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Traverse City Basement Waterproofing & Foundation Repair

Whether you’re using wall braces to straighten your bowing foundation walls or having a sump pump installed in your crawl space, making the right choices for your home will save you time, money, and a headache.

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Basement and Crawl Space Waterproofing in Traverse City

A flooded, humid, smelly basement is the bane of any homeowner’s existence. Not only is it a hassle to clean it, but it also puts your foundation at risk of suffering some serious damage. Mold growth, wood rot, wall cracks, and settling are all very common problems that come from owning a home with a foundation that is not waterproofed. The summers in Traverse City are especially difficult on foundations because of all the humidity. Unless you have a vapor barrier on your basement walls or encapsulating your crawl space, all that humidity will pass through to your basement or crawl space and encourage mold.

The majority of basement and crawl space problems are caused by the wet soil that surrounds it. Because it’s impossible to replace the soil around our foundations with a less problematic material, all you can do as a homeowner is protect your basement or crawl space from said wet soil. This can be done by waterproofing these areas and taking the necessary steps to modify the way your property drains water. Interior drains, sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and vapor barriers are all things you should look into if you’re worried about water in your basement or crawl space.

Traverse City Foundation Repair

Crawl Space Support Posts

Foundation problems are unfortunately very common in many homes, especially older ones, which Traverse City has a lot of. Hydrostatic pressure and water damage completely deteriorate the walls of your foundation. When this happens, homeowners see the damaged foundation walls and believe they need to be completely replaced. However, replacing your foundation walls does not resolve the actual issue.

Instead of replacing your foundation, which involves a long, invasive process, you can choose to repair it instead. Because foundation problems are caused by soil, replacing your foundation will not solve the true problem. Many homeowners that replace their foundations experience the same problems years later. It’s impossible to just replace the soil around your foundation with a less porous material because there needs to be some sort of drainage when water reaches your property. Because of this, foundation repair methods such as support piers and wall braces are the best investments for your property.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces, and Foundation Repair in Traverse City

When talking about foundation problems, settling, cracked walls, humidity, and warped door frames are always talked about. However, one invisible problem that not many homeowners know about is high energy bills. You might be wondering what a damaged foundation has to do with your energy usage, but it actually contributes to how efficiently you use your HVAC. This has to do with a phenomenon known as the stack effect and how air flows through a home.

Warm air naturally rises upward because warmer air is lighter than cold air. If you have a foundation that isn’t fully covered, the warm air from the outside will get through and then later rise up toward your living area. During the summer, this means that hot air is constantly entering your home and keeping the temperature warm, so you have to run the AC for longer periods of time. During the winter, an uncovered foundation contributes to poor insulation, so the heat has trouble staying in your home and you would need to run your HVAC for longer periods to stay warm.

Humid air is also much lighter than dry air, so during the summer, all that humidity rises up and enters your living space. This increased humidity can lead to other problems, such as mold growth. All in all, it’s pretty important to have a fully waterproofed and encapsulated foundation, not just to avoid drainage issues, but also to lower your energy bills.

Sump pump failure can mean a lot of trouble for your basement or crawl space. Without it, there would be no way to efficiently pump out water that enters the area. While a sump pump does make it so that you no longer have to worry about basement flooding ruining your basement, it is a piece of machinery that has a limited lifespan and requires a certain degree of maintenance. If your sump pump has stopped working, there are multiple things you would need to check so you know what the issue is.

The first few things you would need to check are the most obvious elements: the power cord, the backup battery, and the float switch. Your sump pump might be having issues because the power cord is either unplugged or bent and broken. Sump pump batteries tend to die faster when they are overworked, which is usually the cause after a lot of rain or a big storm, so if your sump pump stopped working after either of the two, that’s probably the issue. October is Traverse City’s rainiest month, so that’s another thing to consider. As for the float switch, you can dump water into the sump pump’s pit, and if the float switch doesn’t rise and the sump pump doesn’t turn on, the switch needs to be replaced.

Another reason sump pumps stop working has to do with the discharge pipes. Like any other pipe around your home, the discharge pipe can get clogged or frozen. During the winter, check for frozen pipes and think about installing a special attachment on your discharge line system to avoid problems in the future. During the fall, regularly check and clean the pipes for any leaves and debris. Clogged pipes are very common during autumn because of all the fallen leaves getting carried around by the wind.

If you know anything about foundation problems, you’ll understand why expansive soils are so problematic. Learning about the kinds of soils most likely to cause foundation problems might have you wondering about the kind of soil you have under your home and how it affects your property. The best way to truly determine the kind of soil you have and the state of it would be to hire an expert to inspect it. That said, where you live also says a lot about the kind of soil that naturally exists in your region.

The official state soil of Michigan is Kalkaska soil. It’s a mixture of humus and three different types of sand. It exists mostly in the western and northern parts of the state, meaning that the soil you have under your home could very well be Kalkaska. Sandy soils filter water very well, so there’s little to no soil expansion happening around Traverse City. That said, it’s not guaranteed that your foundation is composed of sandy soils.

Contractors don’t always use the soil that naturally forms in a region when constructing a building. The kind of soil they use is chosen based on the type of building being constructed, the region’s climate, the site manager’s personal preference, and how much time they have to finish the project. While the soil that naturally exists around you may be sandy, it’s entirely possible that your house was built on clay soil. After all, clay soils are a lot easier to manipulate than other kinds of soils, making them widely preferred among contractors. The only way to get a clear answer as to what kind of soil you have would be to get an inspection.

Because soil expansion and soil shrinkage are something that occurs underground, it’s very difficult to detect when it occurs. Not only that, shrinking and expansion happen extremely slowly over the course of the year, so even if you could see what goes on under your home, you wouldn’t be able to spot changes instantly. If what you want to find out is whether or not expansive soil will cause or is causing your foundation problems, you’re better off checking for signs around your home instead of the soil. Of course, if there are problem signs, it means the soil expansion has been sufficient enough to warrant problems, and that might not be something you want to hear. However, unless you have foundation supports and a waterproofed crawl space or basement, the problems have already started.

The best place to check for soil problems would be the concrete outside your home and your basement or crawl space. Because of their proximity to the soil, these are the spots in your property that are affected first. Things like wall cracks, jammed doors, and sagging floors are really only relevant when the problems are significant, so don’t check for these signs if all you’re looking for is proof of soil expansion. You can inspect your concrete steps, driveway, and patio for any signs of settling, and if you see any, chances are, your soil is getting wet and expanding with frequency.

Another sign would be basement leaking or flooding. If your basement keeps flooding, especially when the water seems to be coming from where the wall meets the floor, it’s a very clear sign of soil issues. This kind of leaking occurs primarily when there’s hydrostatic pressure involved. Another good way to check would be to get a moisture meter to determine the humidity levels of the basement. If there are no leaking pipes and no way for water to get in yet the humidity levels are high, it means there’s enough water in the foundation’s soil to permeate through the basement walls.

One of the reasons basement and crawl space water problems are so damaging is because of the way moisture affects wood. If you own a house with a basement or crawl space that isn’t waterproofed, the wood in those spaces runs the risk of rotting. Once the wooden supports and floor joists have begun to rot, your floorboards will begin to sag. If that happens, you might be wondering what your options are and whether or not the wood needs to be replaced or if the fungal growth can be stopped. The truth is: it depends on how quickly you’re able to spot the problem and act.

Rotting wood is unsalvageable and needs to be replaced if it has shrunken and softened up the wood. Fungi is a living organism that eats food to survive, and wood is an organic material that can be consumed. As the fungi eats away at the particles, the wood shrinks, softens up, and loses its strength. Even if you manage to clear all traces of fungal growth from the wood, it will never have the strength to support your home the way it used to. If you touch the wood in your basement or crawl space and it’s soft to the touch, it needs to be replaced.

The only way wood can be salvaged is if the rot hasn’t destroyed the wood’s structural integrity and it’s still hard to the touch. Both the wood and the area it’s in need to be completely dried out, which can only be done with an industrial-grade dehumidifier that contractors use. Fungicide is then used on the wood to kill the fungi and eliminate it from the wood completely. Fungicides contain extremely harmful chemicals, so only professionals have access to the most effective brands. Then, a hardener is applied to the wood to fill any gaps and help the wood stay strong.

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Kevin and his crew were very professional and pleasant. The electricians. Aaron and Ben M, were great also.

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Alex, Eric, Harold, and Adam were very professional, courteous and thorough. Awesome crew! I would recommend them.

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Traverse City

Traverse City Local Office

Foundation Systems of Michigan

3805 Elmers Industrial Drive
Traverse City, MI 49685
Phone: (231) 227-4940

Hours of Operation

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

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3805 Elmers Industrial Drive
Traverse City, MI 49685