If you ask homeowners to name the most important part of their house, they may not say “the foundation.” Although we regularly use this term to describe something that is strong and offers support, it is easy to forget about your own foundation, which your house stands on. While homeowners will immediately spot a broken window or a leaking roof, a damaged foundation can stay that way for months until someone notices something is wrong. This is a huge problem since the foundation is more than just a concrete slab or a basement. It keeps your home protected from storm damage and bears the weight of your home while reducing the effects of settling. Problems with your foundation can lead to structural damage and even lower your home’s market value. Luckily, there are several ways you can fix the foundation damage. But will one of them solve the problem faster or better?
Signs of Foundation Damage
As a homeowner, you should keep your eyes open for foundation issues. They can easily escalate and even put the structural integrity of your house at risk. However, there is no need to panic. Just because your home has a foundation problem doesn’t mean it is done for. Professional contractors can fix these kinds of problems, so if you notice some of these signs of foundation damage, it is time to call the experts.
If you have noticed cracks on the inside or outside of your home, something might be wrong with your foundation. These cracks can widen over time and become harder to fix, not to mention repel potential buyers in case you are selling your house.
- Water intrusion
Water seepage in a basement is often a sign that your home’s foundation has been compromised. A skilled contractor can locate the problem and offer solutions.
- Bowing walls
One of the clearest signs that something bad is happening with your foundation is changes in the walls. If your walls are bowing, you need to call the experts. Not to worry, this problem can be easily repaired and doesn’t even have to keep you from turning your basement into a living space.
It is completely normal if your house settles or slightly shifts. This can happen due to changing temperatures, but these fluctuations should not result in gaps around the door and window frames. If you notice these gaps, have your foundation repair professional take a look.
Most Common Reasons for Foundation Failure
If your foundation happens to be damaged, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done something wrong. Some problems are preventable, while others are not. Here are some of the most common reasons for foundation failure.
Expansive soils such as clay soil contain minerals that absorb a lot of moisture. When this happens, the soil can expand up to 15 times and push against your foundation, which results in cracks. On the other hand, when it dries, it shrinks, giving your foundation room to wiggle. By gaining extra room to move around, the foundation loses its support and starts to crack.
One of the most frequent reasons for the foundation problem is water damage. Whether it is an act of nature or a result of a plumbing problem, water damage can seriously impact your home, which is why it is very important to invest in waterproofing solutions. If there was a storm or a plumbing issue in the neighborhood, excess water around your home’s perimeter will start to sink into the soil, making it expand and push against your foundation. Snowmelt can also cause excess flooding and create lots of problems for your foundation.
Drought and Dryness
Since excess water can cause damage, you may believe your foundation is safe during a drought. Unfortunately, this is not the case. When summers are hotter than usual, the soil particles can shrink, therefore creating a gap between the soil and the foundation. When this happens, the foundation can settle and crack.
Unfortunately, this is not something you can prevent unless you are building your home from the ground up. However, if you have purchased it from someone else, you cannot know how much planning went into a home’s construction. If your house’s foundation wasn’t made from high-quality materials or the soil beneath it wasn’t properly prepared, you could end up with problems on your hands.
What Is the Best Repair Solution?
If a team of contractors has inspected your home and determined that your foundation is cracked or damaged in any way, you are probably wondering what the number one foundation repair method is. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Repair methods depend on several factors, from a type of foundation to soil type and climate. After inspecting your Cleveland, OH, home, contractors can recommend some of the following repair methods.
Wall Repair Systems. The problem of bowing walls can easily be fixed with a wall repair system: Wall anchors or specialized beams can stop the walls from bowing any further and even push them back into their original position.
Wall Reinforcements. If wall cracks are not accompanied by the bowing of the walls, carbon fiber supports will keep the walls in their original positions and keep them from cracking.
Concrete Lifting and Leveling. If you’ve got sinking concrete around your property, polyurethane injections could solve your problem. These lightweight but durable injections can lift your interior or exterior concrete slabs back into replacement to enhance safety and stability.
Foundation Settlement Method. If your home is settling, pier systems could make your home stable once again. Depending on the type of foundation, your contractor may use helical piers, push piers, or slab piers. These are driven or screwed into the soil to provide your foundation with support and potentially push your home back into its original position.
As you can see, there is no method of foundation repair that outshines the rest. Schedule a free inspection and repair quote with the experts at Ohio Basement Systems, and after determining the type and level of damage, we will suggest the repair method that suits your needs the best.