What can be done about a home built on a weak foundation?

Problems within the foundation can be caused due to several reasons and therefore create critical structural issues. Whether you are a homeowner or a buyer problem in a foundation can be seriously worrying. The major obstacle you may face is whether to sell the house, scrap the house or find a way to repair the foundation. The two main questions that come up are the cost of repairs and insurance coverage for foundation damage. There are methods to renovate a concrete foundation without taking it down completely.

But first, let’s see what causes foundation damage and how can we identify it.

Your property may be more susceptible to foundation damage for the following reasons:

  • During summer times, heat can cause the soil to shrink and lead to foundation failure.
  • Soil can also shrink if there are trees near the foundation who may suck water from the soil and cause the home to settle.
  • Sometimes, plumbing leaks from sanitary sewers may cause cracks in the foundation. You may not know there’s a leak until the cracks appear.
  • The inferior quality of building materials used may also contribute to a weak foundation. This needs to be kept in mind while building a foundation.

The higher the clay content in soils, the foundation becomes more vulnerable to damage. The movement in some areas can be insignificant but could be more in other areas.

It is always advisable to keep a good landscape around the house and keep it as even as possible. This will help drain excess moisture and keep the foundations stable. A homeowner should always be on toes to check for any foundation issues and fix any low spots, plumbing problems or gutter issues immediately. Make it a point to water the surroundings during droughts.

Whatever be the reason for foundation damage, it is always better to contact a foundation expert to check the reason and quantity of damage. The following issues may take form if the damage is neglected.

  • Structural damage
  • Fall in value of the structure
  • Risk of tripping
  • Cracks in foundation
  • Faults with equipment

Some of the common signs of damage are as follows

Exterior Warning Signs

  • Issues with garage door, windows and/or walls
  • Fractured bricks
  • Fragmented and/or broken foundation
  • Displaced moldings around doorways

Interior Warning Signs

  • Uneven Doors and windows
  • Broken sheetrock
  • Floor Cracks
  • Unlevel floors

What are some of the methods to repair foundation issues?

Previously used practices for the renovation of sunken concrete has changed. Wood, concrete, cement, and steel have been dispensed, pushed, rotated or in some way enforced into the ground trying to recover these foundations and slabs. Usually, people act without proper knowledge and experience can result in failed repairs.

Repairing an average residential foundation depends upon the extent of the damage.  There are some other variables that may cause a job to take longer. It is also possible that foundation damage may affect other parts like roofing etc. The point is that every foundation damage affects every home differently. An inspection by a foundation expert generally costs $350-$1000 which is expensive but inspections are beneficial in the long run. Repairing a foundation ranges from $2700-$8000 depending on the problem. There are many available solutions to sunken concrete, with today’s knowledge and qualified experts.

Steel Piers

It is an extremely efficient and reliable method of foundation repair. Steel piers take a lesser amount of time and disrupt less land than outdated concrete piers. Tracking its inception from the first time it was used, they have progressed a lot and are considered more practical and are based on technical knowledge.

Helical Piers

This kind of pier is used for both new construction and for a repair. Light loaded areas such as porch columns or yard columns are the best match for helical piers. They are the best for exterior foundation repair and interior slab repairs and are considered the ‘versatile’ pier in the market.

Concrete Pier Foundation repair

This kind of method was used before the invention of hydraulic piers. In this method, in-situ concrete piers are typically used during the construction phase and are also a good option while having repair work. These are ideally a permanent solution to any foundation problem, but the contractor needs to do a lot of labor work involving digging the soil and cleaning up which takes up a lot of time and effort. Moreover, drilling in small residential plots is also a difficult procedure hence it is the most expensive way to repair a foundation.

High-Density Polyurethane Foam

It is known to be a very less expensive and speedy way of repairing the foundation. The expert inserts the froth in a checkerboard grid that is around 6 feet on center in the problematic area. But the consumers need to be very cautious about HVAC ducts and perform plumbing tests prior to foam injection.

Segmented Piers

This is relatively a new way in the market to repair foundations. It is relatively cheap but can take a longer time to install.

Spot Piers

These are very beneficial for light loaded areas such as porches. These piers are shallow and are hand dug and then filled with concrete.

Hiring a repair contractor

Foundation work is absolutely not a project that can be undertaken by untrained professionals. So it is helpful to get diverse views from licensed contractors to give you a thorough proposal along with a proper valuation of your problems.

Before hiring a contractor, one can ask the following questions to be sure about the work to be carried out:

  • How long have you been repairing foundations?
    • They should have a good history and experience in repairing foundations. (10+ years)
  • Check for ICC-ES (International Code Council – Evaluation Services) and method used for a pile load test.
    • Do not hire them if they don’t fulfill these criteria.
    • Find out their failure rate. That should rarely happen with a good contractor. (less than 1%)
  • Do they offer any warranty or guarantee for their products?
    • If the answer is no, you should think twice before hiring them.
  • Do you have any references?
    • Whether good or bad, every contractor must be able to provide a reference. It is important to know whether the overall experience is a good one for customers.

An experienced and certified professional must inspect the site very well. The contractor must also be able to give out a full detailed plan of cost, conditions and ways to resolve any issue beforehand.

It is also advisable to make sure that the foundation repair contractor has insurance in case of an accident, injury, or even damage to your property. The best scenario is when you have done all the groundwork. You’ve found the best foundation repair contractor and then the whole project is completed without a single delay, issue, or problem.

How We Can Help

Whether you’re noticing signs of deterioration in your home or want to make sure that they’re not present in a home you’re about to purchase, we can help. Our engineers’ on-site evaluation will reveal any issues to the foundation and provide necessary ways to correct the issue without breaking your bank. Call Design Everest at (877) 704-5727 for a FREE consultation and quote.

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