Foundation repair is essentially the method of correcting problems with the parts of a foundation or even the underlying soil material. This sort of problem can be due to a variety of reasons, such as settling land for building, or settling for a smaller home on a larger piece of land, for example. In order to avoid these sorts of problems in the future, it is important to know how to handle foundation repair. This is especially true if the damage is noticed during routine maintenance.
Foundation repair is usually performed by a contractor who will also be responsible for the cost of any necessary upgrades or replacements that are needed because of the damage. Most times, this means that a total foundation replacement is necessary. Total foundation replacement, or TFR, can be performed quickly, usually within one day, depending on the severity of the situation. If you notice cracks in the basement walls, driveway, or other parts of your foundation, then it is time to get repairs handled before the problem escalates into something that can’t be fixed.
In most cases, a foundation repair will not be able to determine the exact location of the source of water infiltration. For that issue, an investigator will need to be brought in. Other possible causes of foundation problems include poor soil quality (which can lead to foundation problems), excess moisture (which can also lead to foundation problems), and/or the presence of toxic chemicals in the soils of the property. In cases where these conditions are present, it is necessary for a thorough evaluation of the soil in question.
If foundation repair cannot determine the exact location of water infiltration, then the cause is likely either soil compaction subsidence, settling, or other structural irregularities. In the case of soil compaction, for example, excess pressure can cause basement walls to crumble through cracking caused by water migration. Similarly, when soil subsidence occurs, it can lead to cracks in the foundation wall due to the movement of the soil beneath. Settling can result from uneven construction, such as when buildings are built on soil that shifts with the passage of time.
In the case of structural engineer-diagnosed structural problems, there are several options available. The most common is to apply structural piercings. Piers come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and can be used to correct minor issues, such as buckled or uneven foundation walls. However, applying piers to larger structures, such as those that house a pool, poses certain risks. Installing piers to your pool may not solve the structural problem, and will instead lead to more complications, such as unsightly pool coverings that can be removed without harming the property.
In situations where structural damage cannot be pinpointed or solved using non-invasive methods, foundation repair is required. For instance, if a section of your wall is severely cracked, but you don’t know if the crack is caused by the settling of the building, then you will have to remove part of the wall to find out. This may result to the replacement of a section of the wall or complete remodeling of the entire property. When the damage is severe, even removing part of the wall and repairing it is not enough to fix the problem.
For smaller defects, such as those that may only need to patch or paint, the most common form of foundation repair requires “samsonite.” Sissonite is a material consisting of tiny rocks that are placed in between layers of soil to create a stronger base. Foundation experts say that one of the benefits of samsonite is that it acts as a very good soil anchor, which greatly improves water drainage. However, installing a samsonite requires a lot of expertise, so this method should be used only for small defects or where the damage cannot be located. One drawback of samsonite is that its installation requires a large amount of soil to be moved from around the damaged area, which can make soil displacement a greater problem than before.
If your property has extensive damage, you will need to consult a foundation repair contractor who is well-experienced with these types of foundation repairs. These contractors are more likely to perform the repairs using only steel rebar and steel piers, without any further intervention from you.
On the other hand, if you notice some signs of damage but you are unsure about its origin (for example, there are several small cracks on your walls), you can contact a foundation inspection service in your neighborhood to get an estimate of how much repairs will cost. By knowing your options before hiring a foundation repair contractor, you can save yourself time and money.