Author Archives: Foundation Support Specialists

Does Concrete Sealing Do Anything?

cracks in a foundation wall

Sealing your foundation

To answer this question, we need to know What is concrete sealing first. Concrete sealer just what the name would imply: seals concrete.  The concrete sealer provides effective protection from corrosion, staining, many other types of surface damage by blocking the pores, forming an impermeable layer, and reducing its ability to absorb water, salts, and other materials from passing through. 

For example, freezing and thawing on concrete is the most insidious form of damage for concrete. Alkali-silica reaction, chemical intrusion, and corroding steel reinforcements are other examples of materials that cause damage that concrete sealer prevents.

Should concrete be sealed?

Having a concrete sealer applied to your concrete driveway is equal to waxing your car, applying sunscreen, and scotch guarding your sofa. New or old, concrete sealer will protect your driveway and keep it looking good for years. The concrete sealer will rejuvenate an existing concrete surface, too, whether it is a driveway, garage floor, or a patio. 

It is recommended by concrete experts and sealer manufacturers to have reapply concrete sealer every so often as a general maintenance step to maintain a glossy sheen and vibrant color. A slip-resistant concrete sealer is available and ideal around swimming pools, on sidewalks, and stairs, or on a sloped driveway. If you’re not fond of glossy shine, you can go with a no-gloss or low-gloss concrete sealer.

Outdoor concrete is subjected to a lot of abuse that can permanently stain it with ugly grease, oil, pet stains, tire tracks, and more. The right concrete sealer will help keep all of those things from penetrating the surface with an unsightly stain. The concrete sealer also prevents damage from freezing and thawing during the winter that often cracks concrete when the water has penetrated the concrete.

What is the best sealer for concrete?

A concrete sealer is designed to seal the concrete while enhancing and protecting the surface. The top choices as “best sealer” are: 

  • Armor AR350: A solvent-based acrylic that leaves a “wet look” and is recommended for most concrete surfaces, indoor and outdoor.  
  • Siloxa-Tek 8500: A silane and siloxane blend that is easy to apply with brush, roller, or spray on brick, concrete, masonry, and stone surfaces.  
  • ToughCrete Concrete Sealer: U.S. Department of Transportation approved, this eco-friendly, non-toxic siloxane has a ten-year Tough promise. 
  • Rain Guard Water Sealer CU-0201: Leaves a clear, low gloss coating that is UV resistant, hot tire mark resistant, and takes impact from heavy automotive uses, non-yellowing. 
  • EnduraSeal Semi-Gloss: A 100% acrylic solvent-based, low odor, and leaves a glossy, wet look. 

What’s the best way to seal concrete?       

Applying a concrete sealer may look easy, but it can be tricky, which is why hiring a professional that has experience in working with the product is always recommended. If it isn’t applied correctly and it isn’t allowed to dry thoroughly, it won’t be as effective as you want it to be. For the homeowner that wants to do their own, these concrete sealing steps that follow will help: 

  1. Clean all dirt, dust, grease, oil, and stains
  2. Remove any existing concrete sealer
  3. Apply the etching solution to open up the concrete
  4. Using a roller or sprayer, apply a thin coat of concrete sealer 
  5. Allow the first layer of concrete sealer to dry
  6. Going in the opposite direction, apply a second coat of concrete sealer
  7. Allow the concrete sealer to thoroughly dry, usually three days, before driving or walking on the surface 
crack along cinder blocks

Can you seal old concrete?

Yes, there is no age limit to apply a concrete sealer, even if the cement has been treated previously. Make sure the floor is cleaned, removing all dirt, dust, grease, oil, etc. If a sealer has been applied before, it needs to be removed, the clean the concrete again. 

There cannot be any trace of efflorescence, grease, mildew, mold, mildew, oil, or rust, or they will be sealed into the concrete. These things could also “fight” the sealer and not give you the full effect of the concrete sealer. 

When it comes to Concrete sealing, how to know you need it: 

When water gets on a driveway, patio, stairs, or steps that have been treated with a concrete sealer, it beads. If the water isn’t beading on wet concrete, then it needs a concrete sealer applied. If the surface has high traffic, then a concrete sealer is recommended and frequently reseal. The concrete sealing pros and cons to consider: 


  • A sealer will help repel moisture and keep it from absorbing into the cement, causing possible damage and weakening it down inside. 
  • A concrete sealer will make the cement stain-resistant by sealing the pores.
  • Concrete sealed floors have a longer lifespan because it is protected from the elements that damage it like the UV rays.
  • A concrete sealer will enhance a highly visible surface and maintain its appearance. 


  • The concrete sealer can be slippery when wet, but an abrasive can be added to the coating to make it non-skid.
  • The concrete sealer needs to be reapplied every few years to maintain its quality, especially in areas of high traffic. 
  • Some concrete sealers can be dangerous to pets, plants, even humans. If you’re applying the concrete sealer yourself, wear protective gear for eyes and skin and avoid breathing in the fumes. These are the reasons why we recommend having a concrete sealer applied by professionals. 
  • For a new slab, a concrete sealer cannot be applied for one month, allowing time for the concrete to cure. 

How long does concrete sealer last?

There are a few factors that can affect the lifespan of concrete sealer.  An epoxy or urethane concrete sealer system can last five to ten years with regular traffic exposure. An acrylic-resin concrete sealer has an expected lifespan of one to three years. Foundation Support Specialists is your source for quality foundation repair in San Antonio and Austin, TX. Need to get started? Call 210-267-8828 today.

What is an exterior drain?

installing an exterior drain

Property Drains

Even with a gutter system in place and working properly, water will stand around your foundation and, in your yard, creating exterior drainage issues. This can make landscaping difficult and that is where an exterior water drainage system helps. It directs outside water to the street’s sewer and drains excess water from the soil around your home.

Exterior drainage systems relieve any pressure this standing water has put on the foundation around your home and keeps your landscaping in place. There are several exterior water drainage solutions and a trained professional can discuss those solutions with you and determine which exterior water drainage system would be the best for your particular situation.

How do I get rid of flooding in my yard?

If your yard collects rainwater, you probably have large pools of water after each rain, and when they finally dry up, it rains again. This is damaging your landscaping, if you have any, and if you have a basement, good chance it is getting water seepage, maybe even flooding. Fortunately, there are some solutions for exterior water drainage system that can help with this problem.

1.    If your yard is flooding in one particular area that is lower than the rest, you can add heavy mulch or topsoil to raise that area to a higher elevation, equal to the rest of the yard.

2.    Another option would be to create a depression or swale that will guide the rain runoff to a different area. Use deep-rooted plants and large rocks to line the bottom as an exterior water drainage system that will control the water flow.

3.    Create a rain garden with deep root vegetation that needs a lot of water. This method won’t redirect the rainwater but gives it a place to “work” into the soil as it collects.   

4.    If you’re having trouble with widespread flooding, a French draindisperse the water throughout the yard. This exterior water drainage system will require the services of a professional landscaper. They will dig a trench deeper than your house in the flooding and install a perforated pipe. They will then fill an aggregate material in the hold that will filter the water and keep the pipe from getting clogged with debris. The rainwater will collect in the French pipe re-directed it into the ground. 

5.    Another exterior water drainage system is to install a dry well. This can be made with a perforated plastic tub like that will collect the water then slowly release it. Like a French drain, you want to install this in a hole that is below your house level and fill the surrounding hole with an aggregate material. You then attach pipes to the dry well so that it redirects the water flow. 

6.    A sump pump is a time tested exterior water drainage system that can prevent flooding in your home and yard by transferring water from the soil in your yard to a pit. The pump then pulls the water from the pit and out into the yard, away from your home and landscaping. This is the more expensive of other exterior water drainage solutions but works better than a dry well or French drain.

exterior drain

How do I drain standing water from my yard?

Once you have identified where the water is standing in your yard, using a shovel, dig a trench from there towards an area where the water can drain easier. Then pour pea gravel in the trench and place a flexible plastic landscape pipe over the gravel and create an exterior water drainage system.

Another way to create an exterior water drainage system with little labor or money is to use a water hose as a siphon and follow these steps:

  • 1. Find an area for the excess water, like a ditch or the street drain.
  • 2. Put one end of a water hose in the middle of the area that is flood.
  • 3. Submerge the hose completely until you see bubbles rising to the surface.
  • 4. Place your palm over the hose to create a seal and prevent water from leaking out and releasing the suction you need.
  • 5. With the hose low at ground level, put the other hose end where you’re redirecting the water.
  • 6. With that hose end as low as you can get it, point it toward the area where you want it redirected.
  • 7.Remove your hand and the unwanted water will gush out and should keep draining until the flooded end isn’t submerged.

You may have to make some adjustments to this inexpensive exterior water drainage system to get more water out, this will depend on individual situations.

How do I fix bad drainage in my yard?

Here are some strategies to help you create house exterior drainage:

  1. Re-grade Your Lawn: A professional landscaper will survey your lawn, pinpoint the trouble spots, and find channels and natural drains. They then address the areas re-grading will help and address the areas where water pools. 
  2. De-thatch Your Lawn: If your lawn has anything that is blanketing your lawn, this will keep it from draining. Using a dethatcher or lawn rake, remove any excess debris. Another option when you don’t have an exterior water drainage system, but you have a yard standing in water, is using the mulch feature on your lawn mower or mow and bag to collect that debris and thatch. 
  3. Aerating Your Lawn: After you have removed any debris and thatch, put small holes throughout your lawn with a lawn aerator. This breaks up the compacted soil so that air, nutrients, and water can get to the roots of the grass. 
  4. Boost the Soil: If the soil in your yard is hard or sticky, use as a rake or shovel to break up the soil. Then add compost, manure, or mulch to boost the soil.  You may have a “hardpan” that is just below the soil surface. By breaking this up with a shovel and allowing it to dry out, then add compost, manure, or mulch in those hardpan areas. This is a natural exterior water drainage system that won’t require professional services.
  5. Extend the Downspouts: Extend your rain gutter downspouts out further and away from your plant bed around your house. Some situations will need a French drain or install an exterior sump pump for drainage. Rain gutters are a must for any home, but they can create problems with exterior water drainage system. An extension to the downspouts is a simple fix. 
  6. Build Up the Soil: If a high water table is making it hard to landscape, raise your plant beds and plant flowers and greenery that have shallow roots. 

What are different types of drainage systems?

A professionally installed and working residential drainage systems is especially important to your home and your landscaping. They as they prevent mildew, mold, rotting, and structural damage from a buildup of water. The following are types of residential exterior water drainage systems:

  • Surface Drainage: This is comprised of parallel shallow ditches dug in a pattern that act as canals for the water to run-off into the main drain to stop flooding and water pooling. 
  • Subsurface Drainage: Commonly known as a French drain, it consisting of pipes buried just beneath the top layer of soil and removes water at root level. A larger drain is installed to collect the water from the pipes. 
  • Slope Drainage: This exterior water drainage system allows water to flow downward away from your house using pipes that are installed and anchored in an incline, causing water to flow away through the pipes.  
  • Downspout and Gutter: Rain gutters diver water from the roof to the downspouts which driver the water the ground away from the house. 
exterior drain

Final Words of Thought 

Proper exterior water drainage system isn’t just for the beauty of your landscaping. You also need proper drainage to keep your foundation stable and strong, and if you have a basement, an exterior water drainage system will keep it from flooding.

What is the Purpose of a Crawl Space?

Crawl space inspection

Contact Our Team for Quality Services

A crawl space for house is analogous to a basement except for having outside air venting. Some are exactly as named, a “crawl” space, meaning you access and get through it by “army crawling”. There are some that some crawl spaces that are full-height, like a basement. Rely on our team for help with just about any foundation service you need. Contact our team at 210-267-8828 about the crawl space under your San Antonio and Austin, TX property.

What is a Crawl Space?

There are two purposes for a crawl space under a house: 

1). Allowing outside air to circulate under the house

2).  Multiple benefits of having the floor off the ground: 

  • Cost effective as opposed to leveling dirt to pour a slab. 
  • Convenience to install, maintain, and make repairs to electrical, HVAC, plumbing.

Are crawl spaces bad?

There are downsides to having a home with a crawl spaces, mainly moisture-related issues. Some issues that a crawl space can allow are:  

  • Mildew/Mold
  • Wood rot causing, floor failure, structural damage
  • Decreased in insulation R-values
  • Increased cooling and heating bills
  • Allergy aggravation from dust, odors, poor air quality indoors
  • Dust mites and insects

Are crawl space vents necessary?

Building codes usually require the crawl space vents, and there are logical reasons why you should have them.  As we mentioned already, crawl spaces allow air to circulate under a house. With vents, it is closing off the crawl space to keep critters out, like a cat having kittens or a skunk, yet the air still circulates under the house The vents will keep moisture from building up during the summer and during the winter, they can be closed off to minimize the pipes from freezing. 

Why should you encapsulate a crawl space?

Encapsulating a crawl space under a home willreduce the moisture and reduce the risks we mentioned earlier. The things that can be avoided by encapsulating your crawl space are: 

  • Mold from the constant moisture
  • Mildew and musty odors from wet insulation and wood
  • Soft floors separating
  • Increased cooling and heating costs
  • Condensation inside home on windows
  • Insect and rodent problems

What does an encapsulated crawl space look like?

An encapsulated crawl space will have a vapor barrier installed all around, on the top, sides, and ground, including any piping and venting. They are available in several colors, but white is the most requested because it brightens the area If you’re planning on using this encapsulated crawl space, this would be the best choice. 

There are some significant benefits by having your home’s crawl space encapsulated:

  • The ground will be 100% covered
  • Vapor barrier seals at junctions and seams
  • Seals around crawl space vents
  • Insulates band joists and foundation walls 
  • Dehumidifies the air in your home up to 60%
  • Little to no HVAC cool or warm air will escape from under the house
  • Adding a small exhaust fan will keep the crawl space air moving 

Does encapsulating a crawl space increase home value?

Not all home improvements are aesthetic when it comes to increasing your home’s value. An updated bath in the master and a renovated kitchen are the usual crowd pleaser, and sure to bring a higher ROI. Landscaping, new siding, and new windows will give you a sizeable ROI too. One area you may overlook for value-add is your crawl space.

This can be one of the most effective upgrades because of the adding comfort and energy efficiency it gives the house. The benefits that potential buyers will get from an encapsulated crawl space are: 

  • Humidity and Moisture Control
  • Crawl space encapsulation will seal air leaks and a thick vapor barrier will keep moisture out. These steps can improve the air inside the house by preventing mold growth. 
  • Indoor Air Quality Improved
  • We don’t realize that as much as 40% of the air we are breathing inside our home is coming from the crawl space. As we mentioned above, the vapor barrier that encapsulating provides will remove excess moisture and undesirable contaminants and improved the overall indoor air quality of your home. 
  • Greater Pest Protection
  • Encapsulation will minimize, even eliminate, pests and rodents like ants, mice, roaches, spiders, termites, and more from making your crawl space their home.
  • Indoor Comfort Improved
  • For homes in the northern climate, crawl space encapsulating keeps the floors warm and the entire house less humid. 
  • Energy Efficiency Improved
  • The temperature inside the house will stabilize with an encapsulated crawl space all year long. You could see as much as a 20% reduction in energy expenses. 
  • Minimize Home Maintenance
  • Crawl space encapsulation will provide another financial benefit by eliminating pests and rodent invasion, you won’t need regular extermination service, and you’ll never need mold remediation service. 
inspecting crawl space

Wrapping Up This Article 

So, which is the best choice,crawl space or slab? Regardless the architectural style of a home, the foundation makes it a solid home. The foundation is the load-bearing aspect of the house, it floors and walls, which supports the ceiling, attic, and roof. The entire structure is resting on the foundation. It is important to have the right foundation for the house based on the soil and the size of the house. 

A crawl space foundation is the best choice for sloped lots because it requires less excavation. We do not recommend a slab foundation for houses in cold regions because of the moisture content from snow, ice, and the soil freezing, thawing, refreezing, re-thawing, etc. 

Before having your crawl space encapsulated, keep in mind thatcrawl space cleaning will be a part of the expense, unless you do it yourself. Professional cleaning of the crawl space can be as much as $4,000, depending on the size and the amount of work it takes to clean the space.  This includes removing debris, junk, hidden treasures, etc. 

What is exterior waterproofing?

gutter system installation

Waterproof your home

What is exterior waterproofing, and what is the difference between exterior waterproofing vs interior waterproofing? Exterior Waterproofing is a preventative measure step that keeps water from entering the basement or crawl space of your home. Interior waterproofing is a process that controls the water that enters your home.

Any homeowner that has experienced a flooded or wet basement will tell you that it is an expense and a hassle. If you don’t address the wetness immediately, you’ll have mold, rust, water pooling, and water stains to deal with. All of this creates structural damage and health and safety hazards. All it takes is one time of experiencing this and you realize the value of exterior waterproofing and interior waterproofing.

The best method for keeping your basement or crawl space dry is having basement waterproofing installed. You do this with materials and techniques that keep water from seeping into the basement by sealing the exterior and interior sections of the floor and walls of the basement. Here, we list three methods with the pros and cons of each: 

Interior Waterproofing

Interior waterproofing diverts water from the basement to the sump pump which pumps the water away from your house. You can also open the floor and install drains in the basement that will remove any accumulated water.

The Advantages

  • Reduces hydrostatic pressure at the basement base.
  • The least expensive waterproofing method.

The Disadvantages

  • The leaking water isn’t adequately addressed regarding the basement walls.
  • The humidity is still high in the basement

Exterior Waterproofing

Exterior waterproofing requires a backhoe to dig out and expose the foundation so that waterproofing for exterior walls is done to keep water from seeping in the basement. Drainage is installed or repaired to minimize any water accumulation close to the foundation.

The Advantages

  • Prevents water from leaching into the basement and addresses the high humidity.
  • Ensures there is adequate drainage around the basement.

The Disadvantages

  • Expensive and labor-intensive
  • Landscape damaged  

 Multi-step Waterproofing

Multi-Step method is combining both the exterior waterproofing and interior waterproofing methods described here. Waterproof the exterior. Waterproof the interior, Repair cracks in the basement wall and have drainage installed, or existing drainage improved.

The Advantages

  • All moisture and water problems are addressed.
  • Prevents further structural damage.

The Disadvantages

  • Expensive.
  • Landscaping damaged.

How do you waterproof an outside wall?

For some houses it isn’t a basement as much as it is a room at the foundation of the house with exterior walls and windows. Still, they can flood just as easily as a basement can if there isn’t any exterior waterproofing applied. Here are 10 steps that been used by many homeowners:

  1. Exposed the exterior side of the wall – some walls may be covered up by dirt and fill over time. This needs to be removed down past the footer.
  2. Clean the wall- The debris and dirt that has caked up the exterior wall need to be cleaned off before going any further. Using a broom or brush and sweep the wall off then use a power washer to get it cleaned. Allow drying.
  3. Fill cracks and holes – using hydraulic cement to fill any cracks and holes in the wall.
  4. Paint the Outside Wall – once the wall is dry, using a cement waterproofing sealer, apply to the wall and let dry.
  5. Tar Pitch the Wall – Using a trowel, apply a tar-based pitch onto the wall.
  6. Add 6 mil or Thicker Membrane – Apply a roll out a thick heavy-duty plastic or rubber membrane to the wall and over the footer, creating an apron outwards from the wall.
  7. Add ¾ inch of gravel – Pour a few inches of gravel the drainage pipe below the Footer the lay a perforated drainage pipe on top, then add more gravel to cover the pipe.
  8. Add a Fabric Barrier- This will keep dirt from getting in the pipe and clogging it up.
  9. Add the Fill Dirt– The last step is putting back in the fill dirt, creating a little higher mound for settling that slopes away from your house. 

Can you put waterproofing over paint?

You can, but it won’t stop water seepage into the basement. To make a painted surface waterproofed, follow these steps first:

  1. Pour one-fourth cup of liquid detergent in 1 gallon of water.
  2. Using a cleaning brush and the mixture, scrub the painted surface.
  3. Use a garden hose and rinse the area, then allow it to dry.
  4. With a paint sprayer, apply silicone-based or polyurethane sealant in an even layer.

How long does exterior waterproofing last?

Exterior waterproofing experts advise that the method and determine how long an exterior waterproofing job will last. Exterior waterproofing primers or crack injections are not a permanent fix but can last up to 10 years, maybe longer, when correctly applied.

french drain installation

How do you waterproof outdoor foundation?

Exterior house waterproofing is done to prevent water from coming inside because that is where the water generally is – outside, on the exterior. Water enters a basement through the soil that is surrounding the foundation and expands. To what extent it expands depends on the area where you live. A sandy area won’t have as much expansion in the soil as the area where the soil is more clay.

Once the soil has expanded and swelled, it puts pressure around and on the foundation, pushing water through any crack, porous spot, or unsealed opening. Exterior waterproofing creates an impermeable water barrier to stop that seepage.

  • The first step to exterior waterproofing is digging around the foundation to the footings, approximately 8 feet down and several feet wide to have the working room.  
  • Next, clean loose concrete, mortar, and soil from the wall. If the foundation wall is coarse brick or stone, apply a thin coat of mortar to even the surface and allow it to cure before continuing.
  • After that has cured, using a masonry trowel to apply a thick layer of asphalt-modified polyurethane, a special sealant for use below ground level.
  • Once this has cured, you’ll have a seamless barrier all around the foundation. This will keep water out and increase the wall’s structural integrity. 
  • Some homeowners have an insulating material applied over this membrane as a plastic drainage board that protects the membrane and channels any water downward. 
  • Last, they then fill the excavation is then in and the foundation is now permanently protected.

How long does Foundation Waterproofing last?

A crack injection or a primer will typically last around ten years when applied correctly. By having a professional waterproofing expert do the job, they will have a process that will use an exterior excavation and land grading that keeps water away so that the crack injection and primer last longer.

A flooded basement or lower level room is not anything a homeowner wants to deal with. Without proper exterior waterproofing, you can almost be certain that you have that issue at some point. Interior waterproofing is always a good backup with the exterior waterproofing and both are well worth the expense. Call 210-267-8828 today for your exterior waterproofing needs in San Antonio and Austin, TX.

Is a slab foundation bad?

solid slab foundation just poured

Why choose a slab foundation

What is the purpose of a slab foundation? A slab foundation is built from a wood form filled with concrete, and then a house is built. A slab foundation is the foundation for a house and is typically 4” to 6” thick in the center when poured with edges up to 24” wider than the house is designed to be.  The extra width of the slab around the edges provides extra strength.

Is a slab foundation good or bad to have for a house? A concrete slab foundation is common for houses in climates where the ground isn’t as likely to freeze, which can cause a foundation to crack.

There are pros and cons to having a slab foundation are many, the choice has to be a personal one if you have a choice.  Houses built in developments are always on a slab, whereas a custom-built house in a rural area could be slab or pier-n-beam.  

 Part of your decision may be if you need or want to avoid stairs. If your house has a crawl space, you will have a front and back step, with a slab foundation, there may only e one step up, but you lose that crawl space advantage. Read on for the benefits and disadvantages of a slab foundation.

Slab Foundation Benefits

Comparing slab foundation vs crawl space for a home, the slab foundation house will have less chance of flooding or gas leaks, and that creates a healthier environment than homes built with a crawl space and/or basement. Basements and crawl spaces make a house susceptible to flooding, which can lead to mold, and also leaves them susceptible to gas leaks. Slab foundation houses are right on the ground, which removes the need for extra steps. This can be a plus if you or anyone living in the house is a senior citizen or has physical restrictions.

Slab Foundation Disadvantages

A house on a slab foundation could experience cracking because of earthquakes, invasive tree roots, and shifting soil. This can cause long-term and major problems that can be expensive and time consuming to repair. Slab foundation is susceptible to insect infestations too. 

Why is slab foundation bad?

While a slab foundation has advantages and benefits, like being inexpensive compared to other foundation options and low maintenance. They also have some bad features and disadvantages like the potential for expensive repairs to plumbing that is put down before they build the slab. However, with PEX plumbing, this disadvantage is slowly going away. A slab foundation doesn’t provide much in the way of protection in bad weather either. 

How long do slab foundations last?

A poured concrete slab foundation with block footings will last 100 years or more, more than a lifetime, if built properly. The slab foundation termite proofing will last 12 years as long as the chemical barriers stay intact. Quarterly pest control and annual termite inspection will help you stay on top of that potential problem.

Can slab foundation be fixed?

The contractors that pour and repair slab foundations are asked every day, “Can a slab foundation be repaired?”, and the answer is, and there is a “however” to follow that answer. In most situations, yes, a foundation slab can be repaired, however, it is expensive. The more extensive the damage, the more expensive the cost.

Then you need to be prepared for possible collateral damage expenses. Meaning, a slab foundation repair can cause ceilings, doors, floors, walls, even windows break and crack.  You need to verify what is in the contract you sign with the company that does your slab foundation repair, as some may offer a credit for a few repairs, but most do not.

Is a crack in a slab foundation bad?

It is hard not to find a slab foundation with some cracks. Concrete is not a flexible surface, so inevitably, as the ground shifts, you should expect some stress cracks. However, if it is a plumbing caused crack, this could be bad news and needs to be addressed immediately by a professional plumber. While they will do the plumbing repair, they may have to bring in a third-party contractor to repair the slab. These are things you need to verify with the plumber when you receive a quote.

crack in the foundation

How do you fix a crack in a slab foundation?

Slab foundation crack that is left unaddressed will keep growing and so will the repair bill. Not only is this a financial matter, but delayed foundation repairs will allow radon gas to seep into your home, creating a health risk.  Here are the steps to take to repair your own slab foundation: 

  • Step One – Inspect: Carefully inspect your slab foundation and identify the cracked areas. This will help you get them all repaired at the same time. Mark the areas with chalk as you find them.
  • Step Two – Chisel: Using a chisel, remove any loose concrete inside the crack so you’re removing the weakened material and fill it in with a concrete filler bond. It will be more effective in a cleaned-out crack.
  • Step Three – Scrape: With a wire brush, scour the crack to remove any loose concrete, debris, and dirt. A clean area is important before putting in our concrete filler. We can’t stress that enough.
  • Step Four – Rinse: Once you have cleaned out all the cracks as we’ve described, flush them water to effectively clean the cracks.
  • Step Five – Hairline Cracks: A thin paintbrush will work great to spread a thin layer of the concrete bonding adhesive. This will bind the repair material and keep it from popping out as it dries.  Using a putty knife to feather edges of the crack will make it look good.
  • Step Six – Large Cracks: Add sand to any large crack to minimize the depth, then using a paintbrush to apply the bonding adhesive inside it and along the edges. Then fill the crack concrete patching compound and pack it in to create an effective seal.

It’s easy to make some foundation repairs yourself as we described, but if there are very many cracks, if you’re having doors that open/close windows that won’t open/close, then you’ll be better off calling a professional for a full slab foundation repair. Call Foundation Support Specialists today at 210-267-8828 for your slab foundation repair in San Antonio and Austin, TX.

What Does a Vapor Barrier Do?

Polyethylene Plastic Vapor Barrier.

What does a vapor barrier do?

A vapor barrier shields foundations, walls, floors, or roofs from moisture. Normally, barriers are made from plastic or foil sheets, and are sometimes installed during a building’s construction. The barriers, however, can be installed later. Many older buildings and homes often have problems with moisture buildup, especially along the foundations, and a vapor barrier can be invaluable when it comes to protecting these older structures. Moreover, homes and buildings in Foundation Support Specialists often have crawl spaces that serve to improve ventilation, and to provide access for repair and maintenance. These crawl spaces also allow moisture to intrude and cause damage to the foundation, which vapor barriers can prevent.

If you are concerned about moisture damaging your foundation and are searching for vapor barriers in San Antonio, TX, you need to look no further than the foundation experts at Foundation Support Specialists. We offer a full range of foundation services. Find out how we can help by calling 210-267-8828.

Is a vapor barrier necessary?

Vapor barriers aren’t always necessary, though they have become common in new construction. In some areas of the U.S., vapor barriers are required by code. In very warm climates, they may be ineffective, but in temperate or cold climates they can be invaluable in preventing water vapor from getting to walls, ceilings, attics, crawl spaces and roofs.

If your attic insulation has become damaged by moisture build-up, the problem may not be the lack of a vapor barrier. The problem may have been caused by a roof leak. The cost to cover roof leak repair may be covered by your insurance, especially if the roof was damaged by a storm. Before submitting a claim get roof damage insurance claims help from an experienced roofing professional.

Where do you put a vapor barrier?

Climate will determine where the vapor barrier is placed when installed. In a warmer climate, the barrier should be pointed toward the outside of the house so it can block vapor from humid outside air. In cold climates the barrier is pointed toward the inside of the house because the air is normally warmer inside. The warmer interior air will more likely cause condensation to build up.

What is the difference between a vapor barrier and moisture barrier?

In construction, the terms “moisture barrier” and “vapor barrier” are sometimes used interchangeably. The barriers are similar, have similar uses, and are often made from similar materials such as plastic. Technically, however, moisture barrier are applied to metal jacketing or pipes to help prevent corrosion and pitting. Moisture barriers are often factory applied. Vapor barriers primarily protect other materials like foundations or insulation rather than metal. The barriers can be installed either in the factory or on the site.  

There are several types of vapor barriers on the market today, as outlined below.

  • Rigid foam insulation
  • Polyethylene plastic
  • Paints and primers specifically designed as vapor barriers
  • Aluminum foil

Vapor barrier R value

Vapor barriers are often installed over insulation. Depending on the material used, it may increase the R-value of the insulation. R-value, of course, is the measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The greater the R-value, the better the insulating ability. Most vapor barriers are plastic and provide no additional R-value. Some insulation like rigid foam can serve as vapor barriers, and the R-value will vary from 3.6 to 5 or higher.

Can I use plastic sheeting as a vapor barrier?

Plastic sheeting is actually a common material used as a vapor barrier. Its effectiveness will depend on the type of plastic used. Polyethylene plastic is a common plastic used for vapor barriers, is considered a Class 1 barrier, and is generally best for colder climates, and used for the interior of the home.

Can vapor barrier cause mold

One of the drawbacks of a vapor barrier is the possibility that if it is installed wrong, it can act in the opposite manner as it was intended. Vapor barriers are intended to prevent moisture from intruding into the home, thus preventing problems like mold growth or rot. Climate affects the barriers’ performance. In warmer climates it has to be installed on the outside of the material, and in colder climates on the inside. If it isn’t installed correctly, it’s likely the moisture penetration will not be reduced. This will then increase the chance of mold growth. The barrier can also be affected by the type of cladding used. Brick and stucco can retain significant amounts of moisture and take longer to dry. When it is hot and humid outside, this can affect the vapor pressure and the barrier’s ability to stop moisture penetration.

Will a vapor barrier stop radon

Some soils emit a toxic, radioactive gas known as radon. This gas can seep into homes and buildings and cause health problems, including a risk of lung cancer. A vapor barrier installed under the foundation may be part of the radon resistant construction. The barrier, however, will not prevent radon seepage. It does help reduce the flow of the gas, so will help.

A Technician Installs a Vapor Barrier.

Vapor barrier installation near me

If you are concerned about moisture build-up under your home, you can install a vapor barrier in San Antonio and Austin, TX to protect your home. The experts at Foundation Support Specialists are the team to trust for reliable installation. Schedule a service appointment with us by calling 210-267-8828.

What To Do With Cracked Walls

Cracked Wall

Learn More About Cracked Walls

Your home will require maintenance every now and then, yet often when cracked walls spring up confusion can come with it. How did it occur and why? What does it mean for the future of your home? With cracked walls, there can be many surrounding reasons concerning the integrity of your home. While hairline cracks in walls are harmless, it’s when cracked walls are more extensive that problems are more severe. It’s therefore important to get in touch with a professional concerning any abnormalities concerning your home and cracked walls. Here is some helpful information that may clarify certain issues for your convenience.

Why are cracks appearing in my walls?

Cracked walls appear for a number of reasons, with wood you’ll see reactions to different weather conditions with natural expansion and contraction. This occurs when humidity and temperatures fluctuate and your walls may react to these changes with small cracks. Some instances can be more innocent like using different paints per paint coating since different compositions can dry differently on top of previous paint compositions.

How do you know if a wall crack is serious?

Cracked walls can appear in any capacity yet to know if they’re serious you’ll have to check on the stability of your foundation roof. Vertical and horizontal cracks in plaster or drywall will typically have to do with drying and shrinkage which is normal after construction has been done. With jagged cracks or cracks that look like stair-steps, this will indicate settling issues or structural movement which are usually harmless yet can be serious at times. A good way to tell if cracked walls are more serious is to check the width of them. The wider the cracks the more serious the issues as opposed to thinner cracks. 

Do cracks in walls indicate structural problems?

Cracked walls can be serious if they are large which will point to structural or foundation issues. Yet most small cracks in plaster or drywall are caused by seasonal expansion and contraction of wood framing in the house over time and are normal.

Do subsidence cracks look like?

Subsidence has to do with the gradual settling or sudden sinking of your foundation. This can be caused by a number of reasons from rainfall, underground mining, leaking drains, nearby trees and more which will affect the structural integrity of your property. Subsidence cracks are normally diagonal and will appear in plaster inside a building or on brickwork outside.

Cracks on Old Foundation Wall

What causes cracked walls?

  • Humidity
  • Loose Plaster
  • Foundation Settling
  • Seasonal Wood Expansion & Contraction
  • Bulging or Bowling Walls
  • Sagging Ceilings
  • Wall or Ceiling Collapse

How do you fix cracks in walls?

There can be many solutions that you can use to fix cracked walls. What to use for crack walls can vary depending on the type of crack present as there will be many tools involved from caulking, compounding, sanding and more. 

Can you paint over cracked walls?

Yes, you will be able to paint over cracked walls, however, make sure the composition of the paint matches with the previous layer as you may see paint cracks appear instead.

How do you fix cracks in walls before painting?

When a cracked wall isn’t too extensive you can consider these tips. First, you’ll use a stiff putty knife to scrape the wall around the crack in order to get rid of any small pieces of plaster that may fall off or peeling paint. Then use the sharp point of the knife to cut into a crack. Use a caulk gun to apply caulk into the crack and smooth it to remove excess caulk. Be sure to let it dry and make sure the caulk is paintable. Next, cut a piece of fiberglass mesh tape and have it be a bit longer than the crack. Place it over the crack. Use a six-inch flexible joint knife, drywall blade or putty knife to apply joint compound over the tape and a few inches beyond it. Smooth it out and remove excess joint compound and let it dry; it should turn to a lighter gray color. Grab a face mask as the dust can be very fine for the next step involves sanding. Use a sanding sponge or a medium grit sandpaper to lightly sand over the area. Apply a second coat of joint compound aka mud. Let it dry as well, sand it and wipe a wet cloth or sponge to remove the resulting dust. Next, you’ll prime the area and finally paint it.

Contact A Professional

If you’re in need of wall crack repair be sure to get in touch with a qualified professional. Only a certified foundation or home repair company will be able to properly inspect problem areas and determine the correct course of action to be taken based on the severity of the issue. For areas such as cracks in your asphalt reach out to foundation repair specialist concerning asphalt crack repair. As such, repairing cracked walls can be beneficial in improving the cosmetic appearance of your home. Reach out to a professional today to start the process of home improvement.

If you require assistance with cracked walls in San Antonio and Austin, TX call 210-267-8828 with Foundation Support Specialists!

Concrete Chipping on Foundations

Concrete chipping is a type of damage to the foundation that can ultimately damage the structure it is supporting. Causes of chipping can vary and if not dealt with immediately will get worse. Here’s what you need to know about the causes of concrete chipping, how it affects the foundation, and how to prevent it from happening.

What is Concrete Chipping on Foundations?

Concrete chipping is also known as concrete spalling or concrete scaling. Concrete chipping is when the foundation is flaking, chipping, or breaking off. Concrete chipping is considered cancer to concrete. Concrete chipping, if left unrepaired, can lead to greater foundation damage and damage to the structure above it. If there are cracks around the chipped area, this could indicate a structural problem. If the damage has already started to spread, it’s important to have an expert come in and assess the situation and decide on the course of action needed to repair it.

The Causes and Signs of Concrete Chipping

Concrete chipping can be caused by a number of factors. Most commonly it is caused by water seeping into the foundation and freezing, which leads to the concrete expanding and chipping. Other causes of concrete chipping include poorly mixed concrete, high temperatures, and even sand blasting. Older homes can be more at risk of concrete chipping.

Signs of concrete chipping include flaking, cracks in brick, foundation cracks, and a leaky basement. The location of the concrete chipping can also indicate how the chipping was caused. If the chipping is located toward the lower part of the foundation for example, this may be a sign that there is poor drainage around the foundation.

If you notice brown stains on the inside of your home, this may be caused by acid damage, which is caused by hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is a problem with water in the basement. It’s important to note that a shallow patch of concrete chipping may simply be a cosmetic issue, but it’s not something you want to put off having checked out.

Repairing and Preventing Concrete Chipping

When you notice concrete chipping, no matter how small, it’s a good idea to call in an expert to assess the situation. If it’s only a cosmetic issue, this is great news, but if the damage is more serious, it’s better to know before it gets worse. The foundation expert will let you know the best course of action for repairing the chipping.

One of the best ways to protect a concrete foundation from chipping is to have new concrete slabs sealed to prevent water penetration. Gutter downspouts should drain far away from the foundation to avoid water from gathering around the foundation and seeping into it. If your downspouts drain too closely to the foundation, you can get an extender that will carry the water farther away.

Concrete chipping can lead to more serious foundation damage. If you notice any signs of concrete chipping, contact us for more information. You might need it repaired!

How Time Affects Foundations

A Large Crack in a Wall.

Understanding Foundation Repair

Houses last for decades, if not hundreds of years. The longevity of a structure is a testament to how developed the construction industry has become. Builders use quality materials, tools, and techniques to make sure a home or commercial property stands the test of time. However, just because a house lasts over a century doesn’t mean it hasn’t gone through its fair share of maintenance and foundation repair. 

The longer a home or commercial structure lasts, the more likely it is that they’ve had quality service done on them multiple times. Getting your home or property the right care is vital to making it last longer. This rule certainly applies to foundation repair. Foundations separate homes and commercial buildings from the soil and support the structure’s weight. They keep everything stable and in place. When foundations give or get damaged, the entire property is under threat. Repairs need to be addressed soon to prevent further damage. 

If you need foundation repair or maintenance in San Antonio and Austin, TX, call Foundation Support Specialists at 210-267-8828 today!

How to Spot Early Signs of Foundation Damage

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your foundation. A lot of property owners don’t inspect their foundation, basement, and exterior walls near enough. Here are some easy to spot indications of foundation damage you can notice easily with a little attention. 

  • Small Cracks – Hairline cracks around the base of a home, surrounding concrete on the inside in the basement can indicate foundation damage. Even though the cracks appear small, they could mean there are larger cracks underneath the property. 
  • Cracked Walls – When foundations are damaged and their weight-bearing capability changes, the pressure of holding up the home or building shifts to walls. As a result, walls crack under the increased weight. Look for cracks along with basement or exterior walls for signs you need foundation repair. 
  • Recurring Water Leaks – Water leaks in homes and large buildings are relatively common. They could be a result of broken gutters, a leaking pipe or some other spill. However, any pooling water in basements or warehouse floors should be cause for concern. Additionally, if you discover that water has been running into the base of your property for an unknown amount of time, it’s smart to get your foundation checked. Water penetration can cause cracks and weaken foundations. Foundation repair services offer waterproofing services to help.

There are other signs of foundation repair, but some require a professional’s eye. Understand, though, that most foundations deal with the challenges of settling and shifting soil, moisture from rain and dirt rising into the foundation’s slabs and erosion from years of use. 

Prioritize Minor Foundation Repair to Avoid Significant Damage

Dealing with foundation damage as it occurs is the best way for home and commercial property owners to avoid large repair bills. A lot of people are inclined to put off minor repairs because they have other commitments demanding their time and attention. The worst thing that can happen, though, is a small issue turning into a major one. 

When hairline cracks appear or you spot a small crack in a basement wall, call a foundation repair service for a look. They’ll be able to inspect your property and assess the condition of your foundation. Technicians can work with you to help you understand what’s going on and what needs to be done to get your foundation back in good shape. Minor repairs typically don’t require a lot of time and money, so they present only a minor inconvenience for property owners.

Compare that with the inconvenience of major foundation damage. When foundations are significantly damaged, it makes a home or building unstable. That’s a nightmare for people living busy lives and business owners who need to provide a safe facility for employees and customers. Large repair jobs need more time and can cost a lot of money to complete. 

Partner with a Trusted Service Provider

Avoid significant cost and time loss by partnering with a great foundation repair service. The right company will act as an adviser with you and your property’s best interests in mind. They won’t recommend superfluous work just to make a buck. They’ll have already made their reputation on providing quality service and work. 

Good companies with trained technicians will be able to tell you when repairs are necessary and how much they’ll cost. They’ll help you avoid large repair bills by keeping your foundation well-maintained for the long haul.  

Foundation Support Specialists offers the best foundation repair solutions around San Antonio and Austin, TX. As a local company, we know how important it is to home and property owners in the area to keep foundations functional and in good shape. If you need foundation service, call us today at 210-267-8828 to hear how we can help. We’ll be happy to offer a free consultation to develop a plan that works for you. 

Repairing Foundation Damage from Hurricanes

If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, your foundation needs special care and attention. Strong winds and rains can damage the foundation in a short amount of time. The foundation is a vital part of your home and needs to be in its best condition to do its job of supporting and protecting the structure. Here’s what you need to know about repairing foundation damage that is caused by hurricanes.

How Hurricanes Can Damage a Foundation

Hurricanes consist of heavy winds and rain, which can do damage to the yard, the foundation, and the house. Excessive rains can cause flooding that can cause cracks to form in the foundation. If left too long, these cracks will become larger and lead to further issues. The inside of your home will also show signs of foundation damage from a hurricane.

Structural damage will include uneven floors, cracks in walls or floors, and leaning walls. Damage you might notice around the outside of your home include siding damage, roof damage, and developing sinkholes. Sinkholes can be caused or worsened by hurricane activity.

Having Foundation Damage from Hurricanes Repaired

After a hurricane has occurred, it’s important to check your foundation, the inside your home, and the area surrounding your home for signs of damage. Damage that is discovered should be inspected and repaired as soon as possible. Damage caused by hurricanes can happen in a shorter amount of time than normal.

Cracks that weren’t there before the hurricane may be appear after it. Sinkhole development can be accelerated by hurricane winds and flash flooding. If you live by the coast and have a seawall, it can suffer damage during a hurricane. Since a seawall is an important part of protecting your property, you will want it repaired right away.

Any cracks that formed in the foundation during a hurricane should also be repaired immediately as failing to do so can lead to greater foundation and home damage. Call a professional to assess any damage and have it repaired.

How to Protect Foundation from Further Damage

If you live in a hurricane prone area, you will want to protect your foundation, property, and house as much as you possibly can. Clean your gutters on a regular basis so that water can flow freely and empty away from your home. If your downspout empties too close to your home, consider getting an extender that will carry water farther away. Make sure the grading around your home is correct. Improper grading means that water will either sit and puddle or flow toward the foundation.

Do you have a sump pump? If so, regularly check that it’s working properly, especially right before hurricane season arrives. Also consider having a battery backup for the sump pump so that it will continue to work in the event of a power outage. Have flood vents installed in your crawl space. Flood vents will relieve water pressure should the crawl space flood.

If your foundation has been damaged by hurricane activity, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible.