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How Foundation Repair Is Done
What happens to foundations when they crack or crumble? What should homeowners do before the next storm hits?
Foundation damage has become a widespread problem in recent years. Many homes around the country have suffered from different signs of foundation issues with costly damages, like minor cracks, uneven floors, moisture issues, and crumbling concrete. Some of these common issues can be easily fixed through remodeling projects, but some require professional help from a foundation repair company. There are several ways to repair cracked foundations.
There are two main types of foundation repairs: structural and nonstructural. Structural repairs include reinforcing beams and other structural components. Nonstructural repairs are done to prevent further damage. These include sealing cracks and filling voids.
Foundation Repair Methods for Homes and Commercial Space
Structural repairs are usually more expensive than nonstructural repairs. They can also take longer because you need to wait until the structure is stable again. In addition, structural repairs may not completely solve your foundation issues. For example, if there's a large hole in the ground that needs to be filled with cement, it will probably still leak water and cause a faulty foundation.
Nonstructural repairs are less expensive and faster. However, they won't fix any existing leaks or holes. If you're looking for fast results with advanced foundation repair methods, this type of repair may be right for you.
If you're unsure which of the methods to use, ask a home inspector about your options when dealing with major repairs. Foundation experts can tell you what foundation repair options would work best for structural damage on basement walls, foundation beam, or even helical piers.
Soil and Concrete Foundation Repair Projects
The most common way to resolve foundation issues is by pouring new concrete over an old one. This process is called "replacement." It's often used to replace damaged areas of a concrete slab or driveway. The concrete must be poured on top of the old concrete without disturbing it. Then, it needs to cure for at least 24 hours to ensure a firm foundation. Afterward, you'll want to seal the area so moisture doesn't get into the space between the old and new concrete piers. You can use mortar, epoxy, or another sealant depending on the foundation type you seek.
Another option is to pour a new slab over the old one. This is especially useful if you don't have access to a lot of room above the basement floor. A new slab can be as thick as 2 feet (0.6 m) or even 3 feet (1 m).
You can also add reinforcement to the foundation walls. Reinforcing steel rods are placed inside the wall and then covered with concrete. Steel piers help strengthen the foundation. Reinforcement isn't always necessary, though. Sometimes, just adding enough concrete to cover the cracks will eliminate the signs of foundation problems.
If you've got a small amount of foundation damage, you might not need to worry too much. But if you've got major problems, you'll likely need to hire a foundation repair contractor.
Foundation Crack Repair and Plumbing Repair Costs
The cost of foundation crack repair depends on how extensive the damage is and what kind of materials you need. The average price for a residential foundation repair job is $3,000-$5,000. But it could range up to $20,000 depending on the extent of the damage.
Commercial foundation repair costs vary widely. Some companies charge per square foot. Others charge based on the size of the project. And some charge hourly rates.
In general, the larger the project, the higher the cost. So, if you're repairing a commercial building, expect to pay more than if you were fixing a house.
Expansive Clay Soil and Concrete Slab for Foundation Walls and Crawl Spaces
Clay soil is very heavy. That means it has a high potential to sink when it rains. To prevent this from happening, builders install a crawl space under a foundation with expansive soils. This keeps the clay soil out of contact with the foundation walls.
A crawl space is basically a box-shaped space below the main level of a house. There's no ceiling, only support beams. The floor is made of plywood or other material.
A crawl space provides several benefits. First, it prevents the clay soil from getting in direct contact with the foundation walls, which reduces the chance that water will seep through the wall. Second, it protects the foundation walls from being crushed by the weight of the clay soil. Third, it allows air circulation around the foundation walls.
It's important to note that a crawl space isn't built to last forever. As time goes by, the wood framing may rot away or the roof may leak. If any of these things happen, you'll need crawl space repairs conducted by a foundation repair expert before your home collapses. You can resort to contacting a foundation repair contractor who has extensive knowledge in the foundation repair process and different types of foundation repair.
What is the best type of soil to use for the foundation?
There are two types of soils that work well to build a secure foundation: sand and gravel. Sand is fine-grained, while gravel is coarse-grained. Both are good choices because they prevent poor drainage and help keep the soil stable regardless of soil conditions.
Sand is usually cheaper than gravel. It doesn't require special equipment to excavate. And it's easy to mix into a cement base. However, it tends to settle over time. That makes it difficult to build an effective footing. Gravel is less expensive than sand. It requires special equipment to dig. And it's harder to mix into a cement-based foundation.
But there are pros and cons to both options. For example, sand is easier to move around. That makes it ideal for landscaping projects. On the other hand, it can be hard to get a smooth finish on concrete poured over the sand.
Gravel is better suited for large projects. It's also easier to pour concrete over. But it can be difficult to remove after construction is complete.
If you have a choice between sand and gravel, go with sand. You'll save money in the long run.