Q&A

HomeSpec BasementFix Q&A

Are bowing walls dangerous?

Bowing walls are foundation issues and if not repaired, can lead to serious problems. The wall could even crumble or collapse.

Read more about it here

Are wall cracks difficult to repair?

Depending on the severity of a wall crack, it could be a fairly simple fix or a more complex repair.

Some cracks can be fixed by injecting it with a flexible material that keeps it from leaking and allows the seal to remain intact even when the home shifts. Other wall cracks are signs of foundation issues. These cracks require a different approach, such as straps to stabilize the wall. 

Read more about it here.

Can a bowing wall be repaired?

Yes, a wall that is bowing can be fixed. What the walls are made of, as well as the severity of the bowing will determine the method or methods used to fix the wall. Some products can even potentially straighten the wall back to its original position. 

Can a sinking home be repaired?

Yes, piers can be used to lift and stabilize a home that is sinking.

Loose, poorly compacted soil around a home is what leads to a foundation settling or sinking, but the piers screw deeper and anchor into stronger soils to stabilize the foundation. They can even lift the foundation back to its original position. 

Can I back up my sump pump?

Yes. Backup sump pumps can be installed. There are battery-operated options in case your power goes out or the pump gets unplugged.

Also, sump pump alarms are available to alert you of any sump pump issues. 

Can I just patch a crack in my basement wall?

A crack may seem like a problem you can easily repair on your own. However, patching a crack seldom stops the problem, meaning you will likely deal with the crack leaking again. 

When you patch a crack, the crack can still move as the wall moves, leading to further issues after the fix.

READ: Should you fix that crack in your basement wall yourself?

Different types of cracks require different approaches to permanently fix them. For instance, some cracks may be repaired by injecting them with polyurethane, while others may require stabilization to repair the foundation wall. 

Learn more about the various ways we repair wall cracks here

Can I waterproof my basement in the winter?

Yes, we are able to waterproof your basement or crawl space in the winter. We operate all year long so we can help you protect your home whenever the need arises. 

Can I waterproof my basement myself?

While you could waterproof your basement on your own, it is not advised.

You could patch up a crack or install waterproof paint, but these products are not guaranteed to work, and in some instances they can even make the issue worse. If you aren't entirely sure what the problem is, you may waste time and money trying a DIY fix.

Also, your basement may require a more extensive solution, such as an interior drainage system. 

When you contact us, a highly trained inspector will check your home, determine what the problem is, and propose solutions.

Can small basement cracks leak?

Yes, even tiny cracks can let water into your home. When the dirt surrounding your basement becomes wet, that water can leak through existing cracks. 

Can waterproofing my basement increase the value of my home?

Yes, a waterproofed basement can increase your home's value in many ways.

Basements that are free of water are healthier to live inside, and that's a great sign to home buyers. Without waterproofing, moisture in the basement can cause bacteria and mold to form. This can lead to a multitude of health issues, including breathing problems and allergies.

Also, waterproofed basements double the amount usable space in the home. This allows for more storage, and more room for hosting family events or relaxing. 

Basements are susceptible to becoming wet because they are underground. However, a waterproofed basement provides current homeowners and potential home buyers with the peace of mind that the space is clean and safe from future water damage. 

Can you put a sump pump and drainage system into a crawl space?

Yes, a sump pump and drainage system can be installed in a crawl space.

If you are having water issues in your crawl space, a waterproofing system may be the solution you need to remove water. The drainage system will collect the water and deposit it into the sump pump, which will then expel the water away from your home.

Some areas in Michigan have more water in the ground (or a higher water table) than others. If water is constantly pooling in or flooding your crawl space, then you'll probably need to waterproof it. 

Do gutter guards work?

Yes. Gutter guards effectively keep debris, such as leaves, out of your gutters so water can flow freely. 

Do I need a sump pump?

If you have water in your basement, a sump pump can alleviate the problem and give you peace of mind.

Sump pumps remove water from your basement. If you have issues with flooding, leaking cracks, or seepage, sump pumps, both alone and in conjunction with other products, can help keep your home dry, even on rainy days. 

Do I need to replace my cracked & sinking concrete?

No. If your concrete is uneven, sinking or cracked, we offer a way to repair it so you do not need to replace it.

PolyLeveling is a cost-effective, minimally invasive method of raising damaged concrete. An strong and stable polyurethane foam is injected below the concrete - and as it expands, the slab is lifted. The joints and cracks can also be filled with a waterproof sealant. 

Learn more about how it works here.

Do I really need a professional to repair cracks in my basement wall?

A crack in your basement wall may seem like a simple DIY fix, right? Wrong.

While you can fix a crack yourself with products you can get at a hardware store or online, you run the risk of having future issues with the crack. We have fixed numerous cracks after a homeowner tried to repair it themselves, only for it to begin leaking again.

Also, if a crack is not properly repaired, the material used to fix it could expand, leading to a larger crack or foundation problems. 

If you spot a crack in your basement wall, contact HomeSpec so a professional can properly repair it.

How can I prevent basement flooding?

While you can't always anticipate a pipe bursting in your basement or heavy rain that makes its way inside, you can take steps to prevent flooding from happening.

We install multiple products that help keep your basement dry, no matter the cause, including interior drainage systems, sump pumps, and moisture barriers. These products help keep your basement dry and remove water if there is an issue.

How can I stop my crawl space from flooding?

If your crawl space is flooding, there are several approaches that can be taken to solve the issue.

Encapsulating the crawl space will protect against water and moisture. This includes sealing it with a vapor barrier and installing vent covers and airtight doors. Other solutions include an interior drainage system and a sump pump, or some combination of all of these solutions.

Our skilled inspectors can provide the best options for your unique situation. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation estimate. 

How do I know if my crawl space is damp?

Some signs in your living space could indicate that your crawl space is damp: 

- There is a musty smell in your home.
- Hardwood floors above the crawl space are buckling.
- There is condensation on windows.
- There is mold on windows or other areas of the home.
- Your energy bills are suddenly higher than usual / the home is very humid during summer.

More information here.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, one of our inspectors can check your crawl space for free and provide you with a no-obligation estimate if repairs are needed. Contact us here

How do I know when joists in my crawl space are damaged?

If there is something wrong with the joists in your crawl space, you will likely be able to tell from above. Sagging floors, uneven floors, and bouncy floors are all signs that something is not quite right. 

HomeSpec can reinfornace or repair damaged joists, and install support posts if needed to stabilize the foundation. 

How do I stop my gutters from clogging?

A gutter guard, such as the Gutter Shutter system, keeps debris out while letting water flow freely. This means no clogging and no cleaning!

How do you reduce moisture in a crawl space?

If a crawl space is getting wet, encapsulating it with a vapor barrier will keep out water. If moisture is still an issue, a dehumidifier can help keep humidity levels at bay. This maintains the relative humidity at a healthy 55% by sucking out excess moisture from the air. This will help prevent condensation, mold, mildew, and rot. 

How does an interior French drainage system work?

If you are dealing with a wet basement, an interior drainage system can help solve the problem.

Interior drainage systems are installed beneath the floor (usually on top of the footer) around the perimeter of the basement. When there is water entering the basement (from the wall or the floor), it seeps into the drainage system. The water is then deposited into the sump pump basin, which expels it away from the home through a discharge line. 

How much does basement waterproofing cost?

The cost of waterproofing a basement depends on many factors, including the cause of dampness in the basement and what products are needed.

Because every situation is unique, it's impossible to determine how much your solution is without a thorough inspection.

Inspections are free, and our inspectors will provide you with the options best suited for your home so you can make an educated decision about what work you want done.

Schedule your free inspection and estimate here.

Is it bad if there is water in my crawl space?

Yes. Water in a crawl space can lead to other problems in the home.

When a crawl space is wet, it often means the house above feels humid too. This can cause discomfort to residents and force HVAC systems to work harder to cool the humid air. 

In addition to discomfort and increased energy bills, the added moisture in the home can cause mold and mildew to grow, which can be dangerous to your health. This is where the musty smells originates from as well. 

Water can also rot the wood in crawl spaces which has the potential to lead to structural damage. That wood is what holds the home up and supports the foundation, so it's crucial it stays in good condition. Rotting joists will sag and so will the floor above. 

The solution is to encapsulate and/or waterproof the crawl space. More information here

Is it necessary to fix a crack in my basement wall, even if it isn't leaking?

If you find a crack in your basement that isn't leaking, it may be easy to forget it's there because it doesn't appear to pose a risk. However, just because a crack is not actively leaking does not mean you should forget about it.

If you choose not to fix the crack, it could leak in the future. Also, a crack could be a sign of a bigger foundation issue. Repairing a crack could save you from costly repairs down the road. 

Read More: Should You Fix That Crack in Your Basement Wall Yourself?

Is the musty smell in my house coming from my crawl space?

If your home smells musty, it could indicate there is a moisture issue in your crawl space. Water in the crawl space can lead to mold and mildew. If you are smelling a musty odor in your house, you should have a professional take a look to make sure it isn't coming from the crawl space.

READ: Telltale Signs Your Crawl Space May Be Damp

My crawl space is damp. What are my options?

We can solve your wet crawl space issue and prevent further water problems by installing a vapor barrier to encapsulate the crawl space. This stops excess moisture from getting inside the crawl space.

Sump pumps are also an option when your crawl space has water issues. A drainage system with a sump pump will remove water to prevent flooding. 

Also, dehumidifiers can be placed in crawl spaces to keep moisture levels at bay. 

My floors are sagging - What do I do?

If you notice your floors are sagging, it is likely there is a foundation issue in your crawl space (or basement). For instance, the supports in your crawl space could be rotting and decaying due to moisture, leading to the sagging. HomeSpec can install supplemental beams and/or support posts to solve this problem. 

We repair foundations, providing you with a long-term solution to your foundation qualms. Contact us for a free inspection and estimate. An inspector will do a thorough inspection to determine the cause of your sagging floors, as well as what you can do to fix the problem.

 

 

Should dehumidifiers drain automatically?

Unless you want to spend a significant amount of time emptying your dehumidifier each week, the answer is yes. By having a dehumidifier that drains through a hose, you don't need to worry about manually emptying it each time it fills. 

Should I encapsulate my crawl space?

Encapsulating your crawl space has numerous benefits:

-Improved air quality (no mold, mildew, or humidity)

-More comfortable living conditions (because of the temperature)

-Lower heating and cooling bills

-More useable storage space

-No musty smells

-No pest problems

 

MORE: Three Reasons You Need to Waterproof Your Crawl Space

Should I fix my uneven concrete?

Yes. Uneven concrete can pose a trip hazard, look unsightly, and hurt the curb appeal of your home (especially if you're selling).

To combat this problem, HomeSpec offers PolyLeveling - a non-abrasive method of lifting concrete with rigid foam so you don't need to replace your damaged concrete. After the concrete is lifted into place, any cracks or joints can be filled with a waterproof sealant to prevent weed growth and soil erosion - making the concrete look good as new. 

Read more here.

Should I insulate my crawl space?

If your crawl space is not properly insulated, you could experience mold and moisture problems. You will also deal with cold floors in the winter (because cold air is seeping into the crawl space and then to the rest of the home) and increased heating bills in the summer (because hot, humid air is seeping in making it more difficult to cool the air in your home). 

Proper insulation in the crawl space makes your home healthier and more energy efficient. Crawl space encapsulation is the most effective solution, to the point where you can even remove that old, useless insulation. This is because encapsulation seals off the crawl space from the outside. Homeowners report an immediate difference in the temperature of their home after the encapsulation process. 

Should I waterproof my basement?

If you have water getting into your basement, waterproofing is a smart move to curb the problem. 

Even if you don't have water in your basement, choosing to waterproof is a good idea if you plan to finish the space. Too often, homeowners reach out after their drywall, carpet, furniture and more becomes damaged by water. Even if the basement is just used for storage, waterproofing can ensure your valuables don't get ruined if water ever gets inside. 

Waterproofing also increases the value of your home, and since everyone will eventually sell their homes, it makes for a great investment. 

MORE: 4 Reasons You Should Waterproof Your Basement

Should my crawl space be vented?

No, it shouldn't be. Vents let in hot air in the summer and cold air in the winter. Since most of the air in your home comes up from your crawl space, this is not good news. 

When hot, humid air is let in, the relative humidity of the crawl space increases. At 70%, mold grows. At 90%, wood rots. At 100%, condensation happens. This drives down the R-value of the insulation, and renders it pretty much useless. This puts your family's health and the structure of your home at risk.

Not to mention your floors will be cold in the winter and it will take a lot more energy to warm your home as a result of cold air in your crawl space.

This is why HomeSpec encapsulates crawl spaces with our innovative CleanSpace system. We install a vapor barrier to seal off the crawl space, but we can also cover the vents, seal the rim joists, replace the wooden door, and then install a dehumidifier to keep it as dry as possible. A sump pump and an interior drainage system can also be installed for the driest, cleanest, most protected crawl space you've ever seen!

What are some reasons my sump pump could stop working?

Despite having a sump pump in your basement, sometimes they can stop working, which can lead to the problem you're trying to avoid by installing the pump -- flooding.

Sump pumps can stop working if the power goes out, a circuit trips, or the pump comes unplugged.

Also, the sump pump could become overwhelmed by too much water, causing it to stop working properly.

Because it's not possible to prevent these problems from happening completely, a TripleSafe sump pump is the best option for ensuring your basement is safe, even when the power is out or rain is heavy. 

What are the benefits of installing a TripleSafe sump pump?

The power goes out, a heavy rain overwhelms the pump, someone mistakenly trips over the cord, unplugging it.

These are just a few reasons a sump pump could fail. 

To prevent flooding as a result of a sump pump failure, consider having a TripleSafe sump pump installed. The TripleSafe pump includes three pumps in one liner to make sure the pump is always working, even when one fails.

The second pump is more powerful than the primary one. It kicks in if the primary pump fails. The third pump is battery-operated, ensuring the pump continues working even if the power is out.

What causes sagging floors?

Sagging floors mean your crawl space supports are not strong enough. This could be due to decaying caused by water or mold. It could also mean that the supports are sinking. 

 

What could happen to my house if I don't clean my gutters?

Not cleaning your gutters can damage your house when water is unable to move through the gutter. This could lead to damage to your roof and walls, as well as foundation problems and basement flooding.

These are all costly issues that can be avoided with the installation of our Gutter Shutter gutter replacements. Your gutters will be covered so they will never fill up with leaves and other debris, meaning water is always flowing as it should be.

Fill out this form and our team will contact you to set up a free inspection and estimate. 

 

What do gutter downspouts do?

Gutter downspouts direct water away from your house so it does not pool near the foundation and leak into your home. HomeSpec can extend your downspouts and even bury them when we install the Gutter Shutter system. 

What does it mean if I have cracks in my basement floor?

Hairline cracks in your basement floor are normal and can be left alone. But the larger they get, the more serious they become. This is because they can let in water or dangerous radon gas - in that case the cracks should be permanently sealed. 

Cracks in your basement floor could also indicate foundation problems. When your foundation moves, it can cause the floor to shift, resulting in cracks. This could be caused by sinking, settling, and other shifts. 

What if I can't afford to fix my home?

We offer financing. Putting off problems because you can't afford to fix them can lead to more costly issues later. 

Learn more about our financing options here.

What is the process like once I contact HomeSpec with a problem?

After you contact us about an issue you are having with your home, we will set an appointment for an inspector to come look at the problem.

During the evaluation, our inspector will explain the problem and offer customized solutions. The inspector will recommend the best course of action and write a proposal.

Once you approve the proposal, an appointment will be set for a crew to begin the work.

Click here to schedule your free estimate.

What should I do if there is water seeping into my basement?

If there is water seeping into your basement, an interior drainage system may be your best option. 

With this system, water is captured by the drainage system as it seeps into the basement. This prevents the water from damaging the basement.

Our inspectors can check to see if an interior drainage system will solve your water issues. 

Why are my floors cold?

If your floors are cold, there's a good chance your crawl space is to blame. Encapsulating the crawl space will help you have warmer floors. This will also result in lower heating bills. 

Why?

The encapsulation process seals the crawl space off from the outside - preventing cold air from seeping in during the winter and rising to the rest of the home - which is what makes the floors above the crawl space so cold. 

 

Why are there puddles in my crawl space?

If you see puddles in your crawl space, water could be entering from the outside due to poor drainage or from the ground if you live in an area with a high water table. You may also have a plumbing leak. 

An inspection by a professional can determine the cause and the best solution to fix it. This might include a vapor barrier, sump pump, interior drainage system, and/or a dehumidifier. 

Why does my crawl space smell bad?

If your crawl space smells bad, it could be a sign that there is a water issue. A musty, moldy, or mildew smell is a good indicator that there is water or moisture in the crawl space.

Also, animals in your crawl space can lead to smells. 

Crawl space encapsulation alleviates water issues and keeps out pests, two problems that can make for a smelly crawl space. 

Why is PolyLevel a better choice for lifting concrete than standard fill material?

PolyLevel is an expanding polyurethane foam that is used to lift and level concrete and slab foundations. It is also used to strengthen and stabilize loose soil.

PolyLevel is an injection that is a better choice than standard concrete lifting materials because it weighs much less than other options -- about 4 pounds per cubic feet rather than 120 pounds per cubic feet. It's also less messy than other types of injections.

It is waterproof, quick curing, and adjustable, making it an ideal choice for lifting sinking concrete in a minimally invasive way. 

Also, if you're concerned about the impact PolyLevel has on the environment, don't be! Click here to learn more about how it is a safe choice for repairing your concrete.

Related: Reasons to Repair Your Cracked or Sunken Driveway

Why is there moisture in my crawl space?

Your crawl space can become moist in several ways.

Puddles in your crawl space will lead to increased moisture levels. These puddles could be the result of water entering from the outside of your home or from leaky plumbing.

Moisture could also be coming from water in the dirt of your crawl space. When groundwater evaporates, it raises the moisture levels.

Outside air can also increase the humidity of the crawl space when it gets inside. 

Why should my basement be waterproofed from the inside, not the outside?

This is a great question. Sometimes exterior waterproofing is the best option based on the circumstances, but most of the time it's not. 

It should make sense to waterproof a basement from the outside to prevent water from getting in, instead of doing it from the inside and dealing with the water after it gets in.

The problem with that is, exterior waterproofing only prevents water seeping in from the sides, and not from under the floor slab. It also means you have to excavate around the entire perimeter of your homea messy and invasive task. Footing drains, which are placed in the dirt around the outer perimeter of the foundation, are also known to clog easily and be quite useless.

But interior waterproofing, usually with an interior drainage system, never clogs because it isn't placed in the mud, it's placed on top of the foundation's footing, inside the concrete floor. An interior drainage system takes leaks, water vapor, condensation, and any other water coming into your basement and directs it to the sump pump. Paired with a dehumidifier to control the overall moisture, this system is pretty much unstoppable. The installation process is also much cleaner, quicker, and cheaper overall. 

READ: The Science Behind Wet Basements-And How to Prevent Them

Will encapsulation insulate my crawl space?

Our encapsulation system includes insulating the crawl space.

Encapsulating your crawl space will help create a more comfortable space above while reducing energy bills, especially during the winter when floors tend to get cold.