The foundation of your building must remain in sound shape or catastrophic damage could occur. The foundation is the most important part of a building and it can become damaged over time due to shifting soil and other issues. Being able to recognize the signs of foundation problems is essential for seeking repairs. The sooner these issues are repaired, the better the chances major building damages can be avoided.
Why Is the Foundation So Important?
When foundation issues become a problem, cracks are often the first sign. The foundation wall cracked due to pressure caused by shifts in the soil. Some types of soil hold water differently than others and can lead to sinkholes and shifting.
Without a strong foundation in place, the building will not be strong and steady. As the foundation cracks, greater pressure is placed on the building interior, leading to damage.
Signs of Foundation Damage
There are a few different signs that can occur with foundation damage. Ignoring the signs of damage will only lead to continued damage that could become extremely expensive to repair. The following are some of the most common signs that occur with foundation problems.
· Stairstep cracks in the mortar joints
· Diagonal cracks along the corners of windows and doors
· Uneven and sloping floors
· Door frame separation
· Doors and windows that stick
· Rotten piers and beams
· Expansion joint separation
If any of these signs are occurring, foundation repairs should be sought right away. Waiting too long will only increase the cost of repairs and could leave your building damaged to the point it is no longer safe for occupation.
7 Reasons Foundations Become Damaged
Foundation damage may occur for different reasons and can lead to the need for immediate repairs. The longer the damage is left in place, the greater the risk for continued damage. The following are some of the reasons buildings experience foundation damage.
1. One of the most common reasons for foundation damage is shifting soil. This often happens when hot weather zaps the moisture from the soil, causing it to contract. In some cases, watering the ground around the building on a regular basis can help.
2. If a building is surrounded by trees, they could experience transpiration which means evaporation of their fluids. When this happens, the roots go into action and begin sucking up as much water as possible. This can lead to dried out soil and instability in the foundation.
3. Improper drainage is also a common cause of foundation damage. When water is consistently pooling in certain areas, this can lead to soil erosion. When the soil is removed as a support, the foundation will experience damage.
4. Many building owners are not aware of the plumbing leaks that are causing pooling water under and around their foundation. Just like with improper drainage, plumbing leaks can easily cause major foundation cracks.
5. If the soil is not properly prepared before the foundation is put in place, issues will eventually begin arising. Poor compaction and softer low-density soils are problematic for foundation stability. With the right pier system in place, before construction begins, settling and shifting can be avoided.
6. Inferior foundation construction can also lead to weakening and damage. When having a foundation built, only the best materials should be used. If you feel your foundation materials are inferior, calling in an expert is advised.
7. Poor soil quality is a big factor in foundation damage. Clay soils are one of the worst soils to build foundations on. Clay is one of the densest types of soil and it can hold tons of water. During periods of heavy rain, the soil can swell immensely and lead to foundation shifts that cause damage.
No matter the cause of a building’s foundation damage, there are repair options available. Piers can be put in place to further support a sagging foundation while repairing the cracks and other types of damage make the foundation stronger.
How Are Foundations Repaired?
There are a few different methods of foundation repair that can be carried out, depending on the
building and type of soil.
1. Steel piers can be placed under a damaged foundation to give it greater support so shifting and damage are less likely to occur. These piers typically do not disturb much of the landscape.
2. Helical piers are ideal for both exterior foundation repair and slab repairs on the interior. These piers can be installed with new construction or used for foundation repair issues.
3. Concrete piers can also be used in the repair of foundations. These piers are typically put in place on new construction, but they can also be used to repair an unsteady or damaged foundation.
The type of repair a foundation will need depends on the degree of damage, the size of the building, and the type of soil the foundation rests on. A foundation expert can come out to check the damage and structure of the building to determine the best form of repair.
Foundation Inspections Are Important
Because foundation damages typically occur over a period of time, it is imperative building owners carefully check their foundations a couple of times a year. If cracks are noticed, prompt repairs should be sought to prevent further damage from occurring.
Foundation damage can occur in buildings of all sizes. When cracks and crumbling begin occurring in the foundation, it is wise for the owner to seek the professionals for a full inspection.
There are many methods that can be used to repair a damaged foundation and make it stronger than ever. Check your foundation today for any signs of problems. As soon as foundation problems are discovered, they need to be checked by the professionals to determine which means of mitigation will help. There are many solutions available to help increase the strength and stability of a foundation. These professionals will repair the damages and ensure your foundation is strong enough for the building it is supporting.