Tag Archives for " masserang consulting "

Sep 02

Encapsulated Crawl Space Odors

By Michael | Crawlspace Encapsulation

Encapsulation - CAT URINE 2Odors and smells in encapsulated crawlspaces

We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls lately from clients that are frustrated with their sealed crawl spaces. In the Charlotte, North Carolina market, and the surrounding counties, 90% of residential construction is crawl space construction. Since crawlspace construction is problematic especially during the hot humid summer months, the Charlotte market has had an explosion of companies claiming to be experts offering a sealed crawl space solution. The solution is 10 to 15 years old, and has some inherent challenges. Most of these companies are jumping in on the feeding frenzy as a way to sell more things to their customers. The challenge with this scenario is most of these companies have very little to no education on why the problem happens. Franchisees send out commission based sales people to the customer’s home claiming to be experts with a basic crash course of 2 to 3 days from the manufacturer, a laptop, glossy brochure, and a go get em tiger approach towards the public that they pretend to serve. Since the salespeople are commission based they tend to over design and embellish the problem in an attempt to make a big sale. I am finding customers are being overcharged two to three times what the actual repair value was worth. High-pressure sales techniques such as fear, intimidation, and flat-out lies about potential health threats have been reported. This is a very disingenuous tactic and gives the industry a black eye. Here are the facts about the challenges with encapsulated crawlspaces:

1. When you encapsulate a crawl space, you encapsulate all of the odors and smells inside the space
2. Construction materials such as wood members, insulation, plastic, the acidity in the soil, etc. all off gas odors, and these odors can percolate up into the living areas.
3. HVAC systems that are installed inside the crawlspace using natural gas can also be a challenge inside a sealed crawlspace especially if it is not properly vented at the time of construction.
4. The heavy mil plastic that some of these companies use to encapsulate the crawlspace often off gas terrible odors that are often reported right after the install.
5. If there are currently any biofilm contaminants infesting the floor joists, insulation, or subflooring, these fungal or mold colonies also off gas odors that can now percolate up into the living spaces.
6. If the crawlspace was encapsulated with a drainage problem, moisture can build up under the liner and cause the development of mold which off gases odor that smells like cat urine. This is a huge problem as most companies do not install foundation drains when they encapsulate.
7. Without the induction of fresh air, there is no way for these odors and smells to escape, so they grow in intensity and often get worse during the summer months.
8. Encapsulated crawlspaces require an expensive dehumidifier to reduce moisture. Dehumidifiers are humidistat controlled devices and are extremely inefficient in crawl spaces especially in cooler temperatures and require 800 Watts of power to operate. This can increase your power Bill $15-$20 a month in certain cases.
9. Because dehumidifiers are humidistat control devices, they do not turn off at the right time and could potentially overheat around the compressor. This is a challenge with store-bought dehumidifiers or the big commercial jobs. Dehumidifiers often need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years, and this can run the customer $1500 at each replacement.

The good news is, if you are having challenges with your sealed crawlspace, the crawl space can be retrofitted with a dewpoint controlled fan system. This system uses state-of-the-art technology with a series of interior, exterior, and wood moisture sensors that gather atmospheric data and efficiently control the introduction of outside air into the crawlspace when it is conducive for exchange. Basically, if it’s drier outside that it is under the house we utilize the outside air. When it is too cold to hot or too moist outside we block that outside air and utilize the internal dead corner fans, and if necessary a backup dehumidifier that is tied into the controls for peak efficiency.

If you have a sealed crawlspace that is giving you challenges, or are considering encapsulating the crawlspace, please give us a call first to get educated on the science before making that decision. We are here to help.

Don’t encapsulate! Ventilate!

Jun 24

Charlotte NC_Pressure Grouting__Michael Masserang

By Michael | Pressure grouting

Pressure Grouting or Mud jacking in Charlotte, NC also known as slab jacking, refer to a procedure used when a residential or commercial concrete slab or foundation sinks. This sinking is typically caused by improper foundation installation due to poor soil compaction, moisture variations resulting in expansive soils due to high clay or sand content or potentially sub-surface erosion due to water. A slab can be “floated” or pressure grouted to its original elevation by pumping in a mixture of cement, sand, and other adhesives under the slab using pressure grouting equipment. This is only one procedure that can be used as a slab foundation repair method. How does mudjacking work? Strategically drilled holes are made in the slab and with the use of flexible hoses and portable pumps and these holes are filled with this grout mixture. The process can be accomplished in a few hours by lifting the foundation or slab using these pressure grouting techniques.

Mud jacking is used to raise patios, garage floors, driveways, basement floors, walkways, pool decks and porches. It can remove fill voids, pooling water and trip hazards. As an alternative to replacement of uneven or sunken concrete, slab jacking can restore sunken areas to their original level. The procedure can be done on cracked areas such as in concrete paved floors and surfaces, side walks and steps and driveways. It can not only bring the surface to grade but it can eliminate water problems as it fills in cavities under the concrete and it will divert the water away from the foundation.

Pressure grouting under slab produces very little inconvenience or mess and allows for immediate use. There is no waste with this process, unlike concrete slab replacement which adds to landfill making this method environmentally a better choice. Quite often there is no noise from breaking up old concrete to remove it, no dust and no chunks of concrete. The color of the concrete remains the same as the old areas are still in place.

As with any major structural problems with residential or commercial buildings one should always try and determine the reason for the distress in order to fix it properly. This is where a professional foundation repair consultant should be called in. By thoroughly inspecting the structure; windows, mortar joints, drywall, cracks in brick veneer, molding gaps and trim boards alignment (to name just a few) the consultant can readily identify and provide recommendations based on years of experience. If the weather in Charlotte, NC has been unusually wet or dry it can cause problems in the way the soil behaves. If there is a large problem to repair such as in the shifting of a commercial or residential building, helical piers can be used to lift the foundation to stabilize it. Helical piers use mechanical jacks to lift a settled beam so that it is at grade level. This must be done very carefully so as not to cause any other damage. It is held in place by a spread pier and footing. This footing or pier is set well below the problematic area, deep into the soil so as not to be affected by moisture variations in the soil. It distributes the load evenly without any additional mass and is tied with steel supporting the foundation beam.

Regardless of the methods used, it should be understood that the solution is not a DIY project and you should consult a professional foundation repair consultant in Charlotte as pressure grouting is beyond the scope of a diy project.

For more information on Pressure Grouting and Grouting costs call Michael at (704) 787-6972 or visit Masserang Contracting & Consulting at http://specialtyfoundationrepair.com

Masserang Contracting & Consulting
1700 Songwood Rd.
Concord, NC 28025
(704) 787-6972

For more Foundation Repair videos visit:

Pressure Grouting_Charlotte NC_Masserang Contracting and Consulting