Basement and Crawl Space Waterproofing in Bismarck
If your basement or crawl space walls are stained with mold or efflorescence, then you have a moisture problem. For a home in Bismarck, ND, this is not uncommon. Thanks to the slow permeability of Williams soil (the soil of the state), the soil surrounding the foundation is always saturated with water. Most of Bismarck’s annual precipitation falls during the summer, when thunderstorms pass through the region. Between the rain and the groundwater, the humidity levels increase during the hottest time of the year.
But concrete stains aren’t the only indicator that something is wrong with your foundation. High energy bills, wood rot, and strange odors should tip you off that something needs to change. Mopping up water every time it rains is annoying, but it’s not as harmful as what the stack effect can do when you have a wet basement or crawl space. The stack effect refers to the way air circulates throughout your home.
The warm, humid basement or crawl space air rises throughout your Bismarck home and spreads whatever air particles are down there. If there’s any mold, insect nests, or dust, then the air will carry it all up and pollute your home. Mold triggers allergies, and any cockroach nest will make your home smell awful. Not to mention, if hot air is constantly infiltrating your home, your AC will have to consume more energy to fight it off and keep the house cool.
As you can see, the state of your basement or crawl space plays a big role in the general environment of your home. To make sure that your home is free of strange smells and mold, you’ll need to waterproof your foundation. Whether it’s a basement or a crawl space, the solutions used all tackle the same problems: flooding, humidity, water vapor, and leaks.
A fully waterproof foundation is one that can automatically handle all those issues without needing to be controlled by the homeowner. A sump pump and interior perimeter drainage system work together to capture the water in and around the basement or crawl space. A dehumidifier and vapor barrier handle humidity. The dehumidifier can connect to the sump pump so that you don’t have to empty the container yourself.
If used in a basement, AquaStop WallSeal™ is applied to the walls. In a crawl space, AquaStop CrawlSeal™ is used to encapsulate the entire space. All these solutions are designed to have an easy, non-intrusive installation. We are usually able to set things up in less than a day, so give us a call if you want a clean, dry foundation for your Bismarck home.
Bismarck Foundation Repair
Bismarck is situated in the Great Plains, in an area where the state soil, Williams, can be found. Williams soil is well drained with slow permeability, meaning that when water falls on a layer of Williams soil, it takes a long time for the water to seep through. This is very important to know as a homeowner because these kinds of soils cause bowing walls.
Bowing walls are caused by hydrostatic pressure, which is when so much groundwater has accumulated next to the basement wall, it exerts a tremendous amount of pressure. This pressure is what causes the wall to bow inwards. Bowing basement walls in your Bismarck home can be fixed with either carbon fiber straps, wall anchors, or a wall bracing system. Carbon fiber straps are used for walls that are bowing two inches or less, so they are used when the problem is spotted early on.
For walls that are a little less fortunate and are bowing severely, wall anchors or wall braces need to be used. Both are able to stop the bowing completely and even straighten out the wall over time. They are permanent solutions to bowing walls, so no replacements are necessary after a few years.
The tricky thing about the Williams soil around Bismarck is that it’s poorly drained, but it’s not chock-full of clay either. It’s not considered an expansive soil because it mostly contains silt and loam more than anything else. It’s very friable and weak, which means it doesn’t erode through shrinking and expanding as much as other soils.
Still, its friability causes foundation problems in the form of settling. Weak soil shifts around too much, and if the soil in question is one that is meant to support the house, settling will ensue. Luckily, foundation settling can be resolved with helical piers or push piers, types of foundation support systems that are installed deep underground. Once each pier has been installed, the weight of the house is transferred to more capable soil.
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About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Bismarck
When it comes to foundation waterproofing in a city like Bismarck, ND, perimeter drainage is a must. The soil of the region is capable of retaining water incredibly well, meaning that there needs to be a way to drain all that groundwater before it causes damage. There are two types of perimeter drainage systems you could have: interior and exterior drains. The two attempt to do the same thing, but the way they are installed and their overall performance are vastly different. Interior drainage systems are considered to be superior due to their ease of installation and their efficiency.
Because exterior drainage systems are installed outside, excavation is required for installation. The drain is installed around the perimeter of the basement and then the hole is filled back up. Because of the excavation work that is needed, installing exterior drains are a lot more expensive than interior drains. Interior drains, as the name implies, are installed inside the perimeter of the basement. A small trench is excavated where the drain will go, but this crevasse is miniscule compared to what needs to be dug up for an exterior drain.
Exterior drains are often a hassle to maintain because they can easily clog with mud. Because of their design, they can often fail homeowners and cause basement flooding. Compare that to AquaStop BasementGutter™, an interior drainage system that is installed above the “mud zone” and can filter out debris a lot better than exterior drains. Designed to catch groundwater that seeps through the wall-floor joint as well as any water running down the wall, AquaStop BasementGutter™ is capable of doing much more than the average exterior drain.
The reason you should consider multiple waterproofing solutions for your Bismarck home’s basement is because there are multiple ways in which it can get wet. A basement often has a washing machine, water heater, and pipes for your home’s plumbing system. When some of these items malfunction, there’s always a chance for them to leak water. Unless a sump pump or drainage system is in place to collect the water, the leak has the potential to form puddles and maybe even flood your basement. A basement window is another common source of leaks, so if the window isn’t watertight and you don’t have a window well, water will seep through every time it rains.
Even if a basement doesn’t have any pipe leaks or windows, there’s still a way for it to get wet if it’s humid. Basements can get humid when water vapor enters through the concrete. The soil around the foundation is constantly saturated with water, and all that water vapor seeps through to your basement through the walls. When a basement is humid, it means there is water in the air, and just like standing water turns into water vapor when it’s hot enough, water vapor can turn into liquid when it’s cold enough.
This is called condensation, and it’s the reason why you’ll sometimes find water droplets in your basement. If your basement is humid enough for a consistent amount of time, these water droplets can accumulate and form a puddle. Concrete walls let in water vapor even when the concrete is structurally sound, but when it has cracks, it can allow water through. When having to withstand hydrostatic pressure, the water can come from the wall-floor joint as well.
When your floor is sagging, the problem can lie in a failing floor joist. One common recommendation among DIYers is that if the floor joist is damaged, sistering can help. Sistering a floor joist refers to attaching a new, healthy wooden board to the failing one in order to stabilize it. While this may work on some occasions, it can actually be detrimental to your home’s health most of the time. Sistering a joist is like wrapping a leaking pipe in duct tape: it’s a short-term practice that doesn’t actually fix the problem.
Instead of grabbing another piece of wood, ask yourself why the floor joist is failing in the first place. If it’s because of wood rot, then the wood you use for reinforcement will suffer the same fate a few months down the line. Anything that damaged the original joist, be it termites, wood rot, or water, will damage the new one as well. If the problem is that the floor simply wasn’t supported enough, then sistering might be able to help in those instances. However, to make sure you have the right solutions repairing and protecting your house, it’s best to reach out to professionals for help.
We at Innovative Basement Authority can assess the damage to your Bismarck home’s crawl space and let you know exactly why the supports are failing. If it’s a moisture issue, then we have the solutions that will ensure your joists never get waterlogged or infected again. We also have SettleStop IntelliJack™, a crawl space support jack capable of lifting your uneven floor. It’s made of galvanized steel and it’s a lot more reliable material for support than a piece of wood.
The damage that befalls a Bismarck home with a damaged foundation comes slowly. Most of the problem signs go by undetected for a long time and when they are spotted, they are attributed to something other than foundation problems. For example, when a foundation is failing and the house shifts to the side, the window frames bend and warp due to the unequal distribution of pressure. The uneven window frames cause the windows to jam when used. Many homeowners think that this is a problem with the window frame itself and promptly look to get them replaced, but the real problem lies in the foundation.
Another good sign of foundation problems is cracks. Cracks on the kitchen and bathrooms tiles, walls, ceiling, and basement walls should not be taken lightly. They indicate that the house is having trouble holding itself up as the foundation shifts. Cracks can also be seen on any mortar bricks you have outside your home, particularly cracks on the mortar joints. Another common sign is a sagging, uneven floor, which can interfere with the way your doors open and close.
The earliest signs of foundation problems come from the foundation itself. Basement leaks, increased humidity, and concrete block deterioration are clear signs. Basement wall bowing, which is foundation damage attributed to hydrostatic pressure, should also be thoroughly assessed since it can lead to costly repairs. Once one of these signs are noted, you should try looking for other signs around your home. If the signs are too minimal or difficult to detect, you can always contact us for a free inspection.
Fully waterproofing your Bismarck home’s basement if you already have other waterproofing solutions might seem a bit absurd. However, every waterproofing solution offered by professionals serves a very specific purpose, even if some of those solutions seem to overlap. Dehumidifiers and vapor barriers are two of those solutions that seem to tackle the same exact problem in a foundation. Both are meant to lower the humidity levels of a basement, so it’s understandable if you don’t see the reason for having both in your foundation. That said, there’s a reason professionals recommend getting a dehumidifier, even if you already have a vapor barrier.
Basement waterproofing professionals recommend vapor barriers to homeowners to stop water vapor from seeping into the basement through the walls. However, this isn’t the only way that moisture can get into the basement. If any pipes in the basement burst or if any water from upstairs makes its way into the area below, then the humidity levels will rise. Once the humidity levels rise, there’s nothing the vapor barrier can do to get rid of it. The vapor barrier may prevent water vapor from entering the space, but it’s the dehumidifier that gets rid of it completely.
With something as important as your foundation, you want to make sure that all your bases are covered. All the waterproofing solutions you can have installed in a basement are there for a reason, and they are all meant to protect your foundation from water damage. You may see extra waterproofing solutions as a waste of time, but the contrary is a lot worse. A wet basement does nothing but drain your money, since there’s always something that’s structurally failing when water is involved.
A good way to tell if you have a moisture problem is to check for stains on your Bismarck home’s basement wall. Efflorescence shows up in concrete as a white stain, almost as if the wall was spray-painted. Efflorescence sometimes gets confused for mold, but it’s far from it. Mold is a harmful microorganism while efflorescence is simply a clump of salt along the surface of the wall.
Efflorescence can show up on concrete due to the materials used while making it, but it also can appear when the concrete itself is exposed to water.
Water is an erosive element, so when it saturates a concrete wall, it solutes the minerals inside. The minerals loosen up, so when the water evaporates and rises to the surface of the concrete, it brings along the minerals. The water turns to vapor but the minerals stay clumped up together on the surface of the wall. If you touch it, then you should feel the grainy texture of the salt on your fingers. Because it’s just salt, efflorescence can be removed by simply scraping it off or using a hose.
Efflorescence on your basement wall is a problem because it indicates that your concrete is getting wet, and the water is permeating into your basement. This usually happens because the surrounding soil is saturated with groundwater. To stop the groundwater from seeping into your basement, you need a vapor barrier like AquaStop WallSeal™ that can be applied to the walls. Alternatively, it could be because water from the window or pipes are leaking and running down the basement wall. Either way, you should invest in some waterproofing solutions.
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Innovative Basement Authority
1330 41st St. N Fargo, ND 58102
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 6 am – 8 pm
Friday: 6 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 7 am – 1 pm