Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 by Baird
Solving Problems Related To Foundation Sinking and Settlement in Texas
Some types of soil are stronger than others.
There are usually a number of different soil layers underneath a house. Foundation settlement can occur when one of these soil layers can't support the weight of the home.
Your home is showing signs of damage related to foundation settlement.
How to Fix It:
We fix foundation settlement issues by installing steel foundation piers. These piers will extend beneath the foundation, contacting strong supporting soils that will permanently stabilize your structure.
At Baird Foundation Repair, we solve foundation settlement issues of all kinds! Call us for a free foundation settlement repair quote today!
We serve San Antonio and surrounding areas such as New Braunfels, Seguin, Kerrville, Beeville, Del Rio, Uvalde,Converse, Boerne, Schertz, Floresville, Lockhart, Universal City and many nearby areas in Texas.
Signs of a settling foundation can be very subtle at first -- many homeowners can go months or even years before noticing a crack in their foundation. The long-term damage from foundation settlement, however, is ongoing and will lead to more severe foundation problems.
As a foundation settles, many telltale signs will become evident. What follows are some of the most common ways that foundation settlement can become visible to the homeowner.
Stair-step cracking is one of the surest signs of foundation settlement and is very common in brick in concrete block walls.
As the settlement continues, vertical cracks may widen or become uneven as wall sections tilt away from each other, indicating more severe displacement.
Keep an eye out for cracks that are wider at the top than at the bottom, as this is a sign of advancing settlement.
Tilting chimneys that are separating from the home are one of the most intimidating and dramatic signs of a settling foundation.
Sometimes a chimney is built on a footing that is not connected to the housefoundation, making it even more at risk of settlement.
Damaged Doors & Windows
An opening cut in any wall is a weak point, so signs of foundation settlement often show up around door and window openings located above settlement areas.
Doors and windows frames may be racked out of square. Cracks may extend from the corners above doors and windows. Doors may separate from the framing or exterior finish. Other signs of foundation settlement include sticking, jamming doors and windows and locks that stop working.
Slab Floor Cracking
Cracks in your concrete floor slab can be a sign of foundation settlement, but they may also be a sign that the slab floor alone has settled.
There are times when your slab floor may sink or lift independently of the foundation walls, damaging the floors but not necessarily the walls.
Cracks in drywall throughout the house are reliable indicators of foundation settlement. Cracks will often be larger and more obvious in the home's upper levels.
Typical drywall cracks during foundation settlement are commonly located at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams. Dry walltape can also be a good indicator, especially if it's ripping or coming loose. Drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors.
At Baird Foundation Repair, we recommend installing foundation piers to stabilize, repair, and restore a foundation that's been damaged by issues related to foundation settlement and poor supporting soils.
There are several different types of foundation piers; each one is designed to address a different kind of foundation problem. We install three different kinds of foundation piers: push piers, helical piers,and slab piers.
Push piers connect the foundation to strong, stable soil or bedrock.
Foundation piers attach to the base of the foundation with special brackets and extend through settling and unstable soil layers, transferring the weight of your home to competent soils or bedrock.
Foundation push piers are straight, steel piers that attach to your foundation and extend far below the structure to strong supporting soils.
During the installation, a section of the foundation footing is exposed and cut to attach to each pier's bracket. This is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.
Foundation brackets are secured to the footing, and tubular pier sections are hydraulically driven through each bracket. Pier sections continue to be driven downwards until the piers meets competent strata.
When all pushpiers have been installed, the piers will work in unison to transfer the weight of the structure to the strong soils or bedrock below. If possible, the home is also lifted back to its original, level position.
More about installing foundation push piers.
Read about our push pier system.
Illustration of foundation helical piers stabilizing a home.
Likepush piers, helicalpiers areattached to the foundation by mounting a bracket. Helical piersinclude rotating blades that are advanced (or "screwed")into the soil.
Foundation helical piers are straight, steel piers that have helical blades welded to each shaft. This installation is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.
These piers are driven into the soils underneath your foundation, then each pier is connected to the structure's foundation via a steel bracket.
During the installation, a section of the footing is exposed and cut for each bracket. Next, round-shaft helical piers are mechanically advanced into the soil. Once the helicalpier has been advanced into the soil, a foundation bracket is secured to the footing.
When all helical piers have been installed, the piers will work in unisonto transfer the weight of the structure to competent soil. If possible, the structure is also lifted back to a level position.
Slab piers canstabilize a settling concrete slab.
Whenthe soil beneath a concrete slab shrinks or settles, the slab itselfis also likely to settle, often cracking in the process. Slab piersrestore stability by connecting the slab to competent soil at greaterdepth.
Slabpiers are not appropriate for supporting foundation walls orrepairing damage caused by foundationheave.
Foundationslab piers arestraight steel piers that extend from stable soils deep below thestructure to support brackets directly in contact with the undersideof the slab.
Thesepiers are meant to support a settling concrete floor and are notappropriate for foundation wall stabilization. Slab piers are alsoinappropriate for repairing heavingfoundations.
Duringinstallation, a small hole is cored through the concrete floor. Aslab bracket is assembled beneath the concrete slab, and steel tubesare hydraulically driven down through this bracket.
Whenthe slabpiers havereached competent soils, the weight of the slab is transferredthrough the piers to load-bearing soils below. If possible, the slabis lifted back to level position.
Atthe end of the installation, grout is pumped under the slab to fillany voids, and all cored holes in the slab are restored with newconcrete for a clean, professional look.
Like all home improvements and repairs, some methods work better than others. On the other hand, some methods seem to hardly work at all.In fact, at Baird Foundation Repair, we find that many of our foundation repair jobs are actually just fixing the unsuccessful repairs of other contractors.
Based on our experiences throughout Texas, here are three "fixes" that we do NOT recommend:
The house is placed on temporary supports while the foundation is excavated and replaced.
Total Foundation Replacement
To completely replaceyour home's foundation,the soil will have to be removed from around your home and your homewill be jacked up and placed on temporary supports.
Next,your foundationwalls arecompletely removed, and a new set of walls are constructed.
Thisis expensive, time-consuming, and extremely disruptive for a family.Even worse, it doesn't even address the real problem -- the soilsaround your foundation.
Manyhomeowners remove and replace their foundation without addressing theproblem that caused the foundation issue in the first place. Whenthis happens, they often find that after several years, they'refacing the same problem all over again.
At Baird Foundation Repair, we address the problem with warranted solutions that will fix your problem once and for all.
Concrete under pinning failed to stabilize this house. Eventually, the homeowner had to invest in a different, more permanent solution for their home.
To install concrete underpinning,the soils must be excavated from around the foundation. Largerconcrete footings are poured beneath the exiting footings. Once theconcrete has cured, the soil is backfilled.
When it comes to foundation footings, "bigger" is not necessarily "better". Most of the time, the underpinning will not extend beyond the problem soils under your home. If this is true, the larger footings you just paid for will continue to move and cause damage.
Concrete shrinks as it cures, and small gaps can also be formed between thenew footing and the old one. Open gaps beneath a home are never agood thing!
When concreteunderpinning isinstalled and fails to solve the problem, it is much more expensiveto repair. Before installing a new foundation system, all that addedconcrete will need to be removed.
Concretepiers aretoo big and blunt to be driven deep into foundation soils, so theyusually don't extend to competent supporting soils.
Thesepiers can crack under pressure, and they often install unevenly orcrookedly under your home.
Toinstall concretepiers undera home, the soil will first need to be excavated from around yourfoundation. Short, 6"-8"wide concrete cylinders are thenpushed into the soil on top of one another, strung together by awire. Shims are then placed between the top of the concrete pier andthe footing, then the soil is backfilled.
Blunt,wide concrete cylinders are difficult to push deep into the ground,making it very difficult to extend them past the poor supportingsoils under your home.
Concretecan crack and break when under pressure, and even in response totemperature changes, making concretepiers aflimsy repair method.
Additionally,there is nothing to guide the direction for the pier, and noguarantee that they will be installed straight. So how will theysupport your home?
Becauseof these and other reasons, very few companies will recommend thiskind of approach.
At Baird Foundation Repair, we can identify and repair any issue you maybe having with settling, sinking foundations. We have a wide varietyof solutions for foundationrepair thathave been tested and proven effective throughout the United Statesand Canada through the FoundationSupportworks™ networkof foundation contractors.
Eachof our foundations solutions includes a free, written foundationrepair quote,including a personal consultation with one of our in-house foundationexperts, a personal inspection, and a copy of our 90-page colorfoundation repair book. To schedule an appointment with one of ourspecialists, call or e-mail us today!
Weproudly serve San Antonio and surrounding areassuch as NewBraunfels, Seguin, Kerrville, Beeville, Boerne, Converse, Uvalde,Universal City, Schertz, Floresville, Lockhart,and nearby.
- See more at: https://www.bairdfoundationrepair.com/news/sinking-settling-foundation-problems-in-san-antonio-and-surrounding-areas/#sthash.fIshGdcv.dpuf