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Charleston

To combat high energy bills and humidity, waterproofing your basement with vapor barriers and drainage systems is a must.

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Basement and Crawl Space Waterproofing in Charleston

A humid subtropical climate means that Charleston, SC, experiences long, muggy summers where thunderstorms run rampant. Half of the city’s annual precipitation occurs during the summer, so wet properties across Charleston are to be expected. With all this rain, humidity is a staple of many basements and crawl spaces. While a little humidity seems harmless, when allowed to persist in a foundation, it can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs.

A wet, humid foundation promotes mold growth and helps a Charleston home’s basement or crawl space become a nest for insects. The amount of moisture you need to keep up with to keep your foundation clean and dry is too much for a single homeowner to bear. This is why you need professional waterproofing solutions that are able to make the process completely automatic.

Long-gone are the days in which you had to clear basement water out with a bucket. With a sump pump, the water gets drained away on its own. Other drainage systems, like AquaStop BasementGutter™ for basements and AquaStop CrawlDrain™ for crawl spaces, can be connected to the sump pump so that the water they collect has somewhere to go.

Some forces, like water vapor, are invisible, and the problems they present cannot be resolved in the same way you would a leak. Vapor barriers make it so that water vapor is stopped in its tracks as it makes its way into your Charleston basement or crawl space. To keep the humidity levels as low as possible, a dehumidifier can be used in both a crawl space and a basement. Our dehumidifiers can connect to the sump pump too.

Charleston Foundation Repair

If your Charleston home’s foundation isn’t in tip-top shape, then negative effects will be felt all throughout your home. Unlike other structural problems in home repair, foundation damage is rarely ever an internal issue. The soil that surrounds the foundation can have a negative impact if too much moisture is involved. Hydrostatic pressure, a rising zone of saturation, soil erosion, and the clay bowl effect are all things that can damage your foundation.

Foundation damage leaves a trail of problem signs around your Charleston home. The initial damage begins in your foundation, so before the problem reaches the upstairs portion of your home, give us a call so we can help you resolve this issue. Foundation repair focuses on the two most common problems a basement or crawl space can have: bowing walls and settling.

For bowing walls, one could either go with carbon fiber straps, wall anchors, or wall braces, depending on the severity of the bowing and the space available. For foundation settling, helical piers or push piers are the best option, since they are able to go deeper underground than concrete piers. A deeper installation means that the foundation of your Charleston home is much better supported.

Concrete Lifting in Charleston

If your concrete slabs are uneven, then don’t panic. There’s nothing wrong with the slab itself, but it will need a new foundation since the soil beneath it can no longer be relied upon. The sandy soils of Charleston, SC, get washed away easily, resulting in many settled slabs. To fix this problem, you need a concrete lifting solution that not only lifts the concrete back into place but also provides it with a long-lasting, supportive material.

The polyurethane foam used in SettleStop PolyRenewal™ is one such material. Polyurethane is a polymer that is injected under the slab in the form of foam. The foam expands and completely fills the gap that the slab is settled against. What makes SettleStop PolyRenewal™ a permanent solution is the characteristics of the material itself.

Unlike the cement used in mudjacking, polyurethane does not wash away over time. Cement mixtures can be unreliable depending on the ingredients, so there’s always a chance that the cement washes away over the years. If you don’t want to deal with concrete settling on your Charleston property again, then you don’t want to take that risk. Instead, you can go with the reliable option, SettleStop PolyRenewal™ from the experts at Mount Valley Foundation Services.

Polyurethane can support a great deal of weight and is one of the most durable materials in the world. Still, it’s lightweight and easy to work with. This is an advantageous feature when used for concrete lifting since you want to disturb the soil as little as possible. Concrete settles because the soil underneath is too loose and shifty, so a heavy, rough material like cement is less than ideal.

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FAQs

About Waterproofing, Crawl Spaces & Foundation Repair in Charleston

Foundations settle in three different ways, with some ways being more disruptive than others. First, there is uniform settlement, which is when the house begins to sink evenly. This form of settling is uncommon since soil almost never erodes evenly, but it can happen. The most obvious signs associated with this kind of settling are warped and detached handrails from front porches and decks. These parts of the home are separate from the foundation, so when the house begins to sink, these attached areas will begin to detach from the rest of the structure.

The second form of settling is called tipping settlement, and it’s when the house begins to sink to one side. With this form of settling, the foundation remains intact, so cracks are minimal, though this doesn’t mean it will always stay this way. The most obvious signs of tilting settlement are uneven floors, tilted chimneys, basement leaks, and detached decks and front porches. Again, just because there are no cracks in the foundation with tilting settlement doesn’t mean your home’s structure is safe. If allowed to advance, then this form of settling can easily turn into the most disruptive type of settling: differential settlement.

Differential settlement is when a portion of your foundation begins to break off from the house and settle against uneven soil. With this kind of settling, foundation cracks are common, which leads to basement flooding with groundwater, warped window and door frames, damaged floor joists, upstairs wall and ceiling cracks, and a less energy efficient home. The other kinds of settling are bad news for your home, but differential settlement is so destructive; it costs you much more in repairs. The moment you suspect that the foundation of your Charleston home is settling in this way, call us for a free home inspection and fast, permanent repair solutions.

A finished basement looks and functions very similarly to the upstairs portion of the house. Usually, they have adequate lighting, heating, cooling, and the electrical wires and pipes are all covered up. However, while a finished basement may look nice, if the proper waterproofing solutions weren’t put into place, you will have leaking and flooding problems, even if your basement is finished. A basement cannot be considered finished until it covers everything that has to do with foundation waterproofing. Most finished basements only focus on covering the ugliest parts of the space (the concrete and exposed wiring and plumbing), without taking into consideration the location.

A finished basement may look like any other part of the home, but you must remember that a basement is either entirely or partially underground. The soil that surrounds your basement is constantly saturated with water, meaning that your basement will always be the most humid part of your home. When it rains, the environment changes and becomes more humid, but when all the moisture evaporates, your home isn’t affected anymore. Your basement is different, however, because warm, humid air enters your home through your foundation first.

A sump pump and dehumidifier aren’t enough for a finished basement, especially if you live in Charleston, SC. Because of the humid subtropical climate of the region, you need to be able to fight off the moisture that enters your basement daily. An interior drainage system like Aquastop BasementGutter™ is the best way to catch moisture that runs down along the walls. To stop water vapor from ruining your concrete and promoting mold growth, a vapor barrier can be applied. This vapor barrier has a clean look on its own, but it can also be hidden behind drywall so that your basement looks the way you want it to.

Concrete settling happens to every slab eventually. Settling happens because of two things outside of our control (the weather and the soil), so there’s not much we can do except protect our concrete as much as possible. The truth is, it’s impossible to tell how long it would take for a new concrete slab to settle, since the timeline depends on so many different factors. Even the concrete on your own property will not settle at the same time; your driveway slabs might settle before your patio slabs.

A big part of what causes concrete settling is the soil. In Charleston, SC, the soil is pretty sandy, so the erosion type needs to be considered. Sandy soils get displaced easily by water, so slabs that frequently get exposed to water are more likely to settle than others. This could be your driveway or your pool deck. To protect those areas, you can add a cover so that the concrete and the soil are both better protected from water.

Other outdoor slabs might also be better protected due to vegetation. If the concrete walkways you have around your yard have bushes and vegetation around them, then they might not be the first slabs to settle. Still, you should always be on the lookout for concrete settling, since it’s such an unpredictable thing. Keep in mind that if your brand new slab settles, it’s not a problem with the slab itself, and you can lift and stabilize it with a concrete lifting solution like SettleStop PolyRenewal™.

The zone of saturation is the area underground where the soil is always saturated with water. The start of the zone of saturation is marked by an invisible line known as the water table. Unlike the area above this line, the groundwater in the zone of saturation does not dry out, since it’s too far underground to be affected by certain weather conditions. That said, the water table does rise during the rainiest time of year.

The depth of the water tables varies greatly, even within the same state. In some areas, the water table is shallow enough to cause hydrostatic pressure against the walls of your basement. You can always speak to an expert that can verify the depth of your water table to see if it’s something you have to worry about. Try to check during the summer when the water table has risen due to all the rain. Also, be careful of lakes and ponds, since the water table is higher around a body of water.

Having the foundation of your Charleston home close to the zone of saturation is very problematic for your home. Basement leaks and flooding is more frequent, and the hydrostatic pressure exerted by the groundwater can destroy your basement walls. Waterproofing solutions are the only way to stop the constant humidity and moisture that surrounds your foundation. The closer your foundation is to the zone, the more waterproof your foundation needs to be.

You can have as many sump pumps as you want; they won’t be able to stop the water vapor that enters your Charleston home’s crawl space. Unless the space is fully encapsulated with a vapor barrier, the humidity levels will always be high. A vapor barrier is a thick sheet that is applied all over the crawl space to close it off from the outside world and stop moisture from getting through. If you are interested in a vapor barrier, then you might be wondering where you can get one yourself for your own crawl space. However, there are multiple reasons as to why you should leave it to the experts.

First, nobody understands crawl spaces better than foundation experts. To encapsulate a crawl space, you need to be able to apply the sheets correctly, or the moisture will find a way of getting into the area. Water vapor is incredibly persistent, so any missed spot will result in a humid crawl space. Encapsulation also works best when using the right materials, and many store-bought vapor barriers aren’t thick enough to do the job. Professionals have access to better materials, like our 20-mil thick AquaStop CrawlSeal™.

Another reason you shouldn’t try to encapsulate your crawl space yourself is because of how dangerous it is. A wet crawl space is dirty, harbors insects, and is most likely moldy. If it’s your first time working in your crawl space, then you’ll most likely be in there for days as you go through with your project. Long-term exposure to mold can lead to life-long problems with your respiratory system. Not only are professionals able to work faster, but we also know how to stay safe no matter what your crawl space contains.

If your Charleston home’s floorboards don’t look broken but your floor is still sagging, then you might want to check your basement or crawl space. Bouncy floors almost always indicate that something is wrong with your floor joists, not your floorboards. There are many reasons as to why your floor joists are failing, and depending on the reason and how quickly you are able to do something about it, you will either have to repair them or replace them. Floor joists can get damaged due to wood rot or waterlogged wood. Both are side effects of having a foundation that isn’t properly waterproofed.

Wood can get infected with fungi, which needs organic matter to survive. As the fungi eats away at the wood, it debilitates the structure and causes the wood to soften, disintegrate, and even shrink in size. The wooden joist is no longer strong enough to support the floor, which is why the floor sags. If caught in time, then the wood can be cleared of the rot and the joist can be stabilized, so no replacement is necessary. Because wood does not regain its strength once weakened, if the joist is too damaged, replacement will be necessary.

Wood is an absorbent material, so it takes in water when exposed. Wood is similar to clay soils in that it expands when wet and shrinks when dried up. The water it absorbs changes the wood on a molecular level, so, when waterlogged, the wood becomes incredibly soft, which causes bouncy floors. Even if the moisture content in the joist dries up, the wood is now considerably smaller than before, so it doesn’t hold up the floorboards like it did before getting wet. Like wood rot, depending on how weak the joist has become, you might need to replace it, but that’s something only a foundation expert would be able to determine.

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Greg has been patient and kind with me as he has answered my many questions. Valley. Thank you, Greg, for taking so much time with me.

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Reasonable pricing. Donavan was a great forman, professional, on time and explained the system. Work was well done and met all expectations.

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Bill Bradley did a thorough inspection of our slab foundation including checking the levelling throughout the house and garage.

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I highly recommend Trevor. He is an excellent foreman and a very professional young man. I am very pleased with the work Trevor did today.

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Charleston, SC

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Beaufort, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Bluffton, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Conway, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Folly Beach, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Georgetown, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Goose Creek, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Hanahan, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Hilton Head Island, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Isle of Palms, SC

Mount Valley Foundation Service serves South Carolina, providing proven basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and concrete lifting services.

Charleston Local Office

Mount Valley Foundation Services

1850 Ashley River Rd Charleston, SC 29407

Hours of Operation

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

Our Service Area

CHARLESTON LOCATION

1850 Ashley River Rd
Charleston, SC 29407

COLUMBIA LOCATION

2110 Commerce Drive
Cayce, SC 29033

GREENVILLE LOCATION

300 South Ave
Spartanburg, SC 29306