Summers in Austin, Texas are hot and long. But ironically June, July, and August are three of the five wetter months of the year for the state. It’s during these summer showers that you may discover drainage issues in your home and yard.
Unfortunately, these issues can often lead to major foundation problems. But this doesn’t have to ruin your summer. Exterior waterproofing is a long-lasting solution that can protect the foundation of your home from any further damage.
Read on to find out more about this solution and the role it plays in exterior basement proofing as well as exterior foundation repair.
The Ins And Outs of Foundations
A synonym for the word foundation is ‘base’ or ‘starting point’. It’s the first step needed for the construction of any structure. It’s an essential element that holds your house to the ground and provides an anchor for the walls, ceiling, and other parts of your home.
Every foundation bears the weight of the house that sits upon it. An average home weighs about 50 tons. To accommodate this weight, the foundation is usually made of concrete or masonry blocks and embedded into the ground.
Types of Foundations
There are five main types of foundation. They include:
- Pier and Beam Foundation
- Basement Foundation
- Wood Foundation
- Crawlspace Stem Walls
- Concrete Slab Foundation
Homes in Texas are usually typically built using pier and beam or concrete slab foundations.
Signs That You May Have Foundation Issues
You might be wondering if you have foundation issues. If you do, how will you know? Several signs indicate that there might be a problem with your foundation.
If you’re outside your home, you can look for the following:
- Cracks in your bricks that are separating
- A cracked slab
- A cracked chimney
- Cracks in your concrete
- Separation of your window frames, your front or back door from the siding or brick
- Gaps between siding or trim and exterior brick
Inside your home these signs may also indicate you have a foundation issue:
- Cracked floor tiles
- A leaning fireplace
- Cracks in the ceiling
- Walls separating near your ceiling
- Kitchen cabinets separating from your ceiling or walls
- Sagging or uneven floors
- Cracks on your walls
- Windows or doors that keep getting stuck
If you notice one or more of these issues, call a professional immediately to avoid major problems.
Causes of Foundation Problems
In Texas, the major reason for foundation problems is climate change and soil erosion. They often go hand in hand. The heat experienced in the summer months can dry out the soil and cause it to shift.
The type of soil is also a major factor. The soil in Texas is mostly clay or loam. Unfortunately, clay is one of the worst types of soil to build a foundation on.
It shrinks when dry and swells when wet. The extreme changes caused by the rainy days during Austin’s hot summer can increase the pressure on your foundation which can cause it to move.
Some other reasons for foundation problems include:
- Poor ground preparation before laying the foundation
- Poor or improper drainage
- Tree roots
- Leaks due to plumbing problems
Despite the soil and climate issues, there are still some things you can do to avoid foundation problems.
What Is Exterior Waterproofing?
One of the best ways to avoid foundation problems is with exterior waterproofing. Exterior waterproofing or external waterproofing is a process that involves the application of waterproofing material to the exposed foundation of your home. It creates a waterproofing system for your foundation that diverts water away from the walls of your foundation.
If you have problems with a leaky basement, your exterior foundation repair will involve house waterproofing. It can protect your foundation and ensures that water is no longer an issue.
Benefits of Exterior Waterproofing
Exterior basement waterproofing along with regular home maintenance will not only help you resolve foundation issues but will help you to prevent any further foundation problems. If there is dampness in your basement or water accumulating this is a sign that you should protect your home with exterior waterproofing. Here are some of the benefits of doing this:
Protects the Structure of Your Home
Water that accumulates or gets into your foundation can affect the stability of your home. This becomes a major concern as your foundation keeps the structure of your home in place. To avoid this, you should resolve any issues with your foundation immediately.
Exterior waterproofing will not only help you do this, but it will last a very long time. A solid foundation without any issues can also increase the value of your home. It’s one less thing potential buyers will have to worry about.
Makes Your Basement a Livable Space Again
Water or dampness in your basement is usually one of the tell-tale signs of foundation issues. If you use your basement for storage or entertainment you’ll have to move some of the items to protect them from moisture.
You can no longer use this extra room in your home if you don’t resolve the problem right away. Moisture in an enclosed area like this can lead to health issues. This makes it an unusable space for your family or friends.
Eliminates Mold and Mildew
Unfortunately, dampness often creates a fertile breeding ground for mold and mildew. This not only makes your space smell bad, but it’s also harmful to your health. It can cause chronic respiratory illnesses.
It’s a concern for your whole family but more so if you have young children or pets who will be more vulnerable. Exterior waterproofing can help maintain dryness throughout the ground level of your home.
Other Ways to Protect Your Home
In addition to exterior waterproofing, regular home maintenance can help to prevent foundation issues. This can include ensuring you have all plumbing issues fixed as soon as they occur.
You can also have regular house inspections conducted. An inspector will look at both the inside and outside of your home. They will be able to detect any of the signs mentioned above that you may miss.
This will not only help with general home improvement but will also allow you to catch any issues before they become major problems.
Types of Exterior Foundation Repair Methods
Once a specialist identifies you need exterior foundation repair, there are several methods they can use to resolve the problem. The method used will depend on the type of damage and the cause, which is often due to climate and the type of soil found in Texas.
The type and direction of the cracks found usually determine the cause of the issue. Soil issues usually result in horizontal, structural cracks on the foundation. Whereas climate changes result in diagonal or vertical cracks due to contraction and expansion of the foundation.
Some of the methods that can repair your foundation problems include:
Piling can help restore your foundation to its original level. Experts use various types of piling for foundation repairs. These include:
- Bell bottom concrete piers
- Poured concrete piers
- Steel piers
- Helical steel piers
- Pressed concrete pilings
Although these are all viable solutions, many reputable foundation repair companies, including Foundation Support Specialists, only offer steel piers and helical steel piers. Both are solutions that can provide a permanent fix to your foundation problems.
Masonry Patches and Sealants
If you spot minor cracks in your foundation early, an expert can cover or patch them with a waterproof masonry sealer. Some sealers used include:
- Hydraulic cement
- Vinyl concrete
These solutions are often best for non-structural or cosmetic cracks that won’t affect the integrity of your home’s foundation. However, structural cracks are more serious and will slowly worsen as water infiltrates them.
It’s best to get an expert to determine whether the cracks in your foundation are superficial or pose a threat to your home. Foundation Support Specialists will provide a free inspection and can repair any structural issues you may have.
This method, also referred to as slab leveling, mudjacking, or slabjacking is primarily used to repair foundation concrete that is sinking or uneven. This unevenness or sinking usually occurs when the soil underneath your foundation collapses or shifts. This results in open spaces beneath the foundation.
Concrete lifting involves drilling holes in the foundation to access the spaces below. Experts inject a solution of a natural element such as cement or soil into the holes created in the foundation. When these elements expand, they lift any sunken parts of the foundation to their original leveled position.
Alternatively, Foundation Support Specialists use polyurethane foam, which is more lightweight and dense and injected instead of the natural elements. Both are concrete lifting methods that can level your foundation. Although the polyurethane injection method lasts longer, they are both short-term methods that often need to be repeated.
It’s important to find an exterior waterproofing company that can identify your foundation issues and guide you on using the solution that can best resolve your problem.
Long-Lasting Protection for Your Home
Your foundation accounts for about 14 to 15% of the total weight of your home and is almost eight to 15% of the total cost. This often depends on the material used. The average cost to install a foundation can range from $4,500 to about $40,000 for a 1,200 square foot home.
That’s a substantial investment and although it will eventually pay for itself, you want to ensure you protect it. This is especially important in Texas, where soil and climate conditions can wreak havoc on your foundation. Exterior waterproofing can redirect water sources that have the potential to penetrate your foundation.
You should choose a company that can identify your foundation issues and that provides the best solution to protect your home and investment. Foundation Support Specialists have the experience and expertise to guide you. Our quality workmanship and reliability speak for themselves.
Let us help you protect your home for a lifetime. Contact us for a FREE estimate today!What Type of Foundation is Suitable for Clay Soil? » « A Basic Guide to the Process of Home Foundation Repair