Your foundation will endure a lot of moisture issues over the years. Floods, melted snow, and even humidity can all negatively affect your home in a variety of ways. Of course, the soil surrounding your foundation will also take on far too much water than it can realistically hold because of this. Over time, all that added water weight can start to push up against your foundation and cause it to shift out of its original placement or crack altogether.
This phenomenon is called hydrostatic pressure, and it is unfortunately quite a common cause of foundation damage. Hydrostatic pressure can also take another form as well. Water can also become trapped within your concrete foundation’s pores. This itself is not much of a problem. When winter comes and that water freezes over, however, the expanding ice can then crack the foundation from within.
A common construction phenomenon known as the clay bowl effect can also negatively impact your foundation. When contractors first go about building a new home, they will dig a large hole where they plan to lay down the foundation and either a basement or crawl space. After these components are installed, there will be some space left around it that the contractors will backfill with the soil they dug up. This creates a much looser bowl of sorts surrounding the foundation. Of course, Cincinnati’s silt soil is already quite loose, which only makes this soil all the more prone to washing out during a storm. As a result, your foundation might settle into the remaining soil and even crack into pieces. A shifted or settled foundation can start to impact other structures in your home, so you must call an expert to repair it as soon as you can.
When you invest in regular crawl space inspections, you can get ahead of the worst of the damage that wood rot can do to your home. These inspections are typically quick and non-invasive. By the time area professionals finish looking over your space every year, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of condition your home is in and what means you need to invest in to protect it.
The Cursory Inspection
To kick a crawl space inspection off, the professionals serving Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, need to look over the entrance to your space. To be up to code, your entry point needs to be two feet wide and 18 inches tall. If an inspector cannot safely enter your crawl space, you will fail your inspection and need to have your entrance expanded or otherwise remodeled with modern safety requirements in mind.
As long as a professional can get into your crawl space without putting themselves in danger, they’ll move on to the superficial inspection. A superficial inspection lets professionals identify anything obviously wrong with your space, including wood rot, mold clusters, vapor barrier damage, standing water, and so on. If an inspector is able to identify any of these things in your crawl space, professionals will call off the rest of your inspection to start discussing your potential repairs.
In-Depth Crawl Space Assessments
You’re not out of the woods if you pass your initial and superficial inspections. Professional contractors serving Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, will also conduct full assessments of your crawl space if they believe your space may benefit from additional protections.
Crawl space inspectors, at this point, will take a closer look at the nooks and crannies of your crawl space. They’ll want to identify any early signs of rot or damage before those symptoms start to spread. Alternatively, if it doesn’t appear that your crawl space is suffering from even mild damage, they’ll want to identify any weak points that may need protection from external forces. This stage of your crawl space inspection is effectively preventive and designed to ensure your space remains secure in the months and years to come.
Efflorescence can be tricky to spot at first glance. However, there are a few ways you can identify if your basement is dealing with efflorescence or something else entirely.
- What Materials Make Up the Interior of Your Basement?
Because efflorescence is made up of water and water-soluble salts, it might help to know what kinds of salts in building materials can be affected. Calcium sulfate (found in bricks), sodium sulfate (found in cement-brick mixtures), sodium carbonate (found in mortar), and potassium carbonate (also found in mortar) are all salts found in building materials commonly used in basement construction.
Keep in mind that different materials in combination with these water-soluble salts may display different discolorations and effects, so you should be able to identify signs of efflorescence along different surfaces.
- How Fast Can Efflorescence Spread?
Efflorescence can spread fairly fast down your basement walls and along your floor. The name “efflorescence” does mean “to flower out” in French, so you can imagine how quickly this substance can spread around your basement once it settles inside.
According to the Masonry Institute of America, efflorescence can develop as quickly as one month after the initial construction of the building to up to one year after completion. It is a truly frustrating substance that builders have tried their best to prevent and avoid at all costs. If your efflorescence problem has cropped up long after your home has been constructed, however, then this is likely due to a hidden leak or flood dredging up the salts embedded within the very walls and floor of your basement.
All cracks, no matter how small, can present a threat to the surrounding concrete and your Dayton or Springfield home as a whole. Of course, you might be too busy to deal with every single threat of damage your home already faces, so it is important for you to know which cracks can be left alone for a short period of time and which must be repaired as soon as possible.
Hairline cracks are any cracks that measure less than 1/8 inch wide and will not pose much of a threat to your foundation nor the surrounding concrete. The same can be said for cracks that measure anywhere between 1/8 to 1/4 inches wide, though you should still keep a close eye on these in case they expand outward even further. Of course, even if you can leave these cracks alone for a short period of time, it is important that you set up an appointment with a concrete expert as soon as you can to repair these cracks. Expanding cracks are often ignored, which can result in easily preventable foundation damage.
Any cracks that measure wider than 1/4 inch wide must be repaired as soon as possible. Not only can the damage spread out to the surrounding concrete, but also it can extend down to the foundation as well. Moisture, washed-out soil, and plenty of other issues can easily cause these cracks to expand or spread out further, so it is important for you to not just maintain the concrete, but the supporting soil, too. Ohio Basement Authority’s SettleStop PolyRenewal™ solution can repair both, all while closing any cracks or holes in just 15 minutes! You will be able to walk along your concrete slabs the same day we implement repairs!