If you're like most people, you take your home's stability for granted. You go about your day-to-day life, not giving a second thought that your house is standing strong and solid beneath you.
But what would you do if you suddenly discovered that your foundation was crumbling?
In this article, we'll discuss how to repair a sinking foundation. We'll cover the signs of foundation problems and the steps you need to fix them. By the time you're finished reading, you'll know everything you need to get your home's foundation back in top condition.
Warning Signs of a Sinking Foundation
The first step in sinking foundation repair is to identify the problem. Several foundation trouble warning signs can be found both inside and outside the home.
If you notice any of these problems, it's time to take action:
All of these problems can be caused by a number of factors, but the most common culprit is foundation settling.
As the name implies, this is when your foundation sinks into the ground. It's a gradual process that happens over time, and it's often caused by things like poor drainage or unstable soil.
If you suspect that your foundation is settling, it's essential to act quickly. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become.
Effective Ways to Fix Them
Resistance Piers (Steel Push Piers)
Using resistance piers is one of the most effective ways to fix a sinking foundation.
Resistance piers are made of steel, and they're driven into the ground until they reach a stable stratum.
Once the piers are in place, they connect your foundation with brackets. The piers provide support to your foundation, preventing it from further settling.
This permanent solution can be used on both concrete and block foundations.
This method is similar to resistance piers but explicitly designed for use on concrete slab foundations.
Slab piers are also made of steel, and they're driven into the ground until they reach a stable stratum. The difference is that they're connected to your foundation with a core drilling small holes rather than brackets.
\This method is less invasive than resistance piers, and it can be used on both concrete and block foundations.
Helical piers are made of steel, and they're screwed into the ground like giant screws. They're connected to your foundation with brackets, providing support to prevent further settling.
With this method, the piers can be installed with minimal excavation. That makes it a good choice for properties with landscaping or other features that would be damaged by digging.
Causes of a Sinking Foundation
There are several factors that can contribute to sinking foundations. The most common are:
Pointing to a specific problem is difficult when it comes to erosion. Active water can undermine the foundation, causing it to sink. But even something as innocuous as rainfall can cause erosion, slowly washing away the soil beneath your foundation.
The construction process often causes this problem. When your home is being built, the soil is removed and replaced with fill dirt.
This fill dirt needs to be adequately compacted, or it will settle over time. If it's not, your foundation will settle along with it.
Pro-Tip: If you're having a new home built, make sure the contractor properly compacts the fill dirt.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Drought and flooding can both cause foundation settlement problems. In a drought, the lack of moisture causes the soil to shrink. This can cause your foundation to settle.
On the other hand, too much moisture can also be a problem. When the ground is saturated with water, it expands. This can pressure your foundation, causing it to crack or heave.
Never ignore house foundation problems. They'll only get worse with time, and they can lead to severe structural damage.
If you think your foundation is settling, act quickly and if possible contact a professional. The sooner you take action, the easier and less expensive it will be to fix the problem.
There are several ways to fix a sinking foundation, but resistance piers, concrete slabs, and helical piers are the most effective.
Each method has its own advantages, so it's essential to choose the one that's best suited to your specific situation.
David is the lead content editor at RVA Paving Pros, a service for Richmond VA residents. In his spare time, David likes to travel, read about business and visit the finest italian restaurants in town!
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