Flooding is known to be a major cause of foundation damage. Massive flooding in various US states such as Texas has destroyed numerous homes with Houston and Austin worst hit. The presence of torrential rains especially during the wet season has seen many people incur a lot trying to repair their homes. After Hurricane Harvey, a number of homes were in dire need of both foundation repairs and cosmetic fixes.
If you didn’t know, flooding destroys a foundation because of the high amount of water in an area that causes the movement of a house structure. Foundation pilings can break, shift or move, triggering extensive foundational and structural damage. As a result, the house structure weakens necessitating immediate repairs.
It’s important to note that fast-moving water at 10 miles per hour bears the same force as wind traveling at 270 miles per hour. Additionally, fast-moving waters carry toxic chemicals and debris which compromises your home’s safety. Floorboards, electric circuits, and piping located beneath your house foundation are adversely affected by flooding.
It is important to have some basic knowledge of determining whether your home’s foundation has been damaged by flooding and the remedial measures that should be taken.
What Happens During Flooding and How Does it Cause Foundation Damage?
When flooding happens, water penetrates deep into the ground and foundations which have piers or pilings get damaged. On the other hand, pressure from fast moving water can hit the side of a house which either weakens or shifts the position of a home, thus separating it from the foundation. Large amounts of water can cause a foundation to either drop or heave because of the large influx of water that comes in and leaves or dries up.
Signs of Foundation Problems
It is easy to know if it has flooded because you can see water on the floor. However, at this point, it may be difficult to determine the extent of damage. Whether you’re checking your home or commercial building, your focus should be on the garage. These are the common visual signs you should be on the lookout for;
- Doors get stuck and fail to shut properly as well as cracks in door frames
- Windows have cracks in the frame and can no longer open or close as usual
- Emergence of new cracks in the walls, floor board and ceiling board. Wall papers with large tears signify a cracked wall.
- Door frames are not in a straight position; they appear out of line
- Cracks on the fireplace
- There is a separation or gaps between the floor, walls and ceiling
- Fireplace has been separated from ceiling or wall
- Cracks in floor tiles
- Uneven floor i.e. sinking floor, upheaval or presence of floor humps
- Sloping floors
- Bouncy floor
- Parts of the floor have separated or have ridges
- Discoloration and rotting of walls, floors, columns and rugs
- Surfaces have mold, rust or rot.
- Visible condensation droplets on your walls, floor and pipes
- Mold or mildew smell
- High humidity
- Wall rotation evidenced by huge, outlining and visible cracks in wall panels
- Exterior foundation has shifted position i.e. has moved upwards, sunk or drifted to one side from the level of your lawn.
- Outdoor foundation bricks are cracked
- Leaning or movement of a brick wall
- Brick wall mortar joint separation
- Expanded brick wall with the width of joints widening at the top
- Caulk is separated or uneven especially around window and door frames
- Garage door closing to the pavement is unable to close
- White powdery substance on wall corners and floorboards (clay silt and efflorescence)
- Cracks and separation of crown molding
What Next After You Realize Flooding Has Caused a Foundation Problem?
If you happen to have confirmed any or multiple signs in your home, chances are high flooding has caused a foundation problem that needs to be fixed. At Granite Foundation Repair, we will provide you with a free estimate and handle all your repair needs.
Meanwhile as you still organize for repairs, it’s crucial to determine whether your home or business premises is safe for habitation. If you realize any significant structural damage, it may be time to evacuate until the damage is fixed.
Flooding can also trigger other risks such as electrical faults and gas leaks. As a precautionary measure, switch off your electricity and all your appliances such as AC. If you smell gas or hear a buzzing noise, it’s time to get out immediately and urgently call a professional.
Minimal flooding can be easily addressed by trying to get rid of the water. You can use equipment and tools such as mops to try and absorb water. Flooding increases the risk of hazardous chemicals and sewage in your home. It is important to wear protective clothing including gloves when doing inspection after flooding has subsided. It’s wise to throw out all items that have come into contact with flood waters, and ensure you have opened your windows for thorough ventilation.
How to prevent Flooding and Foundation Damage
flooding is a nasty experience you wouldn’t want to see recurring in the future. Fortunately, there are a series of preventive measures you can initiate to minimize damage in the future.
- Remove your valuables from the garage and store them in safer places
- Regularly check your pipes to see if there are any leaks
- Ensure gutters and downspouts are clear and point a minimum of five feet away from your house. The water should not come towards your house but away from the house
- Garage walls should be waterproofed to reduce the extent of damage caused by flooding
Steps of Assessment of Flood Damage
When our expert arrives on site, they will begin carrying out a comprehensive inspection with the aim of determining the nature of the damage, detecting faults and recommending a solution or repairs.
The inspection approach largely involves visual inspection which entails checking for various signs and defects. Some of the issues we check include movement patterns and cracks. During the inspection, we shall take photos to document our findings in order to recommend the best approach to repair a damaged foundation. The following are key steps Granite Foundation repair follows during the inspection.
- Find out if the building came into contact with flood waters and if yes, determine the level of flood water that was present
- Determine the level of flood waters against the depth of the foundation
- Check for evidence of damage by closely examining the pattern, size, location, shape and age of foundation cracks. In addition, check for signs of movement and compare with earth pressure on the structure and water location.
- Identify both structural and non-structural cracks
- Decide whether a building is safe for occupation based on the inspection findings and the extent of the foundation damage.
- Determine the best approach to be used for repairs after understanding the exact cause of damage.
Should you experience flooding, chances are high your foundation could get affected or damaged. It is best to request a foundation inspection just to be sure. If you need help, call us today for immediate help.