Foundation cracks and settlement challenges can result in significant structural foundation failure, according to experts at HydroHelp911. Extreme heat shrinks the expansive clay soils around foundations, whereas cold or rain expands them this is particularly risky for high-weight commercial properties, such as docks on high-rise buildings! If not addressed quickly, these issues can lead to costly repercussions that jeopardize the security of your valuable property.
The foundation of any commercial property will be very different from that of a residential building. The size, weight, and load-bearing potential that arises with running a business or warehouse and the employees versus accommodating one person at a time.
What Is the Process of Foundation Repair?
The process of commercial foundation repair consists of several steps: plan creation, foundation support installation, and home elevation and stabilization.
The first stage in foundation repair is to devise a strategy. When a commercial foundation repair contractor inspects your home, they will generally develop an essential plan where your home requires additional support to hold it in place and return to its original position.
The commercial foundation repair plan will specify where the support will be installed and how many support locations are required. The supports run along a portion of the home’s perimeter most of the time.
Foundation support positions are typically 7 feet apart, depending on the process, and run along the boundary of the home. In about 10% of cases, you may also require supports beneath the middle of the house.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT INSTALLATION
Because they are the most common, we will discuss the two main types of support systems in this section. Other methods exist, but commercial foundation repair experts do not widely use them.
The supports beneath your home are commonly referred to as “underpinning” in engineering terms. However, depending on the process used for foundation repair, they are more commonly referred to as “piers” or “pilings.”
These piers or pilings are tall and cylindrical, like columns on the home’s front porch. Assume pilings are holding up your house; only the pilings are underground.
In the case of piers, also known as bell-bottom piers, the supports are installed underground by digging and drilling by commercial foundation repair specialists, followed by concrete pouring. If pilings, also known as pressed piles, are used, pre-formed slab components are forced down by hydraulic pressure.
Following the installation of the ground supports, the commercial foundation repair contractor will raise the recessed areas of the property and ensure that the foundation has returned to its original elevation.
The pressed pile method raises the structure by the pressure of the pile in the ground forcing upon it. This is similar to inserting a battery into a device and holding it in place by a spring. The structure is elevated with jacks, fixed by spring-like tension, and shimmed to ensure the correct elevation.
The support pier by commercial foundation repair professionals serves as a basis for elevating the structure when using the bell bottom pier method.
Hydraulic jacks are installed on the pier’s top, and the system is raised into the proper position using the jacks. Shims are then pounded in to secure the structure’s elevated status.
FOUNDATION STABILIZATION PROCESS
In a few cases, the house is not elevated back to its initial form but is only supported in its current position. Maintaining a stable commercial structure can inhibit further movement, plunging, and damage, but it will not restore the system to its original position.
Stabilization is preferred over raising whenever a structure has already been redeveloped with excellent finishes that the owner does not want to damage. In the case of a newly remodeled commercial structure, the raising process would damage the recently reworked walls, trim, joinery or built-ins, or countertops and backsplash areas.
This is since everything was put in when the commercial structure was not in the appropriate location. As a result, relocating the structure into place will end up causing all of the finished work to shift, causing the owner more problems/repairs.
Overall, a commercial foundation repair expert would always advise an owner to complete any necessary foundation repair before moving on to other remodeling projects.
Commercial Foundation Repair Methods
SEALANTS AND MASONRY PATCHES
Repairing cracks and patches in a structure’s foundation involve patching the damage and covering it with a waterproof masonry sealer. Early detection and repair of cracks are critical since the foundation supports the entire structure.
Hydraulic cement, vinyl concrete, epoxy, silicone, and polyurethane are joint sealants for minor cracks. The combination used will be determined by the severity of the crack. This is a vital commercial foundation repair technique.
Minor or insignificant cracks can be treated with masonry patches or sealants, but routine maintenance is advised.
Mudjacking is a concrete repair technique used to lift uneven or sinking concrete. Slab jacking, concrete lifting, and slab leveling describe this process. This method is best suited for small jobs like elevating porches, steps, patios, sidewalks, garage floors, and driveways.
When the soil beneath the slab foundation shifts or crumbles, leaving void rooms below, the foundation sinks or tilts. Professionals have access to proper equipment and understand local soil conditions to repair a settling foundation.
To raise the concrete foundation using the slab jacking method, two holes are drilled through the concrete foundation and then into the submerged spaces below by experts. A natural element solvent (soil, cement, etc.) is injected through the hole to fill the void. The fallen slab is brought up back into place as the solution expands.
Polyurethane injection is an alternative approach to slab jacking. Polyurethane is injected through holes in the concrete to fill the voids below, equivalent to the slab jacking process. However, dense and lightweight components are used rather than natural elements to fill the space.
PIERING OR PILING
To reinstate the foundation, a steel or concrete pier is used by commercial foundation repair experts. However, there is a minor difference between the piering and piling foundation repair methods. Piering can be accomplished through the excavation of earth strata, whereas piling can be achieved by driving piles into the ground.
Piling used for foundation repairs includes concrete piers, steel pressed piling, and bell-bottom piers. These techniques are long-term foundation solutions that restore your home’s foundation to its initial level better than slab jacking.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MUD JACKING?
- The cost of slab jacking is low when compared to the cost of replacing the entire structure.
- The slab jacking location can be used in about an hour.
- This method is appropriate for any weather condition.
- As the new concrete mixture spreads underneath the old slab layer, there is no color change in the structure.
- There is no need to clean up the area because this method never damages the room in comparison to others.
WHAT IS A CONCRETE PRESSED PILING?
Pressed concrete pilings are more durable foundation piers used for interior and exterior foundation repairs. They work better on pier and beam houses and concrete slab foundations. To ensure durability, properly installed pressed concrete piers must be driven into the ground; typically, this is about 12 feet deep.
Drill deep holes in the structure that are being repaired. The gap should then be filled with reinforcement and concrete. Precast concrete piles are occasionally used, but they are never reinforced.
The Benefits of Concrete Pressed Piling:
- The cost is low because no heavy equipment is required.
- The slab jacking method is not as tactical.
MY HOUSE HAS SHIFTED SLIGHTLY AND HAS SOME CRACKING. DOES THIS IMPLY THAT I REQUIRE FOUNDATION REPAIR?
No, not always. Some settling is inevitable, especially in newly built homes, and maybe reasonable for the house’s age. And sometimes it makes sense to wait for repairs; there’s no point in doing things twice. If you’ve been subjected to a sales pitch that appeared to be intended to scare you into an expensive fix, give us a call for a free estimate before you commit. “It just depends,” while vague, is often true.
WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID SLAB AND FOUNDATION ISSUES?
Keep the soil next to your structure at the proper moisture level, especially during the summer. Even if your home does not require repairs, this is something we will most likely discuss with you during your free estimate.
Keep an eye on the slope of flower beds, planters, and lawns near foundation walls or slab edges. A 3 percent slope is usually required for the first few feet and as little as 1 percent as you get further away from the house. We don’t hold back when it comes to sharing our knowledge. The experts at HydroHelp911 will let you know if we come across something that you can do yourself to fix or preclude a problem during a free inspection.