Home repairs aren’t always an orderly affair and sometimes work on one project may lead to another. That’s something a homeowner should be aware of and it is what happened to our customers in Sumter, SC, located a bit more than 40 miles east of Columbia, SC.
While rebuilding the stairs of our customers’ front porch, the masons noticed potential foundation settlement and recommended that any foundation repairs be taken care of first. Both the front porch walls and the outer wall of the home needed to be stabilized and lifted for the stairs to be installed correctly.
When our team arrived on-site, they dove into the inspection immediately. They wanted to first figure out the scope of the problem and what needed to be done to prevent further foundation damage.
Our team found several issues with both the foundation and front wall of the home. Those issues were most likely caused by problems with the crawl space, so we recommended the crawl space be encapsulated to fix the humidity problem.
Our team also found both vertical and horizontal cracks along the two walls. The vertical cracks alerted us to the severity of the problem. We understood that the solution must deal with the root cause of the foundation settlement problem.
Repairing the Damage
Our recommendation for fixing up the front porch was to permanently stabilize it by using helical piers. These piers are inserted below surface level until they reach more stable soil below, and they are used to transfer the weight of the porch to that solid ground, which can support the porch without sinking.
A similar, more heavy-duty system was used to lift up the foundation of the home itself. However, the piers used under the porch did not need to be as heavy since this structure is much lighter.
Once the soil was removed, 10 piers were placed deep enough, where the ground is sturdy. These 10 piers were placed under the columns of the porch. The porch was lifted up to prevent further sinking, which restored the value of the property as well.
The front and outer walls of the home sit on top of the foundation that’s settling. Signs of settlement – both vertical and horizontal cracks – were noticeable on the walls themselves when our inspectors arrived.
We recommended a solution for fixing these walls – push piers – that was a bit more complex than when we did on the front porch. We installed these piers below the front wall of the home.
As the crawl space beneath the home was completely closed off, to access the foundation beneath the front wall of the home, the masons had to cut a hole in the left wall of the porch. We installed a total of eight push piers to help stabilize our customers’ home.
Many crawl spaces suffer from humidity issues, which can lead to issues like cracked walls and even foundation sinking over time. Encapsulation is a process that closes off the crawl space. Only then can the crawl space be dehumidified and kept dry.
A key component of the encapsulation process was the CrawlSeal™ vapor barrier. We use this bright white liner to protect the walls and floors of the crawl space. The liner prevents humidity from passing through, preventing molding and rotting.
Our team also installed three crawl space doors and 18 crawl space vent covers in this Sumter, SC, home to make sure that the foundation is kept dry and there are no molding problems.
This simple job took us a day to complete. Once it was done, we started the dehumidification process.
Sumter, SC, and surrounding areas are humid and see a lot of rainfall. This can lead to problems with foundations and, in the long run, it can lower the value of the home significantly. To prevent such issues, we’ve installed a dehumidifier in this home with a duct kit and a condensation pump. This system will keep the humidity of the crawl space low and the piers we’ve installed below the walls and the porch will keep the home secure for years to come.
This whole project took our team five days. In that time, our team was able to both repair the damage and prevent future crawl space destabilization.
Every time a homeowner starts a large renovation project it presents an opportunity to deal with structural and long-term problems that you may experience. It’s best to call us and get a free inspection so that both projects could be completed at once, as was the case with this Sumter, SC, residence.