How Seasonal Changes Impact Your Concrete Slab Foundation

November 25, 2013 Melanie Chaney

When it comes to home foundations, you might think that a material as strong as concrete would prevent any foundation problems down the road. Unfortunately, a concrete slab foundation is not immune to problems, especially in areas with severe climate changes.

How can seasonal changes impact your concrete slab foundation? By affecting the soil underneath it. If a home is built on expansive soil, movement is inevitable. During seasons of heavy rain, the soil will expand, pushing on the structure itself. In periods of extreme drought or when the ground dries out, the soil will shrink, crack, and cause the structure to move again. The result of all this movement is foundation damage that manifests in the form of cracked walls or floors, doors and windows that don’t shut properly, sloping or buckling floors, and other telltale signs.

What can you do if extreme conditions have left your concrete slab foundation in need of repair? The answer is to transfer the weight of the structure from unstable soil to more competent levels. This is best accomplished with either push pier or helical pier systems.

Push piers are hydraulically pushed through heavy-duty steel brackets, one by one, until they reach a competent soil level. Then the weight of the structure is evenly distributed across all the piers, and the foundation is stabilized permanently.

Helical piers are fitted with helical plates that allow the plate to be turned or screwed to the proper, predetermined depth. The brackets are added after the pier installation since these piers do not require the weight of the structure to drive them into the ground. Because the weight is unnecessary, helical piers are also an ideal solution for decks, stoops, and stairs.

Both methods are minimally invasive.

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