Everything You Need to Know About Foundations & Crawlspaces

pf plumbing

By Paul Freer
Piedmont Pressure Seal
an affiliate of PF Plumbing

In recent years the building industry has had some very interesting, intelligent and efficient breakthroughs in the basic methods used to construct foundations; two of which I believe to be very important.

The first is the methods used to waterproof residential basements. We now have multiple types of sprayed-on, elastomeric, rubberized membranes that, for the most part, have replaced brushed or mopped on products from a bucket. The high quality products carry percentages of material that are elastomeric and will bridge over gaps, voids and cracks unlike the asphaltic materials of the old days.

These materials can be purchased as dam proofing, or the best materials will meet ASTM specs for waterproofing. Make sure you know what you are getting! Along with these are the HDPE (high density polyethylene) materials used for wrapping foundations, creating a waterproof barrier and an air gap between the backfill soil and the foundation wall. With the exception of commercial grade products, these are the highest quality products available today to properly protect a foundation, be it new or newly excavated for repair.

The second technical advance is the acceptance of the sealed, conditioned crawl space. From the beginning we have constructed crawl spaces with foundation vents to let these spaces breath, but after years of poor performance, these moldy, unheated, uncooled, high humidity, bad smelling spaces are a thing of the past. Read the reports, studies and the statistics that have been prepared by multiple professionals and you will soon see this is one of the most energy efficient installations you can do to your new or existing home, not to mention what this will do for your health and the resale of your home.

The methods of installation are very important. Every study I have read emphasizes the importance of not using fiberglass products for the foundation walls and warns of the use of certain types of sprayed in foam. We have come a long way in the past few years with lots of products. Be sure to do the research so that you know what you are paying for and what type of job you are contracting to have done!

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