As you celebrate Labor Day and back to school time for the little ones, take some time yourself to learn a little something new. As they say, it is best to lead by example and your brain needs new things to learn to keep it young. Next time you are doing a little laboring around the perimeter of your home take a look around at your foundation walls. You are bound to find a crack. Why? Cracks in your foundation happen!
Builders approach us all the time to help them fix the foundations they just poured. It’s not that they do a bad job - it’s just the nature of the beast.
Most of Hampton Roads’ homes have poured concrete foundations. Having waterproofed and repaired many foundations we have seen all sorts of cracked foundations. Some cracking is normal, it is when settling happens that you need to enlist the expert and call AMC911.
Reasons for Cracks in your Foundation:
Anytime you core thru the foundation for installation of sewer, electric and gas lines, it weakens the concrete, which can result in cracking. Cracks are also commonly found angling off corners of crawl space or basement vents or windows. These areas are usually the first place we look when conducting a foundation analysis.
In simple terms, soil saturation = wet ground. Your foundation walls are supported by footings
. The footings are at the base of the walls, and hold up your house. When the soil under the footings becomes oversaturated, the footings “settle”, causing the walls to crack. Oversaturation can also cause the earth next to your foundation to expand in volume. Many foundations are not built to withstand that extra pressure. The excess weight of the soil can force the foundation to push inward. This is identified by diagonal cracks coming off corners. The leading causes for oversaturation are improper grading
, bad gutters or the need for underground sump pump and downspout extensions
On the other hand, not enough moisture in the soil can also cause foundation cracks. When the soil is desiccated, in other words, when moisture is drawn from the soil, usually as the result of a drought, the soil itself will shrink and cause foundation walls to shift outward and footings to settle. Such soil desiccation
occurs when trees, shrubs and other plantings near the foundation send root systems deeper into the ground in search of moisture, drawing it from the soil in areas that normally remain untouched. So, just because we live in Hampton Roads known for its humidity, do not assume you cannot have dry soils around your foundation.
Yup as solid as concrete looks, it shrinks and expands. The science of pouring concrete involves many factors and variables. Since water is used when concrete is mixed, there is an inherent expansion and subsequent contraction of the concrete when it dries. Many factors can affect the drying process, including the type of aggregate, mix of the concrete and humidity levels.
In life, timing is everything. Same holds true for concrete. Imagine your builder ran short on concrete when pouring your foundation - and the next ready mix truck didn’t arrive until the first batch started to harden. Your foundation would no longer be monolithic (one piece) at that point. A cold joint would naturally form, allowing water to easily seep through.
Death and taxes are two certainties in life. Often, so is a cracked foundation. Fortunately, the solution
is usually very simple, especially when you have AMC911, the expert you can rely on. Now your brain and your home will thank you J
Quality Foundation Repair Estimates – 7 Things To Consider Before You Buy
When you notice signs of foundation damage, either cracks in your foundation walls, or doors and windows sticking
upstairs, the next step you take is critical to the long-term health of your home and your wallet. Because foundation damage usually happens in stages, the stage at which you address it will determine the extent and cost of the repairs you’ll need.
Foundation problems that aren’t directly tied to poor construction, drought, or building on poor soil the wrong land, typically begin with too much water directed around the foundation. At the beginning stages of foundation problems, redirecting the water may be all you need to stop further damage. However, if the water has been over-saturating your foundation for a while or the damage is now more advanced, you’ll need to both manage the water and repair the foundation.
When calling on multiple contractors to repair the issue, don’t be surprised if each opinion differs greatly. One contractor might address only the symptoms while another also identifies and treats the root cause. So how can you figure out if you’re being recommended a band-aid or a true long-term cure? Below are some things that can help you decide.
- Proper Diagnosis– A quality foundation repair estimate should be based on information collected during a comprehensive review of your property. The estimator should have discussed with you the problem’s history, performed a close visual inspection of the current state of the problem, and when required used instruments to accurately measure and determine the extent of the damage.
- Unquestionable Methods– The repairs outlined in the estimate should involve a quality repair that goes beyond non-specialty DIY materials found at your typical “Big Box Stores”. It should be using heavy-duty commercial grade materials installed liberally along the structure to be repaired. In broad terms, if a company is recommending a nail, you should find a company who will routinely use screws or bolts instead.
- Price – Foundation repairs can be expensive when done correctly. Your foundation is no place to cut corners because it’s keeping the rest of your house standing. If the repair you choose doesn’t fix everything the first time, you will be the one paying the price a second time to have it repaired correctly.
- Complete Solutions– Make sure the professional you’re talking to about repairs explains what is happening to your foundation, why it’s happening, and exactly what measures are going to be taken to correct the current damage and the source that’s causing it. Don’t let a contractor leave you with unanswered questions.
- References– Repairing foundations properly, especially ones that have become unstable, requires a lot of experience. Look for a company that can provide references of people they’ve helped with similar problems to yours and is well respected in the industry and by their vendors.
- A Clear Contract– Your foundation repair estimate should provide clear details as to what will and will not be done as part of your project. Make sure to read and understand all the details as to what is and isn’t covered, as well as the General Conditions.
- Complete Warranty– Some warranties promise to repair or replace the materials used to fix the foundation, but say nothing about protecting the foundation from further damage. The better warranties protect the results. Remember a warranty is only as valuable as your ability to get it enforced.
Foundation repairs are serious business and you should hire only the true expert. At AMC911 Foundation & Waterproofing Repair Systems,
we treat every customer’s project as if we were doing it at our own house. Please make the best call and call us, we will be glad to prove you right J
Fortunately, Hurricane Florence was not as bad as was predicted, but it still caused a lot of damage and loss to the area. Torrential rains, high winds, and even tornadoes have hit the East Coast. There has been a loss of possessions, structures, and life due to this storm.
Even though the Carolinas took the brunt of Florence, Virginia wasn't completely spared. A deadly tornado hit the Richmond area which was caused by the weather that came along with the hurricane. The tornado damaged buildings, flipped cars, and knocked down power lines throughout Chesterfield County. A classification for the tornado hadn't been assigned yet, but the National Weather Service
called it a "a very dangerous situation" and it caused at least one death, when a commercial building collapsed.
Problems from Hurricanes
Although the largest portion of Hurricane Florence missed the Virginia region, the area hasn't always been so lucky. This tornado on September 17th occurred 14 years to the day that Hurricane Ivan spawned 40 tornadoes in the state, breaking records for tornadoes in a single day and in a single year, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
In addition to tornadoes, hurricanes bring damaging winds and flooding rains. Normal weather can wreak havoc on a structure, imagine what tornadoes and hurricanes can do. Some issues that can occur include foundation damage, flooding, structural damage, and water issues.
After the storms have passed and it's safe to walk around your property, make an inspection of the structure. Keep an eye out for downed power lines and avoid them at all costs. You survived the storm, don't be a casualty to carelessness.
When inspecting the property check for any damage to the building including the roof, foundation, walls, and floors. If you see any signs of problems, contact
the professionals at Atlas Master Companies as soon as possible. We'll be able to let you know if the issue is something that needs to be addressed immediately, or if it can wait until things calm down. We can restore your building's strength and stability.
Waterproofing Your Building
It's obviously too late to waterproof
your home or business for this storm, but you can be prepared for the next one with services from Atlas Master Companies. We will inspect your property and determine what kind of waterproofing services you need. There are a variety of solutions available, all of them playing a different role in protecting your commercial or residential property.
You may be in need of interior
waterproofing, crawl space
encapsulation, surface water collection
, French drain
installation, or a sump pump
and pit. It is important that you keep your property dry and free from water damage. Water in your building can soften and damage the structure, weakening it. It can also promote pest infestations and cause health issues related to mold and mildew growth.
If your home or business experienced flooding, you should have it professionally cleaned before using the building. Floodwaters are filthy and full of bacteria and other health hazards. Dead animals, overflowing sewage systems, and other contaminants are in the water, even if it looks clean. Floodwaters can cause a variety of serious illnesses, so it's important to avoid exposure to the threat.
Stabilizing Your Structure
High winds and high water are a terrible combination when it comes to the stability of your home or business. The soil your building is on could be oversaturated and soft and the winds could be weakening or damaging your structure.
The foundation experts at Atlas Master Companies can determine if your foundation needs repair and, if so, what the best method would be. There are a variety of methods
available including tiebacks, soil nails, steel piers, plate anchors, and helical piers, among other options.
It is important that you make sure your building is strong and secure, protecting your people and your investment. Make sure that the contractor that you use is trustworthy and reliable. Remember, cheapest isn't always the best choice, especially when you think about how much your building is worth.
Repairing Your Concrete
High water and torrential rains may have caused the concrete surfaces around your property to sink, settle, or crack. An uneven slab can cause a tripping hazard or cause drainage or structural issues, so it's important to have the concrete repaired.
In the past, people would just tear up the old concrete and start over, but there is a more efficient and effective option that is becoming more popular. Atlas Master Companies uses the method of polyfoam slab jacking
to repair concrete.
If the earth under the slab has eroded and created voids or washed away, the concrete can sink or crack. The polyurethane foam will expand under the slab, filling the empty areas and compressing the soil, giving the slab a strong foundation to rest on. The foam is water-resistant so it will seal the bottom of the slab and it won't wash away like the slurry from mudjacking can.
Another option is the installation of a concrete slab push pier system. These can be used when the soil under the slab is just too weak to support the concrete. Our experts can determine the best method to restore your concrete slab.
Protect Yourself and Others
We know that there is a lot going on when bad weather hits, so we encourage you to be proactive and make sure your home or business is ready to weather the storm. Contact us today to learn more about making sure your property is strong, stable, and safe.
The summer of 2018 is turning out to be a wet one for the East Coast, including the Virginia area. Flood warnings and torrential downpours have worn out their welcome, ruining a lot of outdoor plans. Even if your property wasn't flooded, high rain levels can damage your structure's foundation.
Flooded Basements in Virginia
Although it may be too late to protect your property from the past storms, it's never too late to be ready for the next one. You should make sure your property is waterproofed and ready for downpours and flooding.
You don't want to do your waterproofing project yourself or leave it to a fly-by-night operation. Waterproofing
is a serious business and if it isn't done right, you could lose your belongings and possibly your home or business. Make sure that you hire a reputable company with the tools and expertise to make sure that your basement or crawl space is protected from Mother Nature's watery wrath. They should offer free, no-obligation inspections and estimates, so you know what you are dealing with before the project starts.
A waterlogged basement can ruin furniture, carpeting, and any other belongings you may have there. In addition, water can ruin electrical devices, wiring, and wood structures. Excess water also promotes pest infestations and mold growth, both of which can damage your home or business and negatively impact your health. In addition, flood water can be contaminated with disease, chemicals, and other contaminants. Waterproofing your home or business can keep your structure clean, dry, and safe for years to come.
Which Waterproofing Solution is Right for You?
When looking at a waterproofing company, make sure that they are experienced and reliable. A company like Atlas Masters Companies has been in business for years and use tools and equipment from Earth Contact Products
, the leading manufacturer in the industry. They have been serving the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area with the best waterproofing services in the area for decades.
There are several ways to tackle a waterproofing problem. A reputable waterproofing contractor will inspect your property and let you know the best way to keep your home or business safe and dry.
is easy to maintain for the property owner and will help move water out of your interior and away from your building. Interior waterproofing usually consists of a perforated drain pipe that is connected to a sump pump system. The water drains to the sump pit and the pump sends it out of the basement and away from your home or business.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
If you have a crawl space, another option is encapsulation
. The vapor barrier that a professional waterproofer uses is thicker than the vinyl sheeting you can get at a DIY store. The encapsulation will protect the crawl space from moisture, radon, mold, and pest infestations. By encapsulating your crawl space, you will have a clean storage area that will protect your structure, make a healthier environment, and also lower your energy costs.
You can buy a sump pump
at most hardware or DIY stores, but they are probably not going to do the job you need them to do. An expert will be able to determine the size of pump that you need to keep the basement area dry. Atlas Master Companies strongly suggests that you invest in a battery backup system. The battery backup pump will kick in if the power goes out or your main pump fails for any reason. Since most downpours are during thunderstorms, the chances of your power going out when you need it most are pretty high. A little proactive know will save you a lot of headaches, time, and money later.
Crack Injection Repair
Sometimes the only reason you have water in your basement is that you have some cracks in the foundation. These cracks aren't anything that makes your home or business structurally unsound, but they can let water in. An epoxy crack injection
can fill in the crack in the concrete, making the cracks even stronger than the concrete wall. The epoxy injection can fill even the smallest crack, keeping your basement dry.
If you are having a lot of problems with water in your home or business, exterior waterproofing
may be the right solution for your property. Exterior waterproofing stops water from collecting around the foundation, keeping it from entering the structure. An exterior waterproofing system will protect your basement from mold growth, structural damage, property damage, and pest infestations.
Waterproof Your Virginia Home and Business
Make sure that your Virginia property is safe and dry with professional waterproofing solutions. Don't allow water to ruin your belongings, damage your health, or destroy your building. Make sure to contact
a professional waterproofing company like Atlas Master Companies. Let us show you for free how to protect your property from flooding, damp and humid areas, and other water issues in Virginia.
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.
, 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.
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.
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!
One of the biggest issues that we see in Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads
is wet and damp crawl spaces. Many times, homeowners do not even realize that they have crawl space moisture issues in need of repair. Some common household problems that you might regard as normal are actually indicators that your crawl space is in need of repair. Have you experienced any of the issues below?
Signs That You Need Crawl Space Repair
- Cold floors and cold feet
- Stinky, wet smells
- Hardwood floors cupping at the edges
- Moldy, musty smells
- Drafty rooms
- Mold around baseboards
- Wet carpet
If you have a crawl space foundation, it is important to realize that your crawl space is a very important part of your home that must be properly maintained. Since your crawl space is part of your home’s structural integrity, it is vital that you keep it healthy and strong. Crawl spaces are susceptible to moisture and mold, which can cause serious illnesses to affect your family. If you have noticed any strange smells, excess moisture, or are experiencing draftiness in your home, you will want to get your crawl space inspected as soon as possible. Chances are, you might be in need of crawl space repair, encapsulation, and/or insulation.
Detecting Moisture Levels in Your Crawl Space
If there is no obvious leaking or water pooling in your crawl space
, you may still have high humidity levels which can be dangerous to your home. Atlas Master Companies uses a moisture meter to find the humidity levels in your crawl space. According to the EPA, a healthy crawl space humidity level is around 40-50RH. We can determine how much moisture is in your crawl space and make a plan of action to get rid of it if necessary.
Solutions for Crawl Space Problems
Atlas Master Companies has been repairing wet and damp crawl spaces for over 30 years in the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area. It’s safe to say that we have seen it all: from structural damage to musty dirt crawl spaces to high humidification situations, and beyond. Whatever crawl space issue you are facing, we have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the perfect solution. Our goal is not only to properly repair your crawl space, but make it so that future moisture problems will not affect your home. We are your experts when it comes to creating clean, safe, and dry crawl spaces for Virginia homes.
We have developed a series of proven solutions for wet and damaged crawl spaces. We will implement whatever repairs necessary depending on your current situation. Our repair solutions include:
Crawl space encapsulation
- Crawl Space Encapsulation
is becoming increasingly popular throughout Virginia and the rest of the country. Some states have even added it to their building code requirements. Water vapor from below your crawl space (or in your crawl space floor, if it is dirt) will naturally rise and become liquid water in your crawl space. The plastic encapsulation barrier prevents this moisture from creeping into your home.
- Crawl Space Dehumidification
Crawl space dehumidification goes hand and hand with encapsulation. It is very important to keep your humidity at a safe level after encapsulation is installed.
- Crawl Space Insulation
Want to get rid of those cold floors? Crawl space insulation is your answer. We install proper level insulation that prevents draftiness in your home. We can also insulate the back side of your foundation walls around the perimeter of your home with 2” or 4” rigid insulation board. We use Atlas Energy Shield
, a top of the line product that has foil facing reflective coating to improve insulation performance.