How to Fix a Bad Foundation
The most important structural component of your house is the foundation, and it’s easy to overlook since it’s buried in the ground. The foundation keeps the structural integrity of the home intact by distributing the weight of the house and walls evenly to the ground. Cracks can be easily missed if they’re hidden behind furniture, utility connections, or finished walls and can reduce the value of your home.
What is the Cause?
The first thing you will want to do is determine the cause of foundation damage. A professional will be able to find the location of the problem, cause of damage, and suggestions on repair solutions for moving forward. There are multiple causes that result in foundation issues and cracks. When the foundation settles more so in one spot than another, this can create huge problems as the foundation and related components are not designed for this.
Understand the Root Problem
If you notice a crack from outside of the house, or the foundation is sinking, in some circumstances the easiest thing to do is to excavate some soil and expose the problem area. This advice, however, is dependent on a number of things with how your structure functions so don’t just go digging without knowing the digging itself won’t cause even worse damage. Buried utility lines or other hazards should be located prior to any excavation at all.
Remember: Don’t start excavating unless you are qualified and know what you are doing!
Fixing the Issue
There are many ways to fix or mitigate foundation problems. Two of the most common ways an existing foundation is repaired is by either piering or slabjacking. Both methods have two main goals:
- Get the structural components back where they are supposed to be
- Reduce future movement.
These are also known as concrete piers or pressed concrete cylinders, and are threaded onto a cable that runs down to the bottom of the hole. There should be at least seven pilings on the cable, then topped with a concrete cap.
The piering method essentially utilizes steel piers which are driven deep into the ground, bypassing the problem soil altogether. The foundation rests on the piers and hydraulic jacks are used to level and set the foundation at the exact location it is supposed to be at. The concrete foundation will bear on these new “piers” instead of the soil which was allowing movement.
The slabjacking method relies on pumped in grout which hydraulically lifts the concrete slab or grade beam back into place. The grout essentially fills the void left by the problem soil and puts the structure back where it is supposed to be. Care must be taken to ensure that the cause of settlement is addressed, or future problems are likely.
Forensic Engineering Specialists
Engineering Specialists Inc. has nearly 30 years of field experience in analyzing the damage to vehicles, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. We can work on any project in any state, nationwide. When you or your business needs to confirm the extent of damage or how to correct a problem, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us, toll-free, at (877) 559-4010.