Is your home’s foundation in distress? When the cement beneath your home displays problems, it can lead to significant architectural damage within your house. Whether you’re a homeowner or a buyer, foundation issues are concerning, and you likely have several questions on how to address them.
Fortunately, several techniques can repair your foundation, saving you the hassle of cutting it out and starting from scratch. If you believe you’re having foundation problems, you can have a restoration specialist do a home foundation review or discuss issues with a structural engineer if required.
Keep reading to learn the causes of this issue, signs of house foundation problems and how professionals can help.
What Causes Foundation Problems?
When it comes to most foundational problems, water is the prime culprit. Variations in moisture cause soil elements to expand or shrink, commencing in movement below your basement. Wood-eating pests like termites and ants can also cause immense structural damage to a home, as can poor exterior drainage or internal leaks and flooding.
Those most critical soils in clay are frequently more sensitive, while those most under are the least affected. In some areas, the change is insignificant — in others, it is pretty noticeable. When unstable clays are utilized as a base, the action is transferred to the foundation. Since soil change is unusually uniform, the foundation is suppressed to a differential or outbreak. The problem confers in both slab and pier and beam sort of foundations.
If all the clay beneath a foundation expands uniformly, there is typically no problem. Problems occur, nevertheless, when simply part of the house settles. Then, the differential change creates cracks or additional damage. Variations in soil dampness primarily create this differential change. Conversely, when the soil beneath your home loses or gains moisture, it can lead to severe reduction or swelling.
Suppose the house frame doesn’t start distorting until three or more years of satisfactory performance. In that case, the distortion is likely not caused by a foundation settlement, which is usually revealed in matching cracks. Instead, the damage has likely occurred at the sides of the foundation walls, leading to a downward shift caused by soil pressure. Settlement cracks are typically vertical and won’t mix with damage when the wall is subjected to a lateral shift from soil pressure.
Your home may be more sensitive to foundation destruction if:
- It was developed on expansive clay.
- It was built on inadequately compacted fill soils.
- The area throughout the foundation has inadequate drainage.
- You live in a room with extreme seasonal fluctuations.
- You encountered a plumbing leak underneath your residence.
- Tree roots are growing nearby to your residence.
- An earthquake, flood or drought arbitrated the construction.
What Are the Early Signs of Foundation Problems?
While all foundations settle over time, problems arise when the settlement is uneven or extreme. Cracked walls, misaligned doors and windows, bowing walls and uneven or warped floors and ceilings are just a few issues that can emerge from foundation problems. You can spot early signs of foundation issues in both your home’s interior and exterior.
EXTERIOR WARNING SIGNS
If you’re buying a new home or you suspect foundation problem signs with the house you’re currently living in, check for the following exterior warning signs:
- Disconnection around garage doorway, windows and drywall: Windows, doors and drywall pulling away from your walls are severe signs of foundation problems. Doors and windows might start sticking, becoming more difficult to open over time, while gaps in entry points can invite pests and water into the home.
- Leaning chimney: When you notice your chimney leaning to one side, this can indicate serious foundation issues in your home and create a safety hazard for your home’s inhabitants and neighbors.
- Cracks: Small, fine cracks in your home’s exterior walls or steps are usually nothing to worry about. However, large cracks that develop abruptly in a zig-zag pattern can indicate a deeper issue. For instance, if a crack is more extensive than an eighth of an inch, you could have a potential foundation problem. Always call a professional to examine brick cracking or bricks protruding from walls.
- Dislodged moldings: Like wall cracks, dislodged moldings point to issues with your wall’s structures, which in turn relate to a foundation problem.
- Sinking porch or stoop: Underlying foundation issues can lead to a sinking front or back porch or stoop.
INTERIOR WARNING SIGNS
Foundation issue signs you can spot from the inside of your home include:
- Misaligned doors and window panes: If your doors are misaligned, or your window panes don’t fit into their frames, this could signify that your foundation has shifted.
- Sagging floors: If your floors feel bouncy or sag when walked across, this could indicate severe issues in the foundation. The floor might also seem out of level or appear to be bowing or dipping. This is caused by pier and beam foundation problems. Rotting wood could also be another warning sign of something other than a foundational issue, such as pest infestations or high humidity in your basement or crawlspace.
- Bowing walls: Bowing walls can also be spotted from the outside of the home and are a warning sign of excess moisture and foundational issues that contractors should address immediately. Professional contractors can prevent a wall from pulling away from your home and collapsing.
- Cracks in the floors and walls: You might notice cracks in the walls and floor, especially near windows, doors or along columns in your home, indicating a foundation issue.
- Damaged sheetrock: You can suspect an issue when your interior sheetrock crags run in zig-zag patterns at nearly the height of the wall. You should also call a contractor if the wallpaper begins pulling away from the wall or if there are cracks at the junction of the wall and ceiling.
- Musty smells from the basement: The smell of mold, rotting wood or mildew from crawl spaces or the basement can indicate a foundation issue. Unexplained water damage throughout the home can also indicate a leak caused by foundational issues.
Problems Caused by Basement Settlement
Several issues can arise from a basement settlement, including:
- Destruction of the structure
- Loss of real estate price
- Tripping risks
- Hideous cracks
- Machinery breakdowns
- Mold and mildew buildup
- Pet infestations
- Increased utility bills
Whatever the situation, settlement can damage the condition of your home and even render it unstable. If you see symptoms of failure, don’t delay in getting the problem resolved. The longer you wait, the deeper your foundation will sink, creating further expensive damage and safety hazards.
If unsure, observe the cracks in your basement. If they remain to expand, call professional contractors to investigate the damages.
When to Call an Expert
The best way to tell if your home has foundation issues is to have an expert inspect it. Experts can diagnose foundational problems and provide expertise, knowledge and special care to solve the specific issue.
Significant warning signs should be addressed by professionals immediately. These include:
- Cracked drywall
- Gaps between exterior windows and walls
- Sinking flooring
- Counters, cabinets or other static structures separating from the walls
- Cracked or leaning chimney
- Cracks in the floor or walls
- Nails popping out of the drywall
- Warped floors or ceilings
In these situations, further damage could lead to costly problems and safety hazards for yourself, your home’s inhabitants and surrounding houses. If you notice any of the above warning signs, the best, safest solution is to call professionals for help.
You can expect the following benefits when you hire HydroHelp911 to solve foundation issues:
- Save time and money by avoiding amateur repairs
- Achieve a safer, more comfortable home
- Increase your home’s value
- Avoid water damage and structural problems
How Experts Approach Renovations
The process for restoring sunken cement varies. In the past, wood, cement, concrete and steel have been discharged, pushed, applied or anyhow forced into the dirt trying to recover these foundations and slabs. It was common for everyone, untrained or not, to attempt this type of restoration, which didn’t always bring the best results.
The most popular methods of foundation restoration today include slab jacking and hydraulic jacking.
- Slab jacking: The most common method to correct smaller slabs of sunken cement, such as driveways, household slabs, swimming pools floor and sidewalls, is slab jacking. In a slab jacking process, grout is elevated underneath a slab or beam to lift and restore the part to its initial elevation.
- Hydraulic jacking: Also referred to as piering, hydraulic jacking involves pushing steel columns through unstable soil and using hydraulic jacks to raise or maintain concrete slabs induced by differences in the underlying soil.
The repair technique used by professionals will depend on the type of distress that needs to be managed.
Request a Free Inspection From HydroHelp911
HydroHelp911 has been serving property owners to repair their foundations and solve their moisture problems in Charlotte, NC, for many years now. The company started as Advanced Ventilation Solutions, which overgrew in crawl space repair and foundation waterproofing, but we did minimal ventilation assistance. It made our company re-evaluate the brand to reflect our core duties and the organization’s future direction. Thus, HydroHelp911 was born and available to service the inhabitants of beautiful Charlotte, NC!
You have many firms to choose from when bargaining with foundation repairs and moisture control, but you will not find a more competent company than us. Our home relies on a foundation that is professionally composed, built and managed. We recognize the magnitude of the problem that you face as a homeowner if your foundation fails. HydroHelp911 has the resolution to reconstruct the life of your foundation.
Concerning further knowledge on our foundation repair services, contact us or call toll-free at 704-741-9737.
Our Foundation Restoration Process
At HydroHelp911, we follow several steps to determine the best repair process for your foundation issue.
Before deciding on a suitable repair process, we must determine what’s causing the trouble. We’ll analyze trim planks, windows, molding and mortar joints in the masonry veneer to diagnose the issue. We also take note of the climate — both dry and wet weather can move underlying clay and cause foundation issues.
If we decide on slab jacking, we’ll elevate the cement grout into strategically placed openings in the concrete slab. Next, we’ll allow the grout to harden into a thick, sturdy mass as it creates good bearing for the slab. After applying a soil-cement-lime grout, the lime will stabilize the base, replacing the slab to a good grade and affixing the sub-soil to prevent the problem from re-occurring.
For significant problems, especially those in a commercial building or house infrastructure shifting, we can use hydraulic piers to raise and preserve the foundation. Hydraulic or helical piers are steel bars that contain helices, or helix-shaped designs, which allow the beams to reach deep into the soil and stabilize your home’s foundation. They’re known to work well in soft or damp soils, setting a foundation deep enough to keep it independent of fluctuations in soil dampness.
Piering is also helpful for sharing the load without generating unwanted bulk or mass adequately.
Experts will fasten the pier to the footing with steel to hold the basement beam.
Foundation Issues FAQ
We’ll now answer a few common questions we receive about house foundation problems to help you if you’re facing this issue:
1. What Areas Are Most Concerned With Foundation Mess?
The soil sample in some regions of the country leads to a higher standard of foundation problems. Sites with high clay content and coastal areas with lots of sand see the most destruction. Therefore, homes in these areas are at higher risk for foundation destruction.
2. Should I Purchase a Home With Basement Problems?
Many homebuyers run for the hills if they see a home with basement issues. The concern is that fixing the house will cost thousands of dollars by boosting and adequately strengthening its foundation.
In some samples, you may be capable of getting a great deal on a home with foundation concerns. But make sure you realize what you are getting into. For example, some basement problems can be fixed quickly and affordably, while others may need a completely new foundation.
3. Should I Fix My Basement Before Selling My House?
If you desire to get top dollar for your house, it should be in near excellent shape. In addition, it covers fixing foundation problems if you can furnish it.
Most foundation companies propose a lifetime guarantee on their repairs that is portable to the new buyers. In addition, it will give implied buyers peace of mind because they acknowledge that the obstacle has been addressed.