Nothing stresses a homeowner than finding cracks in his floor or even the mere idea that his house will be coming down real quick. Building or buying a house is a pretty huge investment and this calls for proper maintenance. It is common for objects to deteriorate with time and a house being an object, it is prone to this. This could be the effect of ice, poor soil compaction, plumbing leaks among others. Worry not for whatever foundation problems can be repaired.
Before moving forward to foundation repair, you must understand what kind of foundation you have? Three main types of foundations are available. The foundation or foundation walls your home rests on, are determined by building codes and the home’s location. Other conditions such as the frost line, the soil composition, water levels, and drainage can play into the type of foundation your home is built upon.
To solve foundation problems, one first needs to understand the structure of the foundation. Slab foundations and pier or beam foundations react differently to foundation movement. Also repair of houses with basements would be different from the normal one. Below we discuss on seven ways on how to repair foundation problems:
1. High density polyurethane foam.
High-density polyurethane foam is often used to lift sunken concrete slabs. The expansive force of the foam lifts and levels of concrete slabs back to their original position. It is a lightweight solution that will prevent further settlement. Technicians inject the foam in a checkerboard grid approximately six-foot on center in the affected area. It is relatively cheap and repairs the problem faster. It is important to perform plumbing tests prior to the foam injection to ensure there are no leaks and the foam, therefore, would not leak into the water.
– This method is used where the foundation is concrete and what it typically does is that it seals a foundation crack against water entry.
– If you suspect that water leaks are the root cause of your foundation problems, you can contact a plumber to fix the issue.
– If you live in an area that rains a lot, it is important to have a foundation drainage system, or even go the extra mile and install a surface drain, moves a lot of water preventing accumulation of water. Or use of a French drain which redirects smaller amounts of water.
2. Steel piers.
Steel piers take less time and disturb less landscape, a proven underpinning solution for foundation repair.
Works best on foundation settling this is the case where one side of your house is lower than the other. If so, your foundation may need to be lifted and interior or exterior piers installed. These are placed around the perimeter of your foundation in order to raise it or else installed in the interior of your structure. Repair as soon as possible for what might start as only a small dip on the side of the house might end up being a very large problem. Cracks resulting from foundation problems are generally vertical. Professional foundation repair service that AbryBros provides would solve this problem.
Steps during installation of steel piers;
i) Ground is excavated for installation of piers around foundation.
ii) Foundation bracket would be mounted for the piering system.
iii) Installation of the push piers.
iv) Weight of structure transferred to the steel piers.
3. Soil Nailing
This involves strengthening the soil to give it more stability. This is done by hammering steel bars into the soil.
i) Drilling into the soil. Where “nail” would be placed.
ii) Depth of the hole is measured.
iii) Nail is inserted into the drilled hole.
The soil nails are placed in an evenly spaced geometric patterns and they develop the pullout resistance. The geometric system of soil nail placement creates an internally reinforced soil mass that is stable.
Majority of foundation problems are caused by soil failure and stabilizing the soil therefore is more than an effective method.
4. Helical piers.
Work well for exterior foundation repair and interior slab repairs.
– Used especially when it is necessary to resist a tension or a compressive force.
– Helical piers look like a large screw. They are used for extra support to porches, steps and chimneys.
– They are a permanent solution to foundation problems.
– Can be used in any type of weather and can even support structure on weak or wet soil.
Helical plates welded to shaft. Plate diameters increase from bottom of the shaft upward. The plates may end up with a pier cap embedded into a concrete foundation.
5. Concrete pier foundation repair.
This was originally preferred before the invention of hydraulic driven steel pier. They are a more permanent solution to foundation problems.
Most expensive mode of repair. Though first time installation is cheap.
They can be in two forms:
a) Pressed concrete pilings – The concrete has already being cured and only involves installation. At time use of a steel, the leader is used to achieve greater depth while pouring water. Preferred on repairing the foundation.
b) Poured concrete piers. The piers are drilled up to about ten feet. Cure time before foundation leveling is 10 days.
6. Micropile underpinning.
This is the use of deep foundation friction piles constructed using high strength steel casings. This enables the transfer of some of the pressure put on them to the soil around them. The friction creates an adhesive effect where the pile and soil connect.
i) Creating small diameter drilled and grouted friction piles.
ii) Installation of hollow bars via injection bored method.
iii) Pumping hollow bars with a cement grout mixture.
iv) Anchor drilled to grout
7. Carbon fiber strips
Average repair typically takes two to three days. Has incredible strength. Can be painted over hence low visibility.
May be for repair on walls with minor cracks or those that have bowed inward.
– Work best on concrete walls.
– Paint should be removed where the straps are to be set.
– Should not be placed apart more than four times the thickness of the wall.
The main problem of using the carbon fiber straps is that it doesn’t limit the movement of the wall below or above where straps are placed.
In theory, repairing a foundation is quite simple as it involves lifting the house, replacing the old foundation with a new one and letting the house rest on the new foundation. This is not the case practically though as it involves a lot of factors, engineering data and study. Remember that foundation repairs need to be tackled by experts. This might turn out costly. Ask for cost estimate from the contractors and you can compare with those of different foundation repair companies. Look for ones with warranties as this would not have a cost implication in the future should the problem arise once more.
1. Ron, H. (Dec 21, 2015) Common signs of foundation problems. Retrieved from https://hdfoundationrepair.com/how-to-identify-8-common-signs-of-foundation-problems-in-houses-or-commercial-buildings/
2. David Edens. (Aug 25, 2016)Types of foundation repair. Retrieved from https://www.angieslist.com/articles/6-types-foundation-repair.htm
3. Matthew.S. (Mar 29, 2015), How much does it cost to Replace a Foundation? Retrieved from https://www.uswaterproofing.com/learning-center/how-much-does-it-cost-to-replace-a-foundation
4. Concrete pier foundation. Retrieved from https://www.granitefoundationrepair.com/foundation-repair-methods/concreete-pier-foundation-repair/