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What Type of Foundation Repair Do I Need?

Find out what kind of solutions we offer for your foundation repair problems at Atlas Master Companies.

Drywall Cracks

Photo of cracked drywall.Problem:

Drywall cracks are a common problem, yet they can be hard to diagnose and easy to ignore. Even when the crack is small, it can become a major issue because it can grow to become a major structural problem. Too much water, incorrect soil compaction on construction, or very hot and dry conditions can all cause drywall cracks.

Solution:

AMC will use underpinning products like steel push piers, helical piers, or plate anchors. The piers are pushed deep into the soil to produce a stable structure for the home. The choice of steel, helical, or plate will depend on the specific situation.

Sinking Foundations

Photo of sinking foundation with tape measure showing distance. Problem:

Sinking foundations can be a big problem in Virginia homes. Have you ever walked out of your home and noticed that the ground around it is sinking down? Do your doors stick? Do you have wall or floor cracks? These could be signs of a serious foundation problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

Solution:

AMC uses ECP (Earth Contact Products) underpinning products like helical piers, steel push piers, and helical torque anchors. Steel push piers are the most common choice for sinking foundation repair, but helical piers are great for unstable rock basements. Once again, the solution will be specialized to your specific situation, and we will work with you for the best solution.

Bowed Basement Walls

slab push pierProblem:

Bowed basement walls are due to pressure from water on the building’s foundation. This can be because of improper drainage in the yard, frost heave that causes pressure on different piece of the foundation, or because of improper original construction. In any case, this is a serious issue that threatens the safety of your home.

Solution:

There are three main solutions to this issue and they are helical tieback anchors, wall plate anchors, or carbon fiber straps. Helical tiebacks are put in through a small hole in the basement wall, and they will strengthen and revert the wall to its original position. Wall plate anchors will stabilize the wall and cause minimal damage to landscaping. Lastly, carbon fiber repair will go up on the walls, and it can be painted over afterwards for almost invisible coverage.

These are just a few repairs you may come across, but please check out our website for more problems and solutions for your foundation. Contact AMC for a free estimate, and get started on keeping your house safe and comfortable for many years to come.

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Three Reasons for Insulating Your Crawl Space

The one time your crawl space is really on your mind is in the winter. The floors are cold, the heating bill is high, and if the bugs haven’t died yet they seem to be converging on your home. Unfortunately, most people forget about (or try not to think about) the crawl space beneath their home unless they have to. However, this can lead to bigger problems like poor air quality, cold floors above the crawl space, and higher energy bills. These reasons are why it’s important to think about insulating your crawl space.

Air Quality

An open window leading out to a garden. Crawl spaces, so often forgotten and disregarded, can become a major problem in your home when ignored. They are cool, and many times unfinished, and this can lead to moisture and insect or rodent problems. Moisture in the crawl space, as in a cool basement, is fairly likely because of the contrast of the heat outside compared to the space inside. This condensation can build up on the walls and floor and cause mildew, mold, or rot. These type of conditions also attract insects and rodents that thrive in these places.

Mold, rot, and mildew can cause obvious air quality problems throughout your home from crawl space vents. Additionally, the smells and problems from rodents can cause a definite change in air quality in your home. Lastly, moisture may ultimately cause the floors above your crawl space to sag, and this could cost time and money to fix.

Cold Floors

Person on couch with feet up in reindeer socks. The crawl space is similar to a basement in terms of its purpose and its temperature variance to the rest of the home. However, basements are oftentimes insulated and do not cause the same problems as the neglected crawl space of your childhood nightmares.

As previously mentioned, the crawl space tends to be colder than the rest of the house. This in turn causes cool air to go into the home from ventilation and through the floor (if uninsulated). This is obviously uncomfortable for the people in the home, and it can cause other issues.

Energy/Money

Cold crawl spaces, and crawl spaces in general, can cause higher energy bills. This means more money for you to spend. The heat will be working harder to try to heat up the cold, unfinished, uninsulated crawl space, and you will then end up paying more money for a space that you don’t even use. When the space is insulated, the heating will not have to work as hard to heat up the cold area, and your energy bills should go down. That way, you’re saving energy and your wallet.

Contact Atlas Master Companies for a free quote and to see what insulating your basement can do for the comfort of your home today!

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The Complete Guide to Foundation Cracks (And How To Fix Them)

Do foundation cracks make you nervous?

Cracks in your foundation – whether it be brick, concrete, or masonry – can be daunting.  You might immediately jump to thoughts of expensive repairs, structural damage, and a decrease in the value of your property.

Before you worry, remember that not all foundation cracks are bad.

In fact, most foundation cracks are completely natural and can be easily fixed.

That being said, it is important to know the different types of foundation cracks so that you can properly diagnose your foundation and make the best decision for your home.

Different Types of Settlement

The first step in understanding foundation problems is to know the different types of settlement. Certain types of settlement are more dangerous than others. Foundation settlement can essentially be categorized into two different types:

house-615563_1920Uniform Settlement – this type of settlement happens when each point of the structure sinks into the ground at the same time and with the same capacity. Uniform settlement can occur when all parts of a building rest on the same type of soil. No damage will be done to the structure if the foundation settles uniformly as a whole, but damage can still occur to surrounding drainage systems, attached buildings, and underground utility lines.

Differential Settlement – The opposite of uniform settlement, differential settlement occurs when different points of the structure settle while others remain stable. This is the main cause of dangerous foundation cracks and other structural problems.

If every part of a building is resting on the same type of soil, and if it is uniformly designed in terms of structure and load, differential settlement may not be an issue. However, in most cases, soil types, loads, and structural systems differ throughout a structure. When a building like this settles differentially, it can cause framework issues such as sloping floors, bowing walls, leaning chimneys, and doors and windows that don’t shut all the way.

One of the main issues that occur when a foundation has settled differentially is foundation cracks. Understanding the different types of foundation cracks and what they mean is incredibly important for every homeowner in Virginia Beach & Hampton Roads. Homes in this area are prone to differential settlement cracks, especially properties located near the water.

Vertical Cracks: Don’t Worry, They’re Normal

Non threatening foundation cracks exist?! Yes, they sure do.

If your foundation cracks are vertical, then you most likely don’t have anything to be worry about. Even vertical foundation cracks that are slightly diagonal (within 30 degrees) but still in a straight line should be no cause for concern.

Vertical foundation cracks are very common, and can be seen in most households. They can occur due to concrete tension within the first few years of construction, but can also form because of heavy rains that create water pressure against the foundation wall.

Fixing vertical foundation cracks is simple. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Mend the crack with an epoxy or polyurethane injection. These materials are lightweight, flexible, and waterproof – and can permanently seal cracks in your foundation.
  2. Protect your foundation from water intrusion to prevent future cracks. If your gutters are clogged, water could be pouring over directly onto your foundation. Also, short downspouts can allow water to pool up around your home. Make sure that your gutters are clear of debris and that your downspouts are extended at least 5ft away from your home. You may have to do some strategic landscaping if your house is on a hill that directs water down onto your foundation.

Diagonal Cracks: A Little Bit More Worrisome

crack-695010_1920

Diagonal cracks usually cause more concern than vertical cracks because they indicate differential settlement that can lead to serious structural issues in your home. When parts of your home settle more quickly than others, or sections of your home settle while other sections remain stable, it can cause uneven (or differential) settlement. If you have noticed diagonal cracks running about 30 to 75 degrees from vertical, it is important to get your foundation looked at.

With differential settlement, the foundation is moving in two different directions, causing both vertical and horizontal tension. This creates diagonal foundation cracks. Diagonal cracks can sometimes be hairline cracks, or widen at one end and become smaller at the other. Diagonal cracks often occur in some homes that are built on a hill, or homes with rapidly changing soil conditions due to excessive rain or drought.

You can repair diagonal cracks the same way that you would repair vertical ones, but it takes more material to prevent future movement from occurring. Also, with diagonal foundation cracks, it is important to determine where the exact settlement is located so that measures can be taken to prevent settlement there in the future.

Horizontal Cracks: You Don’t Want These

There are several different types of horizontal foundation cracks, but unfortunately, they all indicate dangerous structural problems.

wall-1179614_1920When the force of the ground is too much for a basement wall to bear, it will bow inward and develop a mid-height horizontal crack. If you have a concrete or block basement foundation, your home might be prone to this issue.

Other causes of horizontal foundation cracks include: damage from heavy equipment near the wall, frost heave, or excessive backfilling.

If you have small horizontal cracks on a straight wall that is not bowing yet, it is important to closely monitor those cracks to see if the damage worsens. Be sure to call a foundation repair specialist to inspect your horizontal foundation cracks and implement the proper repairs.

Stair Step Cracks: These Can Be Dangerous

cracked-brickworkStair step cracks are essentially diagonal cracks that occur in concrete block and brick foundations. The crack will start along a joint or near the end of the wall and climb up or down the bricks or blocks. Like diagonal cracks, stair step cracks are caused by differential settlement and should be looked at by a professional.

Get A Free Estimate And Inspection

If you are concerned about your foundation cracks, call Atlas Master Companies today. We can come inspect your property and evaluate the needs of your foundation. Our experts have had years of experience dealing with foundation cracks, and will know the exact repairs that need to be done.

We value honesty and integrity in all that we do, and will give you only the repairs that you need for the right price. Give us a call today to get started.

 

  • AMC911 Foundation & Waterproofing Systems, Foundation Repair & House Leveling, Norfolk, VA

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