How to Fix and Repair Cracked Foundations and Basement Foundations
Your house could be under an incredible amount of pressure. Your home has a big job to do and many responsibilities to fill. It must be a safe place for you and your family, and you need to make sure its structural integrity and health are maintained. However, many more things could be happening below the surface than you realize.
Whether you’re regularly in your basement or hardly at all, it’s important to know what’s supporting the rest of your home. If you see cracks in the walls and think they could be moving or tilting inward, you need to act. These signs of foundation failure can be alarming, but don’t panic. The experts at Foundation Recovery Systems have got you and your home covered with several reliable permanent foundation repair solutions.
Common signs of foundation problems:
- Bowing Walls
- Sticking Windows & Doors
- Wall Cracks
- Sagging Crawl Spaces
- Uneven Floors
- Foundation Heave
- Collapsing Retaining Walls
- Floor Cracks
- Chimney Cracks
- Chimney Tilt
- Brick Cracks
- Floor and Wall Gaps
- Nail Pops
The type of soil around your home is a significant factor affecting your house. While there are hundreds of types of soil throughout Missouri, Menfro is the state soil. It is comprised of various silt loam (soil that contains not less than 70% silt and clay, and not less than 20% sand) and some clay loam, and it is considered desirable for building. (Source: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Missouri) Other soils (including Kickapoo, Dockery, Leonard, and Sampsel) are prone to flooding and are unstable due to shrinking and expanding. So, it’s best to have your soil tested to determine what the ground can support. (Source: Hunker)
The Clay Bowl Effect
Excavated soil that is replaced around a completed foundation isn’t as dense and tightly packed as undisturbed soil farther away. As a result, water collects in the soil immediately surrounding the house, putting pressure on foundation walls and causing cracks.
A sizeable hole was dug in the ground when your home was built. The foundation was then poured, which left a gap between the foundation walls and the existing earth. This gap was filled with soil that was removed and “fluffed up.” This soil is looser, more aerated than the surrounding soil, which may have been compressing for hundreds of years. Thus, the looser soil tends to absorb more water than the compacted soil. More water against the walls leads to hydrostatic pressure. (Source: Bob Vila)
As soil around your foundation becomes soaked with moisture, it expands and puts pressure on your foundation. Hydrostatic pressure is the constant force of water pressure on the foundation walls. When this force becomes more than the walls can handle, the walls will begin to crack and bow inwards. This affects the structural integrity of the walls.
This also presents another problem with water intrusion. Water can work its way through any opening available, including cracks. Water sitting behind foundation walls will find and fill invisible openings in the surface of the porous concrete it touches. This contributes to capillary action, creating a series of tiny veins that will seep on the other side. (Source: JES Foundation Repair) Clogged or above-ground exterior drainage pipes could allow water to puddle next to the home and find its way inside any crack or gap in porous block foundation walls.
Poor supporting soil for chimneys
Chimneys sometimes have a missing or inadequate chimney footing. When this occurs, your chimney has not been designed with the proper structural support, and it will fail over time. Chimneys experience tilting problems most commonly when the structure has been built on poor supporting soils. If the soils supporting your chimney are not sufficient to hold its weight, the chimney may begin to sink, causing it to separate from the rest of the home and tilt outward.
Water and moisture in a vented crawl space
Not only does water contribute to issues like hydrostatic pressure and leaking, it also can affect the structural integrity of your home in another way. If you have a vented crawl space with wooden floor joists and supports, the stability of your home could be in serious trouble. Wet, damp crawl spaces with water and high humidity can have rotting and weakening wooden support systems. Wooden supports and floor joists that are compromised lead to sagging and uneven floors.
Building code has called for crawl spaces to be vented for air drying purposes, but this is harmful to the home. This invites outside air, water and pests inside.
Because of the stack effect, air circulates through your home from top to bottom, like a chimney. As hot and humid air contributes to high levels of moisture and humidity in the crawl space and home, this can lead to sagging, soft, buckling floors above, and result in problems to hardwood floors. (Additional resource: Liabilities of Vented Crawl Spaces, Their Impacts on Indoor Air Quality in Southeastern U.S. Homes and One Intervention Strategy by National Institute of Building Sciences)
Why is repairing my foundation right away important?
If you see any kind of cracks or movement in your foundation walls, you need to act now! The longer you put these issues out of your mind or on the back burner, the more costly the repairs will be in the long run. You’re also endangering your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
Your home is a significant investment, and it is important to ensure its health and safety today and for the future. A problematic foundation also affects the value of and ability to sell a home.
Angie’s List estimates the return on investment from basement repair to be around 30 percent. But the health and structural benefits, not to mention peace of mind, are priceless.
Various factors impact your home’s appraisal value, but structural integrity, water issues, and other problems are important areas you need to be aware of. When selling your house, it is important to disclose any past or current damage. While you are not required by the state of Missouri to reveal damaging defects about your property beyond certain criminal histories, it does set clear expectations regarding the quality and condition of the home. (Source: Nolo)
We understand that foundation concerns and repairs can be daunting undertakings. Because the issues worsen over time, it can seem easier to simply leave it alone and wait. But that is not a safe or smart approach. Here are some pieces of bad advice we’ve heard that homeowners should not follow about their foundation issues.
- “Continue to monitor the crack until something changes.”
If you just wait it out, then the foundation could shift and change the type of solution needed to fix it. This can result in a more costly repair.
- “All the settlement already happened.”
Settlement happens when the soil beneath the home can no longer uphold the structure. This means settlement will continue to happen as the weight pushes down on pockets of compromised soil.
- “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Just like every problem, it still exists even if you don’t see it. A cracked or bowing foundation will continue shifting even if it’s covered up. This also means that foundation issues can be hiding behind things like drywall and furniture.
- “Just put another wall in front of the bowing wall.”
This is not a permanent solution. The original wall simply will continue shifting and potentially push on the new wall as well. A new wall in front also will not support the rest of the home’s foundation.
- “Brace it with wood.”
Nailing boards to a wall will not prevent it from shifting further. Wood is not strong enough to uphold the weight of a foundation. Similarly, using wooden beams or metal pipes placed at 45-degree angles also are not strong enough, and they are extremely space-intrusive.
What should you do next?
Contact us! We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you with one of our highly trained inspectors. Inspections are free and no obligation to you, and our specialist will complete a thorough evaluation of your home. We also are proud to work with realtors, commercial property owners, and other various affiliates.
If you are concerned with repair needs and insurance coverage, be sure to check with your insurance carrier, as all policies are different.
Here are some helpful tips for selecting a reputable contractor, courtesy of Today’s Homeowner. We are proud to meet and exceed expectations on these points:
- No Contract Labor: Make sure the people performing the repairs work for the company.
- Financial Commitment: Does the contractor own or rent his equipment?
- Supervisors on Site: Is the company large enough to provide full time supervision, or will the crew be dropped off at your home to do the work?
- References: Make sure references are not hand-picked.
- Warranties: Warranties are only as good as the company that offers them. A reputable company who has been in business for at least 25 years should be your best bet.
- Insurance: Ask for current insurance certificates.
What does an inspection involve?
- A thorough evaluation of the home’s interior and exterior. This includes looking for sources of water such as cracks or even plumbing sources.
- Discussing your goals with a repair project.
- A same-day proposal of recommended repair solutions.
- Customized solutions uniquely designed to meet your repair needs.
- Discussing payment and financing options.
What do we use to fix your basement?
Wall repair and reinforcing systems
We offer a few options for cracking and/or bowing walls, depending on the severity of the problems.
Durable Carbon Fiber supports can be placed on cracking, tilting walls to permanently stabilize them and hold them in their current positions. Their low profile allows them to be easily concealed with paint or drywall.
Heavy-duty, galvanized earth anchors are securely embedded in stable soil away from the foundation wall. They are connected to sturdy steel wall plates with long galvanized steel rods. This system will permanently stabilize the wall, as well as offer the best opportunity to straighten it over time. The unique Wall Anchor system offers the ability to tighten the anchors when exterior soil shrinks during dry periods.
These beams may look like typical steel I-beams, but they are far superior. The IntelliBrace™ system permanently stabilizes foundation walls and may help straighten them over time. This system is ideal when there is little or no access available outside of the home for exterior wall repair. Our system uses galvanized structural steel and is more durable than normal uncoated I-Beams.
Foundation and support system reinforcementsIf you notice interior drywall cracks and sloping or sagging floors, we can address these symptoms of foundation settlement and failing structural supports.
At five times the strength of builder’s grade support jacks, IntelliJack™ can be used to stabilize and lift sagging floors above your basement or crawl space.
Push Piers are installed in deep stable soil strata to stabilize your foundation and lift your home back toward its original position. This is the most commonly used type of pier for most foundation settlement applications.
Helical Piers that are manually advanced or screwed into the ground are a permanent piering solution used in specialty foundation settlement applications and for very light structures
Slab Piers are installed in deep stable soil strata to stabilize your concrete slab foundation and lift your home back toward its original position.
Why are these solutions the best?
Our patented, top-quality solutions are tested and proven to work to keep give you a safer and stable living environment.
Cheaper, quick fixes like light-duty beams and posts are only temporary bandages that will not address or tackle the root of the problem.
So, don’t waste your time and money on fast fixes. You need our quality permanent solutions. We use reliable, custom equipment and state-of-the-art technology to install these various systems.
How do these solutions work?
While we can’t control the weather or the soil outside your home, we can control what’s inside your house and supporting the rest of the structure.
Engineered to withstand the toughest forces, our dependable wall reinforcement and piering systems are made with galvanized steel to prevent rust, corrosion and damage, offering you a strong and permanent solution.
How much will my foundation repair project cost?
Every home is unique, and each project calls for different solutions. We can customize solutions specific to your repair needs. Your inspector will take into consideration your repair goals, the severity of damage or problem areas, square footage, and your budget. It’s not just a “one size fits all” fix. So, what works for your neighbor down the street may not necessarily be what your home needs.
Contacting us for an expert opinion is your best bet. We will not try to throw Band-Aids on the problems, push you to buy “everything but the kitchen sink,” or offer sub-standard quick fixes.
Here are some telltale signs of basement problems that are not mended by a do it yourself fix. You should instead seek reliable advice if you notice:
- Any kinds of cracks on the basement walls and/or floor
- Bulging foundation walls
- Sagging or uneven floors
Along with top-notch solutions installed by a reliable team when you choose to work with us, what you are really paying for is peace of mind and a safer home.
Not only will this benefit you during the time you live in the house, but it will have a lasting impact for the future resale of the house. You are investing in the health and wellness of the structure.
When having your home inspected for real estate transactions, even partial fixes or temporary bandages could raise a red flag along with water or structural damage. You’ll have to spend more time and money trying to address the issues, so why not make an educated decision and sound investment with us and our trustworthy repair solutions?
Sounds good. What’s next?
We work with you to schedule your repair project(s) with our expert crews.
About our crews:
- They have undergone background checks and drug testing.
- They are highly trained and experienced.
- They will treat your home as their own, with the utmost care.
- They are focused on providing the best customer service, and they want you to be 100% satisfied at the end of the job.
After the job:
Please write a review about your experience with us! This helps our company reputation and benefits other homeowners.
We love referrals! Please tell your friends and family about your experience with us! We’ll always be here for you. If an issue pops up, we provide service opportunities to fix any problems. We also offer an annual maintenance program to make sure the solutions we installed are properly working to protect your home’s health and safety.