Concrete foundations generally have some settlement over time; however, significant settlement and movement of a concrete foundation may be caused by a variety of reasons, such as expansive soil, impacted soil or improper maintenance. Foundation problems are usually more common in older homes, especially in areas where the soil retains large amounts of water. Whatever the cause is, settlement and movement of the foundation can wreak havoc on the structure of your home. If you notice any signs of possible foundation distress, it is important to have repairs done as soon as possible. The longer foundation repairs are delayed, the greater the risk is for the foundation to sink, causing extensive and expensive damages. Here are some common signs of foundation problems and how they can be repaired.
Signs of Foundation Problems
It is important to remember that foundations typically settle over time, but the problem occurs when there is uneven or extreme settlement and movement. Signs of problems with a concrete foundation may include:
- Windows or doors that don't close properly
- Cracks in the interior or exterior walls
- Cracked or uneven floors
- Visible cracks in the foundation
- Separation around doors, windows or the wall between garage and house
- Displaced or cracked moldings
- Gaps between ceiling and floors or walls
How Foundations are Repaired
It's common for homeowners to hear there is a problem with the foundation and assume that the problem is beyond repair, but the good news is that there are usually several foundation repair options available. The method of repair depends on the type of distress being addressed, but most common methods of repair are slab-jacking and installing piers.
- Slab-jacking consists of pumping grout under a slab or beam to create a lifting force that will restore the slab to the original elevation.
- Pier installation involves driving steel posts through unstable soil and then using hydraulic jacks to raise and stabilize the concrete slab that has been affected by a change in the underlying soil.
In order to choose which method is best for your foundation it is first important to determine what is causing the distress to the foundation. It is important that you hire a professional concrete company experienced in foundation repair. Whether you notice that your home has minor cracking or that your home has sunk several inches, foundation repair is not a DIY project. A concrete contractor will carefully examine the interior and exterior of your home to determine the severity of the problem, the primary cause and how to restore the foundation to a safe level.