Ground Vapor Barriers in Vented Crawl Spaces: Do They Work?

Ground vapor barriers in vented crawl spaces: do they work?

Vapor barrier installed incorrectly Everything was done “by the book” in your crawl space.

The dirt floor was lined with a vapor barrier, overlapping 6 inches in the seams, the seams sealed with tape. The liner ran a few inches or half way up the walls and was fastened or glued it in place, following all the typical recommendations. You provided the code specified amount of vents, which were left open year round or during specific seasons, following the regional guidelines.

Yet now, after a few years, your house smells like a wet dog, your hardwood floors or plywood sub-floors are warping, your carpet is damp and you or someone in your family is always feeling miserable with allergy symptoms.

You suspect the crawl space and as you open the door to it you realize you need a mask, flash light, a bio-hazard suit, a good stomach and a dose of courage to enter the place.

Your crawl space is filthy, moldy, and full of bugs. The smell of decay ins unbearable. You can poke holes with a pen in your floor joists and the insulation, now turned into something resembling science fiction B movie monster, is falling off.

You wonder what went wrong. You and the thousands of other American homeowners who own houses with vented crawl spaces, that go through  this same situation every single day.

What went wrong –  and cases such as yours and the one in the picture prove – is that those crawl space venting recommendations are wrong. They make no sense from a scientific standpoint and if nothing is done to change them and educate the consumer, they will victimize more and more homeowners.

Moisture ruined crawl spaces are so common in the US, that they can be considered part of a true housing epidemic.

The only proven way to protect the crawlspace is through encapsulation and conditioning systems such as our CleanSpace System. Encapsulated crawl spaces are proven to significantly improve your home’s health, indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Contact us for a free estimate and see how easy and affordable it is to have a crawl space so dry and clean, you can safely use it for storage.


The Monster in the Crawl Space

In Savannah, GA,  as well as in most areas of the country where summers are hot and humid and winters are cold and damp, homes with vented, dirt crawl spaces are a  source of constant worry for homeowners.

There is the mold, rot and decay during the summer, and the cold drafts in the winter. There are  huge energy losses year round. And there are also the pesky indoor allergy symptoms are usually triggered by allergens that lurk in the crawl space.

This presentation shows common crawl space problems and how our CleanSpace Crawl Space Encapsulation System can  help solve them. Then contact us for a FREE Crawl Space Repair Estimate!

Personal Finances and Real Estate: 5 Good Reasons to Fix Your Foundation Before Selling Your House! |

Personal Finances and Real Estate: 5 Good Reasons to Fix Your Foundation Before Selling Your House!

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AlphaFS’s Blog

foundation crackWhen faced with foundation problems, homeowners have mixed reactions. Some will panic and call a professional right away, others will simply ignore it or try to hide it with a quick and often ineffective fix.

Then, comes the time to sell the house and, if you are one of the ones who chose to ignore the problem or patch it up, you are faced with a hard choice. Sell the house “as-is” or fix it first?

Well, as someone who works for foundation repair companies, I had the opportunity to see many a real estate deal broken because of foundation problems. So I am offering you a piece of advice: fix first, then sell. Here are six very good reasons to consider it: 

1 – Make no mistake: Foundation problems always get worse.
Foundation problems never go away, never get better on their own, and never remain the same: they always get worse. And the worse they get, the more expensive the fix will be.

2 – Visible foundation cracks scare away buyers.
Who wants to buy someone else’s problems? A visible crack, even if it is patched up, is most likely going to raise suspicion among buyers. The same goes for windows and doors that don’t close properly, sagging or bouncy floors, or tilted chimneys.

3 – Critters like cracks.
Keep in mind that insects and rodents can get into your home through foundation cracks, adding yet another layer of problems to the existing foundation issues.

4 – You’re going to lose more money not fixing it, than you would pay to fix it.
When it comes from foundation problems, you can’t run nor hide. At some point during the sale process the house will be examined by a home inspector and he will most likely point out the foundation problem. What happens next is never to the seller’s advantage. The buyer will either walk away from the deal or will expect a significant discount on the asking price: 10% or more off the property market value, in most cases.
Modern, state-of-the-art foundation repair technologies might be able to solve the problem quickly, effectively and for much less than you would lose by selling the house as a “fixer-upper”.

5 – You can be held liable for the problems after the property is sold.
By law, sellers in Florida are required to disclose anything that can affect the property’s value, integrity, safety and appeal, by signing a Real Estate Disclosure form prior to the closing. Ignoring the foundation problem for failure to assess the nature of the damage will not save you from liability. In other words, “we knew we had a crack on the wall, but we didn’t know how serious it was,” is no defense.
80% of all Real Estate lawsuits are for failure to disclose, and foundation problems, along with mold issues, are among the most common topics in these lawsuits.

So before your foundation problem comes back to haunt you, call a reputable foundation repair contractor, and have it inspected. Many good companies will provide the inspection and estimate for free!


Bouncy Floors No More: Take the Flex Out of Old Floors

Bouncy Floors No More Take the Flex Out of Old Floors

A floor that bows in the middle, flexes noticeably, or dips down in one or more areas could indicate a serious structural problem with the foundation and/or framing.

An unstable floor can have several causes. First of all, old-time carpenters may have used undersized floor joists because they were building before engineered span tables and building codes were available. A joist that spans a long distance without being supported in the middle is likely to sag or flex.

Floors can also sag or flex because a beam installed to provide mid-span support for joists has shifted out of position or rotted.  

An experienced foundation repair contractor can diagnose bouncy floor problems and perform foundation repairs that make the floor framing stiffer and more secure. The SmartJack system, available from Foundation Support Works dealers, is an excellent solution to many bouncy or sagging floor problems. As shown in the photo and drawing, the SmartJack system has two main components: a precast concrete footing and a steel jack equipped with a threaded rod and a steel top plate that fits under a beam or girder.

Unlike an old-fashioned wood post-and-beam framework, the SmartJack system is adjustable, enabling the contractor to fine-tune the height of the support beam and thus, the floor itself. With a series of SmartJacks installed beneath a sound mid-span support beam, an unstable old floor can be made stronger, stiffer and straighter.

Contact Alpha Foundation Specialists today for Florida foundation repair!

Posted on: 2010/11/11 11:54:02am by: Tim Snyder

Foundation Wall Cracks and Real Estate Transactions in MO and IL: Saving a home and a deal. : Basement Files

• Nov. 10, 2010 – Foundation Wall Cracks and Real Estate Transactions in MO and IL: Saving a home and a deal.

Leaky foundation wall crackA crack in a home’s foundation walls is never something to be taken lightly or simply dismiss. 

It is true that many times foundation wall cracks are caused by normal concrete shrinkage, rather than some real structural problems, but the differences between the two types aren’t always obvious, especially to the untrained eye.

Homeowners, when faced with such a problem, have mixed reactions. Some will panic and call a professional right away, some will simply dismiss the problem or patch it up using a DIY approach.

In Real Estate transactions, a foundation wall crack can be a deal breaker, and render a house almost impossible to sell. The last thing a potential buyer wants to see is a crack, of any shape, size, or kind in the basement wall, and tend to look even more suspiciously at walls that were visibly patched up. 

Realtors have a hard time listing such properties, and home inspectors can’t vow for their structural integrity if they can’t properly access the nature of the problem due to some unskilled and unprofessional patching job, which many times, can be masking a serious issue. 

As we all know, the law in most states, including Illinois and Missouri, demands that sellers of real property disclose any fact that may affect the value or integrity of the property, by completing and signing Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement.

Yet, real estate attorneys and sales professionals agree that between 70 and 80% of all the real estate lawsuits filed by home buyers are related to disclosure issues and facts that were not properly disclosed prior to the closing.

For a seller, disclosing a foundation wall crack could mean selling the property for at least 10% less than its market value, so it is understandable that they’d want it to magically disappear.

What they don’t know is that, many times, having the foundation properly fixed costs much less than what they would lose by selling a house with foundation issues. And definitely much less than they would pay to defend themselves in a lawsuit for failure to disclose the problem.

With that in mind, whether you are a seller,  a Real Estate agent inspecting a listing, or a home buyer shopping for a house, it is always a good idea to know what you’re dealing with when you are faced with a foundation wall crack.

Shrinkage Cracks:

Shrinkage cracks happen quite often in poured concrete foundations. They are normally related to the conditions in which the concrete was mixed, poured and cured. Variations in temperature, air and ground moisture can cause the concrete to crack slightly as it dries.

Shrinkage cracks are always vertical, very thin, hairline cracks which are even from top to bottom. Poor drainage and high water tables can cause them to leak into the basement

If the crack is uneven, wider in one of the extremities, it can be a sign of external pressures. (foundation settlement, expanding soil, etc..).

These need to be accessed by a professional and fixed accordingly, as soon as the problem is noticed, because foundation problems only tend to get worse overtime.

stair step crackHorizontal or Stair Step Cracks:

Horizontal cracks in any foundation and stair step cracks on any brick or concrete walls, even if above grade, are always a reason for concern. They are a clear sign of foundation movement, and the causes need to be detected and corrected as soon as possible. 

Corner Cracks Around Windows and Doors

Whether they are around a basement window or on the drywall of any window upstairs, these types of cracks can also be sign of foundation movement and should be inspected by a professional.

Saving a deal

Keep in mind that most foundation wall cracks, even the ones that pose some structural concern, can be fixed and shouldn’t necessarily become a deal breaker. If you live in Missouri or Southern Illinois, Woods Basement Systems, a foundation repair contractor serving Saint Louis, MO, Springfield, IL and nearby areas,  can help.

They have experience inspecting and estimating foundation repair jobs for Real Estate transactions.  

They will perform a free inspection and, based on the written estimate, seller will be able to make informed choices, buyers will be able to negotiate down the price of the property:
Real Estate agents will also be able to advice their clients on the best course of action and hopefully close a deal that would be, otherwise, broken from the start.