Blog

Is a slab foundation bad?

solid slab foundation just poured

Why choose a slab foundation

What is the purpose of a slab foundation? A slab foundation is built from a wood form filled with concrete, and then a house is built. A slab foundation is the foundation for a house and is typically 4” to 6” thick in the center when poured with edges up to 24” wider than the house is designed to be.  The extra width of the slab around the edges provides extra strength.

Is a slab foundation good or bad to have for a house? A concrete slab foundation is common for houses in climates where the ground isn’t as likely to freeze, which can cause a foundation to crack.

There are pros and cons to having a slab foundation are many, the choice has to be a personal one if you have a choice.  Houses built in developments are always on a slab, whereas a custom-built house in a rural area could be slab or pier-n-beam.  

 Part of your decision may be if you need or want to avoid stairs. If your house has a crawl space, you will have a front and back step, with a slab foundation, there may only e one step up, but you lose that crawl space advantage. Read on for the benefits and disadvantages of a slab foundation.

Slab Foundation Benefits

Comparing slab foundation vs crawl space for a home, the slab foundation house will have less chance of flooding or gas leaks, and that creates a healthier environment than homes built with a crawl space and/or basement. Basements and crawl spaces make a house susceptible to flooding, which can lead to mold, and also leaves them susceptible to gas leaks. Slab foundation houses are right on the ground, which removes the need for extra steps. This can be a plus if you or anyone living in the house is a senior citizen or has physical restrictions.

Slab Foundation Disadvantages

A house on a slab foundation could experience cracking because of earthquakes, invasive tree roots, and shifting soil. This can cause long-term and major problems that can be expensive and time consuming to repair. Slab foundation is susceptible to insect infestations too. 

Why is slab foundation bad?

While a slab foundation has advantages and benefits, like being inexpensive compared to other foundation options and low maintenance. They also have some bad features and disadvantages like the potential for expensive repairs to plumbing that is put down before they build the slab. However, with PEX plumbing, this disadvantage is slowly going away. A slab foundation doesn’t provide much in the way of protection in bad weather either. 

How long do slab foundations last?

A poured concrete slab foundation with block footings will last 100 years or more, more than a lifetime, if built properly. The slab foundation termite proofing will last 12 years as long as the chemical barriers stay intact. Quarterly pest control and annual termite inspection will help you stay on top of that potential problem.

Can slab foundation be fixed?

The contractors that pour and repair slab foundations are asked every day, “Can a slab foundation be repaired?”, and the answer is, and there is a “however” to follow that answer. In most situations, yes, a foundation slab can be repaired, however, it is expensive. The more extensive the damage, the more expensive the cost.

Then you need to be prepared for possible collateral damage expenses. Meaning, a slab foundation repair can cause ceilings, doors, floors, walls, even windows break and crack.  You need to verify what is in the contract you sign with the company that does your slab foundation repair, as some may offer a credit for a few repairs, but most do not.

Is a crack in a slab foundation bad?

It is hard not to find a slab foundation with some cracks. Concrete is not a flexible surface, so inevitably, as the ground shifts, you should expect some stress cracks. However, if it is a plumbing caused crack, this could be bad news and needs to be addressed immediately by a professional plumber. While they will do the plumbing repair, they may have to bring in a third-party contractor to repair the slab. These are things you need to verify with the plumber when you receive a quote.

crack in the foundation

How do you fix a crack in a slab foundation?

Slab foundation crack that is left unaddressed will keep growing and so will the repair bill. Not only is this a financial matter, but delayed foundation repairs will allow radon gas to seep into your home, creating a health risk.  Here are the steps to take to repair your own slab foundation: 

  • Step One – Inspect: Carefully inspect your slab foundation and identify the cracked areas. This will help you get them all repaired at the same time. Mark the areas with chalk as you find them.
  • Step Two – Chisel: Using a chisel, remove any loose concrete inside the crack so you’re removing the weakened material and fill it in with a concrete filler bond. It will be more effective in a cleaned-out crack.
  • Step Three – Scrape: With a wire brush, scour the crack to remove any loose concrete, debris, and dirt. A clean area is important before putting in our concrete filler. We can’t stress that enough.
  • Step Four – Rinse: Once you have cleaned out all the cracks as we’ve described, flush them water to effectively clean the cracks.
  • Step Five – Hairline Cracks: A thin paintbrush will work great to spread a thin layer of the concrete bonding adhesive. This will bind the repair material and keep it from popping out as it dries.  Using a putty knife to feather edges of the crack will make it look good.
  • Step Six – Large Cracks: Add sand to any large crack to minimize the depth, then using a paintbrush to apply the bonding adhesive inside it and along the edges. Then fill the crack concrete patching compound and pack it in to create an effective seal.

It’s easy to make some foundation repairs yourself as we described, but if there are very many cracks, if you’re having doors that open/close windows that won’t open/close, then you’ll be better off calling a professional for a full slab foundation repair. Call Foundation Support Specialists today at 210-267-8828 for your slab foundation repair in San Antonio and Austin, TX.

What Does a Vapor Barrier Do?

Polyethylene Plastic Vapor Barrier.

What does a vapor barrier do?

A vapor barrier shields foundations, walls, floors, or roofs from moisture. Normally, barriers are made from plastic or foil sheets, and are sometimes installed during a building’s construction. The barriers, however, can be installed later. Many older buildings and homes often have problems with moisture buildup, especially along the foundations, and a vapor barrier can be invaluable when it comes to protecting these older structures. Moreover, homes and buildings in Foundation Support Specialists often have crawl spaces that serve to improve ventilation, and to provide access for repair and maintenance. These crawl spaces also allow moisture to intrude and cause damage to the foundation, which vapor barriers can prevent.

If you are concerned about moisture damaging your foundation and are searching for vapor barriers in San Antonio, TX, you need to look no further than the foundation experts at Foundation Support Specialists. We offer a full range of foundation services. Find out how we can help by calling 210-267-8828.

Is a vapor barrier necessary?

Vapor barriers aren’t always necessary, though they have become common in new construction. In some areas of the U.S., vapor barriers are required by code. In very warm climates, they may be ineffective, but in temperate or cold climates they can be invaluable in preventing water vapor from getting to walls, ceilings, attics, crawl spaces and roofs.

If your attic insulation has become damaged by moisture build-up, the problem may not be the lack of a vapor barrier. The problem may have been caused by a roof leak. The cost to cover roof leak repair may be covered by your insurance, especially if the roof was damaged by a storm. Before submitting a claim get roof damage insurance claims help from an experienced roofing professional.

Where do you put a vapor barrier?

Climate will determine where the vapor barrier is placed when installed. In a warmer climate, the barrier should be pointed toward the outside of the house so it can block vapor from humid outside air. In cold climates the barrier is pointed toward the inside of the house because the air is normally warmer inside. The warmer interior air will more likely cause condensation to build up.

What is the difference between a vapor barrier and moisture barrier?

In construction, the terms “moisture barrier” and “vapor barrier” are sometimes used interchangeably. The barriers are similar, have similar uses, and are often made from similar materials such as plastic. Technically, however, moisture barrier are applied to metal jacketing or pipes to help prevent corrosion and pitting. Moisture barriers are often factory applied. Vapor barriers primarily protect other materials like foundations or insulation rather than metal. The barriers can be installed either in the factory or on the site.  

There are several types of vapor barriers on the market today, as outlined below.

  • Rigid foam insulation
  • Polyethylene plastic
  • Paints and primers specifically designed as vapor barriers
  • Aluminum foil

Vapor barrier R value

Vapor barriers are often installed over insulation. Depending on the material used, it may increase the R-value of the insulation. R-value, of course, is the measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The greater the R-value, the better the insulating ability. Most vapor barriers are plastic and provide no additional R-value. Some insulation like rigid foam can serve as vapor barriers, and the R-value will vary from 3.6 to 5 or higher.

Can I use plastic sheeting as a vapor barrier?

Plastic sheeting is actually a common material used as a vapor barrier. Its effectiveness will depend on the type of plastic used. Polyethylene plastic is a common plastic used for vapor barriers, is considered a Class 1 barrier, and is generally best for colder climates, and used for the interior of the home.

Can vapor barrier cause mold

One of the drawbacks of a vapor barrier is the possibility that if it is installed wrong, it can act in the opposite manner as it was intended. Vapor barriers are intended to prevent moisture from intruding into the home, thus preventing problems like mold growth or rot. Climate affects the barriers’ performance. In warmer climates it has to be installed on the outside of the material, and in colder climates on the inside. If it isn’t installed correctly, it’s likely the moisture penetration will not be reduced. This will then increase the chance of mold growth. The barrier can also be affected by the type of cladding used. Brick and stucco can retain significant amounts of moisture and take longer to dry. When it is hot and humid outside, this can affect the vapor pressure and the barrier’s ability to stop moisture penetration.

Will a vapor barrier stop radon

Some soils emit a toxic, radioactive gas known as radon. This gas can seep into homes and buildings and cause health problems, including a risk of lung cancer. A vapor barrier installed under the foundation may be part of the radon resistant construction. The barrier, however, will not prevent radon seepage. It does help reduce the flow of the gas, so will help.

A Technician Installs a Vapor Barrier.

Vapor barrier installation near me

If you are concerned about moisture build-up under your home, you can install a vapor barrier in San Antonio and Austin, TX to protect your home. The experts at Foundation Support Specialists are the team to trust for reliable installation. Schedule a service appointment with us by calling 210-267-8828.

What To Do With Cracked Walls

Cracked Wall

Learn More About Cracked Walls

Your home will require maintenance every now and then, yet often when cracked walls spring up confusion can come with it. How did it occur and why? What does it mean for the future of your home? With cracked walls, there can be many surrounding reasons concerning the integrity of your home. While hairline cracks in walls are harmless, it’s when cracked walls are more extensive that problems are more severe. It’s therefore important to get in touch with a professional concerning any abnormalities concerning your home and cracked walls. Here is some helpful information that may clarify certain issues for your convenience.

Why are cracks appearing in my walls?

Cracked walls appear for a number of reasons, with wood you’ll see reactions to different weather conditions with natural expansion and contraction. This occurs when humidity and temperatures fluctuate and your walls may react to these changes with small cracks. Some instances can be more innocent like using different paints per paint coating since different compositions can dry differently on top of previous paint compositions.

How do you know if a wall crack is serious?

Cracked walls can appear in any capacity yet to know if they’re serious you’ll have to check on the stability of your foundation roof. Vertical and horizontal cracks in plaster or drywall will typically have to do with drying and shrinkage which is normal after construction has been done. With jagged cracks or cracks that look like stair-steps, this will indicate settling issues or structural movement which are usually harmless yet can be serious at times. A good way to tell if cracked walls are more serious is to check the width of them. The wider the cracks the more serious the issues as opposed to thinner cracks. 

Do cracks in walls indicate structural problems?

Cracked walls can be serious if they are large which will point to structural or foundation issues. Yet most small cracks in plaster or drywall are caused by seasonal expansion and contraction of wood framing in the house over time and are normal.

Do subsidence cracks look like?

Subsidence has to do with the gradual settling or sudden sinking of your foundation. This can be caused by a number of reasons from rainfall, underground mining, leaking drains, nearby trees and more which will affect the structural integrity of your property. Subsidence cracks are normally diagonal and will appear in plaster inside a building or on brickwork outside.

Cracks on Old Foundation Wall

What causes cracked walls?

  • Humidity
  • Loose Plaster
  • Foundation Settling
  • Seasonal Wood Expansion & Contraction
  • Bulging or Bowling Walls
  • Sagging Ceilings
  • Wall or Ceiling Collapse

How do you fix cracks in walls?

There can be many solutions that you can use to fix cracked walls. What to use for crack walls can vary depending on the type of crack present as there will be many tools involved from caulking, compounding, sanding and more. 

Can you paint over cracked walls?

Yes, you will be able to paint over cracked walls, however, make sure the composition of the paint matches with the previous layer as you may see paint cracks appear instead.

How do you fix cracks in walls before painting?

When a cracked wall isn’t too extensive you can consider these tips. First, you’ll use a stiff putty knife to scrape the wall around the crack in order to get rid of any small pieces of plaster that may fall off or peeling paint. Then use the sharp point of the knife to cut into a crack. Use a caulk gun to apply caulk into the crack and smooth it to remove excess caulk. Be sure to let it dry and make sure the caulk is paintable. Next, cut a piece of fiberglass mesh tape and have it be a bit longer than the crack. Place it over the crack. Use a six-inch flexible joint knife, drywall blade or putty knife to apply joint compound over the tape and a few inches beyond it. Smooth it out and remove excess joint compound and let it dry; it should turn to a lighter gray color. Grab a face mask as the dust can be very fine for the next step involves sanding. Use a sanding sponge or a medium grit sandpaper to lightly sand over the area. Apply a second coat of joint compound aka mud. Let it dry as well, sand it and wipe a wet cloth or sponge to remove the resulting dust. Next, you’ll prime the area and finally paint it.

Contact A Professional

If you’re in need of wall crack repair be sure to get in touch with a qualified professional. Only a certified foundation or home repair company will be able to properly inspect problem areas and determine the correct course of action to be taken based on the severity of the issue. For areas such as cracks in your asphalt reach out to foundation repair specialist concerning asphalt crack repair. As such, repairing cracked walls can be beneficial in improving the cosmetic appearance of your home. Reach out to a professional today to start the process of home improvement.

If you require assistance with cracked walls in San Antonio and Austin, TX call 210-267-8828 with 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.