If you have experienced foundation issues, you may be tempted to consider replacing your entire foundation. But, you should know that we advise against this approach in almost all cases.
TOTAL FOUNDATION REPLACEMENT
First, total foundation replacement is extremely disruptive and can be very costly. The soil around your entire home is excavated. Then, the entire structure is jacked up and the foundation and slab floor are demolished and removed. Finally, the foundation is rebuilt, the home is lowered and the soil is replaced.
As you might imagine, this process can take many weeks or more to complete and can be extremely expensive. In some cases, it can even result in damage to your home’s interior walls and other features as the house, no longer stabilized by its foundation, flexes as it’s jacked up to allow for the replacement of its foundation.
Second, and perhaps more important, replacing your home’s foundation doesn’t address the reason it failed in the first place: poor soil. You will be spending time and money replacing something that could very well fail again in the future.
In virtually all cases, this is the option we recommend. Not only is it typically less costly than total foundation replacement, most solutions can be installed and completed in a matter of days, rather than weeks. Some can even be completed the same day./p>
But the main advantage of foundation repair is that the solutions that Foundation Recovery Systems use address the fundamental reason your home’s foundation failed. That’s because we use highly engineered steel piering systems to reach load-bearing soils or bedrock, so your home is permanently stabilized.
If you suspect your home has a foundation issue, the best thing to do is to contact a foundation repair specialist to inspect it. At Foundation Recovery Systems, our Certified Field Inspectors are expertly trained in analyzing foundation issues and developing a permanent solution to fix and protect your home. This inspection is free and carries with it no obligation to purchase a solution from us. So, there’s really no reason not to find out what is causing your home’s problems.
Replace Vs. Repair Foundation
It’s never easy to contend with foundation damage. There are times when you can repair your foundation versus times when you may need to replace a damaged foundation entirely. Determining the difference can help you set your budget ahead of time and prepare for the work that you need to bring your home back into order.
For the most part, you should be able to repair the foundation up until your foundation is truly beyond all help. If your foundation seems to have retained most of its structure, you can almost certainly still repair it. Most of the time, repairs are only not an option when your foundation has so many cracks and chips that it’s essentially no longer a concrete slab.
Assessing Your Foundation Damage
If you don’t have experience working with other damaged foundations, it can be difficult to determine what degree of damage you’re contending with in your own home. Not only can cracks and sinkage seem more severe than it is at first glance, but it can be difficult to find this type of damage in the first place. Most of the time, area professionals have to excavate homes that appear to have suffered from some manner of foundation damage.
Luckily, foundation damage tends to give itself away through other means. You can keep a wary eye out for signs of leaks throughout your home and reach out to professionals to determine whether or not those signs indicate trouble in your basement, crawl space, or foundation.
Some of the clearest signs of foundation damage include:
- Stair-step cracks outside of your home
- Horizontal or diagonal cracks inside of your basement or crawl space
- Visibly wet soil around the perimeter of your home
- Gaps between your ceiling and the walls
- Popping floor joists
- Uneven basement or crawl space floors
You may still have to invest in foundation excavation if you want to determine whether your foundation has just cracked or if it has suffered from more severe damage. You’ll have a better idea of what kind of damage you’re contending with depending on the severity of the conditions you can spot in the rest of your home.
Working with Area Professionals
It is not in your best interest to try and determine what kind of foundation damage you have without professional guidance. Not only is it impractical, for example, for you to try and excavate your entire foundation, but you still may have trouble determining to what degree your home has started to suffer.
Foundation repair professionals, alternatively, have years of experience backing their work up. They can guide you through a home inspection and help you understand what signs of damage can give a sinking foundation away so you can better act on similar signs of damage, should they appear in the future. In the same vein, they can provide you with a free services quote to help you determine what repairs (if any) you might need and what waterproofing measures may help you prevent similar damage from appearing in the future.
There are many different options that foundation repair affords you. You can opt for polyurethane foam injections, steel piering systems, wall reinforcements, and many other potential options. Foundation repair should be a very unique process for each foundation, which means it’s important to have a repair expert who can guide you through the process.
Staring with Repairs
If your foundation is sinking, or if you believe that it may begin to sink in the months to come, then you can talk with professionals in your area about piering solutions. Foundation piers help take the weight of your home off of your foundation, allowing it to remain in place should the soil shift or your foundation show signs of damage. Do note that while you can use piers and other underpinning systems as home waterproofing measures, they often work best when utilized after damage has appeared in your foundation. Even so, if you want to try and get ahead of the damage that might do your home harm, you can talk to area contractors about a pre-emptive installation.
Your foundation walls also may have suffered damage from hydrostatic pressure. To stabilize them and prevent any further movement, some options include carbon fiber straps for less severely damaged walls, as well as wall bracing systems and wall anchors that can help restore the wall to its original position.
Investing In Protective Measures
After you’ve brought your foundation back into appropriate alignment, you can start investing in internal protective measures. Alternatively, you may be able to install internal waterproofing measures to help limit the flow of moisture through your home. These measures can include but are not limited to:
- Sump pumps. Sump pumps drive standing water and flood runoff out of your home using electrical force. These pumps are excellent for concentrated moisture control in your home, and they serve to keep unwanted moisture from reaching your foundation. That said, sump pumps have a more difficult time contending with widespread flooding throughout your home. Similarly, if the power goes out in the middle of a storm, your sump pump will no longer be able to protect you from the worst of your flood damage.
- Interior Drains. Interior drains are cousins to sump pumps. Both systems work to remove unwanted seepage or moisture from your home. Interior drains, however, do not require electricity to work. These systems can remove superficial seepage from your home courtesy of a series of pipes run around your home’s perimeter.
- Dehumidifiers. If you’re more concerned about the general degree of moisture in your home, you can install a dehumidifier. Non-commercial dehumidifiers help absorb the moisture in the air and force it back into its liquid state. This way, you can remove that unwanted water from your home at your own rate. Of course, dehumidifiers are not the best waterproofing measures to invest in if you are actively seeing seepage or standing water in your crawl space or basement. However, you can pair a dehumidifier with other foundation waterproofing measures to extend the lifespans of those devices.
Foundation problems can become essentially inoperable in a surprisingly short period of time. Of course, it depends on a variety of things, including how bad the foundation problems were when you first noticed them and what foundation problems you’re dealing with.
Hydrostatic pressure is also a force that tends to feed itself. For example, if hydrostatic pressure cracks your foundation, it is going to be easier for additional moisture to make its way into the rest of your home. As such, your internal supports may begin to show signs of damage. Similarly, your pipes may begin to leak, adding to the amount of moisture in the air. Effectively, hydrostatic pressure begets hydrostatic pressure unless you take the necessary steps to either eliminate it or prevent it from coming into contact with your foundation.
If the hydrostatic pressure in your home starts to build on itself, your foundation can begin to deteriorate at a frightening rate. It will be more difficult, after all, to curb a leak that’s formed in your foundation if there’s also a leak in your pipes to contend with. That said, repairs are not impossible at this stage. They are, however, more difficult to complete. The longer you wait to invest in these types of repairs, the more likely it is that there’ll be a point in the future where you’ll have to invest in a total foundation replacement.
Tree and Pest-Related Problems
Tree roots can have a similar impact on your home’s overall structural integrity. Roots, like burrows, destabilize the soil beneath your foundation if they are planted too close to your home’s perimeter. In turn, your foundation may sink into the gaps that these tree roots leave behind them, causing it to buckle and otherwise destabilize your home’s other structural supports.
The good news, when it comes to tree and pest-related foundation problems, is that you don’t often have to commit to a total foundation replacement to contend with your damage. Instead, you can work with the professionals in your area to determine how best you can first remove or fill the burrows beneath your home and then how to bring your foundation back into alignment.
One thing you should never do is try to DIY the foundation repair process. It’s simply not going to work. If you want a full repair for your foundation, you need to trust a foundation repair expert from Foundation Recovery Systems to do it for you.
DIY and Your Budget
Trying to DIY repair your foundation on your own is a near-impossible task. This process requires you not only to purchase unique materials but special tools as well. You may find that you never use those tools again outside of this one project, making them an exceptionally expensive investment.
Comparatively, professional contractors often already have the tools they need to both excavate your foundation, if necessary, and to either repair or replace it. Professionals can, in turn, secure what materials they need to restore your home without charging you full market price for everything that they need.
DIY and Accidental Damage to Your Home
If you do choose to try and take on foundation repair without professional help, there’s a chance you may accidentally do more harm to your foundation or attending structural supports than you will do good. If, for example, you damage a wall or try to inject some manner of concrete slurry into an already-lifted part of your foundation, you risk exacerbating the difference between a foundation’s sunken parts and its stable parts. In turn, you may end up seeing more water in your home than you did previously.
Not only, then, does DIY foundation risk put you at risk for additional structural damage, but the repairs you eventually need are going to be far more costly than they would have been had you reached out in the first place. Any professional you call out to your property after attempting DIY work will not only have to repair the damage already done to your home but will also have to remove the DIY solutions you attempted to implement.
Collaborating with Foundation Repair and Replacement Experts
If you think you’re having problems with your foundation, don’t think you have to contend with them on your own. Instead, you can reach out to the professional contractors in your area. Together you can inspect your home for signs of damage and, in turn, determine whether there’s an opportunity to repair your foundation in the works or if it’s in your best interest to replace it instead. Contractors can provide you with a free services quote and may help you determine what your home repair or replacement budget should look like.
THE COST OF DOING NOTHING
There is a third option when it comes to foundation issues: not repairing them. This can be tempting too. After all, many foundation problems take months or even decades to develop. A basement wall crack may seem small and only grow a fraction of an inch each year. So, it can be easy to put it to the back of your mind and forget about it as you concentrate on what seem like more pressing issues.
Consider this, however: foundation problems don’t get better with time. And they will never be less expensive to repair than they are today. Foundation problems can also cause other issues elsewhere in the house. In extreme cases, foundation issues have been left so long that an entire basement wall has col
Finally, there’s your home’s value. In certain states, The Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires that a seller tell potential home buyers about foundation problems. Realtors often tell us they have to reduce the price of a home with structural defects by 10-20% in order to sell it. What is your home worth in today’s market? Now, imagine losing that much money from your home’s value by not permanently fixing your foundation.