When homeowners see a crack or other sign of damage in their foundation, their first reaction is typically to get it replaced. While the damage is ugly, the reasoning is often that it could signal the root of further issues, such as basement leaks. However, it would help if you didn’t move quickly. Ideally, however, a complete foundation replacement should only be considered if the slab or other supports are seriously compromised to the point where they pose a significant risk.
Believe it or not, the ground supporting the structure is often the primary culprit of foundation issues! Even if you repair the foundation, you must take care of any issues from the foundation soil to ensure the issues do not return. It is essential to fix the initial problem so that the project is a one-and-done process, regardless of whether you decide to repair or replace the foundation.
Regardless of the size of the project, the objective for you and the professional contractor you hire should be to provide effective and long-lasting solutions.
What’s Causing My Foundation Problems?
As previously mentioned, the ground below your home’s foundation is most often the source of the overall problem! This is because the foundation sinks farther into the earth when the soil beneath your home becomes compacted, compressed, swollen with moisture, or loose.
As you might expect, foundations have to bear a tremendous amount of weight. The foundation inevitably sinks when the earth beneath it cannot maintain its integrity. Conversely, if the soil expands and lifts the foundation, it might also heave.
Over time, soil conditions vary. This is typically the result of seasonal changes. Each year, with the onset of winter and summer, soil goes through two cycles: thawing and freezing, drying and swelling. Additionally, isolated occurrences that affect the composition of the earth include prolonged droughts or periods of heavy rainfall. These cycles impact your foundation’s overall health, stability, and strength.
Signs My Foundation Is In Need Of Repair
Homeowners are not always aware of the need to repair their foundation before the damage becomes critical. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for the following collection of indicators that a problem exists:
Window and Door Sticking
The walls of your home will be largely affected by foundation shifting. It is most often impactful enough to cause windows and doors to become stuck. This can make it more challenging to open and close doors and windows, while obvious spaces between the frames and the walls may form.
Cracks in both the walls and floor may indicate that the foundation currently has problems. After construction, hairline fractures will appear as the concrete slab fully cures. These 1-2 millimeter-wide cracks (about the size of a pencil tip) are a natural result of concrete’s curing process. The exterior perimeter will be the first to dry and shrink away, separating from any more interior segments.
Indicators to look for that signal soil settlement or heaving in the foundation include cracks of bigger magnitude than these. Cracks are guaranteed to deepen and expand if left unattended.
A foundation that is sinking or tilting indicates that there has been an unacceptable amount of soil settlement. Depending on the type of soil present throughout the property, sinking may happen evenly or unevenly. Floor, foundation, and wall cracks frequently appear when there is tilting present.
To make an estimated guess about your foundation’s condition, get a traditional level out and lay it on the floor to see if your foundation is to blame for the house’s tilt. Set a marble on the ground and see which way it always rolls, if at all.
Why Should Foundations Be Strengthened?
Everything in a house is supported by its foundation. It is meant to be the base of your house that can resist everything. However, it is possible for the foundation to shift due to changes in the soil beneath it (such as those brought on by floods) or the weight above it (such as an added story). Sometimes those shifts alone are too much for the foundation, and breaks can occur.
Wet soil rises due to its upward expansion, putting pressure on the concrete slab above. The concrete base becomes unsupported when the earth shrinks as it dries up. The integrity of the entire home may be jeopardized when shifts and breaks occur. That is never a good thing, and repairs can often be expensive, depending on the amount of damage.
How Can BARRIER Strengthen My Foundation?
If you see any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to begin to think about potential fixes. The particular variables of your circumstance will determine the best approach for repairing your home’s structure. Here is the typical approach BARRIER takes when restoring most foundations across Middle Tennessee:
Lifting and Leveling With A Superior Piering System
In many cases, it is required to use house lifting to prevent water damage. It is an intermediate process that entails lifting the foundation of the house using a piering system with a hydraulic jack installed below it.
Initially, the very strong steel and concrete piers are driven down into the soil underneath the foundation, tracing its perimeter. The piers are loaded into the ground segment by segment until they reach the bedrock of your property. Once they reach stable rock, the hydraulic lifts are attached and raise the home until it is level.
This process is so resilient it can often restore your foundation to a better condition than it was prior to the repair job!
The Conclusion On Foundation Replacement
Without question, strengthening a structure’s foundation directly makes it safer. Other advantages are derived from foundation repair processes, though. In some circumstances, this helps to guarantee that the investment in your home maintains its value and can even increase it for selling. Furthermore, a seriously damaged foundation might make getting insurance for the house more difficult.