Without a solid foundation, a variety of structural issues can plague your home, resulting in expensive repair costs.
Because of our moisture sensitive Texas clay soil, foundation settling is a serious problem for many homeowners. Basically, foundation settling occurs when the weight of your home sinks into the ground below. It is most common for settling to occur on the perimeter and then migrate inwards. This is because about 60% of a houses weight is on the perimeter walls.
If your house or other structures appear to be having settlement issues, have it examined immediately. That is because settling is a common cause of a foundation problem.
Over time, you may begin noticing that various parts of your home are uneven. That is, one side is lower than the other. This occurs due to differential settlement. Essentially, differential settlement may be due to soil consolidation, overwatering, retainer wall failure or plumbing leaks.
In most cases, gaps resulting from a settling foundation are vertical. So, keep this in mind the next time you inspect your foundation.
At first, your foundation may dip a little, say, by 1/2”. But, over time, the sinking may reach severe levels. Usually, only 1/2” to 2/3” of elevation loss can be recovered, so catch it early.
Identify Foundation Settlement Issues
Signs of foundation settling can be subtle at first. It’s often quite possible to go for months or years without ever noticing any sign of a sinking foundation. However, over time, the signs will typically begin to become more obvious.
At this point, your home could be experiencing extreme foundation settlement issues. Your roof may even begin to appear wavy or saggy, and your chimney could appear to be separating from your home.
The following are common telltale signs of foundation settling:
- Drywall cracks. Drywall cracks are one of the most common signs that you have foundation problems. Usually, cracks will appear along the wall, in corners, in the ceiling, and around door frames. In extreme cases, the wall will separate from the floor or ceiling.
You’ll know that the problem is caused by a foundation issue if cracks are unusually larger and more obvious in the upper levels of your home, or if their size changes with the seasons.
Wrinkling wallpaper is also another common indicator of foundation settling.
- Cracked slab floor. This is yet another common sign of a settling foundation.
- Damaged doors and windows. When foundation settling occurs, it may also affect your home’s doors and windows. They may separate from the framing or exterior finish. Cracks may extend from the corners above doors and windows.
All these problems may cause your doors and windows to stick, jam, and ultimately, stop working.
- Tilting chimneys. Sometimes, a chimney is built on a footing that’s independent of the structure’s foundation. Or the foundation may be too thin to adequately support the chimney. Because chimneys are heavy, it’s even more susceptible to the risks of settlement.
If your chimney is separating from your home, have it checked out. It’s likely that your home is experiencing a foundation issue.
- Stair-step cracking. Stair-step cracking is one of the surest signs of a settling foundation. At first, you may begin noticing tiny vertical foundation cracks. But, with time, you may notice that the cracks are widening.
Or, you may notice that they are becoming uneven as wall sections tilt away from each other. If the settlement has been going on unnoticed for a while, you may also notice that the cracks are “V” shaped. That is, they are wider at the top than at the bottom.
If you notice any of these signs of foundation settling, call a foundation repair specialist immediately. Foundation leveling isn’t a DIY project. It requires a trained specialist. A trained foundation repair contractor will assess the extent of the damage and advise on the repairs needed.
If you delay, the settling will only get worse. A worst-case scenario would be your home could become uninhabitable. Wall cracks could widen. This would create an entry point for insects and rodents. Larger cracks in your walls and foundations could also lead to increased moisture levels, leading to the growth of mold and mildew.
Also, when repairs are delayed there is a higher chance of the need for expensive interior piers.
How Settling Foundation in Repaired
About a third of the time the problem can be stopped by correcting drainage problems, such as; grading surface drains and french drains. Should the elevation loss be too great, there will be the need for underpinning, which is the installation of piers.
Piers are strong and can support the load-bearing weight of a house. Different types of piers exist. Each is specially designed to address a specific foundation issue. They are:
- Helical Piers. These are sometimes referred to as screw anchors. They consist of a central shaft with one or more helix-shaped plates. They are usually the choice of structural engineers for older and lightly-loaded structures.
- Steel push piers. Steel push piers offer the best stabilizing solution. During their installation, they are “pushed,” or driven, until they reach “bedrock”. Essentially, the weight of your home and foundation is dispersed to a more solid surface deeper beneath the ground surface. This process is also referred to as underpinning.
- Pressed concrete pilings. Pressed concrete pilings, used for underpinning, are pre-cast cylinders which are pushed to refusal. Should the soil be dry, the refusal may occur as shallow as a few feet. Pier should be pushed to bedrock or below the zone of seasonal moisture change, which in the Dallas Fort Worth area is around 12 feet.
Why choose Granite Foundation Repair?
- Accountability: All our staff and installers are professionally trained in foundation repair.
- Equipment: Granite Foundation Repair has all the equipment and products needed to get the job done. Our equipment is portable and can be easily used in tight spaces.
- Training: To maintain our high-quality standards, our foundation repair crew undergoes regular refresher training programs.
- Experience: All our installation crews have many years of experience in the installation of underpinning.
- Customer service: Our customer service is about positively engaging customers at every single touchpoint.
- Accessibility: A crew chief is normally on site to answer your issues and concerns.
At Granite Foundation Repair, we can identify and repair any issue you may be having with foundation settling. If you suspect your home’s foundation is settling or your home is sinking, don’t wait, call us right away.