Foundation Repair Technical Info
There are several key signs that help determine if a foundation is in need of structural repair. The following are some common problems in homes indicating a need for foundation repair services.
- Cracked or Bowing Basement Walls
- Doors and Windows That Stick or Do Not Open or Close Properly
- Cracks In Drywall or Ceilings
- Step Cracks Between and Through Bricks
- Horizontal Cracks Between and Through Bricks
- Water Leaking Through Cracks in Basement Walls
In our geographic region most foundation failures occur in one of two primary ways (or a combination of them). Settlement (loss of elevation) and deflection (bowing, buckling, overturning foundation walls).
Settlement of a foundation wall, or sections of a foundation, can be caused by many factors. Some are:
- Shrinking soils – Clay soils present during the construction of a foundation will begin to shrink as moisture is naturally drained from the soil. This shrinkage will create unsupported areas and settling of the foundation or portions of the foundation. This settlement can occur over many years.
- Seasonal Moisture Variations – Changing moisture content in expansive clay soils can have an impact on a foundation. When water content fluctuates the expansive clay soil’s volume beneath a foundation, too, can fluctuate. A loss of volume can cause a loss of support beneath a foundation or portions of a foundation.
- Incorrect Fill-Soil Compaction – Fill-soil is often used to level a location for the construction of a foundation. When fill is being placed under a foundation location it should always be tested and the placement technique supervised by a qualified geotechnical engineer. If the fill material is not compacted enough it may reconsolidate and lose volume, thus allowing a foundation, or portions of a foundation, to settle. If the fill material is compacted too much it can expand.
- Trees And Other Vegetation - If located too near a foundation root systems from trees and large shrubs can accelerate moisture removal from soils via transpiration. The loss of water content within the soils can cause a loss of support beneath a foundation or portions of a foundation.
Bowing, buckling, or overturning of a foundation wall, or sections of a foundation wall, can be caused by many factors. Some are:
- Hydrostatic Water Pressure - Water within the soil backfill at foundations walls will exert inward pressure on a foundation wall.
- Expansive Clay Soils – clay soils used to backfill around a foundation during a home’s construction can expand and swell as moisture is introduced into it. This expansion will exert inward pressure on foundation walls.
- Frost – As water within the soil backfill around a foundation freezes it expands and will exert inward pressure on foundation walls.