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Category Archives: Foundation Repair

Ceiling Cracks When To Worry

Looking for information on ceiling cracks and when to worry? If so, don’t hit that back button because you’ve landed on the right page.

In this article, we will go over dangerous and non-dangerous ceiling cracks, when you should worry about a ceiling crack, what causes ceiling cracks, how to prevent ceiling cracks, and more.

Are ceiling cracks always serious?

The good news is ceiling cracks aren’t always serious. Sometimes, they’re just ugly. Whether or not ceiling cracks are structurally significant (that means they’re serious) depends on the crack’s location, size, and type. Older homes are more likely to have ceiling cracks.

Examples of ceiling cracks that aren’t structurally significant and shouldn’t cause you to worry include,

  • Spiderweb cracks – These are usually caused by paint build-up after many years and obviously more common in older homes.
  • Straight cracks – Most of the time, straight cracks are caused by improper drywall installation. When not enough drywall mud is used, the tape can pull away, creating what looks like a ceiling crack.

Even though a crack might not appear structurally significant, keep an eye on it anyway to make sure it’s not getting bigger. If it does start to get bigger, contact a professional right away. Foundation problems worsen over time and will cost more money to repair if you wait.

Ceiling Cracks, When To Worry

Homeowners should learn the warning signs of a structural ceiling crack so that if they see one, they will know to contact a foundation repair contractor right away. Here are some ceiling cracks that should cause you to worry because they indicate structural damage:

  • Any ceiling crack accompanied by sagging – When there’s cracking along with sagging, that’s a sign there’s a serious structural problem. Contact a professional immediately.
  • A ceiling crack that goes across the ceiling and down a wall
  • A cluster of many small ceiling cracks
  • Any ceiling crack that’s wider than 1/8 inch
  • Cracks that run diagonally across the ceiling – It takes a lot of force to rip through drywall this way. Foundation movement is the likely cause.
  • Ceiling cracks with discoloration – Discolored ceiling cracks indicate water is involved. Is there a bathroom above the ceiling?
  • A gap between the wall and the ceiling – Although this isn’t technically a ceiling crack, it is a sign of foundation movement.

The above cracks are likely caused by foundation settlement, and if you see any, you should contact a foundation repair contractor and ask for an inspection. Most foundation repair contractors will perform a free inspection and then give you a repair estimate.

You can also contact a structural engineer and ask for an inspection. They will write up a report that you can give to the foundation repair contractor. Keep in mind, though, that structural engineers always charge for a foundation inspection.

For more information see, Why Foundation Cracks Happen.

What Causes Ceiling Cracks?

Ceiling cracks are caused by various things including,

  • Foundation settlement – Foundation settlement is when a foundation settles into the soil unevenly. The graphic below illustrates the difference between uniform settlement (which happens to all structures after they’re built) and differential settlement.
  • Paint build-up – These types of ceiling cracks are more common in older homes because there’s more paint on the ceiling.
  • Water leaks – These ceiling cracks are accompanied by discoloration. Is there a problem with your roof? Has it been raining recently? Is there a bathroom over the ceiling?
  • Structural damage – This is mainly caused by differential settlement, which means the house is gradually sinking into the soil unevenly. Differential settlement puts a lot of stress on a foundation and can cause structural damage.
  • Something heavy on the floor above the ceiling – Is there a bathtub or a piano on the floor above the ceiling?
  • Your drywall wasn’t installed properly – Improperly taped drywall joints can cause the tape to come loose, creating a straight crack.
  • Natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. (Depending on where you live, ceiling cracks can also be caused by earthquakes, sinkholes, etc.)

differential settlement infographic

What To Do If You See Suspicious Ceiling Cracks

If you see suspicious ceiling cracks, you should immediately contact a foundation repair professional or structural engineer and ask for an inspection. Problems caught early will save you money in repair costs.

Other Signs Of Foundation Trouble

If you see any of the ceiling cracks mentioned in the previous section, look around for other signs of foundation trouble. These include:

  • Doors and windows that don’t open and close properly
  • Uneven floors – If you drop something round on the floor does it always roll toward one area?
  • Floor cracks – Look for cracks that span the length of the room, wall to wall. Floor cracks limited to one or two tiles were probably caused when something heavy fell on the floor.
  • Cracked walls – Horizontal cracks are the most problematic. Vertical cracks in a basement wall are usually caused by concrete shrinkage during the curing process. While they can allow water to seep into your basement, they don’t threaten the home’s structural integrity.
  • Bowed basement walls – This is caused by the build-up of hydrostatic pressure in the soil around the foundation. Hydrostatic pressure builds up due to poor drainage.
  • Moldings that have separated from the wall or ceiling – Even slight separations should cause concern.
  • Wrinkled or torn wallpaper – The wall behind the wallpaper might be cracked.
  • Stair step cracks in brick or masonry – This is a sure sign of foundation damage.
  • Walls that are pulling away from the ceiling or floor
  • Leaning porches and chimneys – Sometimes, the problem is with the foundation under the porch or chimney. However, the problem could also be caused by the home’s foundation.
  • Wet basement – A wet basement could mean cracks in the foundation wall. These might be non-structural cracks, but they could also be structural.

Other things to consider because they can cause foundation problems:

  • Have there been any earthquakes or other natural disasters in your area recently?
  • Has there been any heavy excavation going on near your home?
  • What about sinkhole activity?

For more information see, Is Your House Making a 911 Call?

infographic ceiling cracks when to worry

Things Homeowners Can Do To Prevent Foundation Problems

Most foundation problems – including some ceiling cracks – are caused by differential settlement, and differential settlement is mainly caused by poor drainage around the foundation. Therefore, you can prevent foundation trouble by getting groundwater under control. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Ensure the yard around your home slopes away from the foundation – If the yard slopes toward the foundation, water will pool around the foundation.
  • Clean your gutters regularly – If your gutters are clogged, water will flow over the side of the home into the soil around the foundation.
  • Use downspout extensions, if necessary – If downspouts are too short, water from the gutters will get deposited next to the foundation and sink into the soil. Downspout extensions channel the runoff away from the foundation before releasing it.
  • Install an underground downspout and bubbler pot – Water from the gutters flows into the underground downspout and gets channeled toward the bubbler pot (also referred to as a pop-up emitter) situated several feet from your foundation. When the bubbler pot is full of water, it pops up and ejects the water away from the foundation.
  • Don’t plant water-hungry flowers and shrubs near the foundation – When you water them, you’ll just be dumping more water around the foundation.
  • Keep large trees away from the foundation – Large trees can “drink” moisture from the soil leaving behind voids that the home might sink into.
  • Install an exterior drainage system – This would include wall parging, a drainage mat, and dimple board. An exterior drainage system will pull the water away from your home’s foundation and push it – ideally – into an EZ flow or UDE system.

If you have one or more ceiling cracks worrying you and you’re in our service area, contact us today for a free inspection and repair estimate.

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

7 Essential Tips For Hiring A Foundation Repair Contractor

When you notice signs of foundation damage, either cracks in your foundation walls, or doors and windows sticking upstairs, the next step you take is critical to the long-term health of your home and your wallet. Because foundation damage usually happens in stages, the stage at which you address it will determine the extent and cost of the repairs you’ll need.

Foundation problems that aren’t directly tied to poor construction, drought, or building on poor soil the wrong land, typically begin with too much water directed around the foundation. At the beginning stages of foundation problems, redirecting the water may be all you need to stop further damage. However, if the water has been oversaturating your foundation for a while or the damage is now more advanced, you’ll need to both manage the water and repair the foundation.

Don’t be surprised if each opinion differs greatly when calling on multiple contractors to repair the issue. One contractor might address only the symptoms while another also identifies and treats the root cause. So how can you figure out if you’re being recommended a band-aid or a true long-term cure? Below are some things that can help you decide.

1. Proper Diagnosis

A quality foundation repair estimate should be based on information collected during a comprehensive review of your property. The estimator should have discussed with you the problem’s history, performed a close visual inspection of the current state of the problem, and when required used instruments to accurately measure and determine the extent of the damage.

2. Unquestionable Methods

The repairs outlined in the estimate should involve a quality repair that goes beyond non-specialty DIY materials found at your typical “Big Box Stores”. It should be using heavy-duty commercial-grade materials installed liberally along the structure to be repaired. In broad terms, if a company is recommending a nail, you should find a company that will routinely use screws or bolts instead.

3. Price

Foundation repairs can be expensive when done correctly. Your foundation is no place to cut corners because it’s keeping the rest of your house standing. If the repair you choose doesn’t fix everything the first time,  a second time to have it repaired correctly. You will be the one paying the price.

4. Complete Solutions

Make sure the professional you’re talking to about repairs explains what is happening to your foundation, why it’s happening, and exactly what measures are going to be taken to correct the current damage and the source that’s causing it. Don’t let a contractor leave you with unanswered questions.

5. References

Repairing foundations properly, especially ones that have become unstable, requires a lot of experience. Look for a company that can provide references of people they’ve helped with similar problems to yours and is well respected in the industry and by their vendors.

6. A Clear Contract

Your foundation repair estimate should provide clear details as to what will and will not be done as part of your project. Make sure to read and understand all the details as to what is and isn’t covered and the General Conditions.

7. Complete Warranty

Some warranties promise to repair or replace the materials used to fix the foundation but say nothing about protecting the foundation from further damage. The better warranties protect the results. Remember a warranty is only as valuable as your ability to get it enforced.

Foundation repairs are serious business and you should hire only the true expert. At AMC911 Foundation & Waterproofing Repair Systems, we treat every customer’s project as if we were doing it at our own house. 

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

How To Find The Best Foundation Repair and Waterproofing Services

When water/moisture comes in your crawl space or around your foundation walls, the time to take action is now. Ignoring the issues will only complicate cleanup and repairs. To do so, you need to find the best, the expert, foundation and waterproofing company in your area.  But how do you find the best company?  How do you find the Expert?

Searching for the right company can be an exercise in frustration.  Each competing company has a different method and each swears theirs is the best.  Plus every company is handing out warranties, even those who are one step away from closing or just came into business a few years or even months ago. So who can you trust?

5 Elements to Find The Best Foundation Repair and Waterproofing Services

Years in Business     

Look for companies who’ve been around for 25+years.  Being in the business for 30 years we’ve seen competing companies come and go.  Longevity and stability are important characteristics in a company that promises to support you after completing their work. Don’t rely on what they say, or in their years of experience claimed, check for yourself.

Check Reviews

Investigate their reviews to hear the kinds of experiences customers have had.  Typically people who are vocal about their experiences tend to be vocal because they want to gripe.  Happy customers usually don’t take the time to write a compliment because their problems are gone and they go on with their life.  Some companies even hire review writing services that help them filter reviews or collect only glowing reviews.  Keep that in mind when looking at reviews.

Warranty Work

Every reputable company services what they sell. So ask about warranties offered but don’t be distracted by them.  Remember, mediocre companies use spectacular-sounding warranties as a marketing ploy to make you think their products are better than the rest.  The best rule when buying products and services is to do your research and purchase a product as if it had no warranty.  Then you will shop for quality versus warranties.  Also, this tactic will help you dig deeper into the products used and to ensure you hire truly the best company that installs the best product (a true apples-to-apples comparison).

Company Reputation with other Key Businesses

Any reputable company that has had longevity in its industry is recognized by other entities.  Look for a company that has local ties with key groups as well as within their industry.  Ask them to give you that information when they give you an estimate.  AMC911 is the only “10 On Your Side” expert for Foundation & Waterproofing Services 5 years running, and the“HRPro2Go” in the area.  In our industry, our materials vendor has recognized us as a top 10 performer for the past 8 years running.  This reputation matters.  Make sure who you choose has a strong reputation.

Customer References

A great way to find the Expert you need is to speak to their customers.  Any well-established business should be able to provide you with a list of people in your neighborhood who have used them in the past and/or whose projects are like the one you’re considering.

Take the time to do these 5 things and your chances of finding the true Expert will be a snap.  We’ve been in business for over a quarter-century, have many online reviews, A+ rated with the BBB for over 16 years, service what we sell, and can provide you with names of your neighbors who’ve used us to do the same work you need to be done.   When you start your search for the right company, we encourage you to give AMC911 a call.

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

What Causes Concrete Foundation Cracks?

As you celebrate Labor Day and back to school time for the little ones, take some time yourself to learn a little something new.  As they say, it is best to lead by example and your brain needs new things to learn to keep it young.  Next time you are doing a little laboring around the perimeter of your home take a look around at your foundation walls. You are bound to find a crack. Why? Cracks in your foundation happen!

Builders approach us all the time to help them fix the foundations they just poured. It’s not that they do a bad job – it’s just the nature of the beast.

Most of Hampton Roads’ homes have poured concrete foundations.  Having waterproofed and repaired many foundations we have seen all sorts of cracked foundations.  Some cracking is normal, it is when settling happens that you need to enlist the expert and call AMC911.

Reasons for Cracks in your Foundation:

Stress Points

Anytime you core thru the foundation for installing sewer, electric and gas lines, it weakens the concrete, resulting in cracking. Cracks are also commonly found angling off corners of crawl space or basement vents or windows. These areas are usually the first place we look when conducting a foundation analysis.

Soil Saturation

In simple terms, soil saturation = wet ground. Your foundation walls are supported by footings. The footings are at the walls’ base and hold up your house. When the soil under the footings becomes oversaturated, the footings “settle”, causing the walls to crack. Oversaturation can also cause the earth next to your foundation to expand in volume. Many foundations are not built to withstand that extra pressure. The excess weight of the soil can force the foundation to push inward. This is identified by diagonal cracks coming off corners. The leading causes for oversaturation are improper grading, bad gutters or the need for underground sump pumps and downspout extensions.

Drought

On the other hand, not enough moisture in the soil can also cause foundation cracks. When the soil is desiccated, in other words, when moisture is drawn from the soil, usually as the result of a drought, the soil itself will shrink and cause foundation walls to shift outward and footings to settle. Such soil desiccation occurs when trees, shrubs and other plantings near the foundation send root systems deeper into the ground in search of moisture, drawing it from the soil in areas that normally remain untouched.  So, just because we live in Hampton Roads known for its humidity, do not assume you cannot have dry soils around your foundation.

Concrete Shrinkage

Yup as solid as concrete looks, it shrinks and expands. The science of pouring concrete involves many factors and variables. Since water is used when concrete is mixed, there is an inherent expansion and subsequent contraction of the concrete when it dries. Many factors can affect the drying process, including the type of aggregate, mix of the concrete and humidity levels.

Timing

In life, timing is everything. Same holds true for concrete. Imagine your builder ran short on concrete when pouring your foundation – and the next ready mix truck didn’t arrive until the first batch started to harden. Your foundation would no longer be monolithic (one piece) at that point. A cold joint would naturally form, allowing water to easily seep through.

Death and taxes are two certainties in life. Often, so is a cracked foundation. Fortunately, the solution is usually very simple, especially when you have AMC911, the expert you can rely on.  Now your brain and your home will thank you J

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

Things To Consider Before You Hire A Foundation Repair Contractor

7 Things To Consider Before You Buy

When you notice signs of foundation damage, either crack in your foundation walls, or doors and windows sticking upstairs, the next step you take is critical to the long-term health of your home and your wallet. Because foundation damage usually happens in stages, the stage at which you address it will determine the extent and cost of the repairs you’ll need.

Foundation problems that aren’t directly tied to poor construction, drought, or building on poor soil the wrong land, typically begin with too much water directed around the foundation. At the beginning stages of foundation problems, redirecting the water may be all you need to stop further damage. However, if the water has been over-saturating your foundation for a while or the damage is now more advanced, you’ll need to both manage the water and repair the foundation.

Don’t be surprised if each opinion differs greatly when calling on multiple contractors to repair the issue. One contractor might address only the symptoms while another also identifies and treats the root cause. So how can you figure out if you’re being recommended a band-aid or a true long-term cure? Below are some things that can help you decide.

  1. Proper Diagnosis– A quality foundation repair estimate should be based on information collected during a comprehensive review of your property. The estimator should have discussed with you the problem’s history, performed a close visual inspection of the current state of the problem, and when required used instruments to accurately measure and determine the extent of the damage.
  2. Unquestionable Methods– The repairs outlined in the estimate should involve a quality repair that goes beyond non-specialty DIY materials found at your typical “Big Box Stores”. It should be using heavy-duty commercial-grade materials installed liberally along the structure to be repaired. In broad terms, if a company is recommending a nail, you should find a company that will routinely use screws or bolts instead.
  3. Price – Foundation repairs can be expensive when done correctly. Your foundation is no place to cut corners because it’s keeping the rest of your house standing. If the repair you choose doesn’t fix everything the first time, you will be the one paying the price a second time to have it repaired correctly.
  4. Complete Solutions– Make sure the professional you’re talking to about repairs explains what is happening to your foundation, why it’s happening, and exactly what measures are going to be taken to correct the current damage and the source that’s causing it. Don’t let a contractor leave you with unanswered questions.
  5. References– Repairing foundations properly, especially ones that have become unstable, requires a lot of experience. Look for a company that can provide references of people they’ve helped with similar problems to yours and is well respected in the industry and by their vendors.
  6. A Clear Contract– Your foundation repair estimate should provide clear details as to what will and will not be done as part of your project. Make sure to read and understand all the details as to what is and isn’t covered and the General Conditions.
  7. Complete Warranty– Some warranties promise to repair or replace the materials used to fix the foundation, but say nothing about protecting the foundation from further damage. The better warranties protect the results. Remember a warranty is only as valuable as your ability to get it enforced.

Foundation repairs are serious business and you should hire only the true expert. At AMC911 Foundation & Waterproofing Repair Systems, we treat every customer’s project as if we were doing it at our own house. Please make the best call and call us, we will be glad to prove you right J

 

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

Get Your Home Foundation Ready for Spring

Are you tired of this winter yet? I know we are, it seems to be a non-stop cycle of cold, ice, and snow. Let’s set all that aside and daydream about green grass, sunny skies, and warm temperatures.

Spring foundation repairsNow is the time to think about getting ready for spring cleaning and repairs. Take some time now to plan and make sure your home is strong, stable, and dry. With a few small tasks, you can determine if your home is in need of foundation repair. Or if it is something that you can handle yourself.

Fix Cracks

One of the clearest signs of foundation damage is discovering cracks. Walk around the outside and inside of your home checking for cracks. Save yourself a bigger problem later. Also, make sure to check walls, windows, and doors where there are joints in the walls. There are many kinds and locations of cracks, and not all of them are serious. If you do find a crack, contact a professional (like Atlas Master Companies) to determine if something needs to be repaired.

Another area to check is your floor, whether you have a basement, crawl space, or slab. Floor cracks in concrete or tiling are usually a big indicator of some foundation issues.

Are Doors or Windows Sticking?

A common sign of foundation problems is usually ignored: sticking doors or windows. Some people fix the symptom by shaving window or door frames or making other superficial adjustments. If doors and windows are tough to open, or seem to close on their own, your foundation may be off-kilter. Some settling occurs over the years in every home, but an expert can tell you if it is something that is not only serious, but also fixable.

Flowing Gutters Save Foundations

If the water coming off your roof doesn’t drain well away from your foundation, you’re going to have a bad time. The water should flow cleanly through the gutters, through the downspouts, and well away from the house. If your gutters are clogged, the water may spill over the sides, running down the foundation walls or pooling alongside the house.

Downspouts should also flow freely and empty around 5-10 feet away from the foundation. Make sure your gutters and also downspouts aren’t clogged and are big enough to handle the water coming off of your roof. This is a pretty easy step that also gets overlooked, but can save you a lot of stress down the road.

Be Inclined to Have the Right Slope

Even if your home was originally built with the right slope and grade, there are factors that can change the angle of the land. Vehicles, erosion, and landscaping can all impact your property’s grade. Make sure that land slopes away from your foundation, allowing rain and melting snow to flow away from your house.

Still Need Help?

If you also have signs of foundation problems or aren’t sure what is going on with your foundation, give the pros at Atlas Master Companies a call. We’ll check out your property and, if there is a need, we’ll also give you an estimate for any repairs. Contact us today to learn about foundation repair and also more from Virginia’s best foundation repair company, Atlas Master Companies.

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

How High Water Can Affect Your Home’s foundation?

High water can come from the sky in the form of rain or from flooded bodies of water. The water can cause damage by rushing rapidly, knocking down trees, buildings, and more. The flowing debris can cause even more damage, destroying roads, eroding soils, and demolishing structures. Commercial and residential properties can both be ruined by high water. Even if the building is structurally sound after the flood, the water can pollute the area and promote the growth of mold and pest infestations.

high water floodwaters foundation repair

How Can High Water Affect Your Home’s foundation?

When floodwaters enter the interior of your building, it quickly works on destroying the wood and metal that is exposed to the moisture. Even when the water recedes, wood, carpeting, and furniture can be waterlogged a long time after the basement appears to be dry. You will most likely need commercial-grade heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers to completely dry the environment.

Even if the water doesn’t enter your home or business, it can cause damage to your foundation. The pressure of the water and oversaturated soil can put a tremendous strain on the foundation walls. The hydrostatic pressure can cause the walls to crack, bow, or even collapse entirely.

Signs Of Water Seepage

You need to check your home or business when it is safe. Don’t put yourself in danger to check the property. You should keep an eye out for downed power lines and structural damage. If it’s not safe, just wait until it is. The water is full of pollutants, bacteria, sewage, and debris. You can be injured or made ill due to things left by floodwaters.

If the area around your property is safe, you can look around for damage and warning signs. Make note of the building materials that are waterlogged, especially if they are load-bearing. Check for new cracks, gaps, and joints that are out of alignment. Look for bulging walls and sagging floors or ceilings. These are all signs of foundation damage and a professional will need to be called in to do the repairs.

It’s usually good to have a professional check your property if floodwaters have infiltrated it. They will be able to determine if the property can be repaired or if it has to be demolished. Many city governments have rules mandating the course of action depending on the amount of damage. It is important that buildings are safe for occupants to be in. Hopefully, there is insurance to cover the costs or at least help.

If the structure can be repaired, you will also need to have it professionally cleaned. There’s no sense in performing repairs if the building is contaminated with bacteria from sewage water, dead animals, and other pollutants.

Foundation Repair Contractors

If you do decide that you need to have foundation repairs done on your property, be wary of fly-by-night contractors. A lot of shady operators will pop up, trying to make a buck off of victims of floods and other natural disasters. Atlas Master Companies has been in the area for decades and we make Virginia our home and many of you are our neighbors. We have a reputation for honesty and quality work. It may be tempting to go with the lowest cost, but you get what you pay for: shoddy materials, poor workmanship, inexperienced workers, worthless warranties, and more. There’s no sense in having work done on your home or business, if it’s just going to allow more problems, perhaps even worse than the original issue, to occur.

Don’t be pressured into making a decision on the spot. An honest contractor is going to give you an estimate in writing and allow you some time to go over it and think about it. the easiest way to avoid high-pressure salespeople is to not even invite them on to the property. Look for a contractor that has been in business for a while with authentic references and free estimates. Foundation repairs are important and the decision shouldn’t be made lightly, quickly, or under pressure. Contact Atlas Master Companies to learn more about choosing a reliable contractor.

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

Hurricane Florence and Your Virginia Home Damages

 

Fortunately, Hurricane Florence was not as bad as was predicted, but it still caused a lot of damage and loss to the area. Torrential rains, high winds, and even tornadoes have hit the East Coast. There has been a loss of possessions, structures, and life due to this storm.

tornado damage

Even though the Carolinas took the brunt of Florence, Virginia wasn’t completely spared. A deadly tornado hit the Richmond area which was caused by the weather that came along with the hurricane. The tornado damaged buildings flipped cars and knocked down power lines throughout Chesterfield County. A classification for the tornado hadn’t been assigned yet, but the National Weather Service called it a “a very dangerous situation” and it caused at least one death, when a commercial building collapsed.

Storm Damage to Your Home: Risks and Signs

Although the largest portion of Hurricane Florence missed the Virginia region, the area hasn’t always been so lucky. This tornado on September 17th occurred 14 years to the day that Hurricane Ivan spawned 40 tornadoes in the state, breaking records for tornadoes in a single day and in a single year, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

In addition to tornadoes, hurricanes bring damaging winds and flooding rains. Normal weather can wreak havoc on a structure, imagine what tornadoes and hurricanes can do. Some issues that can occur include foundation damage, flooding, structural damage, and water issues.

After the storms have passed and it’s safe to walk around your property, make an inspection of the structure. Keep an eye out for downed power lines and avoid them at all costs. You survived the storm, don’t be a casualty to carelessness.

When inspecting the property check for any damage to the building including the roof, foundation, walls, and floors. If you see any signs of problems, contact the professionals at Atlas Master Companies as soon as possible. We’ll be able to let you know if the issue is something that needs to be addressed immediately, or if it can wait until things calm down. We can restore your building’s strength and stability.

Waterproofing Your Building

It’s obviously too late to waterproof your home or business for this storm, but you can be prepared for the next one with services from Atlas Master Companies. We will inspect your property and determine what kind of waterproofing services you need. There are a variety of solutions available, all of them playing a different role in protecting your commercial or residential property.

You may be in need of interior and exterior waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, surface water collection, French drain installation, or a sump pump and pit. It is important that you keep your property dry and free from water damage. Water in your building can soften and damage the structure, weakening it. It can also promote pest infestations and cause health issues related to mold and mildew growth.

If your home or business experienced flooding, you should have it professionally cleaned before using the building. Floodwaters are filthy and full of bacteria and other health hazards. Even if it looks clean, dead animals, overflowing sewage systems, and other contaminants are in the water. Floodwaters can cause a variety of serious illnesses, so it’s important to avoid exposure to the threat.

Stabilizing Your Structure

High winds and high water are a terrible combination when it comes to the stability of your home or business. The soil your building is on could be oversaturated and soft and the winds could be weakening or damaging your structure.

The foundation experts at Atlas Master Companies can determine if your foundation needs repair and, if so, what the best method would be. There are a variety of methods available including tiebacks, soil nails, steel piers, plate anchors, and helical piers, among other options.

It is important that you make sure your building is strong and secure, protecting your people and your investment. Make sure that the contractor that you use is trustworthy and reliable. Remember, cheapest isn’t always the best choice, especially when you think about how much your building is worth.

Concrete Repair Methods

High water and torrential rains may have caused the concrete surfaces around your property to sink, settle, or crack. An uneven slab can cause a tripping hazard or cause drainage or structural issues, so it’s important to have the concrete repaired.

In the past, people would just tear up the old concrete and start over, but there is a more efficient and effective option that is becoming more popular. Atlas Master Companies uses the method of polyfoam slab jacking to repair concrete.

The concrete can sink or crack if the earth under the slab has eroded and created voids or washed away. The polyurethane foam will expand under the slab, filling the empty areas and compressing the soil, giving the slab a strong foundation to rest on. The foam is water-resistant so it will seal the bottom of the slab and it won’t wash away like the slurry from mudjacking can.

Another option is the installation of a concrete slab push pier system. These can be used when the soil under the slab is just too weak to support the concrete. Our experts can determine the best method to restore your concrete slab.

Protect Yourself and Others

We know that there is a lot going on when bad weather hits, so we encourage you to be proactive and make sure your home or business is ready to weather the storm. Contact us today to learn more about making sure your property is strong, stable, and safe.

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

What Type of Foundation Repair Do I Need?

Find out what kind of solutions we offer for your foundation repair problems at Atlas Master Companies.

Drywall Cracks

Photo of cracked drywall.Problem:

Drywall cracks are a common problem, yet they can be hard to diagnose and easy to ignore. Even when the crack is small, it can become a major issue because it can grow to become a major structural problem. Too much water, incorrect soil compaction on construction, or very hot and dry conditions can all cause drywall cracks.

Solution:

AMC will use underpinning products like steel push piers, helical piers, or plate anchors. The piers are pushed deep into the soil to produce a stable structure for the home. The choice of steel, helical, or plate will depend on the specific situation.

Foundation Settling Or Sinking foundation

Photo of sinking foundation with tape measure showing distance. Problem:

Sinking foundations can be a big problem in Virginia homes. Have you ever walked out of your home and noticed that the ground around it is sinking down? Do your doors stick? Do you have wall or floor cracks? These could be signs of a serious foundation problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

Solution:

AMC uses ECP (Earth Contact Products) underpinning products like helical piers, steel push piers, and helical torque anchors. Steel push piers are the most common choice for sinking foundation repair, but helical piers are great for unstable rock basements. Once again, the solution will be specialized to your specific situation, and we will work with you for the best solution.

Bowed Basement Walls

slab push pierProblem:

Bowed basement walls are due to pressure from water on the building’s foundation. This can be because of improper drainage in the yard, frost heave that causes pressure on different piece of the foundation, or because of improper original construction. In any case, this is a serious issue that threatens the safety of your home.

Solution:

There are three main solutions to this issue: helical tieback anchors, wall plate anchors, or carbon fiber straps. Helical tiebacks are put in through a small hole in the basement wall, and they will strengthen and revert the wall to its original position. Wall plate anchors will stabilize the wall and cause minimal damage to landscaping. Lastly, carbon fiber repair will go up on the walls, and it can be painted over afterward for almost invisible coverage.

These are just a few repairs you may come across, but please check out our website for more problems and solutions for your foundation. Contact AMC for a free estimate, and get started on keeping your house safe and comfortable for many years to come.

Category Archives: Foundation Repair

The Complete Guide to Foundation Cracks

Do foundation cracks make you nervous?

Cracks in your foundation – whether it be brick, concrete, or masonry – can be daunting.  You might immediately jump to thoughts of repairs, structural damage, and decrease in the value of your property.

Before you worry, remember that not all foundation cracks are bad.

In fact, most foundation cracks are completely natural and can be easily fixed.

It is important to know the types of foundation cracks so you can diagnose yours. Make the best decision for your home.

Different Types of Settlement

The first step in understanding foundation problems is to know the different types of settlement. Certain types of settlement are more dangerous than others. Foundation settlement can essentially be categorized into two different types:

house-615563_1920Uniform Settlement – each point of the structure sinks into the ground at the same time and same capacity. Uniform settlement can occur when all parts of a building rest on the same type of soil. No damage is done to the structure if the foundation settles uniformly as a whole. Damage can still occur to surrounding drainage systems, attached buildings, and underground utility lines.

Differential Settlement – The opposite of uniform settlement. This occurs when different points of the structure settle while others remain stable. This is the main cause of dangerous foundation cracks and other structural problems.

If every part of a building is resting on the same type of soil, differential settlement may not be an issue. However, in most cases, soil types, loads, and structural systems differ throughout a structure. When a building like this settles differentially, it can cause framework issues. These include sloping floors and bowing walls. They could also include leaning chimneys, and doors and windows that don’t shut.

One of the main issues that occur when a foundation has settled differentially is foundation cracks. Understanding the types of foundation cracks is important for everyone Virginia Beach & Hampton Roads. Homes in this area are prone to differential settlement cracks, especially properties located near the water.

Vertical Cracks: Don’t Worry, They’re Normal

Non-threatening foundation cracks exist?! Yes, they sure do.

If your foundation cracks are vertical, then you most likely don’t have anything to worry about. Vertical cracks that are slightly diagonal (within 30 degrees) are not cause for concern.

Vertical foundation cracks are very common and can be seen in most households. They can occur due to concrete tension within the first few years of construction. They also form because of rains that create water pressure against the foundation.

Fixing vertical foundation cracks is simple. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Mend the crack with an epoxy or polyurethane injection. These materials are lightweight, flexible, and waterproof – and can permanently seal cracks in your foundation.
  2. Protect your foundation from water intrusion to prevent future cracks. If your gutters are clogged, water could be pouring over directly onto your foundation. Also, short downspouts can allow water to pool up around your home. Make sure that your gutters are clear of debris and that your downspouts are extended at least 5ft away from your home. You may have to do some strategic landscaping if your house is on a hill that directs water down onto your foundation.

Diagonal Cracks: A Little Bit More Worrisome

crack-695010_1920

Diagonal cracks usually cause more concern than vertical cracks because they indicate differential settlement that can lead to serious structural issues in your home. When parts of your home settle more quickly than others, or sections of your home settle while other sections remain stable, it can cause uneven (or differential) settlement. If you have noticed diagonal cracks running about 30 to 75 degrees from vertical, it is important to get your foundation looked at.

With a differential settlement, the foundation moves in two different directions, causing both vertical and horizontal tension. This creates diagonal foundation cracks. Diagonal cracks are sometimes hairline cracks. Diagonal cracks often occur in homes built on a hill, or homes with rapidly changing soil conditions due to excessive rain or drought.

You repair diagonal cracks the same way that you repair vertical ones. However, it takes more material to prevent future movement. Also, it is important to determine where the exact settlement is located with diagonal foundation cracks so that measures can be taken to prevent settlement there in the future.

Horizontal Cracks: You Don’t Want These

There are several different types of horizontal foundation cracks. They all indicate dangerous structural problems.

wall-1179614_1920When the force of the ground is too much for a basement wall to bear, it bows inward and develops a mid-height horizontal crack. If you have a concrete or block basement foundation, your home is probably prone to this issue.

Other causes of horizontal foundation cracks include damage from heavy equipment near the wall, frost heave, or excessive backfilling.

If you have small horizontal cracks on a straight wall that is not bowing yet, it is important to closely monitor those cracks to see if the damage worsens. Be sure to call a foundation repair specialist to inspect your horizontal foundation cracks and implement the proper repairs.

Stair-Step Cracks: These Are Dangerous

cracked-brickworkStair-step cracks are diagonal cracks that occur in concrete block and brick foundations. The crack starts along a joint or near the end of the wall and climbs up or down. Like diagonal cracks, differential settlement causes stair-step cracks.

Get A Free Estimate And Inspection

Call Atlas Master Companies today. We come inspect your property and evaluate your foundation. Our experts have years of experience dealing with foundation cracks and know the exact repairs that need done.

We value honesty and integrity in all that we do. We give you only the repairs you need for the right price. Call today to start.

 

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