Serving Kansas, Missouri & Iowa

Foundation Repair Q & A

  1. Is it true that, by keeping the moisture content of the soil under my house constant, foundation movement can be stopped?
  2. Is piering a permanent fix to water damage, or is it an ongoing job?
  3. What are the different types of repairing—I am particularly interested in piering, but I am not sure how piering compares to other types of repair.
  4. How do I know if I have foundation damage?
  5. What will happen during a foundation consultation?
  6. What foundation repair services do you offer?
  7. What is foundation settlement and how will I know if my home is suffering from the problem?
  8. What causes a bowed wall to form?
  9. What causes wall and floor cracks to form?
  10. Why is it important to take care of my foundation?
  11. How can I get an estimate?

 


 

Is it true that, by keeping the moisture content of the soil under my house constant, foundation movement can be stopped?

This is often true, but movement can be caused by other factors, such as increased load, vibration, or subsurface changes such as plant or animal activity, frost action, or hydrological changes. Maintaining constant soil moisture is always beneficial, but this can be a major engineering challenge itself.

Is piering a permanent fix to water damage, or is it an ongoing job?

Piering is a repair to provide vertical load support, and it permanence is determined by the design and installation approach. Shallow underpinning may provide success, but permanent load bearing strata may require deeper penetration, which can be provided at an affordable cost by hydraulically driven structural, steel tubing. This is a major repair project that can encounter subsurface complications, so an experienced contractor with the financial resources to manage these issues is important. The need for future piering for other parts of the building will vary from site to site, but proper installation methods should provide permanent vertical stability to the portion of a foundation that is supported by piers.

What are the different types of repairing—I am particularly interested in piering, but I am not sure how piering compares to other types of repair.

Here is an overview of the various methods of foundation repair:.

For sinking foundations (Differential Vertical Movement):

MUD JACKING - Injecting grout to fill voids or raise a slab
PROS: Good for leveling sidewalks, driveways, patios
CONS: Will settle again as soil settles; not recommended for foundation walls or footings

ADJUSTABLE JACK POSTS - Steel posts placed in basement under first floor with screw adjustments to allow for height adjustment
PROS: Allows adjustment as movement occurs; cheaper than underpinning or piering
CONS: Does not stop soil or foundation movement; when movement of soil or cracking damage occurs, this is the sign indicating need for adjustment

UNDERPINNING - Excavating unstable soil beneath a footing and filling the void with more, stable material
PROS: If soil properties are known, unstable soil is shallow and firm soil is within a few feet, this can be a low cost, successful repair
CONS: If soil properties are unknown, weak soil depth may go beyond the repair depth, and future settlement may occur

PIERING - Bridging through weaker soil to construct a support capable of carrying the requiring load
PROS: Drilling or driving piers is less expensive than deep excavations to build foundations on solid soil
CONS: Obstructions below the soil's surface may prevent successful installation; can cause damage to existing structures

FRICTION PIERS - Carry load by soil friction of material driven or drilled in place
PROS: Cheaper than driving to solid strata
CONS: If there is vibration in the soil or changes in the soil load, they will compromise this method; unstable soil below pier may move and undermine the pier

HELICAL PIERS - Helical plate welded to steel shaft, screwed into soil by hydraulic drill
PROS: Cheaper than full-depth piering; can be installed quickly; increased depth improves tension resistance
CONS: Soil disturbed by auger action may move over time; water may weaken soil resistance; soil below helical plate may move; not the strongest repair method available because the strength of the system is in the helical plate and the surrounding soil

STEEL RESISTANCE PIERS - Structural Steel Shaft driven hydraulically to supporting strata
PROS: Driven full depth through weak soil, resting on stable strata; not subject to settlement
CONS: Must be spaced properly to balance and support the required load

CRACK INJECTION - A common and popular method to quickly stop water leaks and improve the appearance
PROS: It is much less expensive than structural repairs that reinforce or add load capacity; it can be effective in correcting minor leakage if damaging water pressure or active movement is not present
CONS: Rarely does crack repair  add structural strength to the concrete; if the stress that caused the crack is not removed, a new crack will form after the repair is made; it is very unlikely that a crack repair can reverse the damage from differential foundation movement, or prevent further movement

For buckling or bowed foundation / basement walls (Horizontal or Lateral Wall Movement)

WALL BRACE BEAMS - Anchored at top and bottom
PROS: Quick to install; requires no excavation
CONS: Puts the entire load of your basement wall on the weaker floor joists; can cause major problems with your floor joists, upstairs walls, carpentry, etc.; can cause movement on opposite wall if earth load is unbalanced; structural integrity will likely be lost.

WALL PLATE TIED TO ANCHOR ROD - With helical plate screwed into outside soil or steel plate anchor buried outside of wall
PROS: Anchor is independent of floor joist system
CONS: Must bore large hole in basement wall to insert helix; will let water into the basement and further weaken the basement wall; obstructions may prevent proper installation; anchor strength limited by plate area and soil properties; site or soil conditions may allow plate to move

STEEL WALL BRACE SYSTEM - Structural Steel Wall Brace anchored to Reinforced Concrete Earth Anchor
PROS: Anchor is independent of floor joist system; concrete anchor combines mass and soil friction for increased stability; can be sized to fit soil properties
CONS: Outside excavation required; structural integrity of wall must be sound after straightening

WALL STRAIGHTENING
PROS: Cheaper than replacing wall; improves structural stability if wall misalignment is excessive
CONS: Outside excavation required; structural integrity of wall must be sound after straightening

HIGH STRENGTH FIBER STRAPPING - Thin, fiber / epoxy strap bonded to inside face of wall
PROS: Thing strap material has smaller profile than structural steel; anchor is independent of floor joist system; requires no excavation
CONS: Structural integrity of wall must be sound; if wall has excessive misalignment, excavation may be needed to straighten wall; bond between strap and wall material may fail from moisture and weathering

WALL REPLACEMENT
PROS: Can address walls that have failed or are too unstable to repair
CONS: High cost; may not change conditions that damaged wall

CRACK INJECTION
(see above)

How do I know if I have foundation damage?

If you notice any of the following warning signs, it's a good indication that your home is suffering from some type of structural problem:

  • Windows and doors are difficult to open or close
  • Cracks appear along window and door frames
  • Interior and exterior cracks form on foundation walls
  • Walls appear to be bowing into the basement
  • Chimney appears to be tilitng or pulling away from the home
  • Noticeable sinking can be seen on one or more sides of the foundation

What will happen during a foundation consultation?

We will send a professional tech to your home to inspect the foundation inside and out. The entire process takes about 1 hour or so to complete. We will then discuss our findings with you and talk with you in detail about the best plan of action for getting the situation taken care of fast and without too much disruption to your family's daily life.

What foundation repair services do you offer?

We can provide you with foundation settlement repair, bowed wall repair, uneven floors, and wall or floor crack repair. We make use of high quality products that have proven time and time again to be effective at taking care of even the worst structural problems.

What is foundation settlement and how will I know if my home is suffering from the problem?

This is a common structural problem that is seen on all types of homes, both old and new. It happens when the soil surrounding the foundation is weak and unstable. There are likely voids beneath the home, and it will eventually sink into them. This is when you will notice that one or more sides of the home appear to be sinking deeper and deeper into the earth. You may also notice that windows and doors are hard to open or close, and interior or exterior cracks may form.

What causes a bowed wall to form?

A bowing basement wall is the result of excessive hydrostatic pressure on the foundation walls. Whenever the soil around your home expands from moisture, it will put hydrostatic pressure on the walls. Eventually, the force proves to be too much and the walls will start to lean into the home.

What causes wall and floor cracks to form?

Wall cracks are typically a sign of the natural shrinking and curing process of concrete. However, sometimes, they can be a warning sign of a serious underlying structural problem, such as settlement. We will take care of the initial cause of the problem and fill in the crack so that it doesn't let seepage into the home. Floor cracks typically do not pose a threat to the structural integrity of a home, and they are often caused from the shrinking process of concrete. Again, the crack will need to be filled in to prevent moisture intrusion.

Why is it important to take care of my foundation?

The foundation is responsible for bearing the weight of your entire home. When it is experiencing problems with settlement or bowing walls, it will eventually effect the structural integrity of your entire home if left untreated for too long.

How can I get an estimate?

You can fill out our online contact form or call us toll-free at 1-800-368-7437.

Customer Reviews

Average rating for Dry Basement® Foundation Repair is 4.91 stars of 5 stars - based on 571 reviews
5
Foundation Repair in Saint Joseph, MO

The crew was fantastic and they did a great job on the cleanup.

4
Foundation Repair in Kansas City, MO

The estimotor could have done a better job explaining the installation. Also the cleanup was lacking a bit. 

5
Basement Waterproofing in Richmond, MO

Spencer, Kevin, and Patrick not only worked their rear ends off, they were very professional young men.