Author Archives: Foundation Support Specialists

Concrete Chipping on Foundations

Concrete chipping is a type of damage to the foundation that can ultimately damage the structure it is supporting. Causes of chipping can vary and if not dealt with immediately will get worse. Here’s what you need to know about the causes of concrete chipping, how it affects the foundation, and how to prevent it from happening.

What is Concrete Chipping on Foundations?

Concrete chipping is also known as concrete spalling or concrete scaling. Concrete chipping is when the foundation is flaking, chipping, or breaking off. Concrete chipping is considered cancer to concrete. Concrete chipping, if left unrepaired, can lead to greater foundation damage and damage to the structure above it. If there are cracks around the chipped area, this could indicate a structural problem. If the damage has already started to spread, it’s important to have an expert come in and assess the situation and decide on the course of action needed to repair it.

The Causes and Signs of Concrete Chipping

Concrete chipping can be caused by a number of factors. Most commonly it is caused by water seeping into the foundation and freezing, which leads to the concrete expanding and chipping. Other causes of concrete chipping include poorly mixed concrete, high temperatures, and even sand blasting. Older homes can be more at risk of concrete chipping.

Signs of concrete chipping include flaking, cracks in brick, foundation cracks, and a leaky basement. The location of the concrete chipping can also indicate how the chipping was caused. If the chipping is located toward the lower part of the foundation for example, this may be a sign that there is poor drainage around the foundation.

If you notice brown stains on the inside of your home, this may be caused by acid damage, which is caused by hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is a problem with water in the basement. It’s important to note that a shallow patch of concrete chipping may simply be a cosmetic issue, but it’s not something you want to put off having checked out.

Repairing and Preventing Concrete Chipping

When you notice concrete chipping, no matter how small, it’s a good idea to call in an expert to assess the situation. If it’s only a cosmetic issue, this is great news, but if the damage is more serious, it’s better to know before it gets worse. The foundation expert will let you know the best course of action for repairing the chipping.

One of the best ways to protect a concrete foundation from chipping is to have new concrete slabs sealed to prevent water penetration. Gutter downspouts should drain far away from the foundation to avoid water from gathering around the foundation and seeping into it. If your downspouts drain too closely to the foundation, you can get an extender that will carry the water farther away.

Concrete chipping can lead to more serious foundation damage. If you notice any signs of concrete chipping, contact us for more information. You might need it repaired!

How Time Affects Foundations

A Large Crack in a Wall.

Understanding Foundation Repair

Houses last for decades, if not hundreds of years. The longevity of a structure is a testament to how developed the construction industry has become. Builders use quality materials, tools, and techniques to make sure a home or commercial property stands the test of time. However, just because a house lasts over a century doesn’t mean it hasn’t gone through its fair share of maintenance and foundation repair. 

The longer a home or commercial structure lasts, the more likely it is that they’ve had quality service done on them multiple times. Getting your home or property the right care is vital to making it last longer. This rule certainly applies to foundation repair. Foundations separate homes and commercial buildings from the soil and support the structure’s weight. They keep everything stable and in place. When foundations give or get damaged, the entire property is under threat. Repairs need to be addressed soon to prevent further damage. 

If you need foundation repair or maintenance in San Antonio and Austin, TX, call Foundation Support Specialists at 210-267-8828 today!

How to Spot Early Signs of Foundation Damage

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your foundation. A lot of property owners don’t inspect their foundation, basement, and exterior walls near enough. Here are some easy to spot indications of foundation damage you can notice easily with a little attention. 

  • Small Cracks – Hairline cracks around the base of a home, surrounding concrete on the inside in the basement can indicate foundation damage. Even though the cracks appear small, they could mean there are larger cracks underneath the property. 
  • Cracked Walls – When foundations are damaged and their weight-bearing capability changes, the pressure of holding up the home or building shifts to walls. As a result, walls crack under the increased weight. Look for cracks along with basement or exterior walls for signs you need foundation repair. 
  • Recurring Water Leaks – Water leaks in homes and large buildings are relatively common. They could be a result of broken gutters, a leaking pipe or some other spill. However, any pooling water in basements or warehouse floors should be cause for concern. Additionally, if you discover that water has been running into the base of your property for an unknown amount of time, it’s smart to get your foundation checked. Water penetration can cause cracks and weaken foundations. Foundation repair services offer waterproofing services to help.

There are other signs of foundation repair, but some require a professional’s eye. Understand, though, that most foundations deal with the challenges of settling and shifting soil, moisture from rain and dirt rising into the foundation’s slabs and erosion from years of use. 

Prioritize Minor Foundation Repair to Avoid Significant Damage

Dealing with foundation damage as it occurs is the best way for home and commercial property owners to avoid large repair bills. A lot of people are inclined to put off minor repairs because they have other commitments demanding their time and attention. The worst thing that can happen, though, is a small issue turning into a major one. 

When hairline cracks appear or you spot a small crack in a basement wall, call a foundation repair service for a look. They’ll be able to inspect your property and assess the condition of your foundation. Technicians can work with you to help you understand what’s going on and what needs to be done to get your foundation back in good shape. Minor repairs typically don’t require a lot of time and money, so they present only a minor inconvenience for property owners.

Compare that with the inconvenience of major foundation damage. When foundations are significantly damaged, it makes a home or building unstable. That’s a nightmare for people living busy lives and business owners who need to provide a safe facility for employees and customers. Large repair jobs need more time and can cost a lot of money to complete. 

Partner with a Trusted Service Provider

Avoid significant cost and time loss by partnering with a great foundation repair service. The right company will act as an adviser with you and your property’s best interests in mind. They won’t recommend superfluous work just to make a buck. They’ll have already made their reputation on providing quality service and work. 

Good companies with trained technicians will be able to tell you when repairs are necessary and how much they’ll cost. They’ll help you avoid large repair bills by keeping your foundation well-maintained for the long haul.  

Foundation Support Specialists offers the best foundation repair solutions around San Antonio and Austin, TX. As a local company, we know how important it is to home and property owners in the area to keep foundations functional and in good shape. If you need foundation service, call us today at 210-267-8828 to hear how we can help. We’ll be happy to offer a free consultation to develop a plan that works for you. 

Repairing Foundation Damage from Hurricanes

If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, your foundation needs special care and attention. Strong winds and rains can damage the foundation in a short amount of time. The foundation is a vital part of your home and needs to be in its best condition to do its job of supporting and protecting the structure. Here’s what you need to know about repairing foundation damage that is caused by hurricanes.

How Hurricanes Can Damage a Foundation

Hurricanes consist of heavy winds and rain, which can do damage to the yard, the foundation, and the house. Excessive rains can cause flooding that can cause cracks to form in the foundation. If left too long, these cracks will become larger and lead to further issues. The inside of your home will also show signs of foundation damage from a hurricane.

Structural damage will include uneven floors, cracks in walls or floors, and leaning walls. Damage you might notice around the outside of your home include siding damage, roof damage, and developing sinkholes. Sinkholes can be caused or worsened by hurricane activity.

Having Foundation Damage from Hurricanes Repaired

After a hurricane has occurred, it’s important to check your foundation, the inside your home, and the area surrounding your home for signs of damage. Damage that is discovered should be inspected and repaired as soon as possible. Damage caused by hurricanes can happen in a shorter amount of time than normal.

Cracks that weren’t there before the hurricane may be appear after it. Sinkhole development can be accelerated by hurricane winds and flash flooding. If you live by the coast and have a seawall, it can suffer damage during a hurricane. Since a seawall is an important part of protecting your property, you will want it repaired right away.

Any cracks that formed in the foundation during a hurricane should also be repaired immediately as failing to do so can lead to greater foundation and home damage. Call a professional to assess any damage and have it repaired.

How to Protect Foundation from Further Damage

If you live in a hurricane prone area, you will want to protect your foundation, property, and house as much as you possibly can. Clean your gutters on a regular basis so that water can flow freely and empty away from your home. If your downspout empties too close to your home, consider getting an extender that will carry water farther away. Make sure the grading around your home is correct. Improper grading means that water will either sit and puddle or flow toward the foundation.

Do you have a sump pump? If so, regularly check that it’s working properly, especially right before hurricane season arrives. Also consider having a battery backup for the sump pump so that it will continue to work in the event of a power outage. Have flood vents installed in your crawl space. Flood vents will relieve water pressure should the crawl space flood.

If your foundation has been damaged by hurricane activity, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible.

Foundation Problems and Its Impact on Home Value

The foundation is important to the overall condition and safety of your home. It also plays an important factor in determining the value of your home. Here’s what you need to know about foundation problems and the value of your home.

How Foundation Damage Can Affect Your Home’s Value

The first thing people see is the outside of your home. A damaged foundation will affect your home’s curb appeal. It will also signal to potential buyers that there are foundation issues and foundation issues require money to fix. The person buying your house will either want the foundation fixed before purchase or will want to pay less for the house to pay for the needed repairs. In the end, you will be the one to pay for the repairs.

An inspection of the house and foundation will likely be done prior to it being purchased. Potential issues will come to light at this point. The best case scenario is that you’ve taken repairs as needed, so any issues found are minimal. This is a good reason to take care of foundation damage sooner rather than put it off. Your home is a big investment and taking care of something as crucial as the foundation should be a priority.

Make Necessary Foundation Repairs

When you become aware of foundation damage, it’s a good idea to have it inspected and fixed. Leaving damage to get worse will only result in more expensive repairs later. If you can stop damage from getting worse, this is your best option in the long run. It’s important to know what to look for to protect your foundation from damage. Look for any signs of cracks in the foundation, water damage inside and outside, and doors and windows that stick. Other signs of foundation damage include: uneven floors gaps around window frames, a damp crawl space, and counters and cabinets that are separating from the wall. You can have a qualified foundation contractor assess the situation. If repairs are recommended, don’t hesitate to have them done. This will help keep the value of your home where you want it.

How to Prevent Future Foundation Damage

It’s not always possible to avoid foundation issues completely, but there are steps you can take to decrease the possibility of extensive damage. If the downspout emptying is too close to your home, get an extender that will carry water farther from the house. Be sure to regularly clean the gutters so rainwater can flow through freely. Consider how new landscaping will affect the foundation. Don’t plant trees too close to the house as the growing roots can cause foundation damage. Make sure the slope of the property is correct and water is flowing away from it. These might seem like minor changes, but they can protect your foundation and in turn the value of your home.

Taking care of your foundation benefits not only your house while you’re living in it, but its overall value as well. Dealing with foundation issues as they arise will save you time and money in the long run.

Get Your Foundation Inspected to Uncover Problems

A foundation does more than provide a spot to hold a house. A foundation is an important factor for keeping moisture out of your home, insulating against the cold temperatures, and resisting movement of the structure. The foundation is one of the most important parts of your home. If it isn’t in good condition, your home is at risk of damage as well. Here’s what you need to know about getting your foundation inspected.

When To Have Your Foundation Inspected

When you notice signs of foundation damage including wall damage such as interior or exterior cracks and water spots, floor damage that can include tiles that are lifting, and doors and windows that stick, you will want to have the foundation inspected. Drainage and plumbing issues should also be considered a warning sign that your foundation needs to be inspected.

If you notice any leaks around your home or ponding and erosion around the foundation, these are issues that could potentially mean your foundation is damaged. This requires inspection and possible foundation repair. If you’re in the process of buying a home, this is the perfect time to have an inspection of the foundation done.

Why An Inspection is Helpful

An inspection of your foundation by a professional can uncover issues that you can’t see with a visual inspection. An inspector will know exactly what needs to be examined to determine the true condition of the foundation. An inspector will look for foundation cracks and damage to walls and floors, but the inspection will go even farther.

If your home has a pier and beam foundation, the inspector will enter the crawl space to look for any sign of moisture or evidence of must. The condition of the piers, joists, and beams will be examined. With a slab foundation, the perimeter of the house will be examined for any signs of cracks. The soil may also be inspected for shrinking and drying and poorly compacted fill soils, which can result in foundation settlement.

What to Look for in an Inspector

When you decide to have an inspection done, make sure the company has a good reputation and the inspectors have gone through the proper training. An inspection by a professional should be thorough and up to industry standards. After your foundation is inspected, you should receive a copy of the final report so that both you and the contractors hired to fix any damage know exactly what they are dealing with. If you hire a structural engineer to inspect your foundation, you can be confident in the fact that you’re hiring someone with the proper qualifications who can give you trustworthy recommendations for contractors if your foundation should need repairs.

Taking care of the foundation of your home means keeping an eye out for developing cracks and water damage. When you spot any red flags, you should call in an expert to do a thorough inspection and determine how far the damage has gone and what repairs will be needed.

Proper Grading and Foundations

When it comes to the protection of your home’s foundation, you’ve likely taken a number of things into consideration. You clean the gutters regularly and check for cracks that warn you of foundation issues. Another important part of protecting your foundations is ensuring correct grading around your property. Here’s what you should know about proper grading and foundations.

What is Grading?

Grading around your property is the slope of the ground. Grading around the property will determine where water, whether rain water, storm water, or other water, goes. There are two types of grading: negative grading and positive grading. Positive grading means the water flows and drains away from your foundation and home. This is the ideal situation. With negative grading, the water flows toward the foundation or puddle in areas around the property. When either of the negative grading symptoms occur, you have an issue that requires attention.

The Importance of Proper Grading

In order to protect the foundation of your home, all water should flow toward the street to drain. If there are puddles and pooling of water around the perimeter after rainfall, this is a sign of negative grading that should be corrected. Water that collects close to the home has the potential to cause damage to the foundation. After the next rain storm, do an inspection around the perimeter of your home and see where water has collected. When it’s raining, notice where the rainfall is flowing.

If there are areas where the water flows toward the home and foundation, or it sits creating puddles, attention is required. Taking care of any grading issues as soon as possible will save you money in the long-run by protecting your foundation from damage. Foundation damage that can be caused by negative grading include: cracks in the foundation, leaks, and rotting of the wooden structure of the house.

How to Have the Grading Corrected

If you currently have proper grading around your property, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on it as the situation can change over time. Once you notice grading issues such as water flowing toward your home or pooling water around your property, you can have an expert come in an assess the situation and decide the best way to correct it.

Correcting the grading can be as simple as adding soil to the landscaping around your home. This is not recommended for all situations though as soil does hold water and if the soil is close to the home, this creates moist conditions. If the lawn has to be re-graded, this will involve scraping away higher areas and filling in low areas. It’s important to remember that in addition to the sidewalks and driveways being positively graded, the lawn must be as well.

By making sure that the grading around your property is correct, you are helping to protect your foundation and your home from water damage. Consider checking the grading around your home as part of your regular maintenance.

About Foundation Underpinnings

Underpinning is a method that is used to increase the depth of the foundation or repair a faulty foundation. When you have something as important as a building or house to protect, it’s good to know how you can protect and repair the foundation. Here’s what you should know about foundation underpinnings.

What is Foundation Underpinning?

Foundation underpinning is used to increase the depth of an existing foundation or repair a faulty foundation of a building or other structure. Increasing the depth of a foundation leads to greater stability. Underpinning is done by using a foundation repair method like mudjacking, wall anchors, and piering.

Sometimes a couple of methods are used if the situation requires it. The type of underpinning that needs to be done should be determined by a professional who can assess the situation. The benefits of underpinning include preservation of a structure’s integrity, increased ceiling height, the ability to change the use of a building (going from residential to commercial), and adding floors.

Types of Foundation Underpinning

Underpinning can be done by using methods that include piering, wall anchors, and mudjacking. Piering can be done using round shaft piers, square shaft piers, or concrete piles. The type chosen depends on the circumstance.

Round shaft piers are used in situations where compression application is required. Round shaft piers have a higher resistance to bending than other options. Square shaft piers are ideal for tension applications. The downside to the square shaft is they bend under pressure. Concrete piles are driven into the ground. They can be cast either before or after installation. If cast while in the ground, a cylindrical shell is placed in the ground and filled with concrete.

Helical wall anchors use square shafts and are used in tension applications. Wall anchors provide lateral support for the walls of the foundation. The benefit of using wall anchors is that they can be used in more confined spaces as they don’t require large machinery for installation.

Mudjacking, also known as slab-jacking, is a method where concrete is pumped under the foundation slab to lift it and the building it supports back into place. This method may work short-term, but over time the foundation and building may shift again. To use mudjacking as a long-term solution, another method such as piering, which goes deep into the bedrock, should be used. This will provide more stability to the foundation and structure that it supports.

Signs Underpinning is Required

One of the visible signs that underpinning is needed are cracks, especially diagonal cracks, in the foundation. Underpinning is necessary when the cracks become larger than 1/4 inch wide. Other signs that the foundation needs underpinning includes: walls that are detaching from the ceiling, walls are buckling, and windows and doors stick. When walls begin to detach from the ceiling, prompt foundation repair is needed otherwise they will continue to separate causing extensive damage.

Underpinning can be an important part of repairing and keeping a foundation sturdy and a building safe. Please contact us for more information.

Common Methods Used for Commercial Foundation Repair

Commercial foundation repair is required when foundation damage has caused issues such as sloping floors, crack in the walls and in the foundation, leaning walls, and plumbing issues. When you have a business, you want to protect it by making repairs to the foundation when needed.

Concentric Piers

This type of foundation involves the installation of a concentric pier underneath the foundation wall that needs to be lifted and stabilized. The pile is driven deep into the earth, which will help prevent movement of the pier. Benefits of concentric piers include: easy installation, no maintenance, and the ability to be installed in small spaces. They offer a long-term solution for foundation repair.

Eccentric Piers

Eccentric piers are a popular choice when it comes to foundation repair. Like concentric piers, they are a type of push pier. These steel push piers can be installed from inside or outside of the structure with little to no vibration. They are installed as deep as rock or deeper depending on the load bearing needs. They are a good choice for supporting the foundation of a commercial building.

Helical Torque Anchors

Helical torque anchors or piles are designed to eliminate moving and shifting in soil that is unstable. With new construction, this is especially effective as the helical torque anchors offset the effects of soil that is still adjusting and settling. These types of piles are installed between footing forms and tie into the steel grid work. If you are building a commercial building from scratch, helical torque anchors should be your first choice.

Crawl Space Jacks

Crawl space jacks are used to support floors that are sagging above crawl spaces. Crawl space jacks will give additional support to keep the floors even and put an end to squeaking and bouncing that may have occurred due to inadequate support.

Helical Piers

To do commercial foundation repair work using helical piers, soil must be removed from where the pier will be installed. Helical piers are mechanically screwed into the soil. The weight of the building is then transferred through the helical piers into the deep soils. This lifts the commercial foundation and building back into its original position. Helical piers are a good choice for fast and effective foundation repair.

Slab Repair Product

A commercial building that is experiencing bowing or cracking will benefit from a slab repair to stabilize the foundation. Methods for this type of repair include: carbon fiber, plate anchors, and helical tiebacks. Carbon fiber supports repair bowed foundation walls and will help to repair cracks and stop them from moving. Plate anchors are an economical way to provide stabilization to walls that have been damaged by hydrostatic pressure. Helical tiebacks strengthen and straighten retaining walls of commercial buildings.

Light Pole Foundation Products

When you have a commercial building, the structures around it should be kept in good condition. This includes street lights and parking lot lights. Light pole foundation products help to support these types of structures, which can come down unexpectedly due to normal wear and tear over time.

Making repairs to your commercial foundation is important if you want to prevent complete foundation failure.

Hot Dip Galvanization for Foundation Repair

Many of our buildings in the United States are built on solid foundations made of steel. Although steel is sturdy, durable and strong, it still can be compromised by rust. The integrity of the steel structure can be threatened when rust settles into the joints and the steel itself. This process could affect the building’s structural integrity.

This means that steel isn’t always the best option when it comes to building materials. This could impact all parts of the building, including its foundation. However, there are solutions to this issue and a process called hot dip galvanization is one of them. Here’s more information:

What is Hot Dip Galvanization?

As a variation of the regular galvanizing procedure, HDG works to protect the carbon steel used in building. The surface of the steel would first be chemically cleaned. Then it is covered in a hot-dip galvanization in a large vat that contains hot melted zinc. The zinc reaches temperatures of 840 degrees F.

The carbon steel for buildings is 90% iron, and the melted zinc bonds well with the iron. Once cooled the steel has a permanent coating of protection against corrosion and rust.

Why Use to Repair Foundations?

Concrete piers are still used by some contractors to repair foundations but galvanized steel is the best solution to use for foundation problems. The benefits of using galvanized steel are that the hot-dip galvanizing will give you longer protection in steel structures. It can keep the steel from rusting and corrosion for as long as 50 years or more.

When galvanizing the steel, the bonding also gets into all the crevices, edges and any corners. You will end up with uniformed protection against rust and corrosion.,The bond that coats the steel is tight and it will lessen the risk of other damages being done to the foundation due to external forces.

A foundation that has been repaired with the galvanized coating will have low maintenance, saving you in upkeep expenses. The process for hot-dip galvanizing is a fast application and only takes a few hours. The product is ready to use for installation almost immediately after cooling.

What are the Disadvantages for Foundation Repair?

Hot dip galvanized steel is not always the best choice. When it is mixed with yellow brass, dezincification can be triggered on the galvanized steel. The use of galvanized steel should not be used for underground purposes unless the proper coverage is used. That makes it inconvenient to be used for many different jobs.

If using steel piers to repair your foundation, you need to make sure that your contractor puts your piles deep enough into the ground. If the steel piers do not reach solid ground, then they could shift. Most people feel that steel foundation repairs are better than concrete. Concrete cannot be put as deep into the ground as a steel pier, and concrete will not last as long.

If used underground considerable defects could be hidden in the zinc coating that covered the steel. These defects could lead to corrosion and rusting of the steel.

The cost of repairing a foundation is already high without adding the expense of hot-dip galvanization to the piers needed to raise the foundation. Many homeowners will rather save the money and use ungalvanized steel.

Homeowners should look at foundation repairs as a long-term investment that will improve their home. Spending the extra on hot-dip galvanization will make the repairs last longer.

How to Maintain Your Home’s Foundation

When it comes to the maintenance of your home, you probably take care of the usual things: the landscaping, the inside of the home, and keeping the heating and air conditioning running properly. But one of the most important things you can do for your house is to maintain the foundation. Here are five ways you can protect the foundation of your home.

Make Sure There is Adequate Drainage

One of the best ways to maintain your foundation from damage is to make sure there is adequate water drainage. Without proper drainage, water has access to the foundation, which can result in cracks and leaks. Make sure the gutters are clear of debris so water can flow freely. If the downspout empties close to the house, get an extender that will carry water farther away. Landscaping should be sloped away from the house so water will fall away from the foundation of the home instead of toward it. If you live in an area that regularly receives heavy rains, you might want to consider installing french drains and footing drainage to capture more water.

Have Your Plumbing Inspected

Regular inspections of your plumbing system can help to protect your foundation. Leaks in the plumbing of your home can damage your foundation. This not only applies to the plumbing inside your home, but any sprinklers sewer lines, and other water lines around your property.

Take Care of Trees Around Your Property

Trees can be a lovely addition to your property, but they can also spell trouble for your foundation. If there are existing trees around your home, you will want to consider installing a root barrier that will keep the roots of the trees from damaging your foundation. If you want to add new trees to your property, have a professional figure out where they would best be placed. Trees consume many gallons of water each day, which can dry out the soil around the foundation. The dry condition of the soil negatively impacts the condition of your foundation causing cracks and crumbling.

Inspect for Foundation Damage

If your foundation is already damaged, you want to know sooner rather than later. Damage that goes unrepaired will only get worse and more expensive to fix. Signs of foundation damage include: cracks in walls, uneven floors, doors and windows that are not square in their frames, and moisture spots on walls. If you notice any of these signs, you’ll want to get a professional to come in to inspect and repair if needed.

Maintain Moisture Level Around Foundation

Did you know that too much moisture or too little moisture can both be unhealthy for the foundation? Maintaining a consistent level of moisture will help keep your foundation at its best. When you water your greenery around the foundation, don’t over water. If too much water sinks into the soil or is hitting the house, it will have access to the foundation.

When you own a home, it is important not to ignore the foundation. It requires regular maintenance, just like the rest of your house.