Cracked Foundation: The Basics

January 15, 2014 Melanie Chaney

Moisture is one of the biggest culprits in cracked foundations. When the soil underneath your structure’s foundation becomes saturated, it expands. When it dries out, it contracts. All that movement and shifting can take its toll and result in the need for cracked foundation repair. How do you know if you need it? Obvious signs include:

· Cracks in interior walls or exterior bricks

· Separation of walls from ceilings or floors

· Floors that sink or slope

· Spaces around doors or windows

· Doors or windows that don’t function properly

Cracked foundation repair is usually handled one of two ways, depending if it is commercial or residential property,: through helical pier or push pier installation. Both methods use steel beams to transfer the weight of the structure from the unstable, shifting soil to a sturdier depth that can handle the load.

Helical piers are similar to push piers, but they’re fitted with helical plates that allow them to be turned like screws into the earth. Rather than using the weight of the structure to push, the helical plates pull the pier into the ground until the competent soil is reached. Helical piers also use foundation brackets, but these are fastened at the end rather than the beginning of the installation process. While helical piers work to stabilize heavy structures, they’re also ideal for lightweight projects such as decks or porches because they don’t require a heavy weight to drive them into the ground.

Push piers are a good solution when the structure is heavy and the desired soil depth is known. These piers are first fitted with a foundation bracket and then hydraulically driven or “pushed” down through the earth in sections until they reach stable soil. The weight of the structure and any surrounding soil is used to push the piers and, once all the piers have been installed, the weight is evenly distributed among them.

Both push pier and helical pier systems have several advantages, including:

· Year-round installation

· Versatility since they can be installed from either the interior or exterior of the structure

· Capability to lift the foundation to its original position

· Serve as a permanent solution

· Can be installed relatively quickly and with minimal disruption

Baird Foundation Repair uses Foundation Supportworks™ for both the helical pier and push pier systems for cracked foundation repair. Both systems are warrantied against further foundation issues. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call us at 210-534-4110.