Last updated on March 6th, 2023 at 08:08 pm
We’ve often written about the upsides to home ownership (like renovating your home to suit your taste) and the responsibilities (like keeping up with yardwork and home maintenance).
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at one of the most important aspects of our home’s structure, the foundation.
Almost every part of your house depends on the quality of your foundation. If yours is due for an inspection, or you’re currently facing foundation problems, keep reading.
We’re going to cover some important information about foundation repairs.
What to Know About Foundation Repairs
The Need for Professional Help
Unlike painting a room or changing out a faucet, foundation repairs are not do-it-yourself projects. It may require a trained eye to identify underlying issues when it comes to your home’s foundation.
A specialist will have the knowledge, expertise, and experience required to identify the problem and then correct it. They’ll also have the right tools, equipment, and materials. Knowing a job this important to your home’s structure is done right can give you peace of mind.
If you do tackle foundation problems on your own, you may be able to save money. If things go wrong, however, it could cost you more in the long run, as well as putting your family’s safety at risk.
If you’re in need of foundation repair, find a company that specializes in this kind of work and can provide financing options and a lifetime transferable guarantee.
Make a few phone calls or look online to find companies and get quotes. Also, be sure to choose a company that’s been in business for awhile with a solid repuation in the community.
The Causes and Effects of Foundation Damage
When it comes to foundation damage, water is usually the chief culprit. Moisture (or the lack of moisture) causes the soil around the foundation to shrink or swell. Another problem scenario is when insufficient drainage facilities exist.
Some additional causes of foundation damage include:
- plumbing issues under the home
- when the structure is exposed to natural calamities such as floods, earthquakes, or droughts
- when there’s high clay content in the soil
If these issues are left unchecked, they could result in structural problems, and even a loss of property value.
Should the structural integrity of your home become compromised, this eventually becomes a safety issue due to the risk of collapse.
How to Identify Issues
To spot potential problems, look for any cracks that appear on the walls or floors of your home. You should also check for bulging walls or uneven or bulging floors.
Make sure there are no gaps between the walls and window frames, and that there are no misaligned or bent doors and windows.
Also, if your windows and doors tend to get jammed, this could be another indication that you have a foundation issue.
It’s important that any repairs done to “fix” these problems are not merely superficial. Your goal should be to ensure that the house foundation is durable and strong.
If you have sinking or uneven concrete, this is another problem that needs to be repaired.
Shifting or collapsing soil can cause slab foundations to tilt or sink. In order to rectify the situation, it’s advisable to call in professional help.
This problem is remedied by drilling two-inch holes into your concrete understructure in order to inject a reinforcing solution. This contains soil, cement, and other components. As this expands, the sunken slab will be restored to its original position.
In some scenarios, a professional may recommend that polyurethane is injected into the holes. Sadly, this will not resolve the issue long term. And, it’s likely that you’ll have to do this all over again in a few years’ time.
Pressed Concrete Pilings and Bell Bottom Piers
Whether you require internal or external repairs, it may be necessary for pressed concrete pilings to be driven deep into the ground (about 12 feet deep).
This works well on slab foundations and pier and beam homes. These pilings serve to prevent any further sinkage and provide stability for your home.
Bell bottom piers involve a process where concrete is poured into a hole. This is followed by putting a steel shaft into the moist concrete. This process gains its name from the bell-shaped foot at the bottom of the pier.
Poured Concrete Piers and Steel Piers
If you use poured concrete piers, you’ll need to wait for more than a week before the leveling will cure. At this stage, you’ll have concrete piers firmly inserted about 10 feet into the ground.
If you’re looking for a permanent solution to your foundation damage, steel piers could be the answer. Not only are they long-lasting, but they’re installed 100 feet deep to provide maximum stability. Because the supporting structure is driven down into the bedrock, it provides incredible stability, even if the soil expands.
Helical Steel Piers
If you need to fix a lightweight slab and pier and beam foundation, helical piers (also known as anchors) may be suitable. Usually, this will be the last option that a professional will consider.
Because the structures will be threaded into the ground, it’ll give them an element of load-bearing capacity. In turn, the piers will support the foundation’s weight, while the load-bearing soil supports them.
Make Repairs and Renovations in the Right Order
Do you have major renovation work that you’re keen to complete, like a new roof or new flooring? If you have foundation issues, it’s important that you address these first.
This is because any movement in the foundation could destroy the results of your hard work. The last thing you would want is for your new roofing materials to become stretched and buckled due to foundation issues.
If you’re experiencing foundation problems, finding the root cause is key. And, in some cases you’ll want to address that cause first.
For example, if you need gutters and downspouts to be installed, this may be what has been causing your foundation problems. Water may not be draining away from your house properly.
Or, perhaps it’s something as simple as garden sprinklers that are releasing water around the base of your home.
And, remember, that if foundation repairs are needed, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to have work done inside the house as well. These include repairs to drywall, doors, windows, trim work, flooring, and (potentially) plumbing.
This is why the sooner you can resolve foundation problems, the more money you’ll save in the long term. And, you’ll be able to live safely and securely within your home for many years to come.
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