Having Trouble with Doors & Windows That Stick and are Hard to Open?

doors & windows that stick

How worried should Alabama homeowners be when doors and windows begin to stick?

In some cases, doors or windows that become hard to open or close can be fixed with a few easy and low-cost do-it-yourself remedies such lubrication or hardware replacement. If sticky doors and windows become more frequent or severe, they could be warning you about worsening foundation problems underneath your home.

How foundation trouble causes doors or windows to stick

Virtually all homes tend to settle over time as materials age and supporting soil erodes or shifts. When settling occurs slowly and evenly, you might notice minor interior or exterior cosmetic issues that can be corrected inexpensively with routine upkeep. Real trouble can start when settling is sudden and localized to isolated parts of your home.

When this happens, excess strain can cause parts of your foundation to weaken prematurely and lose their bearing capacity. As structural components begin to sink or shift out of alignment, pressure can build up in the materials around your doors and windows, causing them to pinch and bind. Problems like these almost never go away by themselves and could be caused by one or more of these common contributing factors:

  • Excess soil erosion caused by extreme weather, seismic, or flooding events
  • Improper site grading or soil compaction
  • Faulty building materials or substitutions that don’t meet design specifications
  • Design flaws related to lack of code compliance or awareness of local conditions
  • Poor or cut-rate construction practices

Regardless of the combination of causes, what has happened is that door or window openings that were once plumb and square have now been pushed out of their original alignment. This means that your doors and windows will no longer be able to move freely in their frames.

What to do about sticky doors and windows

Now that you have a little background on what causes doors and windows to stick, you’re in a position to make more confident decisions about a remedy. If you suspect that emerging foundation problems might be the culprit, you can look around for confirmation and see if any of these other signs of trouble might be present in your home:

  • Spreading cracks in interior or exterior finish materials
  • Expanding separations where walls and ceilings meet
  • Flooring that creaks or feels “spongy” when you step on it
  • A sensation of going uphill or downhill when you cross a room
  • Stair-step cracks in exterior masonry, especially near door or window openings

A reputable foundation repair company will provide you with a free inspection and no-obligation recommendations about the remedies that are best for your home and budget. The longer you wait, the worse (and more expensive) these kinds of problems can get. A qualified foundation repair expert can spot the source of the trouble and how severe it is. They will also know which repair options are right for your foundation type and will bring you the best value.

How to choose the right foundation repair partner

There are lots of high-pressure companies out there, large and small, that will pressure you to sign a repair contract on the spot, usually steering you toward their most costly “whole house” services. It’s possible that sticky doors and windows can be corrected quickly and affordably. You’ll want to work with a company that guarantees their work, has impeccable Alabama references, provides honest no-obligation estimates, and fully explains all the pros and cons of your repair options before you commit.

SouthernDry is a family-owned business, and we give you and your property the same care and respect that we would invest in one of our own homes. We’re large enough to bring you the resources you need for a first rate repair, but small enough to make you a priority. You’re never just a number to us and in the unlikely event that you’re not fully satisfied with the job, we will stick with you until we make it right. If you think something’s up with a sticky door or window, we’d be delighted to come out for a closer look at no cost to you and talk about your options.

How to Stop Crawl Space Mold – A Guide for Alabama Homeowners

crawl space mold banner

Mold in the crawl space can have several negative consequences for your home and health. Here are a few reasons why mold in the crawl space is considered bad:

  1. Indoor Air Quality: Mold releases spores into the air, which can spread throughout your home. Breathing in mold spores can lead to respiratory issues, allergies, and worsen existing respiratory conditions such as asthma.
  2. Structural Damage: Mold thrives in damp environments, and its presence indicates excess moisture in the crawl space. Over time, mold can cause wood rot and decay, compromising the structural integrity of your home’s foundation and support beams.
  3. Odor and Musty Smells: Mold growth often produces a distinct, musty odor that can permeate into the living areas of your home. This unpleasant smell can be persistent and difficult to eliminate without addressing the underlying mold issue.
  4. Damage to Personal Belongings: If you use your crawl space for storage, mold can damage items such as clothing, furniture, and other valuable possessions. Mold can cause stains, discoloration, and deterioration, leading to costly replacements or repairs.
  5. Decreased Property Value: Mold infestation in the crawl space can significantly reduce the value of your home. Potential buyers may be deterred by the presence of mold and the associated health and structural risks it poses.
  6. Health Risks: Exposure to mold can trigger allergies, respiratory infections, and other health issues, especially for individuals with weakened immune systems or pre-existing respiratory conditions. Prolonged exposure to mold can have long-term health consequences.
  7. Spreading to Living Areas: Mold in the crawl space can easily migrate to the main living areas of your home through air circulation or by attaching itself to clothing, shoes, and pets. This can lead to widespread mold contamination and further health risks.

It’s essential to address mold issues in the crawl space promptly. Professional remediation and implementing preventive measures, such as crawl space encapsulation and moisture control, can help eliminate mold growth, improve indoor air quality, and protect your home’s structural integrity.

How Does Mold Get Into My Crawl Space?

Mold can enter the crawl space through various means, and its growth is facilitated by specific conditions. Here are some common ways that mold can find its way into the crawl space:

  1. Moisture Intrusion: Crawl spaces are prone to moisture intrusion from sources such as groundwater, plumbing leaks, improper drainage, or high humidity levels. When moisture accumulates in the crawl space, it creates a conducive environment for mold growth.
  2. Poor Ventilation: Inadequate ventilation in the crawl space can contribute to moisture buildup. Without proper air circulation, moisture-laden air becomes trapped, leading to higher humidity levels that encourage mold growth.
  3. Leaky Pipes or Plumbing Issues: Plumbing leaks, such as leaking pipes or drain lines, can introduce water into the crawl space. Even minor leaks over time can create the damp conditions necessary for mold to thrive.
  4. Flooding or Water Damage: If your home experiences flooding or water damage, water can seep into the crawl space. If not properly dried and remediated, this can result in persistent moisture and subsequent mold growth.
  5. Poor Drainage: Insufficient exterior drainage systems or improper grading around the foundation can cause water to accumulate near the crawl space. This can increase the likelihood of water seeping into the crawl space, promoting mold growth.
  6. Condensation: Temperature differentials between the cool crawl space and warmer outdoor air or interior living spaces can lead to condensation. If the moisture produced by condensation is not properly managed or removed, mold can develop.
  7. Organic Materials: If organic materials, such as wood or cardboard, are present in the crawl space, they can serve as a food source for mold. Mold spores can land on these materials, and if the conditions are favorable, they can start growing and spreading.

Preventing mold in the crawl space involves addressing these potential entry points and creating an environment that discourages mold growth. Proper moisture control, ventilation, insulation, and regular inspections can help mitigate the risk of mold infestation in the crawl space.

DIY Tips to Help Block or Reduce Mold Growth in Your Crawl Space

While professional assistance is often recommended for comprehensive mold remediation and prevention in crawl spaces, there are a few steps you can take yourself to help prevent, reduce, or eliminate mold growth. Here are some DIY measures you can implement:

  1. Identify and Address Moisture Sources: Regularly inspect your crawl space for signs of moisture intrusion, such as leaks, condensation, or standing water. Identify and repair any plumbing leaks, improve drainage around the foundation, and ensure proper grading away from the crawl space. Fixing moisture sources is essential for preventing mold growth.
  2. Improve Ventilation: Enhance air circulation in the crawl space by opening vents, installing vent fans or dehumidifiers, or utilizing passive ventilation techniques. Proper ventilation helps reduce humidity levels and discourage mold growth. However, it’s important to note that some crawl spaces may require professional assessment to determine the most effective ventilation strategy.
  3. Ensure Proper Insulation: Insulate the walls and floor above the crawl space to minimize temperature differentials that can lead to condensation. Proper insulation helps maintain a more consistent temperature and reduces the likelihood of moisture buildup.
  4. Install Vapor Barriers: Place a vapor barrier, such as heavy-duty plastic sheeting, on the crawl space floor. This helps prevent moisture from seeping up through the ground and into the crawl space. Ensure the vapor barrier is properly sealed and covers the entire crawl space floor.
  5. Control Humidity Levels: Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in the crawl space. Ideally, the relative humidity should be kept below 60%. If the humidity is consistently high, consider using a dehumidifier specifically designed for crawl spaces to reduce moisture.
  6. Promote Good Drainage: Ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly and directing water away from the foundation. Additionally, consider installing French drains or other drainage solutions to divert water away from the crawl space.
  7. Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Perform routine inspections of your crawl space to detect any signs of water intrusion, leaks, or mold growth. Promptly address any issues to prevent them from escalating. Regularly clean and remove debris from the crawl space to discourage mold development.

It’s important to note that while these DIY measures can help prevent and mitigate mold growth to some extent, professional mold remediation and prevention services may still be necessary for comprehensive solutions. Consulting with a mold and air quality specialist can provide a more thorough assessment and tailored recommendations based on your specific crawl space conditions.

SouthernDry Specializes in Defending Alabama Homes from Crawl Space Mold

SouthernDry is an exceptional choice for your crawl space mold remediation project due to several key factors that set us apart from other companies. Here are five reasons why SouthernDry is the ideal company for your crawl space mold needs:

  1. Expertise and Experience: With years of experience in the industry, SouthernDry has a deep understanding of crawl space mold and moisture problems. Our team of professionals is highly trained in mold detection and prevention techniques, ensuring thorough and effective solutions.
  2. Comprehensive Approach: SouthernDry takes a comprehensive approach to crawl space mold remediation. We not only address the visible mold but also identify and rectify the underlying moisture issues that contribute to mold growth. By addressing the root cause, we help ensure long-term mold prevention.
  3. Advanced Techniques and Equipment: We utilize state-of-the-art techniques, tools, and equipment to deliver superior results. Our team stays updated with the latest industry advancements, allowing us to employ the most efficient and effective mold remediation methods.
  4. Customized Solutions: Every crawl space is unique, and we understand that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. SouthernDry provides personalized solutions tailored to your specific crawl space conditions and mold infestation severity. We assess your crawl space, develop a customized remediation plan, and execute it with precision.
  5. Commitment to Customer Satisfaction: At SouthernDry, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We strive to deliver exceptional service, transparent communication, and reliable results. Our team goes above and beyond to ensure that you are fully satisfied with the outcome of the mold remediation project.

Additionally, Southerndry offers additional benefits that make us stand out:

  • Timely Service: We understand the urgency of mold remediation, and we strive to provide prompt and efficient service to address your crawl space mold issues promptly.
  • Warranty: We stand behind our work and offer warranties on our crawl space mold services. This gives you peace of mind knowing that we are committed to the quality and durability of our solutions.
  • Excellent Reputation: SouthernDry has built a solid reputation in the industry and among our satisfied customers. We have earned trust and recognition for our professionalism, integrity, and exceptional results.

When it comes to crawl space mold solutions, SouthernDry is your reliable and trusted partner. We have the expertise, experience, and dedication to ensure a mold-free, healthy crawl space environment.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a clean and mold-free crawl space.

How to clean a flooded basement

rain leaking into basement from exterior

A flooded basement can do costly damage to your entire home. In addition to the obvious risk to interior finishes in the basement and any belongings stored there, receding flood water can also weaken your foundation and lead to expensive structural damage.

The good news is, the experts at SoDry are here to help.

This overview can help you assess your flooding risk and help you to prepare to protect your basement from flooding.

Common causes of basement flooding

Basement floods come in all levels of severity, from minor to major, and happen for a wide variety of reasons. Risk factors include things like the age and placement of your home, regional soil and ground water conditions, catastrophic weather events, and variations in the quality of construction methods and materials.

Here are a few of the most common flood causes:

  1. Storm Water: Excessive rain or snow melt (as well as seasonal flood events that originate off your property) can cause a basement with improper seals or drainage to fill up quickly.
  • Plumbing Failure: Just like any other system in your house, aging water or sewer pipes or sump pumps can fail and fill up your basement quickly. The leaks can go undetected for a while in hidden areas.
  • Grading Problems: Improper grading or the effects of erosion can cause groundwater and runoff to drain toward your basement instead of away from it.
  • Faulty Gutters: Your gutters and downspouts require care and maintenance. Left unattended, these components can wear out or slip out alignment allowing unwanted water to collect.
  • Foundation Cracks: All houses tend to settle over time, but concrete and masonry cracks, as well as improper or worn out seals can allow unwanted water to build up in your basement.

What to do if you have a flooded basement

Removing standing water is the highest priority when you have a flooded basement. Obviously, the longer the water is allowed to stand, the greater the damage it will do to your home and your belongings.

Apart from the physical damage water can do, it can also trigger mold growth and related health risks for you and your family. Here are some tools and options to help with flooding:

  • Submersible pumps: You can get one of these in the $200 range at most consumer hardware outlets and sometimes by same day or next day delivery from online retailers. The advantage of a submersible pump is that you can let it run continuously. For more serious basement flooding, you’ll want a commercial grade sump pump
  • Wet vacuums: Similar to common “shop vacs” and designed to pick up standing water. The downside is, unlike a pump you can turn on and forget, you’ll have to stop and empty it frequently. Full canisters of water can be heavy to carry upstairs.
  • Fans and dehumidifiers: Once the standing water is out of your basement, you’ll still have a lot of residual moisture to remove. Sodden rugs and salvageable belongings need to be removed and aired out. This is a critical step to prevent mold and rot. Dehumidifiers will help with long-term moisture mitigation and air quality.

NOTE: Everyone knows that water and electricity don’t mix. Safety should be your number one concern before entering or cleaning a flooded basement. If the water is above outlet level, your electrical system could be compromised. If the flood is related to a wider emergency, such as an earthquake or hurricane, downed wires could be contacting the water. Make sure that your main breaker is off or contact a qualified professional before attempting water removal.

Basement flooding prevention and repair options

Even if you live in a flood prone area, there are steps you can take to protect your basement and reduce the risk of serious damage.

For a start, your normal home upkeep routine should include regular basement inspections. Look for worn seals or caulking, cracks in concrete or masonry, or signs of past moisture accumulation like mineral bloom, water stains, or early signs of dry rot, especially in hidden places where materials like joists and subfloors join.

There are preventive measures you can put in place yourself, such as:

  • Keep gutters and downspouts in good repair and directed away from your foundation.
  • Replace worn seals or caulking around doors, windows, vents and utility pass-throughs.
  • Ensure that grading around your foundation leads water away from the house.
  • Have your plumbing inspected regularly to prevent major breaks and leaks.
  • Install simple exterior French drains to draw water away from your basement.

There are times when even the best prevention measures are no match for nature. If you have serious basement flooding, or if you suspect that your home is in a high-risk area, affordable and reliable professional help is just a phone call away. A qualified basement waterproofing specialist will stand behind their work and offer complete preventive or remedial services such as:

  • Interior basement drainage solutions
  • Sump pump and dehumidifier sizing and installation
  • Crawl space encapsulation services
  • Complete basement waterproofing services
  • Foundation inspection and repair
  • Ongoing maintenance plans to preserve your home

SouthernDry is a full-service basement waterproofing services provider. We don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach. We create a customized solution that best fits every customer’s needs and budget.

Our estimates are free, and they’re the best way for our skilled team to evaluate any waterproofing issues in your home.

Say no to leaky basements! SouthernDry does the job right the first time, and we offer a lifetime transferable warranty on our basement waterproofing systems.

Is hidden wood rot attacking your crawl space? What Alabama homeowners need to know now

crawl space wood rot

Wood rot, sometimes known as dry rot, is a living fungus that can destroy the supporting structures of your home. Although wood rot fungus can attack just about any kind of frame house, structures with crawl spaces and low pier and beam foundations are especially vulnerable to hidden deterioration.

How to recognize crawl space wood rot under your home

Wood rot fungus usually comes in “white” and “brown” varieties. The science books say that the names have more to do with how they attack the wood than their visible color, which can vary a lot from white to many hues of yellow and brown. It feeds on either the cellulose or lining in the subfloor, joists, wood blocks, sill plates and other supporting wood parts underneath your house. The spores aren’t directly harmful to humans, but exposure can cause allergic reactions.

One of the reasons wood rot is so destructive is that it can live and spread unseen for a long time in areas that are hard to reach. Structural parts that are compromised by wood rot lose their load-bearing capacity over time, and it doesn’t take much of it to do serious damage. Excess humidity and unwanted moisture combined with old, untreated wood create the ideal conditions for wood rot spores to get established and start to grow.

To recognize wood rot, grab a flashlight and look around your crawl space for a powdery or foamy discoloration on beams, piers, joists, or exposed areas of subflooring. You’ll want to take an especially close look in areas where materials join or where moisture can invade.

What to do if your crawl space home shows signs of wood decay

First, don’t panic. While it’s true that wood rot will only get worse over time, repairs can be effective and affordable. The earlier you get started, the better. Before inspecting your crawl space, take a walk around the inside of your home. Are there spots on your floor that have recently begun to flex or dip? Are you noticing any new musty odors? These are areas that you’ll want to check when you inspect your crawl space.

In cases of excess moisture, you can often solve the problem by improving drainage or with crawl space encapsulation. One common cause of unwanted water in your crawl space may be a one-off problem like flooding or an extreme weather event. Another might be chronic issues like poor grading, faulty rain gutters, or worn out seals or piping underneath your house. Professional encapsulation or drainage improvements can help prevent wood decay.

Standing water isn’t the only thing that can invite wood decay into your home. Hot air trapped under the house by ventilation problems, or condensation from extreme temperatures can drive up humidity and create ideal conditions for wood rot, mold and fungus. Crawl Space Encapsulation combined with dehumidification and waterproofing can be a very effective protection and restoration measure. Another great way to protect untreated wood with a polymer sealer. Polymer sealants are long-lasting treatments that can effectively lock out chronic moisture for years.

Options for repairing crawl space subfloor damage

Due to the time, craftsmanship and “art” required to repair wood subflooring, some foundation and crawl space repair companies will tell you that you need a general contractor to deal with damaged wood. SouthernDry crews specialize in the kind of woodwork you need to stabilize your floors and remove damaged structural elements. Depending on the extent and location of the damage, our technicians can either carefully remove and replace the compromised wood, and/or use steel SoDry jacks (made right here in Alabama) to restore your home’s foundation and add lasting structural integrity you can count on.

southerndry crawl space expert

SouthernDry is a complete Crawl Space Waterproofing  and Restoration Service Provider. That means we don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to working with our customers. We focus on creating a customized solution that best fits your needs and budget.

We offer a hassle-free crawl space evaluations to Alabama homeowners. Our estimates are free, and they’re the best way for our skilled team of Project Planners to evaluate issues in (and under) your home.

Don’t live with wood rot, mold, or mildew. SouthernDry does the job right the first time, and we offer a transferable warranty on our Crawl Space Waterproofing and Encapsulation Systems.

The Top 7 Causes of Foundation Settlement in Alabama

foundation settlement causes cracks

Foundation settlement is a fact of life for many Alabama homeowners. Although the loamy soil that covers a large part of our state is generally good for foundation support, no home is one hundred percent immune from foundation settlement. It’s a natural occurrence even for the best designed and built structures.

Here’s why. Loamy soil is usually a mix of clay, silt and sand in proportions that vary depending on where you live. The reason loam is better than average for foundation support is that it tolerates seasonal moisture changes without a lot of differential movement. Civil engineers describe this differential movement as ground action that causes soil to either drop away from your foundation or place added pressure on more sensitive parts of the structure.

7 common signs of foundation settlement

For a variety of reasons we’ll cover in just a bit, even the most stable and weather tolerant soil can gradually erode, recede, shift or sink. When this happens, parts of your foundation can be left unsupported, causing slabs, footings, basements or crawl spaces to sink, buckle or tilt. Foundation settlement can happen gradually or suddenly, depending on the severity of differential movement, but in either case, it presents similar telltale signs:

  1. Doors and windows that used to move freely start to stick.
  2. Mineral blooms or deposits begin to appear on basement or crawlspace surfaces.
  3. Floors that were once level start to sag or give you a “downhill” feeling.
  4. New cracks appear in ceilings or drywall, especially where surfaces meet.
  5. Exterior masonry begins to show stairstep or zigzag cracks that get bigger over time.
  6. Exterior slabs or walkways start to crack, sag or separate.
  7. Basement or crawlspace walls begin to buckle or appear out of plumb.

If you notice one or more of these 7 common signs of foundation settlement, don’t be in a rush to assume the worst, but don’t ignore them either. Some settlement is a normal occurrence in just about every residential property, and may only cause light cosmetic damage that’s inexpensive to repair. A reputable inspector will give you the straight story on what you can take care of yourself and what needs professional attention. What you want to watch out for and take quick action on are persistent foundation settlement issues.

7 contributing factors that can lead to foundation settlement problems

Left to themselves, even minor settlement problems are likely to get worse over time. If you’re handy and like home improvement projects, you can correct some issues as a DIY enthusiast.

Here are 7 foundation settlement causes to watch out for:

  1. Excess water pooling around the outside of your home.
  2. Moisture accumulation or musty, moldy odors in your basement or crawl space.
  3. Faulty gutters or downspouts that don’t drain water away from your foundation.
  4. Poor grading, especially due to incomplete or incorrect building practices.
  5. Flooding events that displace soil around your property.
  6. Higher than average rainfall that causes a sudden increase in groundwater.
  7. Extended droughts that cause a sudden decrease in groundwater.

If any of these conditions persist around your property, whether it’s residential or commercial, it’s a good idea to have a trained inspector check for foundation settlement. For single family homes, the inspection is usually free, and an established, trustworthy company will often give you DIY recommendations and a complete rundown of repair options that fit your budget.

Here are just a few of the things you can do on your own to protect your foundation:

  • Do a little fine grading with a few bags of extra top soil to ensure water drains away from your foundation.
  • Inspect and replace faulty sections of gutter and install downspout extensions to direct water away from your house.
  • Check your basement or crawl space for water leaks and apply caulking around all wall penetrations.
  • Do an annual plumbing check to make sure no water is leaking around your foundation.
  • Dig french drains (small gravel-filled trenches) around areas where standing water might accumulate on your property.

Things to know before you commit to foundation settlement repairs

You might be surprised to learn how affordable it can be to restore a settled or sagging foundation. In many cases, the issue can be corrected on a spot basis to stabilize your home and bring it back into alignment. Helical pier technology is cost effective, reliable and requires far less excavation than old-school driven piles or cast-in-place supports.

Helical piers (also known as “screw piles”) such as the ones installed by SouthernDry take up minimal space, are virtually indestructible, and retain their alignment and foundation supporting strength due to the circular bearing plates welded along their length. These bearing plates safely and securely distribute foundation loads evenly across stable soil. They’re fast and simple to install and cause minimal disruption to your property.

If you notice signs of foundation settlement around your property, consider contacting a reputable and knowledgeable foundation repair company like SouthernDry. We don’t do high pressure sales. We’ll help you identify the problem and educate you on the most cost effective solution to correct it. SouthernDry technicians treat you like they want to be treated. It’s common to get a few quotes from other contractors, but we urge you to have us out and talk to us before you make a final decision. We want to earn your business and provide you with a great experience.

We offer free inspections and estimates to homeowners and businesses in Birmingham, Hoover, Pell City, Bessemer, Anniston, Jacksonville, Cullman, Gadsden, Albertville, Jasper, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Oxford, Montgomery, and the surrounding areas. Complete a contact request form or call us today!

The top 6 causes of basement leaks and what to do about them

leaky basement walls

Water leaks in your basement can kick off a mix of troubles that put the durability of your home (and the health of the people who live there) at risk. Luckily there are affordable steps any homeowner can take to head off basement leaks at the source and ensure years of worry-free living.

These steps fall into three main categories:

  1. Learn what to look for — stay alert for the top causes of leaky basements
  2. Take early action — put the right leak prevention measures in place
  3. Know when to get help — bring in a trusted professional at the right time

The top 6 causes of leaky basements

Your first line of defense against basement leaks is to do regular inspections as part of your upkeep routine. In most cases, unwanted water around your property is coming from one or more of these six main sources.

  1. Eroded or improper grading. Proper grading includes a “crown” that gradually slopes away from your house. This standard (a six-inch fall every 10 feet) is meant to channel water away from the foundation and keep it from seeping into your basement. Some builders skip this step, or the crown can erode naturally over the years just from normal wear and tear.
  2. Defective or incorrectly installed gutters. Sometimes the downspouts from rain gutters channel water toward your foundation instead of away from it. In other cases, worn or broken gutters can allow water to leak and pool around the house before it gets to a properly installed downspout. In this scenario, even small amounts of water can seep into your basement and do incremental damage over time.
  3. Faulty window wells. In homes with window wells, it’s common for drains to become clogged, allowing even normal amounts of water to collect and threaten your basement. Improper installation of the wells can also cause water to accumulate and seep through small cracks or imperfections in concrete or masonry basement walls.
  4. Water pressure around your foundation. The natural moisture in the soil that surrounds your foundation and basement walls changes with the seasons and the weather. This normal variation, combined with the differing water tolerance of local soil, can put a surprising amount of force (called hydrostatic pressure) on basement walls and drive unwanted water inward.
  5. Construction quality issues. When builders pour concrete basement walls, they often hold the forms in place with temporary tie rods that go all the way through the wall and leave holes when the forms are stripped off. This can be a huge leak risk if they don’t patch and seal the holes correctly. Faults in materials and installation can lead to other cumulative leak risks.
  6. Seasonal flooding or weather damage. You don’t have to be a Weather Channel™  buff to know that severe storms and flooding are a real risk to homeowners all over Alabama and throughout the southeastern U.S. Any accumulated water from these events can break down your basement’s defenses, creating new leaks and making old ones worse. The majority of the leaky basement problems are found in Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery.

The 4 best preventive measures to fight basement leaks

Once you have a simple inspection routine in place (just like all the other lawn or exterior maintenance you’d normally do) you’ll have a good idea where put a few extra protections in place. Here are four that are simple and inexpensive.

  1. Restore the grading around your foundation. Build up eroded areas of soil close to the house to restore a proper drainage slope. Again, you want the earth to fall six inches over 10 feet so that water can’t collect next to your foundation and seep into the basement. Most home improvement stores sell water-resistant soil mixes that are affordable and easy to spread yourself.
  2. Clean and repair your rain gutters.It doesn’t take long for leaves and debris to build up to the point where water overflows and pools next to the house instead of running off through the downspouts. Remove clogs every year or install leaf guards. You can also buy inexpensive downspout extensions to channel water into your yard and away from the foundation.
  3. Plug all visible interior gaps. Inside your basement there are penetrations where vents or utility services come through from the exterior. Joints between floors, walls and windows can also leak. Check all of these locations on a regular basis for signs of basement leaks and make sure that you plug them fully with water-resistant caulking, joint or sealing materials.
  4. Clear and repair footing and window well drains. Not all houses have them, but some have footing drain pipes that were installed when the basement was built to draw water away and prevent accumulation. Make it a regular practice to open the cleanouts and remove any clogs. If you have window wells around your basement, it’s also important to frequently clear the drains of leaves and debris.

6 signs that it’s time to call a basement leak expert

With some basic vigilance and routine upkeep, basement leaks don’t have to be an expensive problem. Many issues can be prevented or corrected with affordable do-it-yourself solutions. Still, it’s important not to ignore the common signs of a leaky basement. If you see one or more of these problems showing up or getting worse, you should call a reputable basement repair expert for a no-obligation assessment.

  1. Areas with obvious flooding or standing water
  2. Stains on walls, ceilings or floors showing signs of past water damage
  3. Strange or musty odors
  4. Mold, mildew or white powdery residue
  5. Peeling paint or cracked, blistery concrete
  6. Persistently damp soil around foundation exterior

When you need professional basement leak repairs

A good basement repair expert will be transparent with you about pricing and help you choose the repair option that’s best for your situation and budget. They should also give you advice on things you can do to prevent more basement leak trouble in the future. Here are some of the most effective options when you need more extensive repairs:

  1. Basement vapor barriers – completely seals your basement areas with a watertight surround that’s engineered for a dry and healthy home.
  2. Wall and floor sealing – corrects minor cracks that are hard to locate and patch using standard consumer solutions.
  3. Sump pump installation – removes recurring water accumulation that can’t be prevented by other means and drains it away from the house.
  4. Interior basement waterproofing – an effective, affordable and minimally invasive product that safely prevents basement leaks.

Although basement leaks may not be an immediate cause for alarm, they can do a lot of costly damage to your home if you ignore the warning signs. The cumulative effect can not only cause lasting damage to the structure of your house, but also lead to lingering health problems for your family from hidden mold and mildew.

SouthernDry is a trusted basement and crawl space repair specialist located right here in Alabama. We can help you get rid of your basement leak worries with affordable and proven preventative measures like the Guardian® interior basement waterproofing system, wall linings, sump pumps, basement interior drainage options, and advanced sealing techniques that will improve the living experience for your whole family.

Sagging floors and what to do about them

Sagging floors are often a warning sign of hidden structural damage underneath homes in Alabama. If you notice that your floors are starting to slope, or feel soft or springy in spots where they used to feel solid, it’s a good idea to take a closer look and see what’s going on. Symptoms like this tend to get worse over time.

Depending on the age of the house, local soil and weather conditions, and the relative quality of construction methods and materials, floors above crawl spaces and basements tend to be more at risk for sagging. With the right professional help, you’ll be happy to know that there are affordable ways to repair sagging floors and restore “like new” stability to your home.

To help you find out if you have a problem, especially if you own an older home, we’ve put together a few basic facts about what causes floors to sag or bounce, what to look for, and the steps you should take if you suspect trouble.

Five common causes of sagging floors in Alabama homes:

  1. Have there been any alterations to your house, especially new routing cuts for wires, pipes or heating and cooling ductwork? If any construction best practices were skipped, the support members holding up your floors could be compromised. Notches shouldn’t be bigger than one quarter of the depth of a joist or beam, and you don’t want holes anywhere in the middle third of any load-bearing member.

  2. Is there unexpected moisture or humidity in your crawl space or basement? Over time, accumulated moisture can cause wood posts and beams to break down and lose their load-bearing capacity. Eventually, the house will start to sink and settle around these weak spots causing stress in other parts of the structure, possibly including interior finish materials.

  3. Are there unwanted visitors underneath your house? Where there’s moisture, there may also be pests. Destructive varieties like termites, carpenter ants and certain kinds of wood boring beetles are attracted to damp, protected spaces. Once they find a comfortable place in your crawl space or basement, they can multiply quickly and start doing serious damage to the wooden structures holding up your floors.

  4. Were the structures supporting your floors properly installed by the builder? Pier-and-post supports are a common way to support residential floors, especially in combination with a crawl space home. There’s a right way to build them, and unfortunately there are also shortcuts contractors use to save time and money. Poorly installed posts can rot and weaken before their time, leaving critical beams and joists unsupported.

  5. Was the soil beneath your house properly graded and compacted? The soil holding up your foundation and floor supports could sink, shift or settle because of erosion or hydrostatic pressure around your house, or because of poor construction methods. A related cause might be that masonry or concrete supports were spaced too far apart by the original builder, allowing the beams and joists above to fail.

Any one of these alone, or in combination with other contributing factors could be the root cause behind a sagging floor. A qualified Project Planner can quickly and efficiently help you find the source of the trouble and recommend remedies that best fit your situation and budget.

How to repair a sagging floor

There are several time-tested methods for restoring sagging floors to their original straight and level condition. While they all offer different advantages, some take more time and money than others. It’s also important to consider how much disruption each method might cause to your property and your lifestyle while repairs are underway.

  1. Jacking has been a go-to remedy for many years, but it’s a brute force approach. It also has to be done very slowly to avoid cracking surrounding materials in your house. The bigger the sag, or “deflection,” in your floor, the longer it will take to raise one or more carefully placed jacks intermittently until the floor is stable and level again.

  2. Another approach is to add metal or plywood reinforcements to the damaged area of the support member, after realigning it with jacks or temporary supports. These reinforcing materials have to be placed and installed very carefully, and according to strict engineering guidelines, in order to effect a lasting repair.

  3. Instead of spot repairs, some companies recommend bolting long sections of identical new material along the entire failed beam or joist to restore its original strength and alignment. Again, this can be a risky approach unless you can be sure you’re not replicating the original design fault that may have caused the failure in the first place.

  4. Other repair contractors combine the new material in option three (above) within a sandwich of steel or plywood reinforcements called “flitch plates.” While this approach can often be successful, it may consume a lot of expensive material, take a considerable amount of time, and it leaves you with the same engineering risks as some of the less invasive measures.

The method we use at SouthernDry quickly and cost-effectively restores the strength and alignment of your floor.

Our SoDry galvanized steel jacks are easily adjustable and can support a tremendous amount of weight. This approach gives you a more permanent solution for sagging floors, and ensures that your crawl space is structurally sound for many years to come.

The SoDry system can also be paired with crawl space encapsulation for a cleaner, healthier crawl space environment.

Alabama homeowners choose SouthernDry over “big box” companies because we’re obsessed with customer satisfaction and quality. This is our family business, so our reputation is on the line with every repair. We give you personalized attention from the initial estimate to final clean-up at the end of the job. We’ll answer your questions and stick with you until the job is done to your satisfaction.

Call us today for a free professional consultation about your sagging floor or crawl space situation.

Not all foundation repair companies are alike – the top 5 questions to ask before you do business with a foundation repair contractor

southerndry project plannerYour home is one of your biggest and most important lifetime investments, so if you’re worried that foundation repair bills might be in your future, it’s important to arm yourself with the right information from a trusted source. Industry authorities estimate that a worst-case scenario foundation restoration for an average sized home needing hydraulic piers installed along the perimeter can cost as much as $35,000. On the other hand, repairs for small cracks or superficial settling may only run you a few hundred dollars.

According to a recent Home Advisor survey of 2,600 customers, the typical Alabama homeowner can expect to pay around $8,500 to get their foundation back in “like new” condition. The national average runs a little over $9,200 according to the same survey, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone pays this much. Your actual repair bill will vary depending on the age and location of your home, and your local soil and climate profile.

Regardless of the cost, what matters most is to feel confident that the estimate you get is honest, complete, a good value, and that it includes the materials and methods that make the most sense for the overall condition of your home. You want a repair solution that not only takes care of the immediate need, but also ensures that your house will stay structurally sound for years to come, no matter what happens with the weather or surrounding soil.

Correcting foundation problems

All homes and foundation types will settle over time. The amount of settling will vary, even among houses in the same neighborhood, depending on a few basic factors:

  • The soil types underneath the house, and how much they expand and contract
  • The amount of natural groundwater nearby and how it interacts with your foundation
  • Seasonal moisture changes like rain, runoff, drought, or flooding
  • How the ground was prepared and graded prior to construction
  • The materials and methods used to build the structure

Any of these things (or the wrong combination of them) can put too much strain on your foundation, or cause support to fall away from underneath it. Over time, the results show up as odd structural faults like tilted floors, sagging exterior concrete, irregular cracks, bowed basement walls, or doors and windows that gradually drift out of alignment and start to stick.

If you see any of these classic signs of foundation problems, there’s no need to panic, but it is important to get a professional evaluation sooner rather than later. Although many repairs can be done very inexpensively, things can get worse if left unaddressed for too long. Here are a few of the top corrective measures that experienced foundation specialists use:

  1. Basement repair – When most of the foundation is structurally sound, bowed basement walls can often be straightened independently with reinforcement technology. This not only corrects existing damage, but also helps to resist future shifting and buckling. Options include tiebacks, anchors, carbon fiber straps, epoxy crack injections and wall braces.
  2. Helical piers – For foundations problems that are larger, or more spread out across your property, helical piers are the best solution. They’re preferred by reputable foundation repair companies and recommended by several engineers for their versatility, durability, and cost benefit. Helical piles can be installed along the perimeter as well as interior of the home’s foundation.
  3. Crawl Space Repair – Sagging floors can be recovered by replacing damaged crawl space support stations with stronger, more durable steel posts that can be adjusted.

5 important questions to ask your foundation repair contractor before you sign

Before you sign any repair contract, be sure that the repair expert you’ve chosen can give you satisfactory answers to these important qualifying questions:

  1. How many jobs do you typically have going at one time? You want your contractor to be big enough to demonstrate the experience and skill to do a great job, but not so big that you get lost in the shuffle. Many companies push volume over customer service.
  2. What happens if I have a question or a problem while repair is underway? Companies that are family or employee-owned have a personal stake in your satisfaction. You want a repair specialist who responds quickly to issues and relies on customer reviews to build their reputation.
  3. What repair methods can you offer and which ones do you recommend? Your foundation repair expert should put your budget and long term needs above their sales goals. Make sure they can back up their recommendations with actual field observations.
  4. Do you offer warranty protection? The best foundation repair companies will give you a transferable warranty that will stay with your home if you sell it. This can be a big differentiator in the real estate market, besides the immediate peace of mind you get.
  5. Does your company offer payment plans? Your home is one of the most precious lifetime investments you’ll ever make, and maintaining it should be affordable. Reputable foundation repair companies that are confident that their work will last will have no reservation helping you set up a payment plan for bigger jobs.

Alabama homeowners choose SouthernDry over “big box” companies because we’re obsessed with quality and customer satisfaction. We give you one-on-one attention from the initial estimate to final clean-up at the end of the job. This is our family business, so our reputation is on the line with every repair. We’ll answer your questions and stick with you until the job is done to your satisfaction.

Call us today for a free professional consultation about your individual foundation situation.


What’s the bad smell in my crawlspace smell and what can I do to eliminate it?

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably only visit your crawl space when you absolutely have to. People usually go down there only to check heating or cooling equipment, change a filter, or turn an obscure plumbing valve – and normally only when they can’t pay somebody else to do it.

Before we get into solutions, let’s explore the most common causes of crawl space odors.

Common causes of crawl space odors in Alabama homes

bad smell in crawl space

Many Alabama homeowners don’t realize that even when a house is still and quiet, the air inside is always moving. As warm air leaves the attic or vents through windows, cooler air from underneath rushes upward to replace it. This process happens naturally in just about every house, and it’s known as the “stack effect” or “chimney effect.”

Alternating periods of hot and cold weather create seasonal changes in moisture and condensation underneath your house. If your crawl space has never been properly sealed, these conditions can soon lead to mold, mildew, and rot. Pests like insects and rodents can also get in through gaps and vents. The stack effect we described can pull the resulting smells straight up into your living areas and allow them to permeate just about everything you own.

Here is how the stack effect works against your home, causing air quality and moisture problems

Does “bad” crawl space air raise any health concerns?

Strange smells are one thing, but the picture gets even worse when you consider the potential health risks to you and your family.

In addition to bad smells, as crawl space air moves upward, it can also carry mold spores or toxins that off-gas from building materials or contaminated soil according to the EPA. These can attack your respiratory system or cause other health problems. More than a few mystery ailments have been cured when folks discovered they were being slowly poisoned by their own homes.

Here’s how you can eliminate bad smells from the crawl space

encapsulation helps get rid of bad smells coming from the crawl spaceSo what can you do if your crawl space smells bad, or worse, when crawl space odors are coming up into the living areas of your home?

Crawl space encapsulation technology has come a long way in the last few decades, and the good news is that there are a number of highly effective and affordable corrective measures to choose from. Here are a few that are recommended by the most reputable service providers:

  1. Crawl space encapsulation: Using special purpose lining materials that won’t deteriorate or give off odors of their own, encapsulation surrounds your crawl space with complete protection against unwanted moisture. This can easily be coordinated with other corrective measures like drainage improvements and dehumidification.
  2. Drainage: The right professional or do-it-yourselfer can make sure that excess water is properly drained away from your crawl space with a tailored mix of aggregate, perforated piping, or landscape grading. Also consider sealing cracks and vents to keep water from getting in. And don’t forget to ensure your gutters are clean, free of debris, and include downspout extensions that keep water away from underneath the home.
  3. Dehumidification: For chronically damp conditions, there are dehumidifier units that are specially designed to keep crawl spaces clean, dry, and healthy for your family. These work especially well when combined with crawl space encapsulation.
  4. Sump pumps: Crawl space sump pumps take water management to the next level by forcibly removing any excess water. At SouthernDry, we offer a wide variety of sump pumps, including battery backup systems and WiFi enabled models

When it comes to smelly crawl spaces, your number one enemy is unwanted moisture.

Once dampness begins to accumulate under your house, the stage is set for invasion by mold and mildew, which can cause your building materials to rot and deteriorate. These all come with their own odors, but remember that the same conditions may also attract insects and rodents that create even more offensive smells. It’s important to get a trustworthy professional assessment on all these conditions so you can choose the repair options that are best for your situation.

SouthernDry has been a trusted crawl space and basement repair partner for years in Alabama. We can help you protect your family with affordable and proven preventive measures like crawl space encapsulation, dehumidification, and a complete array of reliable foundation repair services that will improve the living experience for your whole family.

My basement walls are bowing inward. What should I do?

Bowed basement walls can be a sign of serious structural trouble under your home. If one or more of your basement walls is starting to bow inward, it’s important to act quickly before the damage gets worse. Here are the most important things you should know right now.

When it comes to basement wall damage, here is what you should look out for

The most common cause of bowed basement walls is excess moisture around your home.

Even natural groundwater can put a surprising amount of strain on your foundation. Added factors like excess storm runoff or improper drainage can greatly increase the amount of moisture in the soil. Structural engineers call this force “hydrostatic pressure” and it’s powerful enough to stress vulnerable parts of your foundation with the weight of an average family car.

This constant (or at least seasonal) pressure can build up against your basement walls over time and cause them to crack, bow and buckle inward. In turn, this can weaken their load-bearing capacity and eventually threaten the structural integrity of your whole house. The damage can range from a few superficial cracks to severe visible inward bowing and separation.Options to repair a bowed basement wall

Options to repair a bowed basement wall

The good news is that affordable repair methods are available to get your basement walls back in top load-bearing shape. Several proven technologies exist that can not only restore structural integrity, but also make cosmetic improvements and help prevent future deterioration.

The most important next step is to find a trustworthy technician who can evaluate your basement and give you reliable advice on the repair options that are best for your home and budget. Here are a few of the best approaches they might recommend:

  1. Carbon fiber straps: This is a highly reliable and relatively inexpensive interior repair option that reinforces the wall and helps to evenly resist and redistribute any outside pressure. Once installed, they can be painted to match the wall and are nearly invisible.
  2. Wall braces: Similar in concept to carbon fiber straps, this is an engineered steel option that can be anchored in place and then gradually adjusted to pull the wall back into alignment again. While engineered brace installation is mostly an interior job, it might be supported with some light outside excavation.
  3. Wall anchors and tie-backs: These devices usually come in multi-part kits. An interior wall plate connects to a threaded locking rod, which is in turn attached to an exterior ground plate embedded in the nearest stable soil. The number and spacing of the kits is determined by the severity of bowing. From there, they work mechanically similar to braces.
  4. Epoxy injections: To prevent moisture coming through minor cracks, epoxy injections offer both low cost and high structural integrity. Repair material can be applied from inside with no exterior excavation and little to no interior grinding or surface preparation.

The Force spring-loaded bowing basement wall repair system

In most cases, any of these basement wall repair options can work well with both block construction and poured concrete.

Hyrdrostatic pressure is working against your basement and must be addressed

Hydrostatic pressure is the most common reason why your basement walls might be starting to bow or bulge inward and must be alleviated through exterior grading, gravel backfill and drainage. Other causes, which may or may not contribute to the primary hydrostatic pressure issue could include:

  • Poor construction practices or inadequate grading on your home, or on neighboring sites.
  • Excessive amounts of rain or unusual flood events.
  • Tree roots that are spreading into parts of your foundation.
  • Heavy driveway or patio paving elements that add pressure to basement walls.
  • Hidden plumbing leaks due to poor installation or unexpected damage.

We an experienced basement wall repair company serving most of Alabama

If you see bowed walls in your basement, or if you suspect that any of these other warning signs might be present, you should have a trained technician help you assess the situation. SouthernDry has qualified and experienced technicians who will take a look for free and give you a no-pressure evaluation of the state of your foundation and present you with the best repair options.

SouthernDry has been a trusted basement and crawl space repair partner for years in Alabama. We can help you seal and straighten your basement walls with affordable and proven preventative measures like basement wall braces, basement wall anchors, epoxy injections, wall linings, sump pumps, basement interior drainage options, and advanced sealing techniques that will improve the living experience for your whole family.

Dealing with pests and insects in your crawl space or basement?

Home is a place where everyone in your family should feel safe and comfortable. For our own families at SouthernDry, we want our homes to be a refuge from the pressures of daily life, and that includes freedom from the health and property risks that can happen when you have pests living in your basement or crawl space.

In Alabama, especially around the Birmingham area, the most common pests that can invade your house through the crawl space and basement areas may include silverfish, roaches, spiders, termites, rodents, and ants. Spiders can be a tough call, because a few of them are natural predators that help keep the populations of other pests under control, but that doesn’t neccisarily mean you want to share your home with them.

How do pests get into crawl spaces and basements?

Depending on the seasonal conditions around your home, most of them show up in search of food, water, warmth, or a combination of the three. Many have adapted in amazing ways to get through tiny — sometimes nearly invisible — separations in your foundation or ground floor building materials where you’d never imagine they could fit.

Once inside, crawl space pests can quickly establish nests and reproduce at alarming rates. Many are only active at night, so they can get a head start before you even know they’re there. Pests like silverfish, termites, and carpenter ants can cause serious property damage, but even the ones that don’t physically destroy your house can pose health risks for your family.

What attracts basement and crawl space pests?

silverfish in crawl spaceFirst, know that many of these creatures have been around for thousands if not millions of years and they’re part of the world’s natural order. You can have a perfectly maintained and ordered home and yard, and some of them are going to show up no matter what — that’s what they do. That said, there are some conditions you can watch out for to help minimize your exposure.

Moisture accumulation is a big draw for unwanted crawly visitors. This can show up as condensation around basement or crawl space appliances, leaky plumbing, or improper drainage of exterior water that finds its way through gaps in your foundation or seeps through basement walls. Food sources like exposed wood, spilled garbage, or even things like a forgotten bag of wild bird seed that’s been stored and left to decay can be a pest magnet.

Tips to maintain your basement or crawl space to help prevent pests from making it their permanent home

At least once a year, maybe during your usual spring cleaning or winterizing cycle, it’s a good idea to do a whole-house inspection. Make a quick visual check of all the places you can reach that could hold food or moisture that might attract basement or crawl space pests. Clear out what you can and make a note of any new or unusual signs of water accumulation. These might include building material stains, mineral bloom on block work, or musty odors.

What to do if you think you have a rodent or insect problem in your basement or crawl space

If you think you might have a pest infestation, there are two things you should do right away. First, consult a pest removal professional to make sure that you get rid of not only the visible pests, but also their eggs or nesting areas so that you eliminate their reproduction cycle. Once you know you’ve cleared the immediate problem, it’s time to think about prevention.

The best bug and insect solution? Sealing your crawl space or basement and improving air quality

Crawl Space | SouthernDry WaterproofingOne of the most effective ways to eliminate unwanted moisture is a process known as crawl space encapsulation. It’s a general term for an engineered assortment of vapor and moisture barriers that keep your crawl space clean and dry. Depending on how moisture prone your property is, it’s possible to add dehumidification to help control airborne moisture. In tougher cases with heavier drainage issues, there are sump pumps designed for these kinds of spaces that can remove larger volumes of water that attack your home from outside.

Our team isn’t scared of bugs, rodents or even snakes! We can get the job done right

SouthernDry has been a trusted basement and crawl space repair expert for years in the Birmingham area, and we proudly serve most of Alabama. We can help you “shut the door” on common pests with affordable and proven preventive measures like vapor barriers, wall linings, floor linings, drainage options, sump pumps, dehumidifiers, insulation and advanced sealing techniques that will improve the living experience for your whole family.

Helical piers: what are they and what do they do?

helical pier foundation repair

Industry experts say that helical piers are the best solution for most home and business foundation repairs, but not everyone knows what they are, what they do, or why they work better than older foundation repair methods.

Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide if they’ll work for you.

helical pier vertical imageThe word “helix” has different meanings depending on whether you’re talking about science or construction. For our purposes, it’s just a fancy name for a spiral shape that’s formed around a central core. Helical piers are earth anchoring devices made for deep foundation support. To qualify as a true helical pier, it’s got to have three defining parts:

  1. a termination point at the top that connects to the structure you want to support
  2. a central shaft that distributes load to the bearing plates
  3. at least one helical bearing plate (usually several) to distribute load to the soil

This simplicity is one key trait that makes helical piers work so well. They’re backed with 100 years of engineering experience to give you the best load-bearing advantages, with the least disruption to your property. The ones we use, manufactured in the United States by A.B. Chance, are certified to meet ISO 9000 international quality standards, and they comply with all national building codes. This means you can install them with complete peace of mind.

So why are helical piers a better choice than old-school foundation repair methods like driven piles, cast-in-place concrete piers? For one thing, because they’re precision-designed steel, you can load them immediately without having to wait for concrete to cure. The helical shape of the bearing plates make installation fast and easy, and they don’t require the costly and extreme excavation needed to drill and place concrete piles under your structure.

Alabama helical pier foundation repair expert

Choose helical piers when:

  • You want durable, efficient foundation repair at a lower total cost
  • You’re concerned about the environmental impact of the materials you use
  • You want to avoid unnecessary excavation on your property
  • You have access restrictions that make heavy equipment impractical
  • You have a high water table or weak surface soils like the variable types in Alabama
  • You need assurance that your repair will be able to resist wind or seismic forces

Advantages of Helical Piers for homes & businesses

helical pier foundation repair support graphicOne of the biggest advantages of helical piers, especially for Birmingham area property owners, is that they create almost no visible soil disturbance. When you use the kind of industrial auger you need to install a concrete pier, the auger blades mix and loosen the surrounding soil, creating more instability around your foundation. In contrast, the helical bearing plates are designed to glide into place and transfer structural loads to deeper, more stable soil layers.

Another good reason to choose helical piers is flexibility. When you work with the right installer, they’ll be able to advise you on the right configuration to deal with variations in Alabama soil. The load-bearing considerations might change depending on whether your property sits on clay, loam, or a mix of the state’s 21 other soil types. Helical piers can be easily field modified and grouped for light, medium, or heavy loads, depending on the extent of the repairs you need.

Finally, because helical piers are environmentally friendly, they’ve become a preferred solution for sensitive areas like protected wetlands and forests. In Alabama, you’ll often find them underneath the boardwalks and walkways that allow people to access our natural wonders without disturbing habitats for plant and animal life.

Get a Free Helical Pier quote

We’d be happy to talk with you about helical piers and whether they might be the right choice for your property. If you think you might be dealing with foundation problems, give us a call and we’ll arrange for a trained technician to give you a free assessment – no pressure and no obligation. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn how affordable foundation repair can be.

Foundation – New Market, AL 35761

SouthernDry | Foundation | Crack Before

Page Title:

Foundation in New Market, AL 35761

Customer Name:

Rob M.


Rob called SouthernDry after finding several cracks in the brick exterior of his house. He had vertical cracks above windows, and stair-step cracks in other areas. These are telltale signs of foundation problems. The customer disclosed that he had two other foundation repair companies providing estimates and would be comparing all three.


Once the initial appointment was set, Calvin met with Rob to inspect the house. After a full inspection, Calvin determined that eleven AB Chance Helical Piers were needed. This would stabilize the foundation. Rob was also concerned about some areas where cracks would need to be tuck pointed and Calvin assured him that SouthernDry would match the mortar as closely as possible. The helical underpinning piers were installed under a 14 foot depth clause, with only four going beyond that – the deepest was 27 feet. The customer was very satisfied from start to finish of the project.
This field is not required. Complete this field only if there is
any information you want to be included, that was a determining/major factor before,
or after the job.

Quotes from the homeowner:

Entire team was very professional. They were excellent at
communicating what needed to be done. They were always on time and let you know every step
of the process. There was no high pressure sales techniques. They give you the quote and you
can start on your timeline. Just call them when you are ready. I got quotes from the more widely
advertised foundation repair companies as well and SouthernDry gives you the same product and
same warranty at a great price. They worked hard to work around the landscaping. They also did
an excellent job of cleaning up. I highly recommend them.

Rob M.

Crawl Space Encapsulation – Bremen, AL 35033

SouthernDry | Dirty | Before Crawlspace

Page Title:

Crawl Space Encapsulation – Bremen, AL 35033

Customer Name:

Calvin Barnes


Jalon called and spoke to Russ about problems in his crawl space. He was concerned about high humidity, in turn causing mold growth. He was currently renting the house with plans to purchase within 60 days and needed the issues in the crawl space taken care of in order for that to happen. He stated that the seller of the house would be paying for any necessary repairs. Russ educated the customer on encapsulation during the initial phone consultation. An appointment was then set to inspect the crawl space and provide a plan of repair.


SouthernDry’s Project Planner, Calvin arrived on time for the inspection. He determined that encapsulation was necessary to reduce the humidity in the crawl space, along with remediation of mold. Calvin’s estimate included almost 1700 square feet of WhiteCap
20 mil vapor barrier, a Santa Fe Compact 2 dehumidifier, antimicrobial wash and HEPA
vac treatment for mold remediation, and a new crawl space door. Additionally, Calvin
told the customer that SouthernDry would sister 6 floor joists. Another waterproofing company had met with Jalon prior to Calvin’s appointment, but Jalon decided that SouthernDry provided the best plan of repair for the best price and felt that he would get the best customer experience. Once the crew had completed the project, the customer was extremely happy and took comfort knowing his crawl space had gone from funky to fresh.

Cast Study: Crawl Space Encapsulation – Birmingham, AL 35005

Before Crawl Space Encapsulation | High Humidity | Birmingham Alabama


Crawl Space Encapsulation for a customer in Birmingham, AL 35005.

Customer Name:

Tonja B.

Crawl Space Problem:

nasty crawl space with pestsA homeowner, in Birmingham Alabama, called SouthernDry because of high humidity in her crawlspace. She was concerned about escalating costs of heating and cooling her home. She was also concerned about the long term effects that humidity and moisture can have on a crawl space (ie. damage to joists and subfloors, mold etc.)

She was getting other quotes from crawl space companies near her and liked the SouthernDry website (who doesn’t love that duck?).

More importantly – having been burned by a large franchise in the past; this customer was passionate about doing business with a local, family company with roots in Alabama.

Crawl Space Solution:

dehumidifier with vapor barrier for alabama crawl space homesAfter a thorough inspection by a SouthernDry project planner, it was determined that the best solution for the customer was total crawl space encapsulation using the WhiteCap System.

First our installers removed the existing damp fiberglass insulation and debris from the crawl space. Next we installed 20 mil WhiteCap reinforced poly vapor barrier on the walls and floor to seal the crawl space from the outside elements.

Our final steps were installing a professional sealed crawl space door and a high capacity dehumidifier to clean the air and manage humidity.

The crawl space was completely transformed into a healthy new area that can be used for storage and improves the health of the entire home. SouthernDry communicated with the customer throughout the entire process to make sure every detail was understood and the project was completed to satisfaction.

Crawl Space Services Delivered

  • Crawl Space clean-up
  • Crawl Space Dehumidifier from Sante Fe
  • 20mil Crawl Space Vapor Barriers (floors and walls) from WhiteCap
  • Not needed – crawl space sump pump, battery back-up & crawl space drainage. Because at SouthernDry, we never try to sell you more than you need!

Quotes from the homeowner:

Southern Dry did a great job encapsulating my crawl space. I would definitely use them again!!
Tonja B.
Birmingham, Alabama 35005

Crawl Space Encapsulation in Andalusia, AL 36420

Before Crawl Space Encapsulation | Andalusia Alabama

Page Title

Crawl Space Encapsulation in Andalusia, AL 36420

Customer Name:

Jon H.


Hot and humid south Alabama provides a perfect environment for mold and moisture in a crawlspace. That is exactly what Jon was dealing with at his home in Andalusia. And that is exactly what he wanted to get rid of. In addition to mold and moisture, Jon’s crawl space had become a regular Motel 6 for various critters so he called SouthernDry to remove his unwanted tenants.


The homeowner had already received a quote from another company, but wanted to get a second opinion. SouthernDry provided Jon with a detailed description of the work to be provided including warranty information on the two sump pumps, and dehumidifier. With no stone left unturned, Jon was ready to get the work scheduled. SoutherDry’s all-star crew arrived on-site early Monday morning to begin work. Using a combination of a HEPA vacuum and anti-microbial wash, the crew was able to rid the crawlspace of mold, but before they could begin encapsulation they had to evict two very large snakes (yes, snakes) who had made themselves at home in the crawl space. The crew installed over 2000 square feet of WhiteCap 20 mil vapor barrier, two sump pumps with battery backups and a Sante Fe Advance 2 dehumidifier. In less than two days, the job was complete. The customer was happy with the assurance that his crawl space was now a clean space.

“The crew worked diligently with a good attitude. The crew leader as well as the other two workers displayed a lot of hustle. The crew leader was very helpful and had a great attitude. Have not had any issues yet, so I cannot comment on any follow-up/warranty type issues at this time. I would give this firm a very good recommendation.”

-Jon H.

Wet Basement Waterproofing in Birmingham, AL 35242

basement waterproofing services in alabama

Page Title

Wet Basement Waterproofing in Birmingham, AL 35242

Customer Name:

Tammy P.


As is true with most wet basements, a homeowner in Birmingham Alabama called SouthernDry after a period of hard rain in utter panic. Her basement was flooding and she needed it fixed as soon as possible. She had no idea where the water was coming from, but water was covering the floor. Her son was trying his best to remove the water with a shop vac but to no avail. She needed help and felt SouthernDry could give her the answers that she needed. She scheduled a free inspection and consultation with a SouthernDry specialist to find her solution.


Calvin and Russ were able to make some adjustments to the calendar to visit Tammy and provide her an estimate the same day she called. After inspecting and assessing the basement, Calvin advised the homeowner that she needed a footer drain system, sump pump with battery backup and 12 mil vapor barrier in the living space. The Guardian is the interior waterproofing system we use and it effectively collects the water from the walls as well as from under the floors, delivers it to our high capacity sump pump system and then out away from the home. The 12 mil on the walls ensures that any water leaks or seepage entering the home is directed to the waterproofing system. The only question that remained was how soon the work could be done. Obviously a flooding basement requires some urgency. SouthernDry was able to work Tammy’s job in just a few days later, and she could not have been more pleased. Now she no longer has anxiety during heavy rains because she has the assurance that her basement is staying completely dry.

Helical Tiebacks | Basement Foundation Repair | Ashville Alabama 35953

Page Title:

Bowing Basement Walls Repaired With Helical Tiebacks In Ashville, AL 35953

Customer Name

Mable F.


SouthernDry received a call from a homeowner who had a bowing wall in her basement. She had already had another basement repair company come out to fix the bowed walls, but after they installed carbon fiber strips on the walls, the problem persisted. Not only did the previous contractor fail to repair the wall, they failed to educate the customer. SouthernDry takes pride in educating homeowners, and they execute that philosophy with every appointment. Upon inspection, the diagnosis was that hydrostatic pressure was causing the wall to bow and carbon fiber was not the proper repair solution.


SouthernDry’s inspector educated the customer on the causes of the cracks and explained the process of providing a solution. They both agreed that installing Chance helical tiebacks, along with The Force wall braces would be the best plan of permanent foundation repair for the bowing basement walls. Knowing the amount of force these walls had on them from Alabama soils and hyrdrostatic pressure, the helical tiebacks were installed to provide horizontal stability and keep the walls from bowing further inward. Next The Force bracket was installed which uses steel I-beams or C-channel and a spring coil design, to provide 1,000 pounds of constant pressure against the wall. This ultimately restores the wall to a more plumb position over time. The Force system requires little to no maintenance, providing the homeowner peace of mind knowing their foundation wall is secure. In addition, SouthernDry provided the homeowner with a lifetime warranty of the structure to ensure complete satisfaction.

Mold Remediation & Basement Waterproofing – Jasper, AL

Before Mold Remediation | Wet Basement Block Wall | Jasper Alabama

Page Title:

Mold Remediation & Basement Waterproofing in Jasper, AL 35501

Customer Name:

Nate R.


The homeowner called into SouthernDry because he noticed the presence of mold on his walls. He stated that his basement walls were wet and had a mildew type of smell. Dangerous mold is a key contributor to many household allergies and upper respiratory infections. The homeowner knew it wasn’t safe or healthy to have a problem like that in his home and wanted to have it checked out. He understood his next move would be to contact a professional contractor and have them perform a mold inspection. He scheduled a free estimate with SouthernDry to find a solution to his basement mold and mildew issues.


SouthernDry sent a well experienced inspector out for an assessment of the moldy basement. His knowledge of mold removal made him a great candidate for this project. The contractor’s main objective was to figure out what was causing the mold issue and how to stop it. After a thorough inspection, the inspector suggested a special two part epoxy wall coating that would eliminate the mold and seal the wall. The epoxy wall coating also restores the appearance of the wall and covers the ugly water stains. By sealing the basement wall, it would route whatever water was entering through the wall previously and send it through weep holes drilled in the bottom of the block. The inspector proposed the Guardian interior waterproofing system be installed on the footer to capture the water, send it to a sump pump and then carry the water away from the foundation. After discussing the options of mold remediation and interior basement waterproofing with the homeowner, SouthernDry was able to secure this project. The team came together to make sure the installation was as smooth and successful as possible for the homeowner. The homeowner was satisfied with his dry basement because he didn’t have to deal with the smell of mildew and the appearance of mold anymore.

Leaning Wall Repair – Birmingham, AL 35005

After Leaning Wall Repair | Basement I Beam | Birmingham Alabama Foundation Repair

Page Title:

Leaning Wall Repair in Birmingham, AL 35005

Customer Name:

Ron & Kim L.


The homeowners called into SouthernDry because they noticed that the south wall in their basement was titled their west wall had a slight lean as well. This was a major concern for them because no homeowner wants to see instability in their foundation. They had no idea of leaning wall repair costs, but they felt the urgency to get this job done fast. They were searching for a contractor that could offer a reasonable basement leaning wall repair estimate and came across the website. Ron and Kim scheduled a free inspection with SouthernDry to find the best solution.


SouthernDry sent a qualified professional out for an inspection of the bowed basement wall. The Inspector had vast experience in bowed basement wall repair and was a great fit for this project. He wanted to address the leaning wall and offer the best solution before things got worse. After a thorough assessment, he suggested the force basement wall bracing. The force is a revolutionary structural brace specifically created to realign the wall back within the foundation. During the structural inspection he also made the homeowners aware of the warranty they’d be receiving with this powerful device. After discussing these options with the homeowners, they agreed to move forward with SouthernDry as their contractor. The SouthernDry team took over to ensure the basement wall bracing project was smooth and successful. In the end, the homeowners could actually rest knowing that their foundation would be secure.

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Pell City, Alabama


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