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Saint Cloud

Homes in cold regions see a lot of foundation problems due to frost damage. Interior drainage systems and sump pumps help minimize the damage by draining out groundwater.

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Basement and Crawl Space Waterproofing in St. Cloud

The cold, unforgiving winters of St. Cloud, MN, are contrasted by its warm summers. These two extreme climates can cause high energy bills if your basement or crawl space isn’t waterproof or well insulated. The stack effect, which defines how air circulates within a home, is inflated during extreme climates. Without proper insulation, your floors will feel cold during the winter, and the air will feel muggy during the summer.

Aside from making your St. Cloud home’s HVAC system work harder, a lack of insulation also will allow mold spores to rise into your home. This can trigger some pretty severe allergies and pollute the air you breathe. Of course, if you discover that you have mold growing in your foundation, there needs to be something done about it because it means you have a moisture problem. Even the best insulation material cannot stop foundation flooding and water vapor. This is something that needs to be addressed with a proper drainage system and moisture control solutions.

As long as there is any sort of humidity in a foundation, there will be mold. So, to lower the humidity levels of the space, your walls need to be covered with a vapor barrier. A dehumidifier will absorb any moisture in the air and keep it dry and fresh. Our dehumidifiers can connect to a sump pump so that the water can be drained automatically.

With the help of an interior drainage system, sump pumps collect water that floods basements and crawl spaces. Aside from that, they also are good at draining the groundwater that surrounds the foundation as well, which is crucial if you want to avoid frost heave and hydrostatic pressure and its detrimental effects on your St. Cloud home.

St. Cloud Foundation Repair

Helical Pier on Concrete

The cold brings about a lot of foundation damage in St. Cloud. When freezing, the effects of frost heave can cause foundation settling. Foundation settling is when a house is on an uneven layer of soil. Because the soil is loose and shifts around, the house sinks to one side. This causes a substantial amount of foundation damage in the form of cracked walls, basement flooding, and uneven floors.

At Innovative Basement Authority, we offer permanent solutions for those with settling foundations. Helical piers and push piers are installed deep underground and provide support for the sinking home. They even have the potential to lift a home and even it out. Unlike concrete piers, helical and push piers do not buckle or crumble because they don’t share the same weaknesses as concrete.

Snowfall is abundant in St. Cloud, as well as soil with a lot of clay in the lower layers. This combination is terrible for those who wish to avoid bowing walls. All the moisture from the melting snow seeps into the soil and accumulates underground. The hydrostatic pressure breaks apart your wall as it buckles under the weight of all the water. Over time, concrete blocks start detaching themselves, and the groundwater seeps through.

Apart from basement flooding, bowing walls also affect the rest of your St. Cloud home. If one of the walls from your foundation starts seeing structural damage, then your floors could begin to sag, and your doors might jam because of it. To fix bowing walls, wall anchors can be installed. Steel rods are placed underground, where the soil is stable and dense, and then bolts are fastened to plates along the wall.

The wall is stabilized because of the pressure exerted by the anchors, which is now equal to or greater than the pressure exerted by the soil. Over time, the bolt can be tightened so that the wall is straightened out. Wall anchors require excavation so that the anchors can be placed in the soil. If you don’t have the space for the anchors, then SettleStop IntelliBrace™ can be installed instead.

SettleStop IntelliBrace™ is a wall bracing system that requires no excavation. Steel I-beams are attached to the wall to stop the bowing and slowly straighten out the wall. Both SettleStop IntelliBrace™ and wall anchors are permanent solutions that require no replacements or upgrades over the years. If your St. Cloud home’s walls are bowing less than two inches, then carbon fiber straps are recommended.

Concrete Lifting in St. Cloud

The concrete around your St. Cloud home is just as important as any other part of your property. Without an even path to walk on, the risk of accidents and injuries are high. Keeping your slabs and concrete steps from settling has little to do with the concrete itself and everything to do with the soil under the structure. When the soil erodes, the structure can no longer be supported.

Soil erosion in St. Cloud, MN, is caused by the shrinking and swelling of the clay soils in the region. As the moisture content in the soil changes, so does its evenness, volume, and density. All of these changes affect the way the concrete is supported by the soil. Unless the foundation is firm and even, the concrete will settle.

A lopsided concrete slab or steps is only the beginning. Once uneven, the concrete is more likely to crack and repairs could be more difficult to execute. Before this happens, you’ll want to get the concrete lifted. Concrete lifting involves filling up the void left by the eroded soil with a material capable of supporting the slab. At Innovative Basement Authority, SettleStop PolyRenewal™ is our preferred concrete lifting method.

With SettleStop PolyRenewal™, our experts inject polyurethane foam into the concrete structure. Once the foam expands and cures, it becomes a solid support for the concrete. Unlike the soil that caused the settling in the first place, a solid mass of polyurethane cannot shrink or expand. Neither its volume or density changes, making it a permanent solution for settling concrete structures around your St. Cloud home.

FAQs

About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Saint Cloud

When the foundation of your St. Cloud home is experiencing structural issues, there are multiple ways you can go about getting it supported. One of the most common repair methods for foundation settling is concrete piers. Their popularity has little to do with their efficiency and everything to do with their price tag. Concrete piers are a lot cheaper to produce and install, but they are not as superior as helical or push piers. The reasons helical or push piers work better than concrete piers are due to the longevity of the material and their ability to be installed deep underground.

Concrete piers are supposed to be poured below the frost line so that it isn’t affected by the freeze-thaw effect. However, they cannot be made too far down in case they suffer from skin friction, which is a negative pressure exerted onto the structure by the soil. Because they can’t reach competent soil depths, they are more likely to crumble under the weight of the house. Helical and push piers have a slim design, so they don’t suffer from skin friction. They can be installed much further down than concrete piers and provide better support.

The part of the concrete pier that is above the frost line is still affected by freeze-thaw. As the ice creates micro-tears on this part of the pier, the concrete deteriorates and has trouble supporting the foundation as well as it used to. It eventually crumbles under the pressure from the house and the skin friction, causing your foundation to settle once more. Helical and push piers are made of solid, galvanized steel, so they aren’t affected by freeze-thaw. While concrete piers are likely to buckle, helical and push piers are a permanent solution to your settling foundation problems.

SettleStop IntelliJack™ is a joist support jack that aids failing joists in holding up the floor of a house. It can be installed even in dirt crawl space. With clay soils like the ones found in St. Cloud, MN, settling occurs when the moisture displaces the soil through shrinking and expansion. Part of installing SettleStop IntelliJack™ is excavating the area the jack will be placed in and filling it with excavation fill so that it doesn’t settle. Engineering filling is a mix of sturdy soils with very little shrink-swell capacity.

Some joist support methods only focus on supporting the joist and don’t take into account potential settling. These methods are short-lived and short-sighted, so when settling does occur, the floor begins to sag again due to lack of support. The excavation fill used for SettleStop IntelliJack™ installation at least guarantees some protection from settling. This makes it a much better support method than others, especially if the installation needs to be done in a dirt crawl space. The future-proofing is what expands the lifespan of the product and ensures that you only need to pay for repairs once.

If the crawl space sees a lot of flooding and soil erosion, then there might be a bit of settling. However, this isn’t a problem because SettleStop IntelliJack™ can be adjusted to accommodate for any changes. While it is nice to know that your floor will still be supported if there is settling, it’s better to prevent it altogether. This can be done by waterproofing your crawl space so no water is able to flow in. Waterproofing is especially important for dirt crawl spaces, since these areas experience the most change when flooding.

Years ago, it was believed that ventilation could help a crawl space stay dry. While this is true for spaces above ground, this is not true for crawl spaces, which are partially underground. Crawl spaces are surrounded by moist soil, so there’s always going to be water vapor permeating through the walls. Also, given a crawl space’s proximity to the ground, it’s easy for rain water to get in through the vents. The other areas in our home are not exposed to moisture like this, which is why ventilation works everywhere except crawl spaces.

Now that the construction industry knows better, crawl spaces should be built with better waterproofing features, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and it’s mostly due to budgeting. It’s a lot easier and less expensive to build a simple dirt crawl space and call it a day. Adding certain installations, like a vapor barrier or a sump pump, would require more work, so it’s not something construction crews are usually eager to do. A waterproof foundation also raises the value of the house considerably, so if the house needs to be built a certain way to stay within the estimated property value, waterproofing solutions will not be implemented.

In Minnesota, the building codes allow for different types of ventilation methods. Some of them are not ideal for waterproofing, but the law does not actively discourage them. Due to outdated building codes, construction crews sometimes need permits to waterproof a crawl space during the building process. This can be seen by many as a waste of time and resources, so it’s rarely done. Unfortunately, waterproofing with the right solutions is up to the homeowner, not the construction crew that built the home.

One of the biggest reasons you should waterproof your foundation is because of hydrostatic pressure. Soil, especially the clay soils of St. Cloud, is capable of retaining water. Due to rain, snow, or a rising water table, the water accumulates in the soil next to your foundation and presses up against it. Water is heavy enough to cause your basement walls to bow inwards due to the pressure. Too much bowing, and your walls will crack, allowing the groundwater to seep through.

Hydrostatic pressure is something that cannot be prevented, but it can be controlled. The trick is to make sure there is as little groundwater surrounding the foundation as possible. This can be done with a sump pump and AquaStop BasementGutter™, our interior perimeter drainage system. AquaStop BasementGutter™ is placed just under the floor along the walls throughout the basement to collect leaking water that enters the basement. This system then drains the water to a reliable sump pump that effectively removes the water from the basement by pumping it out of and away from your home.

Besides the installations in the basement, you can also control the amount of water around your foundation by extending your downspouts. This way, whenever it rains, the water gets drained as far from the foundation as possible. Center your seasonal maintenance of your gutter and downspouts during the fall, which is when they are most likely to get clogged. You can also speak to a landscaping expert to make sure your yard grade is positive; if it isn’t, then water flows towards your home when it rains instead of away from it. You’ll have to re-grade your yard every few years anyway since the weather erodes the soil on your property.

The energy consumption in your St. Cloud home is directly tied to the condition of your crawl space. During the summer, the humid outside air enters your crawl space and then rises into your home. This is possible because hot air is lighter than cold air, and the air in your home is significantly cooler than the air outside. During the winter, the density of the cold air forces the warm air to flow above your home and escape via your attic. This is called the stack effect, and it forces your HVAC system to consume more energy during extreme weather.

The stack effect can be minimized by waterproofing, insulating, and encapsulating your crawl space. First, you need to make sure that the air isn’t able to flow in and out of the crawl space by getting a vent cover and encapsulating the space with a vapor barrier. The air in the crawl space needs to be purified and cooled down a little by removing the moisture, which is something that a dehumidifier can do. Finally, the air needs to be trapped so that it cannot rise into your home. This can be achieved with AquaStop ExTremeBloc™, an insulation material offered by us at Innovative Basement Authority.

AquaStop ExTremeBloc™ is a reflective insulation material made of polystyrene foam and embedded with graphite particles for maximum efficiency. With an impressive R-value of 11, AquaStop ExTremeBloc™ can reduce the energy consumption of your home between 15 to 20%. Unlike some other insulation materials, it does not deteriorate when exposed to water. The insulation panels trap the air in the crawl space by bouncing the heat off each other. All these installations are crucial if you want to stop overworking your HVAC system and lower your energy bills.

When the temperature gets cold enough, all the moisture over the frost line freezes. When liquid turns into ice, it expands by 9%. The top layers of your property freeze solid, expand against the foundation walls, and grip it. The subsequent soils freeze as the days go by, harden, and expand, and the foundation gets shifted around, as well as the soil right under it, which doesn’t freeze because it’s below the frost line. Because the foundation and the soil have shifted about when winter is over and the ice melts, the foundation is set back on an uneven layer of soil. The weight of the house only further shifts the soil about, causing even more settling.

Frost heave is very destructive on crawl spaces as well. The ice (called ice lenses) forms under the crawl space footings and exerts an upwards pressure as it expands. The footings, which are made of concrete and are probably damaged from freeze-thaw, begin shifting as the pressure pushes them upwards. Crawl spaces with damaged footings result in uneven floors, so frost heave is something you have to avoid as much as possible if you want to avoid paying for repairs. Although it’s not completely preventable, it is something you can minimize with the right waterproofing solutions.

The best way to minimize the effect frost heave has on your foundation is by reducing the amount of groundwater around your home. The less groundwater there is, the less ice lenses will form around the foundation. This can be done with an interior drainage system and a sump pump. Without these measures in place, winter becomes the most destructive season for homes in St. Cloud.

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Rush City Local Office

Innovative Basement Authority

1325 S Frandsen Ave Rush City, MN 55069

Hours of Operation

Monday – Thursday: 6 am – 8 pm
Friday: 6 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 7 am – 1 pm

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We service Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Eastern Montana for basement waterproofing and crawl space repair.

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1330 41st St. N
Fargo, ND 58102

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6265 Carmen Ave

Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

RUSH CITY, MN

1325 S Frandsen Ave
Rush City, MN 55069