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Could the Summer Prove Even More Harmful for Permafrost-Ridden Climates?

concrete foundation repairIt may seem like all the recent warm weather is a blessing, given the harsh winter that just passed, but a new study is showing that the heat and humidity could cause some severe problems in parts of Russia.

According to a United Nations Environment Program report, almost a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is covered with permafrost.

Permafrost is soil that has a below-zero temperature, and is therefore completely frozen. Recent studies are showing that permafrost thaw is increasing at a rapid rate, leading to several concerns for Russia’s urban infrastructure.

Not only does permafrost release methane and carbon dioxide as it thaws, but it begins to cause a shift in the foundation of buildings within a city. The problem with this is that the ground begins to soften and move beneath the surface of large structures, and these buildings are not designed to handle these shifts.

How a Water Thawing Can Affect Your Home

Foundation shifts are known to cause potentially serious water damage. Even with a basement sump pump, a battery backup sump pump, a French drain system, or interior basement waterproofing, water can still seep in through cracks in the foundation. Without immediate concrete foundation repair, the shifted building could face increasing devastation.

In addition, Gunnar Bjørnnson, a student from Norway who is studying the effect of rapid permafrost thaw, explained that water damage is not the only problem.

“When you have an unstable foundation that starts to crack, it can break and destroy pipelines, sanitation, sewage, water access. It can cause a lot of complications, repair costs, and maintenance costs,” he said.

A report by Barents Observer shows that concrete foundation repair can cost from $5,000 to $7,000 for major issues, and about $2,000 for some minor cracks. But for entire cities in Russia, this could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in concrete foundation repair.

This month, George Washington University, Moscow State University, and the Barents Institute joined forces to work on a project that analyzes these trends. Students from these institutions found that permafrost thaw is also impacting Arctic climates in Canada and Alaska.

Consequently, even if building owners remove excess ice, snow, or water from around a foundation, there is no guarantee that permafrost won’t affect the concrete and soil surrounding the structure.

Ultimately, the aim of these studies is to ensure that builders are able to work with the rapidly evolving soil.

“We look at engineering aspects, but we don’t tell an engineer how to build a house. Instead, we can teach them what are the methods to adapt this city, region, or even a particular building to natural and climatic conditions as they change,” said Dmitry Streletskiy, a field school instructor. “It helps to know how to consider climate and local natural conditions when they build on permafrost.”

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Don’t Let a Crack in Your Foundation Go Unnoticed

cracked foundation repairIf your basement leaks when it rains, it may be time for you to take a look at your home’s foundation. In many cases, cracks in your foundation can lead to water seeping in through your basement walls, which could result in ruined carpets, floorboards, and furniture.

Flooding and water damage is becoming a major concern for Canadian residents, who have subsequently filed an increasing number of insurance claims related to water damage in the last decade. In fact, the Canadian insurance industry forks out more than $1 billion in settlement for these claims annually.

When you don’t have a basement sump pump, interior basement waterproofing, a French drain system, or even a battery backup sump pump, the best way to protect your home from water damage could be investing in cracked foundation repair.

Repair Methods for a Cracked Foundation

Cracked foundation repair is best left to the professionals, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what they do to seal the cracks. Here are a couple of methods they use.

Epoxy

Epoxy is made from synthetic materials, and is manufactured into a strong adhesive for repairing cracks. Epoxy injections used to be much more common for treating foundation cracks, and are still used on many homes. The substance itself creates a solid bond with the concrete when injected into the cracks, essentially closing off any gaps in the foundation. This method has mostly been used for waterproofing basements.

Urethane

Urethane has grown in popularity because of its flexibility and durability. Though some waterproofing companies still use epoxy, it can be problematic with wet concrete and refuse to adhere. This means that homeowners would have to wait until the ground completely dries from a rainstorm before fixing any cracks. Urethane actually utilizes water to expand into fissures in the wall to permanently seal them off. It also moves with any foundation shifts without breaking or cracking.

You don’t necessarily have to know the ins and outs of foundation repairs to know that urethane will probably be your best bet.

So, talk to the waterproofing professionals near you about your options, and express your interest in urethane. This way, you will be a well-informed customer making a wise choice for your foundation.

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Waterproof Your Basement, or Face Serious Health Risks

waterproofing interior basement wallsWater damage can be extremely costly. In fact, one study shows that in 2014, the average cost of water damage repair is roughly $11 per square foot. So, if you have a 500 square-foot basement, you could be looking at at least $5,000 for restoration. That is reason enough to invest in waterproofing interior basement walls.

Even if you have a basement sump pump, a French drain system, or even a battery backup sump pump, there is no substitute for waterproofing interior basement walls, as well as exterior ones. The reason for this is that if your basement leaks when it rains, the water that seeps into your basement can cause serious damage to your electronics, your carpeting, and also the structure and foundation of your home — even before you can pump it out.

Subsequently, waterproofing may be your best first line of defense against water damage.

Here are a few benefits of basement waterproofing:

Energy Savings

The water that leaks through the cracks in your foundation and into your basement can also bring in cold air. As a result, your heater will have to work extra hard during the cold season to heat your home. You could simply remove the excess ice or snow surrounding your foundation, but that won’t necessarily stop the water from seeping in through the soil. In the summer time, water leaks can add extra moisture to your house, making it hard for your air conditioner to battle the increased humidity. Ultimately, you will be saving money on energy bills if you waterproof your basement.

Your Health

Even small amounts of water that trickle into your basement can be detrimental to your health. When water and moisture are allowed to fester on drywall or wooden beams, mold can form within 24 or 48 hours. Many different types of mold can be toxic, such as black mold, and in some cases, it can be deadly. A few of the main symptoms that stem from mold exposure include asthma, allergic reactions, and trouble breathing.

Resale Value

A basement is a perk that many home buyers look for during their search for the perfect home. You could significantly up the value and appeal of your home by waterproofing the basement. It will be considered a safe, usable space, and often times, homeowners don’t realize that the basement is usually a large chunk of their home’s total square footage. A huge water tight basement could essentially be a great selling point.

So, consider waterproofing interior basement walls, and repairing any cracks in your foundation. Other than a sump pump, it will be the best way to save your home from thousands of dollars worth of damage, and deadly heath conditions.