A solid and stable foundation is crucial for the structural integrity of any building. However, over time, various factors can lead to foundation damage, including issues such as a crumbling foundation, damaged load-bearing walls, and structural instability. However, there is a reason why structural foundation issues
occur; do you know what they are? It may be due to moisture issues, poor construction, or natural disasters.
In this article, we will deep dive into the concepts of foundation damage and also study the importance of timely repairs, and effective solutions for repairing and replacing existing foundations to ensure the long-term stability and safety of your building. What are some signs of foundation damage?
Foundation damage can be an issue, and it has to be solved on time. However, before you can even solve it, you need to identify if it is foundation damage
or not. The following are some signs that indicate your building is having structural damage
If you have cracks in your basement or walls, it may be a sign that you have structural issues. However, in these cracks, the horizontal cracks are of utmost concern as they indicate the structure is under extreme stress. Stair-step cracks, which resemble a set of stairs, may indicate differential settlement, where one part of the foundation sinks more than another. These cracks can be caused by the following
Improper construction technique Uneven Floors:
If you think the water is sliding the wrong way on your floors, then you have uneven floors. The foundation holds the structure, and when issues arise within the foundation, the weight of the building on top makes it uneven. As a result, it causes the floors to slope or sag. It can be particularly noticeable in older homes or those built on expansive clay soils that are prone to movement. Doors and Windows:
Have you ever noticed that your doors and windows after some time become difficult to open or close? Are you aware of the reason behind it? Bingo! It's structural damage. If you find it difficult to open or close your windows, or there are visible gaps around them, can be indicative of foundation movement. If there is a change in the foundation, which is very dangerous, it can affect the alignment of door frames and window openings. The doors and windows no longer fit properly in their frames, causing sticking or misalignment. Misaligned Moldings or Trim:
Misaligned Moldings or trim may also indicate foundation damage. Foundation movement can cause the walls to shift, leading to visible separations or gaps between moldings and trim. You may notice cracks or separations where the walls meet the ceiling as well. These signs suggest that the foundation has experienced structural stress or settlement. Chimney Issues:
If you think the chimney of your home is leaning or tilting, then it is a clear sign that your building has foundation issues. The chimney has a great height and so it relies on a stable foundation for support, and any shifting or settlement can cause it to lean or tilt. The reason for this can be soil erosion or inadequate foundation support. If a tilted chimney is noticed, it should be addressed as soon as possible. Basement Water Leakage:
Water leaking in the basement can cause excessive damage to the foundation of your home. If you have experience foundation water leakage
for years and haven't done anything about it, there is a high chance that your foundation is damaged. Water can exert pressure on the foundation walls, leading to cracks, bowing, or even collapse. If you observe dampness, water stains, or pooling water in the basement, it may indicate foundation damage or poor waterproofing
. Proper drainage systems, including exterior grading, gutters, downspouts, and interior waterproofing, are essential to mitigate basement water leakage and protect the foundation. What are some effective structural repairs Solutions? Foundation Underpinning:
This is a common technique in the construction world which involved extending the foundation deeper into the ground and making it more stable. This method is brought into practice when the existing foundation is unable to support the building. There are many underpinning techniques used, but the following are the most common ones:
Another name for slab jacking is mud jacking or slab leveling. It is an effective technique used in concrete slab foundations. A grout mixture is injected into the ground under the sunken or settled slab to lift and level it. Small holes are drilled into the slab, and the mixture is injected through those holes. Once the slab is lifted to the desired position, the injection is stopped. Carbon Fiber Reinforcement:
It is used to enforce the foundation walls and prevent further cracking or bowing. Carbon fiber straps or sheets are applied to the interior or exterior surface of the foundation walls. The technique is used alongside another foundation reinforcement technique for better stabilization. Waterproofing:
Waterproofing to avoid structural damage is different than normal waterproofing. We have to look at the different methods that allow us to redirect the water away from the foundation. This may include installing drainage systems such as French drains, which collect and channel water away from the foundation, preventing excessive saturation. Drainage Improvement:
The drainage should be improved so that water is moved away and no excess moisture remains. The techniques used in drainage improve all the water to flow away from the foundation instead of pooling near the foundation. Downspout extensions can be used to ensure that water is discharged at a safe distance from the foundation. Foundation Reshimming:
It is a common technique used in the construction world for buildings that crawl space. In foundation reshimming, we adjust the shims that support the beams and joists to level the floors and address settlement issues. Shims are wedge-shaped pieces placed between the beams, and foundation to increase stability. With time they become suppressed and will have to be replaced.