Author: Holly Richards-Purpura

Spring Cleaning 101: Tackling Your Crawl Space

reasons to clean your crawl space

reasons to clean your crawl space

With spring on the way, it’s time to start working on your list of “honey-dos.” Alongside the usual chores, though, it may be time for you to clean out your crawl space. Why? Because your crawl space, while easily forgotten, has significant influence over the health of your home.

The benefits of cleaning your crawl space include but are not limited to:

  • Improve Your Storage Space: Would you be surprised to know there’s another area of your home that you can use for storage? It’s your crawl space. But a dirty crawl space is going to make it more difficult for you to safely store your belongings while also limiting the amount of room you have to work with. If you take the time to clean out your space, it’ll be much easier for you to put away seasonal decorations, family heirlooms and other belongings that you only want to bring out every once in a while.
  • Prevent Foundation Damage: On a more serious note, a dirty crawl space can threaten the stability of your home’s foundation. If, in forgetting to clean your crawl space, you let a leak grow too large, that water can travel down to your foundation. When your foundation is exposed to too much hydrostatic pressure as a result of ever-present rainwater, it can crack. That’ll mean more water in your home and more expenses in the long run.
  • Delay or Circumvent Flooding: There’s nothing worse than trying to get something out of your crawl space and finding the entire space flooded. If you clean your crawl space, you’ll be able to protect your belongings and eliminate the cracks that eventually lead to flooding.
  • Eliminate Mold Growths: Mold loves a dark and damp place to grow. If you neglect your crawl space, you’ll be giving the mold particles native to Raleigh, NC, a perfect place to spawn.
  • Stop Infestations: The cracks that let water get into your home will also help animals and insects get into your home. If you want to prevent an infestation as well as a leak, you’ll need to clean your crawl space regularly and work with local contractors to repair any minor structural damage.
  • Improve the Cleanliness of Your Home: Does your home have an off, mildewy smell you just can’t get rid of? If you’ve tried everything, it’s time to check your crawl space. Smells from your crawl space travel upward. If you haven’t cleaned the space in a while, you’ll likely find the course of your home’s unpleasant smell down below.
  • Fluff Your Insulation: You may be using your insulation as a waterproofing measure as well as a thermal barrier. If you are, you’re going to need to keep an eye on it. If you neglect to clean your crawl space, your insulation may become damaged and transform from a protective barrier to the perfect nesting place for a bunch of little critters. Not only that, but damp and damaged insulation is a hive for mold particles. It’s best, then, to clean your crawl space regularly and keep an eye on your insulation, replacing it every three to five years or when the damage becomes substantial.
  • Preserve Your Repairs Fund: Everyone has a repair fund tucked away, but no one likes to use it. If you’re looking for ways to save money in the future, or if you just want to reallocate some of your funds, give your crawl space a once-over. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch any leaks before they get larger, saving yourself some money in the process.
  • Keep Your Home Valuable: It’s not impossible to sell a home that has a dirty or leaking crawl space. When you try to do so, though, you’ll find that the value of your home may drop by up to 30 percent. Cleaning your crawl space won’t seem like such a chore if you’re able to get back that much value on your home.
  • Cut Electric, Heat and Water Costs: When your crawl space grows damp, it gets harder for your heater or air conditioner to keep your home at a consistent temperature. Cleaning your crawl space, then, can save you money on your energy bill. That’s not all, though. If a leak is left unattended for too long, it can cause your pipes to leak and the wires running through that part of your home to suffer damage. If you’re noticing an uptick in your water, heating and electric bills, it’s time to ask yourself: when’s the last time you cleaned the crawl space?

Don’t let your crawl space get away from you this spring. If you need help handling a leak amidst your spring cleaning, reach out to your local Raleigh, NC, contractors for assistance including a free inspection and repair estimate.

 

Moist Basements – Troubles and Prone Environments

water in the basement

As long as you have a damp basement, you can expect problems to arise. Some of the issues may seem small and less troublesome, but over time, they can get out of hand. So it’s important to inspect your basement for moisture signs and fix them accordingly.

In this post, we’ll highlight normal basement problems and serious problems emanating from moisture build-up, then finish off by looking at what environments in Winston-Salem, NC, can lead to a damp basement.

water in the basement

Normal basement troubles

We’d like to refer to these as “fix me now” issues, as you’re likely to feel their impact the moment they occur. These include:

  • External air: Hot, moist air from the outside that gets into the basement via cracks, openings, and porous material. When this air gets into the basement, it will diffuse into the living space causing condensation. Floors and walls may feel cold and damp. Sealing cracks and installing a dehumidifier can help control air from the outside.
  • Sitting water: Clogged gutters and downspout pipes may channel rainwater to the basement. The same goes for floodwaters.
  • Plumbing leaks: Sometimes, water pipes get faulty and start leaking water into the basement. This water can cause dampness and wood rot.
  • Radon gases: This gas originates from the basement soil and seeps through cracks in your foundation walls. Since it mixes with water, it’s likely to sit for months with any stagnant water in the basement.

Serious moist basement Issues

Ignoring the above issues means they could mutate into serious problems over time. And these could be costly to fix. Notable issues include:

  • Poor indoor air quality: Over time, mold spores will enter your home, pests will leave droppings and urinate. Add to this the stench from dead pests and you will have a smelly home. All these will reduce the quality of the air you breathe indoors.
  • High energy bills: Variation between the temperature in the basement and the living space means you will have to run your heater or air conditioner for many hours to attain the desired internal temperature.
  • Pests and insects: Damp and dark basements also attract pests and insects such as mice, termites, and roaches. Termites will chew your moist support beams while mice invade your locked wood cabinets as they scrounge for food. Rats will also continue the destructive work and worse, introduce fleas to your home.
  • Mold growth: Moisture build-up in the basement may encourage black mold, a toxic fungus that can pollute the air in your home, causing asthma, itchy eyes, headaches, runny nose, and sinus infections.
  • Wood rot: Typical of a moist basement, mold will attach itself to your wooden joists and beams and start eating them, causing them to decay. Within four weeks, they will have lost their strength.

Other than these issues, you’re also likely to experience electricity leaks and preventable house fires because of disintegrating insulation materials and radon gas exposure, which can cause lung cancer.

What Homes are Susceptible to Basement Moisture?

Basement dampness in your home can be tied to a number of things. A timely inspection can reveal what you’re up against. Homes that are likely to experience dampness include:

Home with structural cracks

Cracks in the foundation make it easy for rainwater to seep through into your basement, causing moisture build-up and internal flooding. Soil movements and hydrostatic pressure are the main culprits.

Homes with poor drain tiles or clogged drains

If your home lacks proper surface drainage, it’s going to be susceptible to basement flooding. The same holds true of homes with clogged drains, as they reduce the rate at which water goes out of your basement.

Homes in floodplains

As long as your home is located in an area that’s prone to flooding, you can expect surface water to enter the basement of your home. Flooding is likely to be a problem if you don’t have external drainage or if there are cracks in the foundation.

Homes with poor grading

In such homes, water will almost always seep through to the basement after collecting near the foundation walls after a downpour. The problem may become pronounced where there is no backfilling.

Homes with faulty gutters and pipes

Water is going to pour on the walls and seep through to the basement via cracks in the foundation walls, causing the basement to get damp.

Are you concerned about what damage a damp or moist basement could do to your Winston-Salem, NC, home? Schedule a free basement inspection today and get practical solutions to deal with your moisture issues once and for all!

Crawl Space Pests – Know What Attracts Them and How to Keep Them Out

clean pests from a crawl space

For a long time, we’ve been encouraging homeowners with crawl spaces in Winston-Salem, NC, to use plastic encapsulation to lock out moisture, prevent mold growth and slash energy bills. But that’s not the only concern. Pests and rodents threaten the below-ground area under your home. Knowing how potent they are, you wouldn’t want them to establish a presence.   

Cleaning can help stop crawl space pests from infesting or gaining a foothold of your Winston-Salem home. But before that, let’s look at what draws pests in.

clean pests from a crawl space

What attracts pests to crawl spaces?

Generally, pests are drawn to your crawl space for a number of reasons. The first is the existing humid conditions. Hot and humid summer air from the outside enters this space and creates the perfect conditions for them to breed.

The other reason is the abundance of food. Rotting wood, beetles and crawling insects make a delicious menu for many pests. When they move in, they will have more than enough to eat. And they won’t have to scrounge to get their daily bread.

Another thing is the warm conditions that exist. Temperatures here average from 50°F-60°F throughout the year, making it a paradise for nocturnal pests looking for a place they can call home. Also, this place is often secluded and dark. Rats, mice, and raccoons can take shelter here without worrying that anyone will bother them.

Lastly, the crawl space is a place pests can access easily and via different ways including vents, foundation cracks, joists that reach the soil, or through tunnels on the dirt floor.

Controlling crawl space rodents

Once you notice pest activity, it’s important that you take appropriate action to curb their spread. Here are some effective ways to deal with the pest menace.

Apply biocides and pesticides

If you want to eliminate pests that play hide and seek with you, lace their favorite food with pesticides. Results are almost instant. However, you will have to keep reapplying the poison until you’re sure the crawl space is free of pests. You can source a bottle of pesticide from the local agrochemical store for a couple of bucks.

Seal the crawl space

Of all the measures you’re going to take to protect your crawl space, none is as important as encapsulation. Basically, this involves laying a plastic vapor barrier wall to wall and across the floor and taping it down with a sealing tape. We recommend a 20-mil plastic barrier as it’s tear-proof and effective in keeping moisture out.

Seal gaps, cracks, openings

Rats and mice are likely to access the crawl space through minute cracks or gaps around crawl space doors. However, their most common point of entry is vents. Install vent covers and airtight doors in your crawl space and ask your local basement and crawl space contractor to fill up cracks.

Dehumidify the crawl space

Encapsulating the crawl space alone won’t bring down moisture levels. You have to install a dehumidifier to regulate the moisture content in this space. Ideally, it should be in the range of 45-50%. Otherwise, rats and mice will want to come in to escape the dry air outside.

Set mouse traps

When pests start playing hide and seek, go all out and catch them wherever there are. Set traps with baits, small portions of food, and leave them on their tracks or near their tunnels. You can get good traps for a couple of dollars from your local hardware store.

Clear out and clean the crawl space

If there’s a serious pest infestation, you have to clear out everything in the crawl space. Debris, branches, twigs, rocks, and leaves that have collected in there have to go. When you’re through, all the rats and mice that used to trouble you won’t have anywhere to hide.

Store food away

One reason why pests crawl into this space is they can smell food. Ensure that you store food in the kitchen and pantry. Don’t bring any food item to the crawl space or store it there.

If you truly care about what happens in the crawl space of your Winston-Salem, NC, home, you wouldn’t allow pests to come in and colonize it. Schedule a free crawl space inspection and find out what ails your crawl space today! 

Crawl Space Inspections: Are They Worth It?

crawl space inspection

Raleigh, NC, is home to as many crawl spaces as it is basements. Because crawl spaces are often found in older homes, though, it may be more difficult for you to know when one is leaking and when one’s just showing its age.

This is where crawl space inspectors come into play. An experienced inspector will be able to tell you when your crawl space needs waterproofing. Is it worth it, though, to commit to a crawl space inspection?
crawl space inspection

Investing in a Crawl Space Inspection: Why Bother?

If you’re a long-time resident of Raleigh, NC, you may find yourself wondering: as a homeowner, do you even need a crawl space inspection if you’re not storing anything? And even if you do, couldn’t you handle the inspection yourself if you had a checklist on hand?

The short answer is no. Licensed crawl space repair contractors have to get approval from the state to work in the conditions that they do. Their certifications note that they’re able to detect problems with your crawl space that the untrained eye might miss. If you try to do their work for them, you may end up overlooking a substantial problem and costing yourself more money in repairs over the next few years.

If it’s the cost you’re worried about, though, don’t let it get to you. Most contractors in Raleigh, NC, will perform a crawl space inspection for free. After the inspection, your inspector will note any problems they found with your crawl space and provide you with a cost quote. It’ll be up to you, after that point, to choose whether or not you want to have your crawl space repaired.

Breaking An Inspection Down

Say, then, that you schedule a crawl space inspection. What do these inspections typically look like, and what is your inspector looking for?

Crawl space inspections can be broken down into three phases: entry, superficial observations, and detailed observations.

The entry process is just what it sounds like – your inspector will look over the entry to your crawl space and make sure they can easily get inside. Your crawl space’s entry point needs to be, at a minimum, 2′ x 18″. If it’s any smaller, you’ll fail your crawl space inspection immediately and have to pay to widen your crawl space’s entrance.

If an inspector is able to get into your crawl space, you’ll move onto the second part of the inspection. The general inspection involves a crawl space inspector looking over your entry point and the body of your space to see if any nails are loose, any electrical wires are hanging out, or if you have standing water making your space unusable. Should any of these problems arise, you’ll fail your inspection.

Finally, should an inspector not notice any of the aforementioned problems, you’ll move on to the detailed inspection. During this process, an inspector will keep an eye out for:

As long as your crawl space is termite-free and otherwise clean, you’ll pass your inspection with flying colors. If the inspector does find something off in your space, they’ll provide you with a quote for their repair service. You won’t have to commit to repairs at the moment, but they’ll be worth addressing quickly.

Inspections and Vapor Barriers

Do you need to have a crawl space inspection, though, if you’ve already had a vapor barrier installed in your home? Yes. Vapor barriers are strong, permanent encapsulation and waterproofing solutions for your crawl space, but they can start to show their age with time. Inspectors who come into your home will be able to tell you more about the status of your vapor barrier and recommend replacements when the time comes.

Don’t let your crawl space repairs get away from you. You can schedule a free inspection with a local Raleigh, NC, inspector to keep your space in tip-top shape.

Everything You Need To Know About Plastic Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulations

Moisture issues in your Raleigh, NC, home may force you to scour the web for solutions that will address the dampness. Like every anxious homeowner, you may look at what options are on the table or look for the most effective solution. Only one exists and you’ll find out shortly.

Contractors generally agree encapsulation is the only way out. Read on to learn more about this solution and what you can expect as far as cost, sourcing, and installation are concerned.

Crawl space encapsulations

What is the most effective type of encapsulation?

Actually, there aren’t many options when it comes to encapsulating your crawl space, so it would be misleading to say there are many types of crawl space encapsulations. Sealing the crawl space with a plastic vapor barrier is the one and only solution available for now.

Depending on your location and the weather conditions, you can decide to seal and condition the crawl space using sump pumps and dehumidifiers or just install a plastic encapsulation only in your crawl space. If you live in a humid or flood-prone area, encapsulation alone won’t stop your moisture problems. You will have to install a dehumidifier to control moisture levels and sump pumps to control flooding.

As for the choice of a plastic barrier, we strongly recommend the thicker, stronger and tear-proof 20-mil plastic encapsulation over the thinner, tear-prone, non-durable 6-mil roll.

Where can I get encapsulation material?

After deciding you’re going to carry out an encapsulation in your crawl space, the next huddle is usually finding the place to source your crawl space encapsulation materials. Buying your materials online may seem cheaper. 

However, it is a better idea to seek the recommendation of your local basement contractor before you make a purchase. They know the finer details, and they could get you a better deal from their regular suppliers.

How long does installation take?

While encapsulation may not necessarily interfere with your daily lives, it’s good to know how long the process takes for planning purposes.

The first is whether you’re installing a barrier only or installing a barrier along with waterproofing fixtures, such as a dehumidifier or sump pumps. If the crawl space is clean, the installation will be fast. However, if the crawl space is in bad shape, you’ll have to clean it out before you encapsulate it.

Generally, a well-maintained crawl space will make work easier for the basement contractor, meaning encapsulation could take 8-10 hours. Otherwise, you may find the process may take days if it’s derelict.

How much to encapsulate the crawl space?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re interested in knowing the cost of encapsulating your crawl space. The cost will vary depending on the size of your home, the condition of the crawl space, and the complexity of the job. Add to these the material required and the work hours. On the lower side, it can be around $5,000, but it can go as high as $20,000.

Given that there’s a range of encapsulating materials, low-cost contractors may use cheaper materials so they can increase their profit margins. Always go for the best if you can as this is a long-term investment. Labor will take up a chunk of your budget as well, starting at $100 per hour. However, some contractors may charge a fixed project fee inclusive of labor and material. Be sure to ask your contractor how much is charged for labor.

If your crawl space is in poor condition, it’s going to need some serious preparation, and that means you’ll spend more. Flooding and humidity may also add to the costs as you will have to get sump pumps and a dehumidifier.

Should I install a vapor barrier myself?

We wouldn’t advise you to attempt a do-it-yourself with your crawl space. A lot of things can go wrong. Besides, you may just waste time and money and never get to complete the encapsulation project. Since the crawl space is a sensitive place in which conditions affect that of the living area, you wouldn’t want to take chances with it. Mold, leakage, pests and other undesirable consequences including health and safety risks are very much real. It’s best if you leave it to a skilled contractor.

Need to encapsulate your crawl space but don’t know where to start? Request a free crawl space encapsulation quote from your local basement and crawl space contractor in Raleigh, NC, today!

Problems Down Under? Dealing with a Foundation Problem

Damp basement can lead to foundation problems

Dealing with a leak inside your home is never fun. To really stop a leak, you need to know where it’s coming from. Unfortunately, the untrained eye can’t always tell. Foundation leaks, in particular, are difficult to identify because they look so much like basement leaks. How, then, can you determine whether it’s your basement or foundation that’s leaking? Once you’ve figured it out, what can you do to keep your home stable and healthy?

Damp basement can lead to foundation problems

Why is Your Foundation Leaking?

Sometimes, malfunctions inside your home can trigger a foundation leak. Your foundation is likely to develop a crack if your interior pipes are leaking, for example.

Other times, it’s external events or influences that allow water into your home. Did you plant a tree too close to the perimeter of your home? Is the weather changing at an unusually fast pace? Tree roots will move your foundation around, whereas abrupt changes in the weather will place an excessive amount of stress on the material making up your foundation.

Unfortunately, there are times when leaks are more severe and yet aren’t the fault of anything inside or outside of your home. In these situations, the structure of your home may be the source of your problems. If a contractor used green wood for your home supports, you may quickly notice your walls bowing due to a foundation leak. Likewise, foundations made out of brick and concrete often fall victim to extreme stress when they haven’t been waterproofed.

Finally, note that extreme weather conditions can cause even the sturdiest of foundations to leak. While North Carolina isn’t a hot spot for earthquakes, excessive flooding can still force cracks to appear in your foundation.

What Are the Symptoms of a Foundation Leak?

Basement leaks and foundation leaks look similar at first. More often than not, you’ll need to bring in a contractor to help you determine the origin of your leak. If you do suspect it’s your foundation that may be leaking, inspect the inside of your home first. Some of the most common signs of a foundation leak include:

  • Gaps between the walls and your foundation
  • Vertical interior cracks
  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Cooler temperatures
  • Infestations

If you can’t spot any symptoms inside your home, head outdoors and inspect your perimeter. You’ll be able to tell if your foundation is leaking if you can spot:

  • Cracks in your chimney
  • Cracks along your foundation
  • Visible porch or home sinkage

A foundation leak can compromise the structural integrity of your entire home, so don’t wait to reach out to a professional if you spot these symptoms. The faster you act, the more money you’ll save on repairs and the better off your home will be.

Can You Sell a Home with a Foundation Leak?

What happens if you discover a foundation leak right before you put your house on the market? The good news is that you can sell a home with a history of foundation leaks. There are, however, two ways you can approach the situation.

If you’re not interested in spending money to waterproof your foundation, you can always sell your home as-is, noting its history in your pitch. However, in doing so you risk losing upwards of 30 percent of your home’s value.

Alternatively, you can fix and waterproof your foundation, then list your home for its full value. This way, you’ll be able to break even on your sale, even though you’ll have spent some extra money up front.

The choice is yours when it comes to selling a home with foundation issues. If you’re wondering which path will serve you best, you can always reach out to a local North Carolina contractor for an inspection of your foundation and quote for possible repairs.

How Can You Waterproof Your Foundation?

If you want to waterproof your foundation, you can easily reach out to a local contractor to rid your home of water.

  • Waterproof insulation – If you’re only dealing with a minor leak, you can insulate your basement with waterproof insulation. While a temporary solution, the insulation will drive water away from any belongings you have stored and keep your basement dry.
  • French drains – For more severe leaks, consider installing a French drain. These drains collect and redirect water away from your home.
  • Sump pumps – Like French drains, sump pumps actively move water away from your home. Any water collected by the interior French drainage system is directed to the sump pump system and then pumped out of and away from the home.
  • Sealants – You can also take advantage of temporary sealants while looking for ways to waterproof your foundation. These sealants are not permanent solutions and will need to be applied on a yearly basis, but they’ll serve as chemical barriers designed to keep water out of your house.
  • Dehumidifiers – Dehumidifiers actively draw dampness out of the air and convert that moisture back into its liquid form. While not great for excessive flooding, installing a dehumidifier will help you stay on top of any dampness that might evolve into a more substantial leak later down the line. They also improve the overall air quality of your home and help curb mold growth.

Ready to reclaim your home? If you think your foundation may be leaking, reach out to a North Carolina contractor for a free inspection and repair quote.

Protecting Your Foundation From Cracks: Tips and Tricks

Guide to fixing foundation problems

Guide to fixing foundation problems

Owning a home puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. It’s not just you, though, that’s under a lot of stress. If you live in an area that sees frequent weather fluctuations, then your foundation may be under pressure, too. That excess pressure can sometimes lead to the development of a foundational crack.

What kinds of cracks have homeowners had to contend with before, and what steps can you take to keep your foundation whole? Let’s break down your options so you can keep your home in tip-top shape.

Why Foundations Crack

Your foundation comes under a lot of stress while supporting your home. As the weather warms, the particles that make up your foundation will expand. In turn, your foundation will grow. As the weather cools, those particles will shrink, and your foundation will contract.

Unfortunately, North Carolina’s weather can be unpredictable. When the weather starts to change rapidly, your foundation will struggle to keep up with the demanded expansions and contractions. When your foundation comes under this amount of stress, it may crack in an attempt to comply with environmental demands.

That said, there are other reasons your foundation may crack. Expansive root systems from nearby trees, for example, may bully their way into your foundation, generating cracks as they go.

Types of Foundation Cracks

The good news is that, should your foundation crack, it can only crack in so many ways. More often than not, you’ll have to deal with one of the three following crack types:

  • Vertical. Vertical cracks tend to appear in newer homes. Your contractors will most likely support the foundation of your home with wooden beams. Unfortunately, some contractors opt to use wooden beams that haven’t fully matured. This green wood responds poorly when exposed to standing water or dampness in the long-term. When the wood caves, you’ll start to see the walls of your crawl space or basement bow, and your foundation will vertically crack.
  • Horizontal. You’re most likely to see a horizontal crack in your foundation if you have a foundation made out of brick or concrete. These foundations contract and grow in response to changes in the weather. If the weather changes too quickly or your foundation is exposed to water, the materials will crack to better keep up with the physical demands of their environment.
  • Diagonal. Diagonal cracks appear in your foundation for much the same reason horizontal ones appear. However, diagonal cracks indicate that your foundation is settling unevenly. If you notice rainwater settling on one side of your basement or crawl space more frequently than the other, then you’ll need to talk to a contractor about the steps you can take to avoid the development of a diagonal crack.

Signs of a Cracked Foundation

You won’t always be able to spot a crack in your foundation, even if it’s resulted in a leak. If you think you do have a crack to contend with, though, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Unpleasant smells
  • Pest infestations
  • Cooler basement temperatures
  • Fogging windows
  • Standing water or frequent leaks
  • Water damage

While these signs are also symptoms of a leak, they can help point you toward any foundation cracks that may be letting excess water into your home.

How to Keep Your Foundation From Cracking

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for your foundation to crack to act. There are steps you can take to keep your foundation in one piece. These include:

  • Waterproof your foundation. Long-term exposure to flood waters can put extra stress on your foundation. That’s why it’s important, upon construction, to talk to a professional about the different waterproofing solutions you have available to you. Tools like French drains, sump pumps, dehumidifiers, temporary sealants, and vapor barriers can all redirect water away from your foundation, ensuring that it remains structurally sound for longer.
  • Clean your gutters. There are some basic chores you can do around your home to keep your foundation safe, too. Cleaning your gutters may be a pain, but doing so will help you keep water away from your foundation. A gunky gutter will spill water right out onto your perimeter, allowing precipitation to reach your foundation and add additional stress to its already heavy load.
  • Be careful with your landscaping. As mentioned, expansive root networks can compromise the structure of your foundation. If you’re planting trees or bushes in your lawn, make sure the largest are at least 20 feet away from your home upon their planting.
  • Water your lawn. If the soil around your home is healthy, it can help prevent the worst side effects of excessive North Carolina rainstorms. As soil is exposed to water, the particles remain hearty and hale. During droughts, however, soil particles will shrink. These shrunken particles won’t be able to absorb any excess water that arrives with the first rainstorm after a drought. When you water your lawn, you keep your soil healthy and help it absorb excess rainwater when storms do arrive.

You can work with a North Carolina contractor to reduce the amount of stress your foundation is under. Don’t let the local weather keep you from retaining the value of your home.

Want a Cleaner, Healthier North Carolina Home? Encapsulate Your Crawl Space

Install Crawl Space Encapsulation

Install Crawl Space Encapsulation

When you have lived comfortably in North Carolina for many years, it is easy to forget what problems a vented crawl space could cause to your home. The common ones are mold spores that trigger allergies, high energy bills, and of course, pests and crawling insects. Not sure if you’d be happy to deal with these.

Don’t be like so many people who act surprised when they notice mold or damp floors and walls in a living space. It might be too late to reverse the damage caused by high moisture levels. Encapsulate the crawl space, and you’ll never have to deal with any of the unpleasant effects.

Crawl Space Encapsulation 101 — The Basics

You’ve probably heard your neighbor talk about how their basement contractor encapsulated their crawl space and you didn’t make sense of it. Crawl space encapsulation is a protection method that entails sealing the crawl space to keep it moisture free. Unlike other techniques, the focus is on dealing with the moisture and preventing leaks. A thick plastic vapor barrier is then used to cover the floors and the walls. If there are obstacles such as piers or pillars, foam spraying is used to seal objects. The cost of encapsulation depends on the size of the crawl space. Some contractors charge per foot, while others charge a flat project fee. Before encapsulation starts, it’s good to get a free estimate of the project cost so you can budget accordingly.

How does Encapsulation Work?

Now that you know what encapsulation is, it’s natural to ask what the process entails. Typical encapsulation projects go like this:

  • Prepare the crawl space. Before the work begins, the contractor will clear and clean out this space by removing dirt, debris, and old and damaged insulation.
  • Water vapor barrier installation. This entails covering the crawl space walls and floor with a polyethylene vapor barrier, then taping it using a double-sided sealing tape.
  • Seal pipes, ducts, and cabling. The contractor cuts the barrier around obstacles and mechanicals. Any gaps created are filled with extra sealing tape.

Once the crawl space has been sealed, your contractor may suggest that you install a dehumidifier to control moisture levels.

Note: Bulk water or seepage has to be addressed with solutions like interior perimeter drainage and a sump pump before the encapsulation project gets underway.

What are the Benefits of Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Though it may seem costly at first, crawl space encapsulation has many lasting benefits. The first is clean indoor air. Since no toxic gases or musty smells are entering your home, you and your loved ones can live and breathe easy. Your home will be a haven of comfort and you can live, eat and sleep in peace.

Further, you won’t have to worry about mold or fungi, which is known to thrive in humid and damp homes. Mold is a toxic substance, and it’s a major cause of allergies and asthma attacks. Because the crawl space is sealed, water and moisture won’t penetrate the living space above and trigger mold growth. Your home will remain dry and free of mold all year round.

Structural issues such as rotten wood joists or rust and cracks on walls are common problems in homes with vented crawl spaces. Left unchecked, these can weaken the subsurface structure of the home and make it a dangerous place to live. Crawl space encapsulation together with waterproofing methods ensures no water from the outside gets to the crawl space. The outcome is a dry and strong structure that can hold up the home for many years.

Are you struggling with high monthly utility bills? The open crawl space below your home could be the cause. Encapsulation can help you create an energy-efficient home. Since the temperature in the living space and the crawl space will be the same, you won’t have to turn on your heater or air conditioner for long. This means less power consumption and a lower utility bill at the end of the month.

Another benefit of encapsulation is that you’re going to need fewer repairs than before. Repairing a water-damaged home or one with cracks is a costly undertaking that could run into thousands of dollars.

Since there’s no moisture to cause wood rot and pipe rust or termites to chew your joists, you will effectively not need the plumber and home repair contractor for a long time! In short, you won’t need repairs anytime soon.

No one wants to wake up at night and find uninvited guests crawling on their floorboards, walls or countertops. Encapsulation discourages pests such as mice, cockroaches, and termites from entering your home. Not only does the sealing remove the conditions that allow them to thrive but it locks these critters out too.

Whichever way you look at encapsulation, it pays off to encapsulate your crawl space. The sooner you do it, the better, as you will reap all the benefits that come with it. Call your crawl space contractor to arrange a free inspection and estimate.

Waterproofing Your Crawl Space With A Vapor Barrier

install a crawl space vapor barrier

install a crawl space vapor barrier

When your crawl space starts to leak, you’re going to want to get rid of the water – and fast. If you don’t, you risk damaging the belongings you’ve so carefully stored away.

The good news is that there are several waterproofing solutions at your disposal, including a vapor barrier coupled with drainage and sump pump systems. What is a vapor barrier, though, and when is it time to think about installing one? Let’s dive into the details so you can determine for yourself whether or not a crawl space vapor barrier is the solution for you.

Signs of a Leaking Crawl Space

Prevention may be the best medicine when it comes to a crawl space leak, but you don’t want to spend money on a solution you don’t need. Before you install your vapor barrier, make sure your crawl space is actually leaking. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:

Vapor Barriers: The Basics

Vapor barriers are near-impermeable plastic-like sheets you can install in your crawl space. Not only will these sheets keep most of the water out of your crawl space, but they’ll also prevent most gases from getting in and out of the space as well.

Encapsulating your crawl space is a permanent solution that will properly seal the area from the earth. You also can make your vapor barrier last longer if you, for example, install a French drain and sump pump at the same time as your barrier installation.

How to Use a Vapor Barrier In Your Crawl Space

If you’ve decided you need to install a vapor barrier in your crawl space, never fear. The installation process, which is best left to a professional contractor, is usually fairly straightforward. Just keep an eye out for bumps in the road along the way!

In general, installing a vapor barrier as part of the encapsulation process requires the following steps:

  1. Dry out your crawl space. It’s not easy to waterproof a crawl space that’s still damp from the last North Carolina rainstorm. Do what you can to get water out of your space. You may need to install a dehumidifier, French drain, or sump pump if you need help pumping the water out of your home.
  2. Find and seal your leak. Once you’ve removed any standing water or dampness, you can start sealing off the leaks that let the moisture into your home in the first place. The good news is that it’s easier to find leaks that result in standing water than it is to find leaks that just result in dampness. If you can’t find the location of a leak on your own, you’re going to want to reach out to a contractor. It’s possible that water may be getting into your crawl space via your foundation. In these situations, you’re going to need to attend to any foundation cracks or other damage before moving on with the installation process.
  3. Clear away old or damaged insulation. Under most circumstances, you can use insulation to further waterproof your crawl space. However, you’re going to want to remove any old or damaged insulation from your crawl space prior to installing your vapor barrier. Why? Because old and damaged insulation provides the perfect bed for mold particles. The last thing you want to deal with after you’ve installed your vapor barrier is mold clusters. You can, of course, install new insulation where the old material once was. Just be sure to have it replaced at the same time you replace your new vapor barrier.
  4. Install your vapor barrier. Once the stage is set, you can move to start laying your vapor barrier. During this process, be sure to cut holes so you can continue to access any pipes or physical structures you may need to at a later date.
  5. Implement additional waterproofing solutions. With the installation complete, consider stacking your vapor barrier with other waterproofing solutions. Permanently installing a dehumidifier, for example, can help your barrier last longer.

Crawl spaces are excellent hideaways for the belongings you want to put into storage. Don’t let North Carolina’s rain keep you from using yours. If you want to install a vapor barrier, reach out to a contractor for a free inspection and estimate and to learn about your options ASAP.

Foundation Cracks – Understanding Good & Bad Foundation Cracks

cracks in my foundation

cracks in my foundation

Any person who values their home will naturally be alarmed to see cracks in their foundation walls. Concrete foundations are prone to cracks. The question is not if they will crack, but when. With that in mind, you should always be on the lookout for foundation cracks. They may start small like hairline cracks and widen with time, letting in water and insects.

Cosmetic Cracks Are Not Dangerous

Most cracks are cosmetic. While unsightly, hairline cracking is a normal thing in most North Carolina homes. They don’t usually indicate serious structural risks or create unsafe conditions. Such cracks are usually narrow and occur at offset corners. If you notice a crack that’s hairline to about 1/8 inch in width, don’t worry about it. An epoxy injection is all you need to fix it.

However, if you have repaired these cracks and they’re back within a short time, it’s a clear sign your foundation is on the move. Ask a structural engineer to examine your foundation.

Structural Cracks Pose Serious Risks

Any crack that’s in the range of 9/16th to 1 inch should be a real cause of concern to any homeowner. They could signal a deeper and larger problem. Because they’re wide, such cracks easily let in water, insects, pests and radon gas. Moisture causes mold problems while radon is a toxic gas. Insects and pests can infest your basement, climb up to the living area, and cause all kinds of problems from contamination to structural damage.

Telltale signs of structural cracks include:

  • Diagonal cracks at corners of concrete foundation walls (poured)
  • Horizontal cracks or stair-step cracks along foundation walls
  • Bulging and inward bowing of walls
  • Walls leaning inwards at the top
  • Inward sliding of walls at the bottom
  • Moist clay around the home

All these signs indicate the soil beneath the foundation is moving and your foundation is moving. In case you notice any of these, contact your local basement and foundation repair contractor to avert more foundation problems.

Pay attention to the size, direction, shape and the location of cracks. Depending on the nature or depth or seriousness of the crack, your contractor may install foundation piers, use carbon fiber reinforcement, or do concrete lifting to raise and restore sunken concrete slabs. All these require the input of a skilled and licensed professional.

What Causes Foundations to Crack?

When the foundation cracks, it’s normal to want to know what instigated the gaps. Several things can cause cracking, and the most common culprits are:

  1. Contraction of concrete: As concrete slabs harden, they lose moisture. Evaporation causes them to contract and shrink. The concrete may put on some resistance for a while but it will eventually give in to the tension that pulls it apart, resulting in cracks.
  2. Foundation settlement: It’s normal for the foundation of a new home to sink two or three years after construction because of its weight. The downward movement isn’t always even, resulting in cracks. After that, the foundation will stabilize. Foundation settlement repair can rectify the problem.
  3. Poor construction: Before a new home is built, the soil should be tested and compacted, then the appropriate footing designed to support the home. Some builders overlook these steps or skip them. Still others use substandard materials, causing your foundation to crack.
  4. Tree roots: This may come as a surprise. Roots of big trees are pretty strong. When they make their way into the soil beneath the home, they can lift sections of the foundation, causing it to crack. Make sure you don’t plant them near your home.
  5. Dry soil conditions: During dry weather, the soil under the foundation tends to shrink. This creates a significant gap between your home’s foundation and the surrounding soil. Back and forth pressure on the foundation causes it to shift and fill the gap.
  6. Hydrostatic pressure: After a heavy downpour, the soil around the perimeter becomes saturated and heavy. This exerts inward pressure on the foundation walls, causing it to bulge and crack.

Whether you’re dealing with hairline cracks or the more serious structural cracks, it pays to have foundation repair contractors in North Carolina inspect your basement and foundation walls. Though they may not guarantee you the cracks are harmless, they know how to tell a bad crack from a good one and how it should be repaired.

Have foundation cracks in your home or burning questions on the same? Contact your local contractor to get answers by scheduling an appointment for a free foundation inspection and repair estimate today.

Does Your Home Need Crawl Space Insulation or Encapsulation?

crawl space insulation and encapsulation

crawl space insulation and encapsulation

When you live in North Carolina, you get used to your fair share of precipitation. You shouldn’t get used to a flooded crawl space, though.

Both the encapsulation and insulation processes can help you keep your crawl space dry even after the worst of North Carolina’s rains. It’s deciding which process to use that’s the real challenge, though.

Which Process Is Better?

Before we get started, let’s get the argument out of the way. Which is the more effective process, encapsulation or insulation? That depends entirely on how much water your crawl space takes in after a storm. The encapsulation process will protect your home from excess leakage, making it ideal for homes that see frequent flooding. The insulation process, however, is ideal for homes that only see a few leaks a year.

In short, assess the state of your crawl space before committing to one of these processes. You don’t want to over- or under-commit!

Insulation: The Steps You’ll Take

With that in mind, let’s take a look at insulation and the insulating process. Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It can also play a waterproofing role in your crawl space if it is prone to leaks.

The process of insulating your crawl space typically involves the following steps:

  1. Clear away the water – There’s no point in insulating a crawl space that’s full of water. Before you start replacing your old insulation, you’re going to need to pump any remaining floodwaters out of your crawl space. This could be as simple as installing a temporary dehumidifier. Alternatively, you may need a contractor to help you physically remove water from your space.
  2. Take preventive steps – Once the water is out of your crawl space, you’ll need to find where it was coming from. This means finding the source of the leak. You should be able to identify leaks in your walls and joints by following the flow of water into your crawl space. However, if the leak is coming up through your foundation, you’re going to need a contractor’s help to seal it.
  3. Remove old insulation – With all visible leaks plugged, you’ll need to uninstall any old insulation you have in your crawl space. Why remove it instead of reuse it? Because your old insulation may have been damaged after long-term exposure to leaks. Damaged insulation can release allergens into your home while also providing strains of mold a breeding ground. Best to get rid of it and replace it with something cleaner.
  4. Install new insulation – Speaking of which, once your old insulation is out of the way, you can go about replacing it with waterproof insulation. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a brand or type to use, be sure to discuss the matter with your contractor.
  5. Protect your pipes – As you’re installing your new insulation, keep a close eye on the pipes you’re working around. You’re going to want to insulate your crawl space pipes well, as colder weather may cause them to crack and break if they go unprotected.
  6. Further waterproof your crawl space – Once you’ve finished, you might want to consider using other forms of waterproofing in addition to the insulation you’ve installed. These options include temporary sealants, drainage mats, a French drain, a sump pump and more. You can even stack the insulating and encapsulating processes if your crawl space is prone to severe flooding.

As mentioned, insulation will keep your walls and joints safe, should the North Carolina rains start to get to you. However, if your crawl space is leaking through its foundation, then you’re going to need the help of a contractor to keep your belongings dry.

Encapsulation: The Steps You’ll Take

Now, let’s look at the encapsulation process for comparison. The encapsulation process involves the installation of large plastic-like sheets in your crawl space. Coupled with a perimeter drainage system and sump pump system, these sheets will help direct water away from your belonging.

The process of encapsulating your crawl space typically involves the following steps:

  1. Clear away the water – As with the insulating process, you’ll need to clear water out of your crawl space before getting started.
  2. Take preventative steps – Likewise, you’ll need to plug any leaks ahead of time so as not to ruin your encapsulation job while you’re in the middle of it. Again, you’ll need a contractor’s assistance if the leak is coming up through your foundation.
  3. Remove old insulation – Once again, you’ll need to remove old and damaged insulation from your crawl space so as to improve the health of your home.
  4. Put up a vapor barrier – Instead of replacing the old insulation with new insulation, you’re going to install a vapor barrier. This is the large white plastic sheet (or another material, depending on what you’ve agreed to with your contractor) that will keep your belongings dry the next time it rains.
  5. Install a dehumidifier – Optionally, you can ask your contractor to install a dehumidifier in your crawl space. A dehumidifier will pull any excess moisture from the air and help your encapsulation last longer.
  6. Further waterproof your crawl space – Finally, if you’re worried about leaks getting through your encapsulation, you can ask your contractor what additional waterproofing solutions are available to you.

Don’t let North Carolina’s weather keep you from using your crawl space. Whether you choose to encapsulate or insulate, you can take back this space for yourself. Contact a trusted local repair expert for a free inspection and estimate to learn more.

No More Indoor Pools: Dealing With Damp Walls and Floors

standing water in the basement

Raleigh, NC, may not be famous for its precipitation levels – but it should be. If you live in the area, you know you’re as likely to see a rainstorm as you are a sunny day, especially in the wintertime.

While some residents enjoy the rain, no one enjoys finding standing water in their basement. Unfortunately, older homes tend to see water leaking into their basements with regularity. Even newer homes that haven’t been waterproofed may fall victim to frequent leaks.

standing water in the basement

Are your basement walls and floors damp? Don’t think you have to resign yourself to those conditions forever. In fact, choosing to leave your basement to its soggy fate can have negative effects on the value of your home, not to mention the health of your family.

What can you do, then, to drive the dampness out of your home? There are several different steps you can take, all of which will help you reclaim your space for yourself.

What to Look for In a Damp Basement

Most homeowners believe standing puddles or damp walls are the only real signs of a wet basement.

This, however, isn’t the case. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms to determine whether or not your home has fallen victim to unusually high levels of dampness:

  • Cooler temperatures – Increased moisture in the air will reduce the temperature in your basement.
  • Increased humidity – Likewise, as water evaporates in your home, the humidity will rise, making the air feel thicker and wetter.
  • Curling paper or damaged materials – Are your stored belongings coming out of their boxes wet? Are the boxes themselves curling up at the edges? If so, you may have a leak on your hands.
  • Fogged windows – If you have the heat on and notice the windows in your basement (usually gutter windows) are fogging up, you may have an unusual amount of moisture in the air. While this isn’t an immediate sign of a leak, you’ll still want to check and see if water is getting into your basement.
  • Warping door frames – Wooden door frames respond poorly to the presence of excess water. If you go downstairs and notice your doors are sticking in their frames, or that your door frame looks bent out of shape, you likely have a large leak on your hands.
  • Mold – Wet walls and floors are an ideal environment for basement mold. Even if your basement seems dry, keep an eye out for unusual growths. If mold has clustered in one particular part of your basement, you’ll know that area sees the most frequent leaks.

Fixing Wet Walls and Floors

There are two different paths you can take when looking to waterproof your home. You can either waterproof your home from the inside or waterproof it from the outside.

Interior waterproofing will let you use a variety of tools, including:

  • French Drains: These drains, while a temporary solution, will pump the water out of your home, reducing the risk of long-term damage in your basement. You can pair these drains with a sump pump for long-term success. Whether you pair them or not, installation will typically take one to two days.
  • Drainage Mats: Another temporary solution, drainage mats are tarps you can use to collect the water that would normally gather on your walls and floors.
  • Sealants: Sealants are also temporary waterproofing solutions, lasting up to a year at a time, depending on the brand you’ve brought into your home. Seal the interior foundation of your home if you’re dealing with minor leaks or if you need a quick fix to a larger problem.
  • Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers will help reduce the amount of humidity you see in your basement. Another temporary solution, dehumidifiers will primarily help basements that see wet walls by reducing the opportunity for water clusters to form.

You can also talk to a contractor about a dig-and-seal process, which involves the excavation of your home’s foundation. This is not a permanent fix to leaks, but it is an option worth considering if your basement floods frequently.

Note that waterproofing the exterior of your home is not a process you should take on alone. An experienced contractor will be able to get to the heart of your problem. With their help, you’ll be able to waterproof your home for up to ten years without worry.

The Benefit of an Immediate Fix

Don’t wait to have your basement leak fixed. By leaving standing water in your home, you put the value of your estate and your family’s health at risk. Standing water can:

  • Compromise the security of your electrical circuits
  • Damage your foundation by introducing cracks
  • Damage your stored belongings
  • Grow mold that negatively impacts the health of everyone in the home, but especially children

In short, don’t give up the fight against the Raleigh, NC, weather. Reach out to our professional experts if your basement walls and floors are damp. After contacting us for a free inspection and estimate, we can help give you back your home with reliable solutions that will repair and protect it for good.

Hurricane Protection

Hurricane Protection

Flooding and Storm Surge
Know if you are in an area that can potentially flood and be prepared. Don’t go into flood or storm surge waters. These are a drowning risk and can sweep you away. There are also invisible dangers such as hidden obstacles and health hazards from contamination in the water.

Stay Inside
Stay put indoors unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must travel, have your evacuation route planned out and don’t drive through flood waters.

Keep Updated
Use media such as your local weather station or social media to track storm and hurricane updates. This will keep you informed of the storm’s path and intensity, as well as when it may be safe to emerge and alert you on important evacuation information.

Know How to Turn Off Your Utilities
Gas and electrical fires are a major cause of property damage during storms. Make sure to turn off your utilities if you evacuate your home.

Be Ready
In the event of an evacuation, have a plan in place such that your family and pets are ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Make sure you have any food, baby formula, diapers, and pet carriers set up or packed in advance.

Additional Resources

The last thing you want is for a storm to leave permanent damage on your home. Flooding, storm surge, and intensive hurricane rain and wind can weaken the structural integrity of your home, and standing water left behind by a flood creates the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and wood rotting fungus to grow. Our home solutions can help after a storm and can prevent damage in the first place. Get a free inspection and estimate from Tar Heel Basement Systems so that you know your home is safe. Our mission is to protect, repair, and improve our customer’s greatest asset – their home.

Scholarship

Tar Heel Basement Systems gives back to the community with scholarships

Building Solid Foundations Scholarship

*Purpose: To redefine the construction industry by empowering our youth to seek careers within the construction field and challenge industry standards!

*A local high school student will receive a $1500 scholarship towards college/university that offers a Construction Industry focused curriculum/program.

To be considered, an applicant:

  • Must be currently enrolled in 11th or 12th grade.
  • Must attend school in the Triad community of North Carolina, which includes the following counties: Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin.

In addition:

  • Winning student must be willing to participate in press release and media engagements announcing the award, including (but not limited to) photo, video & written news releases.
  • Duplicate entries will not improve a candidate’s odds of selection.
  • The judges will base their decisions solely on the information provided within the email submissions.
  • Please provide detailed information so the judges can give the applicant full consideration.
  • Deadline for application 1/19/18.
  • Recipient will be selected & notified on 1/31/18.

To be considered, please submit the following information:

*By submitting this information to Tar Heel Basement Systems, applicants agree and allow Tar Heel Basement Systems to share with the public.

Tar Heel Basement Systems and the American Heart Association team up for annual heart walk

Tar Heel Basement Systems and the American Heart Association team up for annual heart walk

Tar Heel Basement Systems and the American Heart Association team up for annual heart walk    The American Heart Association hosts many walks across the U.S. as a part of their “Healthy for Good” campaign. This year, Tar Heel Basement Systems is sponsoring the 2017 Winston-Salem Heart & Stroke Walk and launching their “Home is Where the Heart is” campaign.  As part of the company’s community outreach mission, this annual walk and fundraiser is a great reminder to get involved, get outside and get moving!

The walk and festivities will be held on Saturday, November 11th, 2017 at the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter of Bailey Park near downtown Winston Salem.  The walk itself will be down Research Parkway and has 1, 2 and 4-mile options along the route. There will also be a lot of fun activities going on in Sponsorship Village (Bailey Park), including a kid zone with games and inflatables. This is also a dog-friendly event and after the walk, there will be a “Pooch Parade” across the main stage in Bailey Park. There will also be a food truck rally with healthy options and then a free concert in the park.

Dozens of our employees have already signed up with their spouses, family members, and children Joining the expected 7,000 walkers! Our donation goal as a team is to raise $2,500 which we feel is attainable and hopefully, we can surpass that!  We will have a company tent set up in Sponsorship Village where you can meet our team, get some cool sponsor items, and information on how to make your home healthier. We also have a fun football toss game that we have donated to the kid zone.  If you would like to Join our team or just donate to help us reach our goal, visit our Heart Walk team page here.

The money contributed to the walk and fundraising efforts by teams and sponsors like us goes to the American Heart Association to fund research projects and life-saving education.  If you would like to know more about the AHA and their Healthy for Good movement, visit their website.

 

WINSTON SALEM HEART & STROKE WALK 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Festivities Begin: 8:30 am

Walk Begins: 10 am

Live music, dog parade, and food trucks after the walk!

 

About Tar Heel Basement Systems

As an industry leading company in basement waterproofing, crawlspace encapsulation, slab and foundation repair, we strive to improve the lives of everyone we encounter.   Healthy homes go hand in hand with a healthy heart!  Want to make your home healthy? – Learn more.

Survival Kit Drive To Support Local Area Homeless

Survival Kit Drive To Support Local Area Homeless

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, roughly 11% of the adult homeless population are veterans. Being a veteran-owned small business, Tar Heel Basement Systems wanted to make an impact not only on homeless veterans but others in the community suffering from homelessness. Survival Kit Drive To Support Local Area Homeless

Tar Heel Basement Systems is known for being the “Hero in Your Home” and providing homeowners with peace of mind when it comes to their basement, crawl space, foundation and concrete slab concerns. With the hope to become the community’s “hero for the homeless,“ Tar Heel Basement Systems will be collecting some of the essential items that many of us take for granted and packing “survival kits” to hand out to the homeless. The goal is to make over 100 survival kits to donate.

We are partnering with three local shelters to donate our supplies to- Lenoir Emergency Outreach Shelter, Asheboro Shelter of Hope and Chapel Hill/Durham’s Housing for New Hope. Each shelter provides a bed, shower access and various required programs which help those in need of finding Jobs, stability, and permanent housing. The survival kits that our team donate will be filled with basic toiletry and hygiene items because unfortunately when those in need come to the shelters, they often don’t have any of life’s daily hygiene supplies.

The supply drive is currently underway until the end of October. For those interested in donating, items can be dropped off at 2910 Griffith Rd. Winston Salem 27103. Supplies will be dropped off at the beginning of November to the designated shelters.

Most needed travel-sized items: 

-Quart size bags

-Shampoo

-Body wash

-Toothbrushes

-Toothpaste

-Combs

-Razors

-Deodorant

 

 

Cooler Weather Brings Creepy Critters

As the cooler weather approaches and the grass begins to frost over, creepy crawlers and unwanted pests are looking to seek shelter. Your vented, damp and dirt crawl space is the perfect location to call home! Open crawl space vents, foundation cracks, piping, and unsealed entry doors allow these creepy critters to easily access your crawl space. basement bugs

Pests love the moisture in your crawl space. Termites can easily access damp wood, making it their food buffet. Spiders love crawl spaces because they eat other bugs and there are usually plenty of them in a damp, dirt crawl space. Mice and rats are able to access your fiberglass insulation, making it the perfect nesting material. Snakes and other cold-blooded animals also love your crawl space. And when it’s time to die, your dirt crawl space is often the place where the decomposition process takes place.

But what about a creepy critter you can’t see? Dust mites are the number one indoor allergen that people with asthma and allergies react to. These microscopic parasites live off skin flakes that you shed! They live in your bedding, carpet, and furniture. Dust mite droppings are tiny and float in the air, where they can be breathed and aggravate allergies and asthma.

Dust mites don’t drink water but absorb it from the air. They need over 50% relative humidity to live. While dust mites may not directly live in your crawl space, they like your crawl space. Why? It’s very difficult to keep your house dry when you have an unsealed dirt crawl space underneath it. It’s the life-giving humidity that allows dust mites to thrive upstairs.

What is the best way to prevent unwanted pests? By having your crawl space sealed by a reliable, reputable and professional company.

Don’t Let Seasonal Changes Hide Trip Hazards Around Your Home

Unlevel Concrete driveway before and after Polyrenewal injection

With autumn making a presence throughout the region, leaves have already begun to change and fall from the trees. Uneven sidewalks, driveways, patios and pool decks could pose a liability concern as these trip hazards can become hidden by the fall foliage.

Why Should You Fix Your Sinking, Unlevel Concrete Slab? Unlevel Concrete driveway before and after Polyrenewal injection

  • The problem will only get worse. Once a slab has cracked and begins sinking, it simply won’t get better with time. In fact, the problem will worsen, resulting in a more costly solution.
  • Resale Value. Who wants to buy a home with an unlevel driveway, a stoop pulling away from the house or floors that are cracked and sinking? No one.
  • Appearance. Concrete that is out of level can often cause ugly cracks not only in the slab itself but also in any structure that sits on top of the slab, such as brick, drywall, plaster, etc.
  • Safety. Have you ever been walking and suddenly tripped on a sidewalk or section of concrete that was a different level than the rest? Those trip hazards can be dangerous and open your property up to unwanted liability.
  • Water Intrusion. Cracks in a concrete slab allow elements from the outside, inside. Cracks let water in, or at the very least, moisture, which can damage your living space in a variety of ways.
  • Pooling Water. As concrete settles and cracks, it creates a perfect environment for water to pool. What happens to that pooled water when it becomes cold outside? Ice forms, causing more safety and liability concerns.
  • Structural Damage. As a concrete slab begins to settle, the structure above will crack and settle as well. This can cause doors to stick, windows to bind, and other structural damages throughout your home.

Sometimes living with the problem for so long makes it seem like the problem really isn’t there–until something happens. With family gatherings and holidays on the horizon, ensure your home’s trip hazards are taken care of, the correct way. Learn more about a concrete lifting foam that can fix these problems for good in less than a day.

Fall Has Arrived in Chilhowie Virginia

The quaint town of Chilhowie, Virginia hosts their annual Chilhowie Community Apple Festival every September. The festival began in the early 1950’s as a way to improve the town and provide farmers and local businesses a way to increase exposure and gain revenue while remaining a family friendly event. Of course apples are a staple crop to the area, hence the name of the festival. Each fall as the air turns a bit cooler the apples are ready for harvest.

Today, the Chilhowie Community Apple Festival has certainly grown over the years into an annual event that the town and surrounding areas cannot wait to attend! There is something for each member of the family. All of the funds raised for the festival are distributed back into the community to help keep the blossoming town growing.

Wanting to support the local community and town, Tar Heel Basement Systems will be a participating vendor at this year’s festival! Brand Ambassador, Jessica, will be present– providing attendees with information and educational literature regarding their home’s basement, crawl space, foundation or slab concerns. You can even sign-up for a free estimate appointment while attending the festival. Look for the bright yellow tent and you’ve found us!

Chilhowie Community Apple Festival

Friday, September 22nd: 10am-6pm

Saturday, September 23rd: 9am-6pm

Sunday, September 24th: 12:30pm-6pm

 

 

Is Your Basement Hurricane Ready?

Is your basement or crawl space ready for hurricane season?

Your basement is in an imperfect structure built into or below the ground. When flash floods and hurricanes hit our state and region, the soils have a hard time absorbing so much water, allowing the water to flow beside your home’s foundation and eventually making its way into your basement. Is your basement or crawl space ready for hurricane season?

Your home is one of your biggest investments both financially and emotionally, that is why you deserve peace of mind that your basement will be able to weather the storm and stay dry.

There are a few steps a homeowner should take to ensure their basement will remain dry:

Gutters

By keeping your gutters and downspouts cleaned regularly, this will help eliminate some of the rain falling near your foundation. However, this option alone won’t eliminate water intrusion into your basement.

Drainage System

Not just any drainage system around your home will work. While your home is required to have an exterior french drain along the perimeter, there is no way of servicing that drain or knowing when it will fail, making it a guessing game for you. Your basement needs a reliable drainage system that can be serviced at any time by the company who installed it or the homeowners. The system should also be resistant to clogging.

Sump Pump

Now that all groundwater has been channeled, the water will need a way to be removed, this is through a reliable sump pumping system that safely removes intruding water and pumps it away from the home. The sump pump should come with an airtight lid, preventing water vapor from escaping back into the basement and offer a batter backup solution to ensure your basement will remain dry during a power outage.

Dehumidifier

Keeping relative humidity low is key to preventing mold growth in your basement. Your basement needs a dehumidification system that can empty itself and has a built-in humidistat, saving you money so the system is not running constantly.

Warranty

All of the waterproofing products installed in your home should come with a reliable warranty and be installed by a professional company that specializes in waterproofing.

Product Servicing

To keep your basement dry all of the time, each component of your basement’s waterproofing system should be serviced annually. The company who installed your waterproofing system should have a dedicated Service Department that can be reached at any time.

Whether your basement is a finished space in your home or just an unfinished storage area, finding water taking over your space and your home is always devastating. You deserve a reliable company to provide you with peace of mind and a dry basement.

 

School Supply Drive to Support the Educator Warehouse in Winston Salem

School Supply Drive to Support the Educator Warehouse in Winston Salem

The National Education Association recently released a report that ranks North Carolina 35th in the nation for teacher pay and is projected to be ranked 43rd in the nation in per-pupil spending. This disheartening news is what lead Tar Heel Basement Systems to select the Educator Warehouse as the focus of its annual school supply drive this year.

School Supply Drive to Support the Educator Warehouse in Winston Salem

Each year, the company and its employees donate hundreds of school supplies to a local nonprofit organization or school in need. After speaking to community members and learning about this lack of funding, THBS decided it was important to help our teachers. According to the WSFCS website, the Educator Warehouse is a collaboration of Forsyth Education Partnership, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Council of PTAs and WS/FCS. At this facility teachers ‘shop’ thousands of donated items for use in their classrooms. Donations come from local businesses, organizations, and individuals. 

Tar Heel Basement Systems has proudly donated close to 1000 school supplies each year. The goal is to surpass 1000 items for the Triad teachers and students. The drive is underway so if you are interested in donating to the cause, please drop off school supplies at 2910 Griffith Rd., Winston Salem 27103. Supplies will be delivered to the Educator Warehouse on September 5th.

Everything from gently-used office supplies to new crayons and markers is needed and appreciated.  Suggested donations include:

CLASSROOM AND OFFICE SUPPLIES

  • Paper—all colors, sizes, and types
  • Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, highlighters, dry erase markers
  • Scissors, glue, pencil sharpeners and erasers, pencil boxes & pouches
  • Kleenex, wet wipes, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer
  • Post-it/sticky notes, composition notebooks, sheet protectors, & pocket folders
  • Staplers, tape dispensers, binder clips, tape, glue sticks, rubber bands, organizers, and more!

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

  • Lesson plan idea books, children’s books and novels
  • Bulletin board materials, posters, charts & room decor
  • Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts manipulatives
  • Games, puzzles, flash cards and more!

The ‘M’ Words In Your Home: Mold, Mildew & Moisture

Mold and Mildew developed in your crawl space because of moisture

Your home is your biggest investment, both financially and emotionally. Could your home have a mold problem? A lot of people ask this question and the internet is full of scary stories and pictures. It is best to seek professional help if you think there is active mold in your home. Here are some facts about mold.Mold and Mildew developed in your crawl space because of moisture

Mold is a living organism. It breathes air, it consumes food, it requires water (moisture) to survive and fortunately when you take one of these components away, it dies. Mold is a fungus, kind of similar to a mushroom, but a lot smaller (sometimes it can’t even be seen to the naked eye). It eats organic matter– anything that was once living such as your floor joists, drywall, furniture, fiberglass insulation, etc. Mold thrives in environments where we live- structures made of organic materials. Mold likes temperatures between 32-100 degrees F, and relative humidity between 60%-99%. You can find these environments typically in a dirt crawl space or basement.

Mold grows. When mold spores find the right combination of temperature, food source, and moisture–they grow. When mold grows it reproduces airborne seeds to grow more mold. These seeds are tiny particles that float through the air, called spores. The slightest breeze can lift them into the air, carrying the spores to new surfaces. If mold spores land on inorganic materials such as clean metal, ceramic tile, porcelain, etc. it will not grow. If mold spores land on dry surfaces of any kind it will not grow.

While we can’t eliminate organic material because our homes are made of it; and while we can’t get out of the humid temperature zone without moving; and while we can’t get away from mold spores because they are everywhere; we CAN control is moisture in our homes. Therein lies the secret to mold prevention in your home.

 

Did You Know You Breathe In Crawl Space Air?

protect your family from the air in your crawl space

Your home is where you grow your family, make memories and welcome friends. Nothing should stand in the way of that. When you think of your baby practicing tummy time or spending time around the dinner table, the last thing you should be thinking of is how your crawl space can negatively affect your family and the time spent together. Learn more about the Stack Effect and what this means for your home. happy and healthy family who live in a nice home

As warm air rises in a home, it leaks out of the upper levels. New air must enter to replace the air that escaped. In fact, in a tight home, about half of the air escapes each hour out of the upper levels. This creates a suction at the lower levels to draw in replacement air. In older homes that aren’t sealed as well, the air exchange rate can be as high as two air exchanges per hour.

This is called the ‘stack effect‘ and it creates airflow in your home from the bottom to the top. So air flow from your crawl space is drawn upwards into the first floor (living area), and then the second floor. Of course, it dilutes with other air in your home, but building scientists say that up to 50% of the air you breathe on the first floor is air that came from your crawl space. If you have hot air heating with ductwork, the air mixes even more thoroughly throughout the house.

Therefore, whatever is in your crawl space air is in the living area of your house and could be negatively affecting your home and family. If there is high humidity down there, there is higher humidity upstairs than there would be otherwise. If there are mold spores in the crawl space, there are mold spores in the living area of the home. If there are damp or musty odors in your crawl space, there is likely dampness in the living area.

This is where crawl space vents come into play. The idea is that we put in foundation vents and expect the air will flow in through vents on one side of the home and out through the vents on the other side. Unfortunately, this is false. What actually happens is air enters the vents in the front, enters the vents in the back, and enters the vents on the sides, and then it goes up into your home.

How does air get from the crawl space and into the home above (besides ducting)? Air is a very small thing. With this driving mechanism, (the suction of the house on the ground) air is drawn up through every tiny opening between the crawl space and your home. Holes around wires and pipes. Joints in floorboards, space around access hatches and through duct chases. You can seal these openings, but you can never get it perfect, so you cannot stop the stack effect from happening.

THBS Hosts Field Day for Watauga County Seniors

Tar Heel Basement Systems Hosts Field Day for Watauga County Seniors

Tar Heel Basement Systems Hosts Field Day for Watauga County Seniors

Tar Heel Basement Systems is partnering with the Watauga County Project on Aging to host field day for local area seniors. As part of the “Pay It Forward” program and ‘stay healthy’ initiative set in place for the employees of THBS, the company is sharing that passion with the local High Country community. The free, two-hour event will be held outdoors and consist of various games/activities, keeping seniors active all while having fun. Join us!

Tuesday, July 25th

10:00 am-12:00 pm

Lois E. Harrill Senior Center, Boone

Ages 60+ welcome

Prizes will be provided for the winners of the corn hole and horseshoe tournament. There will also be other various outdoor activities including bocce ball, croquet, hula hooping and more! The THBS canopy tents will be up to keep attendees cool while complimentary bottles of water will be given away.

For more information about the Watauga County Project on Aging, please visit their website for volunteer opportunities and class schedules.

 

About Tar Heel Basement Systems

Tar Heel Basement Systems is one of North Carolina’s largest residential crawl space, basement and foundation repair contractors. We are different because we put people first- our customers, our employees, and our community!