Flood Damage >> Crawlspace Drying

The crawlspace foundation may leak and fill with flood water, this is usually the case with older Crawlspace Drying buildings and actually will protect the foundation walls from collapse if the outside groundwater level is too high. Unfortunately, as flood water passes through your stone and brick foundation walls, it sometimes carries mortar with it. The water damaged foundations of most older and historic buildings are masonry.

  1. Stone front foundation walls with soft lime mortar are very durable, although the soft lime mortar does not hold up well to flood water erosion. Inspect some of the mortar of stone masonry foundation walls to ensure that it has not leeched from the water damaged joints and made the Crawlspace Drying wall unstable. If a significant amount of crawlspace foundation mortar has been lost, it can usually be replaced without dismantling the exterior wall. In some cases, a "loose" mortar could be poured into the joints to fill the bigger voids. To make sure that replacement mortar is not too hard for the surrounding foundation stone.
  2.  If the exterior wall is constructed of softer sandstone, the new mortar mixture should contain at least two parts hydrated lime to each part of the white Portland cement and also nine parts of sand (known as ASTM "Type 0" mortar). If the Crawlspace Drying exterior foundation wall is constructed of limestone or other relatively hard stone, a standard tuck pointing mortar mixture may be used (ASTM "Type N" containing one part of hydrated lime to one part of white Portland cement and then six parts sand). If the foundation walls are constructed of brick masonry or concrete block, there could likely be less leeching of the mortar than if the exterior walls were constructed mainly of stone.
  3.  Nevertheless, they shall be inspected for missing Crawlspace Drying mortar and repaired in the same manner as aboveground exterior walls, unless there is some reason to suspect a more serious structural damage problem created by the flooding. Generally the crawlspace foundations constructed of concrete block used a harder mortar mixture containing gray Portland cement. Water damage currents and water traveling in underground "streams" can erode soil beneath the exterior foundation walls and damaging the footings. Although this situation is not very common, when it does happen to occur the building's exterior foundation will be destabilized and then repairs will be necessary.
  4.  The best evidence of Crawlspace Drying structural destabilization is the appearance of cracks in the exterior foundation walls and in the plaster or drywall above the other foundations. And keep in mind, however, that not all of the cracks that appear after a flood damage are indications of long-term wall instability. Some also may result from temporary expansion and contraction of clay soil around the exterior foundation. When the soil then returns to its natural water content, the small cracks should shrink or, at the very least, not expand anymore. Other cracks might result from excessive moisture-related expansion of water damaged wood beams and joists tied to the exterior foundation walls. These small cracks should shrink as the Crawlspace Drying wood dries.

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