Kalamazoo Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair

FSM provides various waterproofing and foundation repairs to homeowners, making structural problems and water damage a thing of the past.

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Basement Waterproofing and Crawl Space Repair in Kalamazoo

Both the type of soil and climate of Kalamazoo, MI, make basement leakage and crawl space water damage possible. Loam soils are considered to be a “combination” soil, consisting of clay, sand, and silt (also known as gravel). It is able to retain the perfect amount of water while also being efficient in water drainage. However, this type of soil is very prone to soil erosion, which can occur regularly in Kalamazoo since it rains all year round. Water can accumulate under concrete beds and around your yard, paving the way for potential leakage and water damages in your basement or crawl space.

Fortunately, there are many waterproofing solutions for you to choose from for both basements and crawl spaces. These include drainage systems, such as interior drains and downspout extensions, powerful sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and waterproof vapor barriers for basement walls and crawl space floors. FSM even offers simple crack repairs to prevent water from entering your basement from the surrounding soils. There are several other solutions that are offered for crawl spaces as well. The experts at FSM also can shore up crawl space supports and insulate and encapsulate your entire crawl space.

Kalamazoo Foundation Repair

Closeup of tightening of pier screw

The foundation of your home keeps your house stable and structurally intact. Kalamazoo experiences significant amounts of rain throughout all months of the year, further exacerbating soil erosion, which is very common in this region. Soil erosion may be one of the potential reasons you have bowed foundation walls and cracks along the foundation or walls. This occurs as a result of one of two things: hydrostatic pressure or soil compaction and settlement. Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure that a large volume of water exerts on surrounding structures, such as walls, while soil compaction and settlement occur from eroded, weakened soil under heavy concrete.

Depending on the amount of yard space that you have, the TerraForce® Wall Anchor System and the BruteForce® Wall Bracing System are two options for repairing bowed foundation walls. Regardless of which system you choose, they both work to stabilize your walls, while also potentially straightening them into pristine condition. All foundation repair options are constructed from galvanized steel to prevent corrosion and enhance its support capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces, and Foundation Repair in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo, is abundant in loam soils, which are prone to soil erosion. Soil erosion occurs when any physical force, such as wind or water, wears away the top layer of the soil bed. Although there is less wind than rain in this region, both are still relatively common. Therefore, soil erosion occurs on a regular basis. Major problems that result from soil erosion take a long time to manifest, however, homeowners should still be aware of how these issues arise.

Through continuous exposure to wind and rain, soil levels can deplete rather fast. With less soil, rainwater and melted snow can make their way deeper underground, which can be very problematic for crawl spaces and basements. The more water that is introduced into the deeper layers of the earth, the more likely this water will make its way into your home’s crawl space or basement. For basements, this water can exert a lot of pressure against basement walls and will enter through any opening available, such as holes, cracks, or loose windowsills and doors, resulting in leaks. This phenomenon is also known as hydrostatic pressure and can even occur against basement floors in more severe cases.

Room temperature water weighs about 8.33 pounds or 3.78 kilograms per gallon and can increase significantly under colder conditions. As the volume of water increases in the soil, so does the weight. This can consequently cause cracks to form in basement walls, floors, and even foundation concrete due to the immense pressure that is forced against these structures. Furthermore, if your crawl space support beams are constructed from wood, this amount of water can cause wood rot and mold growth. Rotted and molded wood is dangerously weak and can potentially result in cracked crawl space beams.  

Soil erosion, a phenomenon that happens quite often in loam soils, is also known to cause bowing in foundation walls and sunken foundation floors. This is because loam soils, the predominant soil of Kalamazoo, are characterized by tiny soil particles, which can be washed or swept away quite easily by water or wind. Since Kalamazoo experiences significant amounts of rainfall all year round and snowfall during the winter months, it is important for homeowners to be aware of the consequences. There are two main consequences of soil erosion that can cause these foundation problems: hydrostatic pressure and soil compaction and settlement.

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the immense pressure exerted by a large volume of water. Soil often acts as a sort of protective layer around your home, particularly around your basement and foundation. Therefore, when soil becomes eroded by water or wind, the protective soil layer can decrease. Because it rains throughout the year in Kalamazoo and snows during the winter, water can accumulate rather quickly in the spaces above and between eroded soil. This water can increase into large volumes and press against your foundation walls from the outside, causing them to buckle inward.

On a similar note, soil erosion can also cause foundation floors to sink, since eroded soil is very prone to soil compaction and settlement. Concrete foundation floors are often constructed on top of the soil. Thus, when soil erosion occurs, the soil underneath the concrete slabs will wash away, leaving voids or gaps between the concrete slab and the soil level, as well as compacting the soil to lower levels. Both occurring together can cause concrete foundation floors to sink due to the lack of support. Over time, this may even result in foundation floor cracks and damage. 

Preventing soil erosion can be quite tricky for homeowners in Kalamazoo. Rain is unavoidable, as it falls throughout the year, and water accumulation from snowmelt occurs seasonally. Soil erosion may seem like an inescapable problem. Fortunately, there are ways that you can mitigate the effects—such as basement or crawl space leaks, water or structural damage, bowed foundation walls, and sunken concrete foundation floors—right at home. However, it does require that you make a few lifestyle changes, as well as possible layout changes, to your landscape design, so being patient and open-minded goes a long way.

Controlling the amount of water your yard receives may be difficult to achieve, especially considering the climate of the region. Consider the type of plants and the quantity of plant life you own. Perhaps you can swap certain greenery for plants that intake large volumes of water to help prevent water accumulation in loam soils and soil erosion. You should also try to avoid watering your plants when you can, therefore, switching to plants that are more drought-resistant—or plants that take less water to survive—may be another option to consider. Furthermore, homeowners should also try to keep plants away from cracked concrete so that you do not further introduce water into these weakened concrete beds.

Although water is the main culprit behind soil erosion, minimizing the amount of pressure that you apply to the concrete around your home may delay soil compaction and settling that is caused by soil erosion. You can do this by decreasing the amount of footwork across certain concrete areas and possibly redirect people to step on grass instead. Cars, plant pots, and other decorative items placed in your yard can also be examples of heavy items that can potentially exacerbate soil compaction and settlement where soil has eroded under concrete slabs.

To ensure full coverage against the elements, the VaporLoc Elite® series is the best waterproofing product available to you for either your basement or crawl space. For basements, you may want to consider the VaporLoc Elite® Basement Wall Vapor Barrier System, an inorganic layer applied to your basement walls to prevent mold and mildew growth, development of musty odors, and collection of moisture. It is also able to prevent any water or water vapor from the outside from leaking through into your basement by channeling it to your house drainage system, such as perimeter drains and then to your sump pump. The VaporLoc Elite® Advantage is specially made to waterproof, mold-proof, odor-proof, and make it more difficult for pests to enter your crawl space. It works similarly to the VaporLoc Elite® Basement Wall Vapor Barrier System but is created specially for your crawl space.

To ensure that your basement or crawl space remains dry, FSM provides a powerful sump pump to guarantee water drainage. The Elite 365™ sump pump is equipped with three pumps, made of corrosion and rust-resistant cast aluminum, and a perforated water basin, to ease hydrostatic pressure against your home structure. Upon installation, homeowners are provided with two very useful sump pump accessories: a Wi-Fi monitor that sends alerts directly to your email or text messages from anywhere in real-time, and the Aquastop Drain, a drain installed into the crawl space that lets you know if or when any plumbing leaks occur. It is also included with a backup system in the event of a power failure and an alert system in the event of pump failure. 

The MoistureLoc® Dehumidification System can be placed in either, or both, your basement or crawl space to remove moisture accumulated in the air. It can remove up to 95 pints of water from the air without being overly noisy. It is also corrosion-resistant and self-sufficient.

It is incredibly tempting for homeowners to seek out DIY solutions. This is understandable, as basement, crawl space, and foundation repairs are quite costly. After all, if you can do something yourself, why not? Unfortunately, repairs can be rather dangerous, even potentially fatal, especially if one does not have the expertise or take the appropriate safety precautions. In fact, 13 million people in the U.S. alone are injured from home repairs, with 55,000 deaths attributed to DIY repairs gone wrong.

Take foundation repairs for instance. Bowed walls and sunken concrete slabs are incredibly common problems. If one were to try to repair bowed walls on their own, you risk accidentally tearing down your foundation walls or creating cracks and holes for water to enter, which will then result in leaks or flooding. It is also recommended to not work with concrete without the proper knowledge because they are heavy and can be dusty and messy to deal with. This can pave the way for a multitude of health problems or injuries.

DIY repairs in your basement or crawl space are arguably even more dangerous because they are below ground level. Homeowners risk flooding, structural damage, or in the worst-case scenario, collapse. You should not consider repairing even what seems to be the simplest issues on your own because you might accidentally worsen the problem or create a whole other problem. In the end, DIY repairs may end up costing more overall than if you were to hire a professional contractor to do it for you.

If you are not looking for these specific basement, crawl space, or foundation repairs, that is completely okay. FSM offers whole home standby generators. 

The Cummins QuietConnect™ Standby Generator provides extra security for homeowners who wish to have a reliable backup power source in case a storm or accident causes a power outage. Since Kalamazoo experiences a lot of rain and can sometimes have snow and rainstorms, having this generator can certainly be a handy tool to have in your arsenal to ensure comfortable living. It turns on automatically when your house experiences power outages, so homeowners do not need to worry about manual start and shut-off. You can rest assured knowing that important appliances, such as air systems, fridges, electrical appliances, drainage systems, and medical equipment, will remain functional during emergencies without the annoyance of loud sounds that are common in many power generators. It also comes with a remote monitor so you have control of your generator from anywhere.

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Find Your Service Area

Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Local Office

Foundation Systems of Michigan

5985 Clay Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49548
Phone: (616) 681-5716

Hours of Operation

Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 9 pm
Friday: 7 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 2pm