Basement Wall Repair
Most work we do for basement wall and foundation repair is brought on by the damaging effect of water saturated soil - especially soil with a high clay content - sitting in direct contact with the foundation and basement wall of a house.
We offer two methods for repairing basement walls depending on the degree of damage.
1. The bowing and deteriorating walls are demolished and replaced with concrete block, using outside pilasters built into the wall filled with grout and steel reinforcing bar to add strength.
2. Minor bowing of basement walls can often be repaired by excavating and pushing the wall back and installing steel beams. Vertical steel beams are used in cases where there is a slight bow to the wall, to keep the wall from coming in any further.
For both options, we waterproof the walls by parging them with masonry mortar up to grade. Next, we apply foundation coating (tar) to the wall, and finally, we apply sheets of 2-inch extruded foam insulation board (R-10 Value) to grade. Vented drain tile is then put along the footing of the foundation connecting to either an inside or outside sump pit. Crushed stone is put over the drain tile, and then back-filled creating runoff from the house.
Complete Basement Replacement
There are times when a basement has deteriorated to a degree that requires a complete replacement. These conditions are most common in homes built before the turn of the 20th Century. The natural cycle of freezing and thawing, over decades, can cause brick and field stone basement walls and floors to crack and buckle. The cost of repairs to these early masonry walls exceed the cost of a total replacement.
We specialize in raising and securing homes, then demolishing and removing the existing basement walls and floor. We pour a new steel-reinforced footing, a new basement floor, and build new masonry walls with a sill plate of treated lumber. Finally we lower the home onto the the new basement, waterproof the walls, and install structural steel. We also install perforated drain tile and a new sump pit and pump to keep moisture away from the basement walls.
When it comes to waterproofing, there are two different methods that can be utilized.
1. Outside water proofing involves excavating, and sealing the foundation. This includes new drain tile, and insulation board. This method keeps water from penetrating the foundation, and preserves the integrity of the structure. Decks can be moved for doing this form of waterproofing, and moved back into place.
2. Inside drain tile system is the other form of waterproofing. This is done by breaking out the concrete floor on the inside of the basement along the perimeter about a foot. A drain tile is installed, and bubble board comes up the basement wall approx. 4”. This catches any water coming through the foundation and takes it to a sump pit. This system is all completed on the inside of the basement.
Crawlspace moisture control is done with putting in a drain tile along the inside perimeter of the crawl, with a sump pit, and pump. The crawl space is then covered with 4” of stone, and a plastic vapor barrier installed on top of the stone.
Rotten Wood Replacement & Floor Leveling
Over time, moisture can become trapped in your crawlspace causing floor joists to become rotten and lose their tensile strength - threatening the integrity of your floor and entire home.
Our team of experts specialize in removing rotten joists or sill plates and replacing them with new pressure treated lumber that will last for years to come.
We can also install new pressure treated beams to remove any unwanted sagging or sloping in your floor. The need for floor leveling can be evidenced by floors which visibly slope, doors which stick or no longer work, and by floors which seem to bounce or sag with weight.
Most of the rotten wood repair work which we perform is done on houses which were constructed with crawl spaces; however, sometimes the need for this type of repair work does occur in houses with basements. The fact that crawl spaces tend to be more susceptible to moisture buildup is what causes the higher rate of wood decay.
The exhaustiveness of the repair which we perform is mandated by the extent of the deterioration of the existing wood.
If you'd like to increase the square footage of your home without increasing the size of your footprint, converting your crawlspace to a basement is an excellent option. In addition to the added space, a new basement can provide your family with added protection in the event of severe weather.
We specialize in creating basements under existing structures. First, we shore the house, then we excavate the dirt beneath - creating a suitable space for your new basement. Next, we pour a new footer and lay-up your basement walls before pouring a new basement floor, and lowering the house onto the new walls. Finally we waterproof your new basement using the techniques described in the 'Waterproofing' section above.
House or Structural Raising
(Flood Risk Mitigation)
Whether you're on the wrong side of new FEMA flood plain designations, or you simply want more headroom in a basement or crawlspace, raising your home could provide comfort and savings in the long run. We provide full service house raising including foundation support to ensure that you can get the entire project completed for one price.
According to FEMA: One way to reduce your flood insurance rate is to reduce your risk, because premiums are based on risk. For example, you can fill in a basement or install flood vents in the crawl space beneath the lowest level of your building, which helps reduce the chance that the foundation of your building will be displaced during a flood, and lowers your premium. When remodeling or rebuilding, you can consider elevating your entire structure.
During the elevation process, most homes (including manufactured homes) are separated from their foundations, raised on hydraulic jacks, and held by temporary supports while a new or extended foundation is constructed below. This method works well for homes originally built on basement, crawlspace, and open foundations.
BASE FLOOD ELEVATION (BFE) — The elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for high-risk flood zones (“A” and “V” zones) indicates the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1 percent chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.
Relative to NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) requirements, the BFE is the minimum elevation to which the lowest floor of a building must be elevated or floodproofed (Zone A). In Zone V, the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member must be elevated to or above the BFE.
A primary way to reduce or avoid future flood losses is to raise your building above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). You could reduce your flood insurance premium by 85 percent or more — and save thousands of dollars over the life of your home or business.
For Instance: A single-story home that is valued at $150,000 and located in Zone AE can have differing insurance premiums based on the level of protection. If the home is elevated to the BFE and does not have an enclosure, the annual premium would be approximately $1,294. If the same home is elevated to 2 feet above the BFE, the annual premium would be approximately $389. The increase in the flood protection level would result in a 70 percent savings in annual insurance premiums that would be passed onto the homeowner.
Depending on your situation, your choice of flood protection method and optimal elevation will be based largely on the cost to elevate to different elevations, the risk reduction provided by different elevations, and the annual cost of insurance premiums at different elevations.
Although using a lower flood protection elevation may result in a less expensive retrofitting project, it exposes your home to a greater risk of flood damage and higher insurance rates. So in choosing a flood protection elevation, you must consider not only how much you are willing to pay, but also the level of risk you are willing to accept, including the potential for damage, financial loss, and emotional distress. For example, recent studies have shown that adding 1 to 3 feet of freeboard above the BFE to an elevation project can pay for itself within a few years through a 25 to 60 percent annual reduction in flood insurance premiums
Remember: If you are protecting your home by elevating it, dry floodproofing it, or building a levee or floodwall, you should include a minimum of 1 foot of freeboard in your flood protection elevation, even if your community does not require you to do so.
For example: if you are elevating your home to protect it from the base flood, your flood protection elevation should be equal to the BFE plus 1 foot. Freeboard is recommended because of uncertainties regarding expected flood elevations. These uncertainties exist for several reasons, but the two primary reasons are limitations of the analytical methods used in floodplain studies and potential effects of future watershed development, such as the construction of buildings and roads.
Federal financial assistance for flood mitigation is available for those who qualify. To find out if you're eligible visit: www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance
For more information, visit: www.floodsmart.gov
Egress Window Installation
Many homeowners see remodeling their basement as a way of increasing the livable space in their homes. If you’re considering such an expansion, or if you already have a finished basement, the addition of an egress window provides an extra layer of safety to you and your loved ones in the unfortunate event of a fire. In addition to safety, an egress window also provides your new living area with a significant amount of natural light.
By definition, an egress window is any window that provides a safe escape route from your home in case of fire, as well as an access point for emergency personnel.
We provide egress window installation on block wall, and poured concrete wall basements. This includes cutting the basement wall, installing an egress window well, and drainage for the well.
Not all installations are created equal: The process of cutting an egress window into an existing concrete wall can be an unpleasant process. Gas concrete saws can fill your home with hazardous concrete dust and noxious fumes that can remain long after the job is complete.
To mitigate the collateral damage to your home, we utilize a professional-grade hydraulic concrete saw that eliminates harmful carbon monoxide emissions and captures concrete dust before it can spread through your home.
According to the International Building Code:
“Egress windows (or doors) are required in every habitable space. Especially in any room used for sleeping purposes, it will require its own egress window… If you have an existing home and you add a sleeping room, or finish a separate living space in the basement, the code requires that you install an egress window to serve these spaces. Without a means of egress, these rooms can represent a dangerous fire trap if you do not have a quick and easy-to-operate emergency egress escape window. If you have a basement that has a bedroom, recreation room, den, family room, media room, office, or home gym. All of these rooms are required to have a means of egress…
The law only dictates the minimum required by law and may not be what best suits your needs. Use your common sense when picking the egress window size and egress window well size that you feel is right for you and your family. Keep safety in mind."
Although we specialize in foundation repair, we have expanded into residential concrete projects in the past few years. We provide concrete flat-work services. This includes sidewalks, driveways, garage floors, basement floors, stoops, steps, and patios. Schedule a consultation to see if we can help solidify your concrete plans.
Sump Pump Installation
Most people don't spend a lot of time thinking about their sump pump, but a faulty pump can end up costing you thousands of dollars in renovations and clean-up. We exclusively install premium American-made Zoeller sump pumps. We don't waste our time - or your money - on bargain pumps that could fail, leaving your basement and belongings swamped.