Homes that rest on top of a concrete slab foundation may experience a phenomenon called settling. Essentially, this is when a foundation sinks into the soil over time and becomes damaged as a result. You might even notice small signs around your home, such as drywall cracks or uneven floors!
While settling is a relatively common occurrence, it’s not good for your foundation. In this article, we’ll address why your home experiences settling and then offer different house lifting solutions that will keep your home from shifting in the future.
Why is Your Home Settling?
As stated before, settling is the process by which your home’s foundation slowly sinks into the soil. Settling is caused by one thing – weak soil. In fact, there are three main reasons that soil becomes weakened, which all homeowners should know about.
Natural disasters, rainfall, and other forms of precipitation can flood the soil with tons of water, causing soil particles to erode and be washed away. As soil shifts due to precipitation, parts of your foundation may become exposed and less supported.
Not only does the soil shift, but it also becomes soft and muddy. Think about what happens when you step into mud; your foot always sinks into it because the dirt can no longer support your weight. Well, the same thing happens on an even larger scale with heavy concrete foundations.
On average, Missouri gets about 43 inches of rain per year. That’s 5 inches higher than the national average of 38 inches. If you live in Missouri and surrounding areas, your soil may experience washout. Be especially vigilant if you live in a flood zone.
Drought and Dry Air
Another way soil becomes weak is due to a lack of soil moisture. Normally, dry soil is caused by drought or extremely dry climates such as a desert. Tree roots can also be to blame as they steal moisture from the surrounding soil.
When soil becomes too dry, it shrinks in size and volume. As the soil shrivels, gaps form between the ground and your foundation, which causes sinkage due to gravity.
Not to mention, dry soil also becomes brittle and weak. Your home’s foundation will crush through the weak soil and sink into the ground. Either way, your home will experience structural issues, and your home will require foundation repair.
Poorly Compacted Fill Soil
Compaction simply refers to how tightly packed together soil is. When soil is not compacted tightly enough, small gaps of air are present between the soil particles. Even these small gaps make the soil too weak to support a heavy concrete foundation.
Poorly compacted soil occurs most often during the construction of a new home. General contractors sometimes fill in a plot of land with soil sourced from an outside location. Unfortunately, this soil doesn’t always mix well with the native soil, and poor compaction becomes the final result.
For that reason, this issue can affect new foundations. However, no matter the age of your home or existing foundation, regular inspections for foundation issues are highly recommended.
What Not to Do
The best thing for any homeowner to do is contact a professional foundation repair specialist. Most tools used for the house lifting process are only available to trained experts. As is the case, we strongly suggest staying away from a DIY house lifting project and outdated techniques such as these:
Concrete piers – While they may lift your home for a short amount of time, they will eventually sink into the soil since these piers are also made of heavy concrete.
Total foundation replacement – Replacing your entire foundation may seem like a logical solution to settlement. However, the soil is the main problem when it comes to settlement, so a full replacement is only going to be a waste of time and money. Sooner or later, a new foundation will also sink into the soil.
Mudjacking – This method involves filling void space with mud in an effort to lift concrete. However, this technique rarely lasts since mud eventually dries into regular soil. At some point, it will experience the same effects as the original soil, and you’ll be left with a sinking foundation yet again.
The Professional Solution
As you can see, all of these “solutions” fail because they don’t address the actual problem: weak soil. There is only one way to ensure that your foundation doesn’t settle in the future. At Foundation Recovery Systems, we use pier systems to lift your home for good.
Piers permanently lift your home thanks to their installation process. First, they are securely attached to the foundation by our team. Then, they are inserted deep below the ground into load-bearing soils. These soils, found many meters deep, are not affected by natural forces such as rain and drought. Using this technique, piers redistribute the weight of a foundation and raise a house back to its original position.
Plus, piers are installed with minimal disruption to your landscaping. Our crew is always careful and considerate to make sure your yard is back to its original condition once the installation is complete. Foundation Recovery Systems offers a few different pier systems specialized for your specific house raising needs. Piers come in three varieties:
Push piers are the simplest design and work for just about any house lifting project. With a straight, galvanized steel rod, these piers are inserted right into load-bearing soils to protect your home.
Helical piers differ slightly from push piers. Not in their function
, but in their design. Helical piers get their name from the helical blades attached to their rod. Helical blades allow this type of pier to be “screwed” into the soil, which gives it even more strength to support your foundation.
As their name implies, slab piers are designed specifically for concrete slab foundations. One of our foundation experts will be able to fit the pier below your concrete slab with specialized tools. Due to this pier’s unique design, the installation will be nearly invisible once completed, yet still provide the same level of support and weight distribution as the other models.
Hire a Professional Foundation Specialist
No matter the condition your soil or foundation is in, pier systems are a fantastic defense against potential damage. For quality service and unmatched expertise, contact Foundation Recovery Systems today. Our team is dedicated to solving foundation issues affecting your home. Contact us to learn more about how our pier systems can support your home for years to come!