There are many causes of foundation problems. Sometimes, the structure may be built in earthquake-prone regions. In other cases, the foundation itself may be defective. This means that it may be born out of poor structural engineering strategies.
- Soil Shifting
Soil shifting or movement is one the most common reason for foundation failure. It typically occurs when a structure is built on unstable soil. A good example of this is clay soil.
Foundation damage resulting from soil shifting is particularly common in Texas. Most of Texas has clay soil.
- Soil Shrinkage
In the dry season, expansive clay soil losses water and shrinks, which causes the foundation above to sink. Usually, the sinking is uneven. This unevenness in sinking is what causes foundation failure as one-part sinks faster than the rest.
- Soil Heaving
In the wet season, the expansive clay soil swells by absorbing water. This leads to what is commonly referred to as “soil heaving.” The soil beneath the foundation rises and the excessive soil heaving then causes foundation damage.
- Water Absorption
Besides the expansive clay soil, differential soil movement can also be caused by other factors. Such factors include plumbing leaks and excessive air conditioning or gutter clogging. Excessive air conditioning condensate or gutter clogging may cause water to pool around your home’s foundation.
Plumbing leaks are also a common cause of home foundation problems. This is especially true in areas that have concrete slab foundations like Texas. To know if you have a plumbing leak, keep an eye for these warning signs:
- Sewer lines clogged with roots
- Foundation wall cracks
- The sound of running water emanating from the bathroom
- Warm spots on the floor
- A wet, moldy carpet
- Unexplained wet spots
- Unusually high water bills
Tree roots can also cause foundation damage. Extensive root systems can absorb tons of water a day during droughts. This causes the soil located beneath your home to contract. As a result, this can cause cracking in concrete slab foundations.
Raising a House to Repair Foundation
To repair a home’s foundation that has been severely damaged by soil movement, experts have to lift the house. If you’re wondering how to raise a house in order to fix foundation problems, the process through which this is accomplished is called “piering.” Piering involves installing vertical piers deep into the soil beneath the area of the foundation that has been damaged.
Shims and concrete blocks are then used to replace the hydraulic house lifting jacks. Often, foundation cracks close as a result of this.
Because the piers are resting on a stable soil layer or bedrock, there is virtually no danger of the piers sinking. Further soil shrinkage is also prevented because the foundation is resting on the piers.
a) Piering Types
There are various types of piers that can be used to fix foundation damage. The following are the common types:
- Drilled Piers
Drilled piers are an effective method of stabilizing a foundation that is settling or moving laterally. It involves drilling holes deep below the foundation and then using concrete that’s reinforced with rebar to fill them.
- Steel Piers
Here, the steel piers are hydraulically driven to the bedrock. The steel piers consist of pipe sections that interlock. The sections are secured together using cables. Each section is then driven deep beneath the foundation until a layer of soil capable of supporting the load is reached.
- Concrete Piers
Concrete piers are concrete columns that are formed by pouring liquid concrete into holes drilled into the ground. The columns are then pressed into the ground one on top of the other until sufficient support is reached. Cabling is used to stabilize the columns.
b) Advantages of Piering
Using piering to fix foundation damage in shifting expansive clay soil helps address the root cause of the failure. The piers link the foundation to a supportive ground that has little to no moisture changes.
Here are the advantages of piering:
- Heavy equipment isn’t required during its installation.
- No yard destruction takes place.
- It remedies both the cause of the settlement as well as the consequences in one step.
- The equipment is portable and can be easily used in tight spaces or carried by hand when access is an issue.
- No disruption or loss of use of the dwelling. The repair is performed with the building being used as normal.
- Low cost – up to ten times less than replacing the building foundation.
Besides foundations, piers also offer an affordable solution for decks, porches, patios, hot tubs as well as pre-fab buildings.
Is House Raising the Solution for Your Foundation Problems?
This simple answer is, it depends! After a professional inspection and evaluation are done, house raising may or may not be required. If you notice any sign of foundation issue, please contact Granite Foundation Repair company as soon as possible.
The purpose of a house’s foundation is to prevent the house from moving. Without a proper foundation, a variety of structural issues can plague your house. Avoid these issues by contacting a professional foundation repair company. Take action today!