Do: Determine to Crawl Space Size

Before you even begin cleaning your crawl space, you need to assess its size. This can determine how many tools you’ll need to purchase, the timeline for your cleaning, as well as whether you’ll need to call professionals. Once you’ve determined how much space you’re working with, you’ll have a far easier time planning the cleaning as well as the cleaning itself. 

Don’t: Fail to Remove Debris

Removing debris from your crawl space is an important aspect of cleaning it. Failing to remove old trash, building debris, and junk can block your ability to access it. It’s also important to remember that you or a professional will need to go beneath in order to check for pests and water damage. Debris such as splintered wood or shattered glass can cause harm if they’re not taken care of right away. 

Do: Check for Pests and Insects

When you’re dealing with a dark space close to the ground, it’s expected that you’re going to have to deal with insects and other pests. As part of your cleaning, make sure you’re checking for infestations as well. For example, dead rodents that have eaten poison bait could be the cause of odors you’ve experienced throughout your house. 

Rodent infestations can still be dangerous even if they’re not able to enter your home. This is because breathing in rodent droppings and urine can invite unwanted pathogens into your body.

Don’t: Ignore Small Leaks

As you inspect the rest of your crawl space, it’s important to recognize that even a small leak or water drainage issue can lead to big problems later on. Take note of any leaks or water damage you notice, even though they may seem insignificant at the moment. Take as many photos as you can so you can show them to a professional later on for further review.

Do: Repair the Damage

You can see how cleaning the debris from your crawl space before an inspection can help you notice the damage. Take into account settling floors, cracks, water damage, and more. If your budget doesn’t allow for all the damage to be addressed at once, speak with a professional about major crawl space repair that needs to be done as soon as possible. 

By taking care of the major damage, you’ll be in a better position to address the small issues that arise later on. For instance, you may find a boost in your air quality and health if you take care of moisture problems early on. 

Don’t: Use Water to Clean

Once you’ve completed the major repairs, it’s time to thoroughly clean your crawl space. We don’t recommend using water as it can exacerbate smaller issues and increase the humidity under your home. Instead, professionals use spray treatments that can kill mold and fungus while protecting the wood from future fungal growth. 

This is especially important for people who are suffering from allergies. Crawl spaces that are home to fungal growths and mold will cause contaminated air combined with dust, pollen, and more that can distress family members that already have breathing issues. 

Do: Seal and Dehumidify the Space

If you’ve struggled with odors in your home that are coming from your crawl space, there are a variety of methods you can adopt that can help. After the space is clean, consider installing a crawl space dehumidifier to absorb and eliminate odor causing moisture. 

You may find that the area needs to be dried because of condensation or dampness. If this is the case, we recommend contacting a professional that can dry the area in a safe way for everyone. This will drastically increase the quality of your air as well as the smell in your home.  

Don’t: Fail to Waterproof

Now that you’ve inspected, repaired, cleaned, and dehumidified the space, you want to make sure that the same issues don’t happen again. This is typically done through a vapor barrier or encapsulation.

This involves a plastic barrier that’s taped down in order to separate your living area from the crawl space below. An entire encapsulation of your crawlspace will be thousands of dollars, though you may not need to replace your entire vapor barrier. 

Along with a new vapor barrier, you’ll want to ensure that your crawl space isn’t gathering water over time. Inspect your gutters and downspouts around your home and make sure that they’re free of debris and undamaged. They also need to be installed so that they’re routed away from your home instead of towards the foundations. 

Installing a sump pump system in your crawl space with a french drain is an important extra addition that will ensure that water is never trapped below your house again. 

Cleaning Your Crawl Space the Smart Way 

Cleaning your crawl space is never comfortable, but you’ll be glad you did once it’s all over. Not only will you enjoy better quality air in your home, but you’ll also be discovering drainage issues that could have lead to costly repairs in the future if undetected.

When it comes to a structurally sound home, the difference may just be a vapor barrier and dehumidifier that are installed correctly. You might also find that your gutters may just need to be extended away from the home.

Cleaning your crawl space needs to be done carefully and deliberately. During this process, you’ll inspect the crawl space for insects and pests like rats and raccoons.

Although pests living under your home may seem harmless, the accumulation of their feces can be a toxic combination. Make sure to find contractors who use the right equipment when cleaning the crawl space and protecting your home.

Ready to begin the process of cleaning and repairing your crawl space? We’re an award-winning crawl space and foundation repair contractor that has over 30 professionals ready to help. Contact us today for a free expert analysis and quote! 


Joist Sistering: The Key to Repairing Floor Joists

Sagging floors add character to an old house—right? Well, character is one thing. Structural damage to a house; on the other hand, is a whole other layer of problems no person should let go unchecked.  Having sagging, moving, or shifting floors may indicate that there’s a bigger problem underneath. In fact, it most likely points to...

Sagging floors add character to an old house—right? Well, character is one thing. Structural damage to a house; on the other hand, is a whole other layer of problems no person should let go unchecked. 

Having sagging, moving, or shifting floors may indicate that there’s a bigger problem underneath. In fact, it most likely points to a major issue with the floor joists that are supporting the floor.

If your floors are sagging, then it might be time to make some repairs. Read on to find out how professionals use joist sistering to repair old or damaged floor joists.

Purpose of a Floor Joist

Floor joists are structural members used in the framing of a floor structure to support a space from beam to beam. Most people understand that without floor joists, your floors wouldn’t have any structural support and would eventually collapse from the weight. Not only do they support your floors, but they also carry the weight of the walls, ceilings, furniture, appliances, and the people that walk on them. 

Reasons Floor Joists Get Damaged

In residential homes, most floor joists come from natural or engineered wood. These joists are sometimes doubled or even tripled to give extra load capacity depending on where in the house and what the building codes require. So why do they fail sometimes?

There are 3 main reasons for floor joists failing. The first is the loss of integral strength due to crawl space moisture. Oftentimes, crawl spaces contain moisture from exposed damp ground, groundwater flooding, and outside humidity. This dampens and weakens the wood, leading to fungus and wood rot.

Another reason joists fail is due to water damage. If a house has a plumbing leak, it can cause wood to deteriorate more rapidly. And to compound it, if a joist already sags, water will naturally expedite the damage and movement.

The last common reason for floor joist failure is termites. Termite infestations in homes can cause significant damage to the structure of homes, leading to sagging floors. 

Signs That a House Might Have Structural Damage 

A sagging floor is the biggest telltale sign that there are issues within the structure of your home. Doors that stick or drag on the floor, cracked walls or ceilings, beams that bow, and cracks in the foundation are also signs that can indicate structural damage within a house.

Expert Advice

Depending on how bad your floors are sagging or moving, it’s wise to get the advice of multiple structural expert before going ahead with any repairs. You’ll want advice from foundation repair experts and possibly structural engineers if the problem seems complex. In the case of structural repairs, it’s best to hire a professional with years of experience to do the job.

Professionals Fix Structural Damage With Joist Sistering

Joist sistering is adding an extra identical floor joist, to a damaged or inadueqate floor joist, and tieing the two together with screws or nails. It is a very effective way of adding the additional strength needed to hold up a sagging floor. Let’s take a closer look at how this was accomplished.

Leveling the Floors

Damaged joists usually mean sagging floors—right.  Well, to make a floor level again, it needs lifting.

In order to lift a sagging floor, install a screw jack and beam underneath to push the damaged sagging joist(s) up. A screw jack is essentially a metal support post that raises or lowers by the turning of a threaded steel pipe that’s inside of it (hydraulic jacks are often used for this purpose as well).

If there are significant sags in multiple joists spanning the floor, then professionals will use multiple jacks to do the heavy lifting. Holding a 4ft level up to the joists will show how much a floor could need to be jacked up. 

Lifting a house always include the risk of damage. Lifting floor joists can cause cosmetic damage to paint, drywall, flooring, counters, trim, etc. It’s important to lift carefully but some damage cannot be avoided if lift is necessary.

Sistering the Joists

To repair floor joists, the damaged joist is sistered together with a new piece of wood. Usually, the new piece of lumber spans the length of the old one. At times when this isn’t possible, shorter pieces are used instead (this is sometimes referred to as scabbing). 

When a joist is weight-bearing, meaning it holds up a wall or has extra weight attached to it, it’s sometimes necessary to sister multiple pieces of new material to the old one. This is usually done by “sandwiching” the old joist in the middle of the two new ones. Doing this gives additional support to the joist.

Doing Joist Repairs Yourself 

Working on your house yourself can save you money as well as give you a sense of pride and ownership. If you have the tools and the time, you might be tempted to take on the job and try floor joist repair sistering yourself. Below are some issues you might run into along the way.

  • Incorrectly Notching Floor Joists: Maximum notching at the end of the joist cannot exceed 1/4 of the joist depth. Maximum notching in the outer third of the joists is 1/6 of the joist depth, and no notching in the middle third of the joist. Incorrect notching at any length of the board can seriously affect the integrity of a joist.
  • Failing to Level Joists: Leveling a floor is a process that sometimes takes days. This is because jacking up a joist may cause the rest of the house to settle in ways that weren’t expected. 
  • Sister Board Not Level: Sistering a new board to an old joist often takes multiple people to hold up in order to get level. Not leveling the new board to the old joist will defeat the purpose of the job.
  • Failure to Properly Secure Boards Together: Not knowing how to secure sistering joists together can cause structural problems in the future.
  • Insufficient Over-lapping: Knowing weight loads is important when figuring out how much to over-lap boards. Failure to over-lap boards enough may cause future sagging to reoccur.
  • Not Using Enough Support: This happens a lot in the case of load-bearing walls and other unique circumstances when more support is needed to hold up a joist.

Building code for sistering joists is also important to know when making joist repairs. Not knowing these will lead to problems if you ever plan to sell your house. Sometimes building permits are needed as well.

Other Repairs Needed

Another reason to hire a trusted professional when making joist repairs is that other issues often arise from damaged floor joists. Usually, water damage also occurs in subfloors and floors and sometimes need replacing.

A professional will spot where moisture is coming and help prevent future problems from occurring. They will also determine if beams need replacing and/or additional support beams placed.

Length of Time it Takes For Repairs

Jacking up a joist and raising a sagging floor can be a relatively quick process. An expert repair technician will know the size board to install and how to perform the repair efficiently. 

If lifting the floors more than 1/2″ is your goal, it should should be done over time to avoid damage. Sometimes this means that a screw jack is only raised once or twice a month, moving up only 1/4″ at a time. If your sag is 1″ or 2″, then you can see how this process would take a little longer. Expect new cracks to form on walls and ceilings after they’ve been jacked up.

Call in The Professionals

At BAY, our experts have years of experience in identifying the causes of structural damage within your home. If you have concerns about the integrity of your foundation, we offer free no-obligation inspections and estimates. When we inspect your home, we explain the problems, solutions, and explore multiple options to find the best solution for you—joist sistering is only one of our expertise.

If you’ve found this article useful but still have questions about your foundation, check out our BAY’s Foundation Repair Q&A.


Where Does Crawl Space Humidity Come From and How Do I Deal With It?

As of 2020, HomeAdvisor estimates the average cost of crawlspace repair to be $6,000. That’s a lot of money in today’s tough economy, so you want to prevent ending up there. One way to do so is to tackle such issues as crawl space humidity as early as possible. Crawl space moisture can wreak havoc...

As of 2020, HomeAdvisor estimates the average cost of crawlspace repair to be $6,000. That’s a lot of money in today’s tough economy, so you want to prevent ending up there. One way to do so is to tackle such issues as crawl space humidity as early as possible.

Crawl space moisture can wreak havoc on a home, destroying not only the crawl space itself but other parts of your home. But where exactly does this moisture come from? More importantly, how can you effectively tackle this problem.

If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide tells you all you need to know about dealing with a damp crawl space.

But first,

What Are the Proper Crawl Space Humidity Levels?

Having some humidity in your crawl space can be a good thing. The question, how much humidity should you have?

According to experts, 55 percent humidity is ideal for your crawl space. Anything above 65% and you’ll be dealing with moisture problems soon. Below 40% and you may begin to notice shrinkage in the house.

But how do you determine that the moisture levels in your home are ideal? The best way is to invest in a thermo-hygrometer. As the humidity exceeds 65 percent, it’s time to do something about it.

What Are the Dangers of Excessive Crawl Space Humidity?

So why should you be worried about high humidity levels in your crawl space? Below are a few reasons:

Mold Growth

Mold thrives in damp areas. If there’s moisture in your crawl space, you can almost be certain that you’ll have to face mold problems within a short time.

Mold growth on the wood in your crawl space is a serious problem, even if the growth occurs in spots. White mold usually grows on the surface of the wood and doesn’t do any real damage to the wood. However, it’s still a sign that you have high moisture levels in the crawl space and need to take appropriate action.

A bigger issue is black or brown mold. This can be wood-rot fungus and signals that structural damage is already taking place. Urgent action is necessary.

If you spot things that look like roots growing into the wood from the ground below, you’re looking at Poria fungus. This type of fungus is extremely dangerous to your home’s structure. If you don’t get expert help, Poria fungus can destroy a structure within a few months.

Wood Rot

Another common problem with excessive humidity levels in your crawl space is that it can cause wood rot. Too much humidity causes moisture content in the wood to exceed the fiber saturation point. When that happens, wood immediately starts to rot, which puts your home’s structure in danger.

Bugs

Bugs are another common problem when there’s too much moisture in your crawl space. In particular, spiders, termites, slugs, camel crickets, centipedes, and millipedes prefer damp crawl spaces.  That’s because they can get food, water, air, and security in such areas.

What Causes Water in the Crawl Space?

The best way to tackle crawl space moisture problems is to know what has caused them in the first place. Below, we discuss four of the likeliest reasons you have too much humidity in your crawl space.

Stagnant Water Within the Crawl Space

Standing water in your crawl space can lead to wet, moldy, and musty conditions. Flooded crawl spaces constantly release water vapor into the air, which increases the overall humidity of the crawl space.

If the water in the crawl space is standing on top of the vapor barrier, the problem is even worse. The purpose of the vapor barrier is to control the moisture from the earth below. When it’s covered by the standing water, the vapor barrier increases the release of moisture into the crawl space, which increases humidity levels within the space.

Many times, homeowners are unaware that their crawl spaces are flooded. That’s why it’s wise to regularly inspect the space to find out whether there’s stagnant water there. Some of the signs to look for include horizontal watermarks on walls and piers, dirt covering the vapor barrier, and wet soil along your crawl space’s perimeter.

There are many causes of crawl space flooding. These include prolonged or heavy rains, plumbing leaks, gutter downspouts that discharge next to your house, and snow melting.

Moisture Evaporating From the Ground

Sometimes, the ground below your crawl space is saturated with water. Moisture then evaporates into the air above increasing humidity levels.

Even if the soil appears dry, it’s probably because moisture is evaporating into the crawl space.  Once you’ve installed a thermo-hygrometer, it’ll be easy to know whether you have a ground moisture evaporation issue.

Outdoor Air Entering the Crawl Space Through Space Vents

Crawl space vents are meant to fix humidity issues within the crawl space. But they can contribute to the problem instead.

How?

When the air outside is damp, the air within the crawl space becomes vented with damp air. This increases the moisture problem within the crawl space.

During the summer, the hot air that vents into your crawl space comes into contact with the cool air inside, cooling in the process. Condensation forms on the surfaces of the crawl space, adding to the humidity. That’s why vents are not the best solution for controlling humidity within your crawl space.

How Do You Fix Crawl Space Humidity Problems?

High humidity levels in your crawl space are bad news. Ignoring them can lead to expensive repairs in the long run. Below are a few ways to handle the problem.

Deal With Standing Water

If you’ve noticed flooding in your crawl space, identify what may be causing the problem first. Find out whether it may be that the soil is sloped towards the foundation. If so, then do what’s necessary to make sure it slopes away from your home’s foundation.

What if the issue is a plumbing leak? Then you’ll need to find a plumbing expert to identify the specific pipe with the leak and fix it right away. Sometimes, even a leak as tiny as a pinhole can cause big problems.

Install a Sump Pump

A sump pump refers to a pump inside a bucket that’s dug into the earth in your crawl space. Water in your crawl space drains into the bucket. Once the water is in the bucket, the pump comes on and drains it to your home’s exterior.

Installing a sump pump may be the ideal solution to keep water out of your crawl spaces. Once you’ve installed it, be sure to check it a few times each year to ensure it’s functioning properly.

Invest in a Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier covers your crawl space’s floor. This thick sheet of plastic is especially crucial for crawl spaces with dirt floors.

Vapor barriers keep moisture underneath them, preventing the moisture from reaching the wood joists that make up your floor. The barrier also helps keep your insulation dry.

Be sure to use an expert when installing a vapor barrier. That’s because your vapor barrier doesn’t just control the humidity in your crawl space but also protects your indoor air. You want to make sure the installation is done right, so your indoor air stays fresh and free of allergens.

Consider Crawl Space Dehumidifiers

Another step that’s often necessary for keeping humidity levels at the right level is to install a crawl space dehumidifier.

Usually, a crawl space dehumidifier is positioned appropriately inside the crawl space to ensure optimal air circulation. As its fan circulates, it spreads clean, dry air throughout the crawl space. This helps keep humidity levels down.

Choosing a Crawl Space Company

If you’ve noticed a problem with your crawl space, it’s always wise to work with a professional to ensure that it’s addressed effectively.  But how do you know you’ve found the right person for the job? Look at the following three factors.

Reputation

This is essential. You want to be sure that you can trust the company you’re working with to do what they promise. Get references and read customer reviews to get a good idea of what to expect once you hire the company.

Quality of Products

The quality of products that the company uses will determine the results you can expect from the job done. That’s why you need to enquire from the outset whether the company uses premium products that come with long warranties.

Price

Prices can vary dramatically depending on the nature and size of the job. Get multiple quotes and choose a price that’s comfortable for you. Beware of suspiciously low quotes as they may hide other fees or signal a poor quality job.

Proper Crawl Space Humidity Levels Are Essential in Your Home

Maintaining the right crawl space humidity levels is vital for the overall health of your house. Excessive crawl space moisture can lead to mold, wood rot, and bugs, all of which can destroy your home over time. If you think you have too much humidity in your home, consider installing a sump pump, crawl space dehumidifiers, or a vapor barrier.

Are you interested in reliable crawl space solutions for your home? Please contact us today.


What You Need to Know About Buying A House with Buckling Floors

Buying a fixer-upper versus a move-in ready home has the advantage of having lower upfront costs along with the possibility of much lower property taxes. Local taxing authorities base property taxes on the sales value of a home.  According to Realtor.com, about 60% of home buyers consider purchasing a home in need of repair and/or...

Buying a fixer-upper versus a move-in ready home has the advantage of having lower upfront costs along with the possibility of much lower property taxes. Local taxing authorities base property taxes on the sales value of a home. 

According to Realtor.com, about 60% of home buyers consider purchasing a home in need of repair and/or renovation. 

When considering a fixer-upper there is a difference between buying a home in need of cosmetic renovation versus a home in need of major repair. Signs of a home in need of major repairs including buckling floors, cracked or crumbling walls, or ill-fitting windows and/or doors. 

These could be signs of a home that has foundation problems. A home’s foundation is critical to assuring that your home will stand for decades to come. 

Though a problem, uneven floors don’t have to be a make-or-break. As with any fixer-upper, it can be a diamond in the rough. 

Not Created Equal: The Right Fixer-Upper 

When considering a fixer-upper the one thing you should keep in front of mind is: fixer-uppers are not created equal. There are great opportunities and there are bad opportunities. 

The best choices are homes that someone will want but doesn’t necessarily want now. A lot of homes spend extended periods of time in the market because of easily repairable imperfection including peeling paint, old fixtures, or uneven floors and worn carpets. This is especially true of first-time home buyers.

They turn down a deal that can end up saving them money both upfront and in the long run. Money is made when you buy a home if you keep the resale of the renovated or repaired home in mind. Can you make money from buying this specific fixer-upper after renovations?

Even if you plan to live in the home yourself this helps you decide whether this a good investment. 

Considerations

What makes the distinction between a bad opportunity and a shiny piece of coal?

  • Location –  You don’t want to buy a home across from a school, near a busy intersection, or around a landfill. The best places to look are in up-and-coming neighborhoods whose other homes are occupied and well-maintained. 
  • Floor Plan – Choose homes that have the ideal layout. This means the dining room is not the focal point, the kitchen has more than one entrance, and master bedrooms aren’t located at opposite ends of the house. Most families don’t appreciate rooms too far from that of their children. This may include you someday if you don’t have children already. 
  • Maintenance – What is the condition of the property? 
    • Easy fixes: installing new fixtures, fixing broken windows, patching walls (stripping wallpaper, painting, etc.), or replacing baseboards or trim, replacing subflooring or tiling uneven floor spaces in bathrooms, or refinishing floors.
    • Hard fixes: Pouring concrete for driveways, etc., kitchen or bathroom remodels, reroofing, foundation repairs, adding a garage, or replacement and installation of all the windows in the home. 

In this article, we focus on dealing with uneven flooring and repairing damaged flooring, as well as identifying whether the floors are an easy fix or a result of deeper foundation issues.

Common Causes of Buckling Floors

Walking on an uneven floor can feel like you’re walking a bit uphill. It’s not uncommon to experience this in older homes. When considering a home that needs floor repairs you need to look at what’s causing the problem to determine costs. 

Three causes of damaged flooring include:

  1. Soil Movement – Soil erosion and soil movement are natural phenomena. Shifting soil becomes a problem, however, when it causes your foundation to move with it. In this case, the floors are affected, making them lift or even sink. 
  2. Damaged Foundation or Ill-Designed Home Structure – A damaged foundation can simply be a cause of age. An older home can have foundation troubles because a home’s foundation weakens over time. A weak foundation can be the result of a poorly designed foundation. A home with a weak foundation will often have warped, sloped, or buckled floors. 
  3. Trapped Moisture – This is the most common cause of damaged flooring. Especially with wood flooring, excess moisture from a leaking pipe hidden behind a wall or even groundwater can cause the sub-flooring or wood beams to warp. 

The above is mainly flooring problems that have to do with crawl space foundation issues. Other causes for raised floors can be a simple as problems with sub-flooring or joists. These are manageable to fix and can make a fixer-upper worth looking into. 

Fixing Damaged Flooring

Deciding whether a home with loose or raised floors is worth considering it’s good to look into what you would need to do to fix them. Here’s how to fix uneven floors. 

For moisture issues, you’d need to control any sources of moisture from the damp earth, water intrusion, flooding, plumbing leaks, etc. Now, if the moisture is coming from a foundation that doesn’t drain properly, this is a bigger problem associated with more costs. Any damaged flooring might need to be replaced depending on the extent of the damage. 

In the case of damage due to soil movement, a foundation repair specialist or contractor can determine whether the foundation is severely damaged or if the problem can be solved by redirecting any water away from the foundation. This can be done by simply installing spouts to prevent moisture accumulation. 

Foundation damage can be more expensive, depending on the extent of the damage. The type of foundation can also affect pricing for foundation repair. This can include pumping grout into specific locations to raise the foundation back up to its original level or using floor jacks and foundation piering. 

Problems with sub-flooring or joists are an easier fix. With crowning or sagging floor joists, you can use a self-leveling product or shims between the plywood sub-flooring and shims. Bulging plywood could be simply tacked back into place or it may need to be replaced. 

The best way to determine the solution to damaged flooring is to get it inspected by a professional. This will help you determine costs and whether the fixer-upper is still in the game.  

Repair Costs vs Buyer Savings 

As shown above, the costs for repairing uneven flooring depends on the cause and the kind of flooring that needs replacing. Either way, the damaged flooring needs replacing. 

To help calculate the costs for the fixer-upper you’re considering, here are the average costs for the repairs we’ve discussed so far. 

With soil movement, the concrete slabs that make up the foundation shifts. This usually calls for slab jacking or foundation piers. With slab jacking, the concrete is lifted and any voids are filled to raise the foundation back to the proper level. This repair starts at $2000 and up. 

If the ground is too soft helical piers may be used since it can be installed in undisturbed soil up to 20 feet below the home. Each pier is between $1500-$2000. 

Replacing sub-flooring can run from $1,000-$12,000 with an average of about $2,800 per room. Repairing joists can be anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 for a 120 square-foot room.

The average cost of a sagging floor sits on an average of $6,500. 

All said and done, this is where the averages stand for repairing floors: 

  • Foundational Issues: $5,000-$25,000
  • Rotting Joists: $1,000-$10,000
  • Damaged Sub-flooring: $1,000-$12,000

These costs can get confusing. The best way to lock down an accurate price for damaged flooring or uneven floor transitions is to call a foundation repair specialist or contractor to evaluate and give you a proper quote.  

But this can help you draw out some estimates if you’re looking at several properties and want to narrow down your options. 

Considering a Home with Flooring Troubles

When considering any fixer-upper have the property appraised by a good inspector. Often inspectors of various specialties are needed for a detailed big picture. When looking at a home, take note of all the signs that might hint at a deeper issue, such as buckling floors If you have doubts, call the appropriate inspector for that particular problem. 

A professional will help give you an idea of what repairs need to be done so you can make an informed decision.  

Fixer-uppers can be a great investment with some saving you as much as 60%-80% of a move-in ready home. Even with flooring or foundation troubles, a fixer-upper can be a great investment that you can personalize to your needs and that of your family. 

Bought a fixer-upper in need of repairs? Reach out to us to get a quote for your new home. 


Foundation Repair: What to Know

Foundation repair services is a $718 million industry globally. It might surpass $800M by 2026. Is your foundation in distress? Are you planning to repair it? Foundation issues can become significant and affect the entire building if not corrected early enough. Luckily, there are multiple ways of solving issues without much hassle. If you suspect...

Foundation repair services is a $718 million industry globally. It might surpass $800M by 2026.

Is your foundation in distress? Are you planning to repair it? Foundation issues can become significant and affect the entire building if not corrected early enough.

Luckily, there are multiple ways of solving issues without much hassle. If you suspect that your foundation needs a retouch, this guide will provide all the information you need regarding foundation repair.

Do not hesitate to call a foundation repair expert to help you if you don’t have the expertise. Keep reading!

Warning Signs That You Should Repair Your Foundation

It’s essential to know the early warning signs for foundation damages. While it is easy to ignore some of these signs, early action can save you the headache of repairing a major foundation issue in the future. 

Here are the main signs to watch out for:

  • Poor water drainage in your house
  • Visible cracks on the interior and exterior walls of your home
  • Uneven, sloping floors
  • Visible gaps between the ceiling and the crown molding
  • Cracked walls, shifting floors, and loose wallpapers
  • Misaligned doors and windows
  • Visible cracks and holes on the foundation itself

These signs might signify other problems too. It is advisable to call a foundation repair expert to inspect the house before repairing or replacing it. The expert should provide the best solution according to the specifics of the problems.

Causes of Foundations Problems

Water is the main culprit for most foundation issues. When the moisture levels change, the soil beneath the foundation shrinks and swells. With time, the moisture variations cause the cracks. However, your house may be more prone to foundation issues if:

  • It is more than four decades old
  • There are nearby trees, meaning that the roots may be under your foundation
  • The location of the home experiences many seasonal changes
  • Flood, drought, and other environmental hazards have impacted the structure of your foundation

You may also experience regular foundations issues if your house is built on clay soil. Clay is not permeable; hence, it often causes drainage issues. 

Your foundation repair technician should thoroughly investigate the symptoms of your affected foundation to determine the best plan of action.

The Foundation Repair Process: Step by Step 

The foundation repair process should start as soon as possible, assuming that the best plan is chosen. Here is a step by step guide of the process:

Inspect the Issues

A professional foundation repair expert should analyze the structure of the home and any foundation issues you have.

Each home is different so the foundation repair expert should thoroughly understand how the home was constructed and the root cause of any issues.

Review Repair Options

After inpsection, you should consult with your expert. There are multiple ways to fix most issues. You will want to choose the repair option that best aligns with your goals.

Some foundation repair methods offer the opportunity to lift, while stabilization of the foundation is a safer, more reliable goal. 

Ultimately, the specific repair option you choose may have unique benefits (or limitations) that you should try to understand.

Choose the Best Repair Option

Unless the foundation is in a critical, unstable, damaged position, stabilization is best. By stabilizing your foundation, you can prevent the damage from continuing. After that, you can perform any cosmetic repairs, leaving your home beautiful and stable.

The second you lift your foundation off the supporting soils, you lose ALL support provided by your existing foundation, which is a terrible loss.

Schedule the Foundation Repairs

Professional foundation repair contractors will likely be booked out for weeks before the repairs will begin. If you have a sense of urgency to completing your repairs, inform your contractor up front.

Perform the Foundation Repairs

The foundation repair technicians will typically work from 1-5 days on average, with some projects lasting weeks if the damage is extensive. 

Usually, it is safe for homeowners to remain in their home while the repairs are performed.

Enjoy Peace of Mind

A properly repaired foundation should not require future attention. Any foundation repair method used should be designed to stabilize the area for decades to come.

The Costs of Foundation Repair

The average foundation crack repair cost is $6,838. Significant repairs which involve hydraulic piers can cost $5,000-50,000.

The cost depends on many factors. You can’t predetermine it using another person’s case or using your past encounters. But like the other home improvement projects, you can save lots of money by creating a budget and comparing what different Professional Contractors offer.

Here are the main determinants for the costs:

The Foundation Repair Materials

Concrete was the primary foundation repair material until the 1970s when other materials were introduced. Although concrete is still a widely used concrete repair material, there are many materials too which homeowners use. 

Foundation repair contractors can use a variety of steel piers, steel beams, steel plates, steel rebar, wooden beams, concrete, and rock to provide the stabilization needed for your home.

Your contractor should give you an estimate of the expected costs depending on the materials you plan to use for the foundation repair project. 

The Foundation Problem

There are many foundation problems, which include cracking, settling, and upheaval. These problems are not the same. Each requires unique materials, tools, and expertise. The varying needs call for different prices.

The Severity of the Issue

Is the problem extensive? If yes, then the costs will be higher than that of a small issue. The severe problems require more time, labor, and tools, hence the higher prices.

The Contractor

Some contractors are pricier than others. Before you hire, compare what different companies offer and choose the best contractor and solution for your budget. 

The most experienced contractors will offer long-term warranties, promising concrete results for many years to come.

Access of the Affected Part

Some parts are hard to assess than others. If the foundation problems have affected many areas beneath the floor, you will pay higher amounts. Also, areas with many utility lines are quite hard to access, and they require more time and more costs.

After Care for Foundation Cracks

You should be able to relax after repairing the foundation cracks in your house. But, you should still monitor the floors and walls to confirm that everything is okay. Remember that the foundation is an essential part of the home, and you shouldn’t compromise its condition. 

Here are great aftercare tips that you should follow to keep your foundation in excellent condition.

Clean Your Downspouts and Gutters Well

Full gutters can cause water leaks and affect your floor or wall. Learn to clean the gutters by removing the leaves, twigs, and other obstacles which would cause flooding water in the gutters.

Work on Your Landscape

Water flows from top to bottom. If your yards grade is at fault, water will always settle at the lowest position, and your foundation might become weak with time. You should ensure that your landscape is sloping away from the home.

Install Drains

Improve your drainage system if you have noticed a specific spot where water settles in your compound. Both internal and external drainage systems can help remove the excess moisture.

Keep Roots Away

Do you have nearby trees in your home? Well, you should call a foundation repair expert to check the roots of those trees. If the canopy of a tree is over your roof, the roots of that tree are likely under your foundation. You may need to remove trees near your home.

Repair Small Cracks

Don’t wait for the small cracks to become extensive. Learn to repair the cause of those cracks as soon as they appear. In this way, you will avoid high repair costs and keep your foundation safe.

Observe Regular Inspection

Do regular inspections on your foundation to spot any abnormal conditions. Hire a professional to inspect if you can’t find the time to do so.

Consult a Qualified Foundation Repair Expert Today

Is your home’s foundation flawed? Are there noticeable signs of foundation problems? 

Don’t wait. Find a professional foundation repair company today to help you.

BAY Crawl Space and Foundation Repair is an award-winning foundation repair contractor. We inspect and repair damaged residential foundations. We have a reliable team of 30+ experienced contractors. 

Our services include foundation and structural repair, crawl space encapsulation, eliminating water intrusion in a crawl space, and many more. Contact us today to learn about our other services and book a free inspection with our Expert Advisors.


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