Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Foundation’

Using leaves, straw or square bales of hay is a thrifty way to insulate a foundation before cold temperatures settle in. Leaves are most commonly used because they are a free and abundant insulator. So, how can you go about doing this the most efficient way?

Before Insulating the Foundation with Leaves . . .

Can You Legally Insulate Your Foundation with Leaves in Your Area?

Before spending time raking and bagging leaves, check with your local city or town to make sure this is legal in your area.

Any Respiratory Problems or Allergies?

If you or anyone in your household suffers from respiratory problems or is allergic to mold or spores, then don’t insulate your foundation with leaves. Rotting leaves can produce mold and when piled up against the foundation can lead to dampness, encouraging mold to grow. (AAFA)

How to Insulate a Foundation with Leaves

  • Wait for leaves to dry
  • Bag in weather/waterproof bags
  • Place bags around foundation or rake leaves directly against foundation
  • Do NOT cover outlets, dryer vents or anything that can catch leaves on fire (ehow)
  • Stack bags 2 deep if there are enough to go around

Related Home Winterization Articles

Weather Stripping: A Homeowner’s Guide
Prepare for Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide
Winter Troubleshooting: A Homeowner’s Guide
Winter Home Improvement Project Ideas
Simple Ways to Stop Drafts in the Home
Image:  David Goehring (Flickr)/CC-BY-2.0

Read Full Post »

Many homeowners wonder whether or not they should try and insulate the outside of their foundations in fall. For decades many have piled leaves, straw and square bales around their foundations to prevent pipes from freezing in the basement and to try and lower the cost of heating their homes. This has lead to the question, “Should I pile leaves around my foundation?” The answer: It depends.

Do You Have Asthma or a Mold Allergy?

If you or someone in your household has asthma, other respiratory problems or is allergic to mold or spores, then it is not a good idea to pile leaves around the foundation as an added layer of insulation. Why? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), mold can grow on rotting leaves and having a mold source this close to the home can aggravate someone with the above ailments.

The AAFA also says that a thick layer of leaves piled around the foundation adds to the amount of time it takes for foundations to dry out and often encourages the growth of mold. If anyone in your household suffers from respiratory ailments or certain allergies, it’s important to keep areas near the foundation as well as gutters clean.

No Allergies or Respiratory Problems? – No Problem

For those without allergies or respiratory problems, piling leaves around the foundation is okay in most parts of the country. In fact, it can improve insulation and save a little on home heating costs. Ehow.com suggests checking with your local city or town ordinance to make sure piling leaves around the foundation is legal in your area.

If you’re going to give using leaves as insulation a try, wait until the leaves are dry and rake them up against the foundation or put them in bags first. Using bags makes for easier spring cleanup. Next, avoid placing leaves near outlets, dryer vents or anything else than can catch the leaves on fire. Come spring, wait until the ground under the bags has thawed before removing them to prevent ripping.

Related Home Winterization Articles

Weather Stripping: A Homeowner’s Guide
Prepare for Winter: A Homeowner’s Guide
Winter Troubleshooting: A Homeowner’s Guide
Winter Home Improvement Project Ideas
Simple Ways to Stop Drafts in the Home

Image: David Goehring (Flickr)/CC-BY-2.0

Read Full Post »

Though a foundation typically isn’t seen, it shouldn’t be forgotten. Foundations are extremely important during and after the construction of new buildings. The foundation transfers the weight of the roof, walls and floors to the ground below. It is “the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level.” (Google)

Types of Building Foundations (Common in U.S.)

  • Crawlspace: Common in areas with heavy clay content in the soil. Offers little room between the soil and first floor.
  • Full-Height Basement: Common in cold climates. Offers more head room between the soil and the first floor.
  • Slab on Grade: Common in areas with a high water table. No room between soil and first floor. A concrete slab is poured on top of the grade.

Here in Maine, we experience frost and freezing and thawing temperatures. Foundations in our area need to be below the frost line to prevent damage as frost comes out of the ground.

Also, all foundations must be built to code. This means following the requirements and codes set by the city/town where the work is to be performed.

Benefits of Sound Foundation Design

Sound foundation design and installation are critical because it saves homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs in the future by avoiding serious structural problems.

Other benefits include:

  • Energy Savings (Insulated – reduced utility bills)
  • Water/Moisture Control
  • Termite Control
  • Radon Control (In areas where this is a concern)
  • Prevent Structural Damage (Related to faulty foundation)
  • Creation of Useable Space

Overview of Foundation Design

Several aspects go into the design of a foundation, some of which are left to the discretion of the homeowner.

  • Choose Foundation Type (Listed Above)
  • Use of Basement (Heated or Cooled)
  • Select Construction System (Concrete/Masonry/Wood)
  • Insulation Placement/Amount
  • Finalize Construction Details
  • Finalize Plans/Documents

Foundation Work in Central Maine

Contact Beaulieu Industries of Lewiston for a free on-site assessment and estimate of foundation work in central Maine. With 40+ years of experience in the construction industry, we’ll get the job done right and up to code at a fair cost.

About Beaulieu Industries

Beaulieu Industries Topsoil List 2012

Image: ClawzCTR, on Flickr

Read Full Post »