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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Exterior Concrete Wall

What is happening, water infiltrates the block or the concrete wall and as water evaporates from the surface the mineral deposits are left behind in the form of white substance. Although efflorescence is generally a visual problem, if the efflorescence crystals grow inside and under the surface, it can cause spalling of the foundation wall, which is when the surface peels, pops out or flakes off. The salt pushes from the inside out and can eventually cause crumbling and deterioration.

Efflorescence, water-soluble salts come from many possible sources. First of all; there must be water present to dissolve and transport the salts. Groundwater is often a source of efflorescence. For water to carry or move the salts to the surface there must be channels through which to move and migrate. The more dense the material more difficult for the water to transport salts to the surface. On the other hand, the more porous the material, the greater the ease with which salts are transported and deposited. Salt-bearing water, on reaching the surface of a structure, air evaporates to deposit the salt.

When humidity is low, the water may evaporate before reaching the surface of the structure, leaving the salt deposit beneath the surface, and unseen. When the humidity is high, water evaporation is slower allowing more opportunity for salted to be deposited.

Since humidity has a definite effect on whether or not the salts appear, it can be assumed that efflores­cence is a seasonal problem. The intensity of efflorescence increases after rainy winter seasons, de­creases in spring, and by summer has practically disappeared. This cycle may repeat for months or years, but generally the intensity of the efflorescence decreases in all but very extreme cases, and by about the third year it should be practically eliminated.

Sand Dunes

Should a problem arise, it can be difficult to obtain the appropriate permits and to build on the sand. It can also be difficult to find equipment that can access the area and work well with the sand, and that will also be able to accurately penetrate down to the depth of firm strata underground.

Luckily, there is a great solution: a helical pier. A helical pier is a steel pipe or shaft with auger-type plates, which, when turned, threads deeply through the soil until it sets in to the firm strata deep below the surface. Turning torque will be able to define the adequate depth.

The helicals come in many sizes, and the helical plates are designed to combine and precisely deliver the support capacity that is required for each situation. These piers can be installed by hand power tools or small mobile units, which is much more practical on the dunes.

For a typical new construction site, helicals can be used to hold the load vertically as a deep foundation support. After the pier is installed, it is cut to the correct elevation and is cast into the concrete foundation for the house.

If the site is a renovation of a poorly supported existing house, an appropriate bracket is used to support the load on the installed pier. These are long-term repairs with minimal risk of any corrosion.

If the structure is too close to the edge of the dune, it can also be a problem. The building potentially could literally slide down hill! This type of movement usually occurs incrementally and very slowly. In this circumstance, a helical pier can be screwed in a downward angle and can create a tie-back force to hold the structure in place, stopping the sliding. The tie-backs are a powerful tool in this application.

Concrete Settling

Concrete that was installed on improper sub grade may not have been properly compacted. Eventually, the slab will start to settle over a few years. Another common cause of concrete settling is soil erosion. Drainage, run off from roof water, and improper downspout placement can be a contributor in soil erosion and thus, slab settlement.

Third, some times there is just natural soil settlement. There is nothing that can prevent this type of settling. If the slab is five to seven years old, it could experience some natural movement. As the concrete starts to sink, it can cause walking hazards, water runoff, or foundation issues.

Many people do not realize that a fourth reason for concrete cracking is actually due to critter invasion! Small rodents, woodchucks, chipmunks, possums, and more can burrow under slabs and actually remove sub grade, allowing slabs to sink.

Fortunately, the repair process is pretty simple and isn’t destructive like concrete removal and replacement.

Small holes are drilled into the concrete slab that needs raising. A concrete slurry is pumped into these holes under slight pressure filling voids under the slab. As pressure builds, the slab is hydraulically raised to the necessary grade, removing the trip hazards and unevenness of the concrete.

The final step is to fill the small holes with a concrete mixture, restoring the integrity to the sidewalk, driveway, or slab concrete that is being raised.

Slabjacking or Mudjacking isn’t complicated, but it’s not for amateurs. Experienced professionals can perform this procedure to avoid doing even greater damage. Amateur work often results in further, or irreparable damage that usually costs more to repair or replace than the original damage.

Concrete Raising, sometimes called mudjacking or slabjacking, is an efficient alternative to replacement. Demolishing old structures and laying new concrete requires more equipment, and more professionals compared to mudjacking. This makes the replacement cost nearly twice as much as mudjacking. Not only is it less expensive, raised concrete can be used almost immediately while new concrete pours may take several days before they can be walked on and a month to fully set. There is also no need to disturb adjacent landscaping or plants, making the whole endeavor a much cleaner process.

Long Lasting Pier

The first form of damage is wood such as; broken, cracked or warped floor joists or beams, wood rot or insect damage and rotten sill plates. You can also discover water or moisture damage. This can include improper drainage under the house, improper ventilation under home, standing water, pier movement due to seasonal soil moisture, and pad and block inundated by water. Finally, builder or homeowner miscalculation also happens causing inadequate number of piers, shallow piers, defective shimming, and addition of second story with no additional pier supports.

Pier And Beam Support Functions

Pier and beam houses are houses that have a crawl space, which is the space between the floor and the ground. The pier is the concrete that goes into the ground and bears the weight of the building on foundation beams of wood. All foundations can have problems in clay soil. Some people feel that with pressure treated wood and metal brackets and straps for setting beams, this foundation type is stronger than ever. The footing for the pier does best in well-drained or evenly moist soil with a well-ventilated crawl-space. The number of piers is calculated to best bear the weight of the house. There are some pier and beam structures that also involve a concrete perimeter grade beam.

Problems With Pier And Beam Structures

There are those who criticize the pier and beam structure, and these are their objections. One reason given is compared to concrete’s cleanliness, wood is susceptible to rot and insect damage, therefore, it is imperative to prevent ground to wood contact, wherever possible. Another reason is pier and beam structures may be poorly spaced and the lumber, due to its nature, may be poorly shaped and spaced, allowing for dipping or bowing of floors. Concrete and steel are more uniform.

Typical Repairs You’ll See To Foundations

Concrete Perimeter Beam: If the home does involve a concrete perimeter beam, some easy repairs can be made by lifting the home and using pressed pilings for leveling.

Wood Replacement: As mentioned earlier, often wood in the crawl space rots due to moisture and must be replaced. There can also be insect damage. At times whole beams need replacement.

Interior Floor Levels: Floor levels are adjusted using metal shims. However at times shifting is major enough to require addition of extra piers. This is particularly true if error has been made in judging the number of piers needed for the house or addition supports.

Applying Sound Insulation

The problem of noise and sound can happen in every materials your home is made from. If you’re living in a classic property or a new home, a floor or a flat, poor quality of building can always be an issue of complain for sound by the people. For all houses that are over the two decades, there may be litter or no sound insulation at all. There is no improvement used or often there’s no scope of enhancement. You are still terrified with the leaking noises from walls, filling your room like smoke does.

The sound differs from being able to hear loud noises or laughter to simple discussions from the nearby neighbors or perhaps their televisions. There are several tricks and tips for sound insulation setup. The first thing would be to ascertain where sound is coming from. What are the important places where noise moves from your neighbor’s residence to your property. The most typical means are directly, through an isolating floor or wall and not directly, when there’s a cavity in the wall structure without sound insulation established.

Sound can even be airborne. It may be getting into your home from open doors and windows. When a sound travels by way of the structure, particularly when it’s the ground or a flanking transmission, it is likely to vibrate the entire structure, thereby, creating the sound to radiate in the whole area.

The most common approach to these sounds would be to build another construction across the wall or floor with some gap between the primary and the recently created. This makes sure that there’s sound insulation by using air spaces that will absorb all of the sound waves and will never let it reach you.

The two kinds of sounds coming from the floor are airborne noise and Impact noise. Impact noises are the ones where whenever, any structure has been used, it vibrates the whole house. For example an individual climbing actions, Airborne, as stated previously is music, conversation and sound. There are several solutions for this to lessen. There are many components like studywork frames, or sound absorbent quilts which can be placed in the house to reduce noise. Home made remedies could be dangling mineral wool in the hole of walls, or apply flexible sealant round the border.

Avoid Septic Disasters

Once you find out the information that is necessary, contact the septic tank service and ask them about the costs and installation fees. When you agree upon a certain system, they will come and provide septic tank installation for your septic tank.

Having the right septic tank can affect how much of your sewage may decompose. It is pivotal that you purchase the right one for your house. Also, some older houses may need their septic system fixed or corrected. If this is the case of your house, you need to contact the company and talk to them about what issues you are experiencing.

Then, the employees will come and work on your system. They will discover what the issue may be and if need be, they will replace your septic tank. However, allow them to be the judge of what is going on. Replacing a septic system can be pricy but it is a necessary step that needs to be taken. Do not allow your system to back up or you will experience many problems that could have otherwise been avoided.

By having the correct knowledge and understanding of these systems, you can save yourself a world of trouble. This is why you should research your system and figure out about how it works and how to maintain it. A good system can last for many years, if it is treated right and used properly. Instead of waiting until it is too late, decide today to research information for yourself about these systems.

Crawl Space

Reasoning and Verification

No solution will be forcefully imposed on the home owners. After explaining the damage caused to the foundation and analyzing its consequences, the foundation repair contractors, who are certified and licensed, leave it to your discretion to choose the solution that most suits you. The solutions are custom made and it is wise to act swiftly rather than wait and suffer further damage to your foundation.

Performance & Products

If you would like to have a permanent solution to a damaged foundation, consider the recommendation of the contractor and take steps to start the remediation immediately. Understand, there is a permanent solution to the problem. Most foundation repair companies offer follow-up visits to the site to ensure the customer is satisfied and that the problem has not reoccurred. The solutions come with a written warranty for both product and service.

In addition to the foundation, the crawl space is also important in ensuring the structural support of your home.

Crawl Space Repair

The most common signs that your crawl space requires attention are:

  • Interior drywall cracks
  • Uneven floors
  • Foul odors inside the home
  • Symptoms of allergies or Asthma

Timber Framing

It turns out the process of “timber framing,” or Fachwerk as it is known in German, that is being used in these houses is thousands of years old. The ancient Egyptians were using this method long before we had the advanced building technology that we use today. This structuring was also extremely popular in China and Japan up until the 20th century.

However, timber framing was most popular during the Middle Ages in Northern Europe. Large wooden beams would be fastened with interlocking joinery to form the wooden frames of churches, theaters, homes of the wealthy, and large barns.

When Europeans immigrated to North America, they brought this building approach with them. The timber framing trend swept America from the 1600s to the mid 1800s. Buildings from this time period that display timber framing are still standing in Williamsburg and Yorktown, Virginia, and George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

This process saw a resurgence in the 1970’s and an even larger revitalization in the 1990’s in the United States due to new computer operated timber cutting technology that was designed by the Germans. This technology allowed for more home owners to reap the benefits of having a timber framed house – straighter walls, better insulation, and the use of recycled or reclaimed wood beams.

Rich in history and stunning in appearance – timber framing will definitely be utilized in my future home. They exude warmth and a “homey” feel. And even with the wealth of technology we have within our reach in today’s world, timber framing is still a very reliable and sturdy foundation for a home or building. This house framing style is a long-lasting and economical option, allowing for excellent insulation. With better insulation, less money is spent on heating and cooling. And interestingly, with timber framing, ceilings look higher, rooms look bigger and homes look much more open and inviting. There’s nothing better than a money saving, character building, long-lasting foundation option.

Make Great Flooring

Caring for your new vinyl flooring is relatively easy. Harsh chemicals may damage the surface so standard, diluted floor cleaner and a decent mop will be all that is required to keep your new floor clean and shiny. If possible buy a specialist vinyl cleaner as it will be more suited to the job but most all in one floor cleaners will say that they are suitable. If it doesn’t say so on the tub it best to air on the side of caution and choose a different option.

The final and best thing about this type of flooring is it can come in any shade or pattern. You may want wood but not want to incur the cost so you can buy vinyl that has a wooden effect pattern so it look like wood but doesn’t have the cost. This is only one example, you can usually pick from any colour and any pattern so you select the flooring that is perfect for the room that it is going to be laid in and not have to settle for the closest match.

Foundation Crack Repair

Inspect– Cracks can occur for a number of reasons. To repair cracks and address the real reason of cracks to develop, you will need to deeply inspect your home’s foundation. In most cases, you will able to yourself detect the cause of the cracks. The most common reason for these cracks to develop is due to the settling of the soil. Another common cause is the development of excessive moisture around the foundation. If the crack is small, you can easily repair it using DIY methods. But, if the crack is very large, call in a professional for evaluation.

Preparing the Crack for Repair– You will first have to clear all the loose material with the help of a screwdriver and a brush. You can use a hammer and a chisel to widen the crack and undercut the crack edges. After this, rinse the crack with water using a garden hose and pat the area dry using a towel.

Repairing Thin Cracks– There are many patching compounds available in the market, which you can apply using a paintbrush. You can also patch the crack using a cement mixture. Pack the mixture firmly into the crack and level it with a finishing trowel. After about an hour, go over the surface in circular motion using a float or a trowel. This will help it in blending with the surrounding surface.

Repairing Larger Cracks– These can be repaired using Polyurethane, silicone or latex concrete caulk. They can also be filled using hydraulic cement. But, it is always advisable to take the help of an expert.

Sealing the Walls– After the crack and filled and dried, apply waterproof sealant to the foundation walls. This will help in preventing water infiltration.