A foundation is a critical part of any building structure. This is because a house sits on the foundation that rests on the footing thus dispersing the weight of the structure upon the soil. When a house foundation gets damaged, the foundation begins to settle necessitating major repairs which are costly.
One of the main reasons that cause a foundation to get damaged is if the original foundation wasn’t strong enough. Other causes of foundation damage include earthquakes, floods, changing usage of a structure, Change of soil supporting the foundation, and construction of nearby structures causing soil excavation. As the foundation settles unevenly or undergoes structural issues, it can lead to visible signs of damage within the house, such as cracks in walls, sloping floors, or misaligned doors and windows.
Addressing foundation issues requires comprehensive and often extensive repairs. Ignoring foundation problems can lead to further damage and jeopardize the safety of the entire structure. Thankfully, there are many methods to fix a damaged foundation. However, underpinning the foundation with a pier system is one of the best and most effective techniques. This process involves using concrete piers to strengthen a building’s foundation.
A stable foundation of a building anchors it to the ground, providing the necessary support to withstand the test of time and external forces. Regular inspections, maintenance, and prompt attention to any signs of foundation issues are essential to ensure the longevity and structural soundness of foundations. Understanding the critical role of a foundation underscores the importance of investing in its proper design, construction, and maintenance to safeguard the overall structural health of a building.
Why It Is Good to Use an Experienced Professional To Underpin Your Foundation?
Some contractors fail to do a good job because of a lack of good engineering knowledge or attempting to save costs. Contractors interested in simply making a sale may ignore fundamental guidelines associated with using piers to underpin a foundation.
The cost of repairs is often dictated by the number of piers that are used to underpin the property. Some contractors recommend fewer piers than required to lower project costs. If the piers are spaced too far apart, the foundation is weakened causing it to sag and crack. This is dangerous because aside from compromising the safety of your house, the foundation soon gets damaged necessitating more repairs.
Using an experienced professional to underpin your foundation is crucial for several reasons, as it ensures the effectiveness, safety, and long-term stability of the structural intervention. This is because experienced professionals have the technical knowledge and skills to assess the specific needs of your foundation, understand the soil conditions, and determine the most suitable underpinning method for your particular situation.
What Are The Qualities Of A Properly Engineered Pier Foundation System?
Unlike rogue contractors who try to take shortcuts using foundation piers, a reputable expert follows the right procedure. Reputable contractors also offer their clients a full warranty that covers the entire repairs as opposed to a limited warranty. A properly engineered pier foundation system should address these 3 key factors:
- Type of structure i.e. it is frame or brick?
- The number of stories in a building
- Height of the building’s foundation.
Unfortunately, some contractors only install piers at the far ends and not on the foundation in between, causing weak points. A properly underpinned foundation conforms to the appropriate engineering technologies. The focus is not only restricted to installing the piers but also strengthening the foundation between them.
To prevent any foundation failures in the future, correct pier spacing must be adhered to. The following are guidelines to be used when repairing sunken foundations. The underpinning Foundation Texas guidelines have been released by The Foundation Performance Association.
General Pier Spacing Requirements & Guidelines:
While there are numerous guidelines, the following are general pier spacing guidelines:
- Regardless of the pier type, pier separation along exterior walls shouldn’t exceed 8 feet for a single-story building and 6 feet for a two-story property.
- A monolithic wing wall that exceeds 3 feet should be supported after every 8 feet.
- In the event of a wall setback, such as the front entrance of the building, a setback exceeding 3 feet and less than 9 feet should have not less than 4 piers.
- Piling or Pier supports should be installed at each corner when an exterior wall changes direction. There should be a minimum of one piling support on every side of the corner piling.
- A masonry fireplace measuring two by five feet should be supported by 4 piers for a two-story and 3 piers for a one-story property.
Correct pier spacing in concrete slab foundation repairs should be done accurately to ensure there are no additional failures in the foundations’ future. Professionals with experience in foundation underpinning can accurately diagnose the underlying issues causing foundation problems.
The importance of a well-designed and properly constructed foundation cannot be overstated. It acts as a buffer against the natural movement of the soil and helps to counteract the forces exerted by the building’s weight and external factors such as wind, seismic activity, and changes in moisture content in the soil. Working with experts who understand pier spacing requirements is vital.
If you would like a professional foundation inspection performed contact experts. With our years of experience, we have the knowledge to protect your properties. Best of all, Granite Foundation Repair is a member of the Foundation Performance Association.