Toledo Basement Waterproofing & Foundation Repair

From helical piers to polyurethane foam, there’s a lot to learn about the tools contractors use to keep a house stable and strong. Let's take a look at the various problems you can face and how to fix them.

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Basement and Crawl Space Waterproofing in Toledo, OH

Basement flooding and crawl space humidity are problems that ruin the structural integrity of your home if left unchecked. While basements and crawl spaces have a reputation for being damp and smelly, it doesn’t have to be this way. Basements and crawl spaces can be fully waterproofed to the point where the humidity levels down there are the same as the upstairs portion of your home. All that needs to be done is make sure that the moisture that exists within the soil doesn’t affect the inside of the space. This can be achieved with extreme ease with the many waterproofing solutions we offer here at FSM.

To make sure any water that gets in the basement is drained out, drainage systems and a sump pump can be installed. Dehumidifiers ensure that the humidity levels are adequate, and vapor barriers protect your wood and foundation from water and water vapor. Like much of the Great Lakes region, Toledo has a humid continental climate, so taking the measures to properly waterproof your basement should be your number one priority as a homeowner in a humid region. Not only will your basement and crawl space issues disappear once you do, but your property value will also go up as well.

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Toledo, OH, Foundation Repair

Soils with clay in them are often used as foundations for buildings because they are firm and tough once compacted. Unfortunately, the more clay content that exists in soil, the more water it holds and the more expansive it can become. Expansive soils that are heavily exposed to water are the cause of foundation problems. The moisture your foundation walls pick up destroys the concrete due to the freeze-thaw effect and hydrostatic pressure causes your walls to bow and crack. These slow attacks at your foundation trigger a chain reaction that eventually leads to your house suffering from multiple problems.

So, what can be done about all this since contact with soil and water is unavoidable? Some homeowners may think that completely replacing their foundation will do the trick, but this is an unnecessary, time-consuming, invasive procedure. Certain foundation repair solutions make it so that your foundation is supported regardless of how the soil expands or shrinks. Top-of-the-line helical piers and wall braces are the best solutions for a damaged foundation. Because the majority of Toledo’s soil is clay, you need a foundation support that is lightweight enough to not add extra pressure to the soft soil, and helical piers are the best foundation piers for the job.

Concrete Lifting in Toledo, OH

A broken, tilting concrete slab not only makes your property look bad, but it is also very dangerous. Walking along an uneven surface or tilting concrete steps is a safety hazard that should be taken seriously, which is why you should consider polyurethane injections for concrete lifting. Concrete settles due to a lack of support from the soil underneath, which is originally caused by soil expansion and shrinkage. Polyurethane injections make it so the settled slab is lifted back into place and you won’t have to worry about it happening again.

Polyurethane foam is lightweight enough that it doesn’t put any more pressure on the soft soil underneath, but it’s firm enough to lift and support the concrete slab. It’s a permanent solution to concrete settling because the polyurethane foam serves as a barrier between the slab and the soil, effectively preventing the soil’s conditions from affecting the concrete. You don’t need to wait to put weight on your slab once the foam has been injected, so your property will be back to normal in no time. It’s the most modern method of concrete lifting that fixes all the issues traditional methods (such as mudjacking) have. If you want efficient, reliable, long term, and cost-effective, polyurethane injections for concrete lifting are something you’ll want to look further into.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces, and Foundation Repair in Toledo

Anytime there are foundation, crawl space, concrete, humidity, or basement problems in a home, experts usually point toward soft soils as the culprit. The truth is, soft, expansive, clay soils are the reason your home’s sub-level is constantly having leaking and humidity issues. The more expansive the soil, the more trouble you’ll have. So why do contractors keep using these expansive soils as foundations for houses? Well, despite how troublesome they are, soft soils are among the best soils to use for foundations.

When building a house, the soil that is used as the foundation needs to be compacted. This is when contractors go over it with heavy machinery to place pressure on it to press it all closer together. This is so that the soil becomes denser and firmer, making it a secure foundation a house can sit on. Because clay soils are so easily compacted, you only need to go over them one or two times in order for them to be dense enough. This saves a lot of time in a construction project, which is why contractors love soils with a healthy amount of clay in them.

Other kinds of soils like gravel and sand are also used as foundations, but this brings other sets of problems. Because the particles tend to be so big, they do not compact well, and it takes longer for the contractors to lay out a suitable foundation. Also due to the large particles, water flows easily through the soil, which, if you have a negative yard grade, can spell trouble due to the dangers of hydrostatic pressure. Although Ohio isn’t known to be prone to earthquakes, even the small tremors that occur daily play their part in displacing sandy soils and wearing away at your foundation. This means that, regardless of the kind of soil you use, you’ll experience foundation problems unless you waterproof it and install extra supports.

How long it takes for concrete to settle is a question that is a bit difficult to answer. Because so much of it depends on the conditions of the soil under the concrete, it’s difficult for anyone to keep an eye on, let alone control, the way it affects the concrete. All in all, concrete settling is completely inevitable, though there are things that can be done to protect your concrete. It all has to do with how well you’re able to stop water from getting on your driveway, patio, or steps.

When it comes to the concrete located indoors like your garage floor or steps, it’s all about making sure it never gets wet. This can be a bit difficult because the tires on your car not only carry in water from the outside but also salts and minerals that deteriorate concrete. As for outdoor concrete, extending downspouts so that they drain water far from your concrete is one of the best ways to protect it. The more rain and snow that falls on your concrete, the more it will pit and spall. This surface deterioration allows more water to permeate through to the soil, accelerating concrete settling.

Other methods of prevention involve covering your driveway. This is especially useful during the winter in Toledo since you want to protect your driveway from the freeze-thaw effect as much as possible. There are many factors that determine how fast concrete settles, two of which (the soil and the way the concrete was made or poured) the homeowner cannot control. So do what you can to avoid concrete settling by covering as much of your outdoor concrete as possible. If it does settle somewhere down the line, call a contractor that works with polyurethane injections for lifting.

There are many factors that go into concrete deterioration and concrete settling. The amount of clay in the soil, the materials used for the cement mixture, the amount of water that gets into the soil, and the age of the concrete are all things that ruin concrete over time. However, nothing is more dangerous to concrete than water when the temperature is freezing. As a matter of fact, it’s even more harmful than soil expansion. The freeze-thaw effect is what accelerated concrete deterioration the most, and it has to do with the way water behaves when frozen over.

When liquid freezes, it expands by about nine percent. As the water particles expand and grow, they exert pressure on the concrete, and once that pressure goes over the concrete’s tensile limit, the ice begins to break the concrete apart. As the ice thaws, if it doesn’t evaporate right away, it permeates through more of the concrete until it freezes, expands, and destroys more of the concrete’s surface. Every year that passes in Toledo, with every snowfall, concrete all across the city gets weaker due to the freeze-thaw effect. As time goes on, the concrete loses its structural soundness and the cracks and breakage become more frequent.

This is why, as a homeowner, it’s important to protect your concrete from the effects of freeze-thaw. You can do this by covering your driveway, if only for the winter. Another good way of minimizing freeze-thaw damage during this time is making sure that all the snow is shoveled from the driveway before it has the chance to melt and freeze again. This is a bit difficult to do as winter is coming in and out since snow falls and melts so quickly as the climate changes, but it’s only a few weeks of extra vigilance until the weather stabilizes. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’ll keep your concrete looking brand new.

Part of the reason foundation problems need to be urgently taken care of is because of how quickly these problems can affect your house. A home’s foundation is what supports the entire structure; without it, the structure cannot function like it’s supposed to. As the foundation begins to settle and tilt due to the shrinking soil and damaged walls, you will begin to notice a difference in the way things around your house look and feel. There are multiple signs you can check for if you believe you have foundation issues without having to take a look at the foundation itself. Many of these problems begin to affect your day-to-day life if enough settling has occurred.

Sagging floors is one of the most obvious signs of foundation issues. Because the house is tilting to one side, the floor joists become unleveled, causing the floor to sag. When the problem is slight, you might only notice sagging floors when you place an object (like a ball or a pen) that rolls away without prompt. When the sagging is severe, you’ll feel the floor give way a bit in certain parts of the house, which can be a bit unnerving to have to deal with since it always feels as if you’re about to fall. Ceiling walls and column cracks are another common sign because the settling is forcing one part of the house to withstand an enormous amount of pressure.

One of the most frustrating problems to deal with, however, is jammed doors and windows. Because of the settling, the door and window frames become warped as the house becomes more and more lopsided. This means doors and windows will have trouble opening and closing and will even become jammed every now and then.

The best thing any homeowner can do for their foundation is make sure they have a positive yard grade. Properties can have either a positive or negative yard grade. To have a positive yard grade is to have a yard that slightly slopes downward so that any water that falls on your yard naturally flows away from your house. A negative yard grade means that water flows toward your home because of the way the overall area is sloped. Having a negative yard grade contributes to hydrostatic pressure which damages your foundation faster.

Having a negative yard grade means you have serious drainage problems on your hands. The most obvious sign of a negative yard grade is water pooling all around your property that only goes away when it evaporates. This is not only annoying to deal with as a homeowner because of the puddles of water, but it also spells trouble for your foundation because the soil absorbs all that water, expands, shrinks, and accelerates settling. Apart from all the waterproofing installations, making sure you have a positive yard grade is just as important.

If you’re not entirely sure what grade your yard is, it’s worth looking into. If your yard has a negative grade, there’s a high probability that your foundation walls are crumbling under the weight of hydrostatic pressure. You can call a landscaping company to assess your yard, and if it turns out that your yard is graded negatively, you can always re-grade it. Depending on how bad the yard grade is, re-grading can either mean landscaping the entire yard or only small portions of it. Either way, it’s worth it if you want to protect your foundation and avoid future settling problems.

A lot of homeowners are not aware of this, but mold can grow on concrete. To a certain extent, concrete is made with some organic material, which is all mold needs in order to survive and grow. Hearing this, you might suddenly be worried about the white, powdery stain on your concrete wall. Maybe that stain exists on your humid basement’s wall or only appears after the wall got wet. If this is the case, it’s got to be mold, right?

Actually, the white stain on your wall could just be efflorescence, not mold. Efflorescence occurs when concrete gets wet and all the salts and minerals in the concrete rise to the surface along with the water. It can also happen almost right after concrete sets if the cement was mixed incorrectly. A quick way to find out if your concrete has an efflorescence stain or mold is to scrape a sharp object over the wall. If the wall is rough and powder comes off, it’s efflorescence,

Although efflorescence is just salt, which is less harmful than mold, you should still be wary—not of the efflorescence itself, but of what it indicates. If the efflorescence stain appeared over a year after the concrete was poured, it means there’s enough humidity in the area to affect the concrete, and if that’s the case, there’s probably enough humidity in the area to affect your foundation as well.

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Toledo

Toledo, OH Local Office

Foundation Systems of Michigan

32985 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Phone: (734) 749-9480

Hours of Operation

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