If your home encounters a waterproofing issue, should you undertake excavations on your own? No, not unless you already work as an excavation contractor and you possess experience in the field. While this process might appear straightforward, digging to reach a residential foundation or a damaged crawl space requires expertise. A number of factors enter into decisions at the site. Homeowners typically save money and avoid serious potential problems by hiring knowledgeable contractors to undertake waterproofing projects. Excavations don’t make good DIY activities.
Many waterproofing projects do sometimes require excavation. For example, installing a retaining wall or a French Drain, reaching a crack in a foundation, or repairing a leaking swimming pool all necessitate extensive digging in some circumstances. The unique terrain of the property and the scope of the project may impact this situation. Just consider three important issues which complicate the digging process:
One: The Type of Soil Matters
Geologists working for the U.S. government have compiled detailed maps documenting many different types of soils. The variety of soil in a particular location impacts excavating and construction decisions. Different soils, including clay, loam, hardpan, sand, silt, and gravel, differ in their degree of hardness, porosity, and cohesion. They vary widely in their ability to support excavations.
For example, imagine the difficulty of digging a trench through pure, dry sand. While the material parts easily beneath a shovel, without extensive support structures creating a trench proves nearly impossible: loose sand slips back into the hole almost immediately. Some hard and compacted soils require considerable force to excavate. Other types of soils prove very soft and will allow digging, but may also turn into mud during a rainstorm. The type of support provided for a home’s foundation or slab by a builder and the surrounding natural soils in the adjoining area both impact excavations.
Two: Existing Infrastructure Issues Complicate Excavations
Other infrastructure issues also enter into decisions. Reaching a leak in a foundation located beneath a concrete patio and adjoining pavement will require extensive effort when the digging commences directly above the suspected problem area. Excavators may need to plan the approach and precise course of digging with care to minimize expenses. If they do not already know the location of the leak with certainty when they begin work, they will have to plan for contingencies.
Experienced contractors undertaking waterproofing excavations engage in extensive preplanning. They know how to read blueprints, and can plan a dig to avoid contacting existing (or suspected) underground infrastructure. Sometimes serious accidents occur when DIY homeowners blindly attempt excavations on their own property without checking first to ensure utility lines, pipelines, and other obstructions do not lie in their path.
Three: Water at The Site
Water also poses an important consideration during excavations. For instance, in some cases, a contractor may begin digging and discover that at a certain point, water begins entering the excavation. Determining the source of the water flow proves important. In some cases, an excavation has reached the level of the water table. However, in other situations, other factors (including leaks) might account for the water.
Experienced excavation contractors contend with the presence of water at excavation sites correctly. Most homeowners lack the tools and testing capabilities to resolve problems caused by water. This issue involves considerable complexity sometimes.
Other Excavation Concerns
Many other considerations affect excavations, including the slope of the surrounding terrain (a very important safety issue), and the presence of rock. A truly effective waterproofing project involving digging requires far more than technology alone. Also, for a variety of reasons, hiring an experienced waterproofing contractor helps customers save time and money, and avoid disappointing results. It offers the best return on investment!
Do you anticipate undertaking a project requiring skilled waterproofing excavation services in the Raleigh, North Carolina area? Raleigh Waterproofing, Inc. specializes in this field. Our founder possesses extensive experience as a licensed General Contractor in the State of North Carolina. (We offer a variety of other waterproofing services as well, including protecting basements and foundations against water intrusions. In some cases, we also repair damaged crawl spaces and homes which have sustained foundation problems.) We work closely with consultants and site engineers. Lastly, if you require assistance with a waterproofing issue, contact us at 919-877-9969. We look forward to helping you!