House Foundation Repair
It is very important to uphold maintenance on a property, as this keeps its value intact. Homeowners often overlook house foundation repair, and this oversight can lead to many serious structural issues in and around the home.
So, what is foundation maintenance, why is it important and how do you know your home needs some fixing? Let’s discuss the answers.
What is Home Foundation Repair?
Home foundation repair, also called foundation leveling, consists of the installation of a new support structure and/or replacing parts of the original foundation of a building. This is done to raise a house to its former glory. It also ensures its stability and levelness.
Why is Home Foundation Repair Necessary?
When a structure is built, the soil is dug up and prepared before the foundation is installed. Regardless of careful preparation, soil can shift or settle after construction, causing notable cracks and tears in the walls and other parts of the building.
Causes of foundation deterioration include:
- The house was built on expansive clay.
- The soil was improperly compacted and prepared before construction.
- You live in an area with extreme seasonal conditions.
- Tree roots have intruded into the structure.
- There’s been an upheaval of portions of the foundation.
If damaged foundation is left unattended, wooden pier and beam foundations will continue to rot, causing more extensive damage. However, if caught early, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and lessen expensive repair costs.
Top 7 Signs That Your Foundation Needs Repairs
There are definite signs to look out for that may indicate a compromised foundation.
1. Poor Drainage
Standing water can cause terrible damage to the foundation of your home. Water that does not drain puts extra strain on the integrity of support structures.
2. Diagonal Cracks in the Drywall
As the house settles and shifts, cracks may appear and spread within interior and exterior drywalls and sheetrock. This is not conclusively due to a damaged foundation, but it should trigger alarm bells to be on the lookout for more telling signs.
3. Doors and Windows That Are Difficult to Open and Close
If fitted doors and windows are suddenly scraping or show uneven gaps around the frames, your foundation is probably shifting and needs repair.
4. Sagging or Bowing Ceilings and Walls
If you start seeing actual misalignment of walls or ceilings, you need to act quickly. This condition indicates that load-bearing beams have moved together with the foundation and are not up to the task anymore.
5. Wall Separation
In severe, advanced cases, walls, countertops and cupboards may show signs of separating from the house, leaving visible gaps. This is a sure sign of foundation instability.
6. Uneven Floors
Uneven floors can be caused by insufficient waterproofing and consequent movement of the understructure of the house. Movement of exterior trim, baseboards and wainscoting are also indicative of trouble afoot.
7. Moisture in the Crawlspace
If you start noticing mold growth and a musty smell, the crawlspace beneath your home may be wet. This is most likely due to cracks in the foundation, allowing for moisture to seep in.
What to Expect With House Foundation Repair
If you suspect that you have problems with the foundation of your home, you can either consult a structural engineer or have an expert inspect the extent of the damage.
The most common methods used to repair foundational damage include:
Underpinning can be achieved by using:
- Steel piers.
- Helical piers.
- Concrete piers.
- High-density polyurethane foam.
- Segmented piers.
- Spot piers.
How is This Done?
- Hydraulic jacks are used to lift the house foundation to the desired level in slow, sequential steps.
- Piers are drilled into the foundation and secured with screw piles or brackets, which stabilizes the foundation.
- If cement is used, the foundation is partially excavated and replaced with freshly poured concrete.
- After completion, soil is replaced, as well as the shrubbery and concrete.
House lifting/leveling can be achieved in a similar way. Instead of adding brackets, screw jacks are used to lift the entire building higher.
Pros of Underpinning
- No yard destruction or loss of accommodation.
- No heavy equipment is used.
Jacketing requires the addition of columns or footings with concrete to bolster and help carry the weight of the structure.
Pros of Jacketing
- More stability in the event of seismic activity.
- Improves strength of load-bearing columns.
- Saves construction time.
This method helps to raise smaller areas back to required footing. Cement or other expandable material is pumped into holes made into the structure and is meant to infiltrate any gaps, thus improving structural integrity.
Pros of Slabjacking
- Saves money.
- All-weather solution.
- Fast, non-disruptive process.
- Aesthetically constant.
Other Considerations and Guidelines
- Contract a reputable structural engineer or foundation repair contractor to inspect the damage.
- Budget for the cost of repairs. Although minor cracks can cost as little as $500 to fix, major home foundation repairs can amount to an excess of $10,000.
- Check if your insurance covers this kind of damage after reparations have been concluded.
- Schedule regular inspections.
- Manage the drainage system and check for leaks.
- Trim surrounding shrubbery and trees regularly.
- Slope your flowerbeds and regrade your yard, so that your landscape and soil are away from the foundation.
Neglecting your property’s foundation can cause destruction, resulting in financial strain and loss of property value. Prevent this from happening by taking the necessary precautionary measures.