Systèmes Sous-sol Québec Q&A
How do I repair my foundation wall that's failing, flipping upwards or sinking inwards from below?
If you have enough space outside your home, wall anchors are an effective, permanent and economical solution. The system is very simple. Our team digs a hole several feet away from your foundation and installs earth anchor. A steel rod is drilled through a 1 inch hole, thus connecting the wall plate installed inside your home to the earth anchor. Your wall is instantly stabilized and can be tightened over time during dry periods. Foundation Supportworks' GeoLock Wall Anchors are the best on the market for several reasons:
- The installations are made by experienced and certified contractors
- Several sizes are available to adapt to different situations
- All GeoLock anchors are installed with a tip that covers the stem inside the basement
- Hide-A-Way anchor covers conceal anchors to preserve the easthetic of your finished basement, but can be removed during maintenance and tightening.
- Anchors can be installed with support console channels to provide additional reinforcement
If you have limited access or no outside access is available, some choices are available to you depending on your situation.
Carbon fiber straps are made of a high traction resistance material. They are placed vertically on the wall and are covered with carbon fiber epoxy resistant to sagging. The CarbonArmor wall reinforcement straps are the best.
- They are designed according to the code of the American Institute of Concrete.
- CarbonArmor is incredibly stronger than concrete and 10 times stronger than steel and is designed specifically for the basement.
- The CarbonArmor carbon fibers adhere firmly to the wall. It guarantees coverage and ultimate strength. Whatever the shape of the wall, this product is able to tighten firmly against the wall.
- The unobtrusive design of the CarbonArmor allows for installation in tight spaces as well as behind wall obstructions such as plumbing and electrical conduits, and strips can be concealed by paint and plaster.
- The strategic quantity of the epoxy layer allow us to control the quality of the installation.
The steel beams are installed along the affected height and are then connected to the joists of the wooden floor at the top of the wall and the concrete floor at the bottom. The PowerBrace device has several advantages that set our beam apart from others.
- Our clamping device is patented because it really improves the condition of the wall
- The beam and its components are covered with zinc, which makes the whole device resistant to corrosion, reduces abrasion and erosion and creates a non-toxic surface.
- We install the beams in a professional and non-random manner by properly joining the device to the joists to ensure the integrity of the wood floor joists.
How to fix foundation settlement?
How to fix/seal a crack in the foundation wall?
A foundation crack shouldn't be fixed with any sealant, because the crack will most probably reopen or crumble down during the next movement in the soil or wall. Rigid sealants are band-aid solutions that don't fix the problem permanently.
The FlexiSpan Wall System is the solution. FlexiSpan is used to seal cracks while adapting to the wall movements over time. Because this sealant transforms into a rubber and waterproof material once it is injected in the crack, it will not crumble or crack anymore but will instead adapt to the movements of the soil or the wall that risk widening the crack. And because it is made of an inorganic waterproof material, it blocks water infiltrations and vapors which prevent its deterioration over time.
But if your crack is caused by a structural foundation issue, wall reinforcing systems such as CarbonArmor and PowerBrace will form a more appropriate solution that will fix the problem permanently by stabilizing your foundations once and for all.
How to get rid of humidity and mold odors in my crawl space?
Air circulates upwards and brings the dam crawl space air to the upper floors. So, if the air is wet and infected with bacteria, you will breathe it.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the effects of a wet crawl space:
- Mites (allergens)
- Wet carpets that release bad odors
- Condensation, rot, mold in your basement and attic
- Frost or condensation inside the windows
- An increase in heating and air conditioning costs
- A decrease in the life of shingles on your roof
- worsening of allergies and asthma
To solve moisture problems, we offer a complete encapsulation system for the crawl space. We start by fixing water infiltrations, then we isolate the earth and the concrete and insulate the wall with our CleanSpace vapor barrier membrane, we seal the vents and block other air infiltrations and we finish by dehumidifying the air of the crawl space thanks to to our SaniDry Sedona which is specially designed for this environment.
Should a sagging foundation be completely replaced?
One of the main causes of foundation settlement is the change in the aspect of the soil beneath the house. In fact, when the soil becomes wet and weak, it can cause the house to sink into the ground.
So, replacing the entire foundation won't solve the real problem, because we'll simply be building a new foundation on the same problematic soil.
The proper solution is to stabilize the foundation permanently.
Waterproofing: Do I need a sump pump system?
If you have water in your basement that is not caused by a plumbing leak, you most probably need a sump pump system. Efficient sump pump systems protect your basement by evacuating water that comes in through the ground, the foundation walls or any other source of water intrusion.
We have different types of sump pumps that can protect your basement under different conditions: normal flow, rapid flow, high volume, electricity cut. No more worries! Your basement is protected once and for all!
Waterproofing: How does the TripleSafe sump pump system work?
Basement Systems TripleSafe sump pump system is the most advanced protection in the world and addresses the following three problems that are common in other sump pump systems: the pump has failed, the pump can't keep up with the amount of water or the power goes out. The TripleSafe system has three, high-quality efficient pumps.
First, a primary pump that is set at the lowest level handles the pumping under normal circumstances.
A second pump set a bit higher in the TripleSafe system will take over and pump the water out in the event that this first pump fails. If the first pump cannot keep up with the flow of water from a very heavy rain, then both the primary and secondary pumps will operate at the same time pumping double the amount of water for the time necessary.
In the event that the power fails, the water will rise to the third pumping system, an UltraSump battery operated backup pumping system that will operate off the battery power supply and charging system included. This system will pump the water out while an alarm tells you that this third pump is operating.
The TripleSafe has world-class features that make this system the best of its kind. The TripleSafe has an attractive two-piece airtight lid designed for easy access while keeping moisture, odors, and insects out of your basement and preventing objects from falling into the sump hole. It also has a specially designed floor drain to drain water from any plumbing leaks in your home, which lets water down but blocks damp air from coming up into your basement. Finally, a water watch alarm system will sound off like a smoke detector before your floor gets wet in the highly unlikely event the water rises above all pump operating ranges.
Waterproofing: How to install a WaterGuard interior drain system?
The patented WaterGuard interior drain system is engineering specifically for the basement space. Our specialists start by digging a one-foot wide trench on the perimeter of tour basement floor. Then the WaterGuard is carefully set in place and back filled with stones. If a drainage matting is required, it can be installed. A membrane is then installed over the drain and cement is poured to restore your floor. This interior drain sits on top of the footing instead of outside drains that are installed on dirt. This way, it doesn't disrupt the structure of your foundations and it will never clog.
This drainage system has a built in 3/8-inch gap between the floor and the wall to drain wall leaks.
The WaterGuard interior drain is also installed in a way that you can connect your sump pumps and dehumidifier to eject the water away from your house while being able to inspect it every year through the inspection ports.
Waterproofing: How to waterproof a basement?
Waterproofing procedures for a basement depend upon numerous factors: the source of the water infiltrations, how much water is coming in, what is the composition of the soil, how deep is the water table, what are the building materials of your foundation walls, and many more. In many cases, the most efficient solution is to install an interior WaterGuard drain system on the footing of the foundation. Moreover, a sump pump system is very often necessary. This is the most standard solution for general groundwater seepage problems, but other other factors can influence the waterproofing process in order to keep the basement dry all the time. During the free inspection with one of our specialists, everything will be explained for you one step at a time, from where is the source of the problem to what is the complete recommended solution.
Waterproofing: Is an interior drain as good as an exterior french drain?
In many cases, an interior drain that is installed on top of the footing is much more effective than an exterior drain for the following reasons:
- The drain is almost never clogged because it is never installed on dirt soil like a French drain.
- It intercepts water coming not only from the accumulation of water around your foundation or from below your floor, but also from wall cracks, something that exterior French drains don't do.
- Our interior footing drain (WaterGuard) comes with a guarantee for the life of the house whereas French drains are guaranteed on average 15 years, and sometimes less than that.
- The interior drain does not require major excavation work such as the French drain, which makes the installation cheaper in many cases. Excavating to install a French drain sometimes requires removing and replacing everything around your home such as balconies, driveways, sidewalks, landscaping, air conditioning units, stairs etc. Then, when the work is done, you would have to put the soil back to fill the trench.
- It is possible to install an interior drain partially to protect a specific region of the basement, which is not possible with a French drain since you must do the full perimeter for it to work properly.
A french drain is designed to intercept coming from the surface and redirects it around the house, which is okay for stopping erosion but not good for stoping groundwater seepage.
Waterproofing: Why fix my basement?
You should fix your wet basement for many reasons! Exterior footing drains can fail and clog with time. Water seepage in a basement can destroy your stored items and valuables. Wet basements also cause mold growth which is bad for your health and the health of your home. Basements that have humidity, water and mold have a lot of liabilities and no one wants that.
Moreover, if you plan on selling the house, water problems scare potential buyer. They won't consider buying your house and if they do, they will offer 10 to 30% less than the market value, which is often a bigger cut than what it would have cost you to waterproof your basement. Waterproofing projects stop water and vapor infiltrations and add usable square footage to your home, which adds value. Waterproofing systems that include interior drains, sump pump systems, dehumidifier systems and other accessories are an investment that saves you money in the long run.
Plus, if you consider finishing your basement to use it as a living space for your family, you will want inorganic products. Why? Because inorganic finishing products are waterproof and will resist all water infiltrations that might occur from failing plumbing systems. This way, you won't have to redo your basement every time.
What are the steps to correctly encapsulate and insulate a crawl space?
There are 5 steps to complete in order to perfectly encapsulate your crawl space to transform it into a dry and healthy environment.
1) Solve the groundwater seepage problem by installing a drainage and sump pump system.
2) Insulate the crawl space to preserve the energy inside. The SilverGlo insulation has graphite particles that reflect the heat towards the inside and increases the R-value to 11.
3) Install a vapor-barrier that is thick and durable and that seals all joists and spaces where there might be air infiltrations. The CleanSpace membrane is made up of 7 different layers and has an antibacterial additive injected inside to block the proliferation of bacterias.
4) Seal crawl space vents. Ventilation is a myth! Let our specialists tell you why a complete encapsulation is more efficient than ventilation.
5) Dehumidifying the crawl space by installing dehumidifiers specifically designed for this purpose and the crawl space environment. This will control the humidity level and eliminate bacterias that are infecting your air.
What causes musty smells in basements and crawl spaces?
Mold and mildew, common fungi that thrive in moist settings, are the primary cause of mustiness in basements and crawl spaces.
The primary causes for humidity that promotes the growth of mold and mildew are as follows:
· Foundation cracks
· Poor weather stripping around doors & windows
· Pipe leaks
· Poor exhaust ventilation
· Dirt crawl space floors
· Leaky roofs
· Wet clothes left in the basement
Mold can develop anywhere and can release toxic spores in the shapes of white, green, or black mold. An early stage of mold, known as mildew, has a powdery look and grows on exposed surfaces and ruins materials. Because they are damp and dark spaces, basements and crawl spaces are perfect for the growth of mold, which spreads quickly in the correct conditions when it finds a food source (wood, drywall, etc...). Mold and mildew can have serious detrimental effects to your health and your home, it is important to address these issues quickly.
What causes sagging floors?
There are three main causes of sagging floors:
Existing columns are spaced too far apart: If the columns installed in the crawl space are far apart, the beam can become overloaded and sag between the columns.
Floor joists and girders have weakened: Since crawl spaces are often unsealed from the earth, excess moisture will leave floor joists and girders moldy and less solid.
Existing columns have settled: Weak soil beneath the house can cause existing columns to sink or settle, often creating a gap between the top of the column and the bottom of the girder it was supporting.
What is peering and how do steel push piers work?
What is it?
Peering is known as a solution to repair a foundation settlement problem. The supporting (or push) pillars are made of steel and are driven deep in the earth to the bedrock or other stable soil layer. Installed from the inside or outside of your home, these push piers pillars bring the house back to its original position, closing cracks and problems with caulking, doors and windows.
How does it work?
First, our team removes the soil where the pillars will be installed, then heavy-duty steel piers are installed underneath and against the footing of the foundation. Brackets allow steel peer sections to be driven through stable layers of soil. Thus, the peers now support the weight of the house that has been transferred and we can then attempt to move the house back to its original position.
Choosing this option is the least risky if you do not know the soil characteristics on which your home was constructed. It is also a good choice if you plan to move the house back to its original position, restore the value of the property and solve the problem quickly, permanently and with the least possible disruption.
Foundation Supportworks' Push Pier System feature a patented outer sleeve that reinforces the abutment directly below the support, where it is most critical. It prevents twisting, deformation and rotation.
What is the ideal crawl space humidity level?
You might be asking yourself, I never go down into my crawl space, so why does it matter if it’s humid or not? The answer is that your home's interior conditions are directly impacted by your crawl space. If your crawl space is too humid, it can cause serious problems like rotting floorboards and support beams, uneven floors above, and cause dangerous mold spores to rise into your living space.
That being said, the government of Canada recommends maintaining relative humidity levels (RH) between 30% and 50%.
You can measure relative humidity by purchasing a hygrometer, a device which measures how much water vapor the air contains. You can also request a free inspection, and we will come measure the humidity using our advanced tools and give you a free estimate for our solutions.
What provokes foundation settlement and what are the indicators?
Settlement is the movement of the house when the ground on which it rests can no longer support it. Soils change; they dry up, shrink up, get wet and soften or the soil is poorly backfilled. Droughts, floods, poor drainage, and house construction are all factors that affect the soil under your house.
To find out if your house's foundations are sagging, here are some clues to look for.
- Stair-step cracking around your bricks
- Chimneys separating away from the rest of your home
- Cracks extending from the corners of doors and windows
- The separation of a door or a window from its frame or exterior finishing
- Doors and windows out of square
- Caulking recently applied around doors and windows
- Cracks in the form of stairs in the concrete wall
- Vertical cracks in a poured concrete wall
- Cracks in your concrete slab
- Crack in the drywall upstairs
To fix this issue, it is imperative to install a solution that will last for the lifetime of the house and that will adapt to the changes of the soil on which your home rests, because the soil will move wheter you like it or not. Our push piers system will solve this issue and will get you the peace of mind you are looking for.
Why should I fix my crawlspace?
A lot of people don't realize that it is important to fix their crawl space because they rarely go in it. There are many reasons why you should fix it:
- A vented dirt crawl space costs 15% in heating and cooling energy bills.
- Mold on the floor joists and subfloor are expensive to get rid of.
- Mold discourage prospective buyers if you plan on selling the house.
- Humidity is dangerous for your health.
- Floor joists, girders and sill plates are rotted and need to be replaced.
- A humid crawl space often has rodents, termites, and other pests.
- You need more storage place.
Overall, if you consider all of these factors, not fixing your crawl space costs more than fixing it. Installing a CleanSpace system is an investment that will pay off in the future by making your environment healthier, more valuable, more useful and that will cost less in the energy consumption.
Why should I fix my foundation?
Foundation problems are frustrating and they worsen with time. Fixing a failing foundation permanently enhances your property value, your quality of life and brings you peace of mind. Band-aid solutions like patching over drywall or tuckpointing cracks and mortar joints are not efficient because they hide the damages but don't fix it at its source. And you have to redo the patching work over and over so you lose time and money, and the fixes become ugly and don't last long. Because of that, houses that have foundation problems are often discounted when it comes to selling them. So it becomes more expensive not fixing than fixing.