Foundation deterioration can be caused by a variety of sources, but they always fall into one of three categories: pressure, lack of support, or faults. Despite the fact that each of these issues is unique, they nonetheless express themselves in similar ways. The most typical signs of foundation problems include spreading cracks, unevenness, dampness, sinking, and heaving. You may discover secondary issues such as wood rot or mold if the damage to your Clarksburg foundation has been there for some time. Because the symptoms are very consistent regardless of the cause, it is vital to get professional assistance in determining the exact cause and the right treatment.
A basic fault or shortcoming in the building or structure of your Clarksburg property’s foundation is the least likely but most significant underlying reason. Defects can develop as a result of bad design, such as architectural errors, or the use of inferior materials, such as improperly mixed concrete. In either situation, the damage could be difficult to repair, and foundation replacement, in part or in whole, would almost certainly be required. On the other hand, damage caused by pressure, or a lack of support can typically be repaired and avoided.
Only the ground can exert sufficient pressure to cause damage to a structure (and incidentally, issues with support tend to be soil-based as well). The most prevalent soil in West Virginia is Monongahela silt loam, however, it isn’t always kind to foundations. Unfortunately, with time, this type of soil settles, creating a gradual shift in the foundation as well as the production of fractures and structural weaknesses that allow water to access the foundation and cause substantial damage. This type of soil may begin to move if it is continually flooded or drenched. When this happens, the hydrostatic pressure around a house can rise significantly, increasing the likelihood of soil runoff. Both of these issues can lead to foundation deterioration, including fragmentation, sinking, cracking, and lateral displacement.
The freeze-thaw effect describes how water freezes and then thaws again into a liquid form. If you want to minimize structural damage, you must protect the concrete on your Clarksburg property from moisture exposure due to the freeze-thaw phenomenon. When water condenses into ice, it expands by around 9%. Despite appearances, growing ice has the ability to displace concrete particles. The concrete weakens structurally over time when there is any form of displacement.
The freeze-thaw cycle can cause small craters to grow inside and along the surface of the concrete. Concrete is porous to begin with, but moisture seeps through even more with each new micro-tear. As more water travels through the concrete, the freeze-thaw cycle displaces the soil beneath it. You’ll wind up with an uneven, structurally weak slab once the concrete sets. On a slab that has been exposed to moisture over the winter, cracking is unavoidable due to the decreased tensile strength of porous concrete.
The severity of the winter climate dictates how dangerous it is to be exposed to the freeze-thaw cycle. Because some slabs like in sidewalks aren’t considered “heavy-duty,” freeze-thaw has a considerably bigger impact on concrete with low psi. Because it keeps the snow off your concrete throughout the winter, covering it is a vital part of slab protection. This way, if your slab settles, you won’t have to replace it due to breakage that prevents repairs.
Water seeps through cracks in basement walls, usually formed when hydrostatic pressure pushes up against the foundation. For that reason, foundation solutions exist to repair basement walls and keep them supported. Additionally, some basement waterproofing solutions drain water out of your basement to prevent seeping water from causing damage. At Basement Authority, we use wall repair beams and carbon fiber reinforcements to realign your basement walls and close any cracks that may have formed. In conjunction with these repair tools, we also install floor drains and vapor barriers to keep water from leaking into your basement in the first place.
Mold needs two things to grow – relative humidity over 50 percent, and organic material to feed on. Unfortunately, your crawl space is prone to both of these conditions. Most crawl spaces are built with wooden support beams which serve as a food source for mold. Moreover, many crawl spaces are built with open vents and directly above dirt ground. Both of these contribute to rising humidity in your crawl space. Using crawl space encapsulation prevents mold build up by removing moisture from the equation. Vapor barriers, dehumidifiers, crawl space supports, vent covers, and crawl space drains all reduce water damage below your home. When mold has no moisture, it quickly dies.