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A Basic Guide to the Process of Home Foundation Repair

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Have you been noticing cracks in the foundation of your home? How long has that chunk of concrete near your front doorstep been missing? One of the most stressful home repair processes homeowners experience is foundation repair. Foundation repair is a necessary process to prevent your home from settling unevenly and causing significant structural damage.

Most of the time, small vertical cracks in your foundation are normal. But, large horizontal or vertical cracks are signs of significant foundation damage.

If you think your foundation might need repair, it can be helpful and stress-relieving to understand exactly what the process entails.

Signs Your Foundation Needs Repair

All foundations settle over the course of time. Structural issues arise when a home settles unevenly.

Uneven settling often occurs in homes built on expansive soil. When the soil experiences a change in moisture, the soil expands and contracts in different places.

When the soil expands, it softens, causing part of the foundation to settle but not always the entire foundation. This uneven settling can cause cracks in the foundation and other damage.

In addition to being built on expansive soil, homes experience foundation issues from being built on improperly compacted fill soil or on an area with insufficient drainage.

If you live in an area that experiences extreme seasonal changes or natural disasters like earthquakes, flooding, and drought, it is likely you will have issues with your foundation over time.

Finally, plumbing leaks and tree roots growing near your home can cause foundation problems as well.

There are several noticeable signs your foundation may need repair. On the exterior of your home, you may notice:

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Displaced moldings
  • Cracked bricks
  • Wall rotation
  • Separation around the garage door

On the interior of your home, you may notice:

  • Cracked sheetrock
  • Uneven floors
  • Cracks in the floor
  • Misaligned doors and windows

To find out whether your foundation is in need of repair, take this simple foundation repair quiz.

What to Expect During the Repair Process

Foundation repair can be an intense process, it’s true. But failing to address foundation issues can lead to devastating consequences such as sunken floors, basement flooding, and ill-fitting windows and doors.

Knowing what to expect during each step of the foundation repair process can help to reduce stress and ensure realistic expectations.

Two of the most common foundation repair processes are pier and beam foundation repair and concrete slab foundation repair. Here is a detailed explanation of what you can expect from each process.

Pier and Beam Repair

Many homes in the San Antonio and Austin areas have pier and beam foundations instead of concrete slab foundations. Pier and beam foundations provide more stability for homes built on soft soil.

Pier and beam foundations are composed of two things. First, are the piers embedded in the soil underneath the home. Second, are the beams laid across the piers. These provide support for the home or structure.

Underneath a pier and beam foundation is often a crawl space that contains footings to further support the foundation.

There are a few different types of repairs done to pier and beam foundations. The simplest form of pier and beam repair is shimming.

Shimming is the process of tightening up any loose areas of the foundation. It is a mainly preventative measure. The shimming process involves pounding small wooden shims in between the piers and wooden beams.

If the interior piers are damaged, your contractor may need to rebuild or add pier stacks. It typically takes just a few days to add pier stacks to a foundation.

Sometimes the cause of your foundation issue is rotting wood beams. Replacing wood beam supports can be a simple or more lengthy process depending on the amount of damage.

If it’s the interior support areas that are most heavily affected by the foundation settling, your foundation repair may require adding underpinnings.

Concrete Slab Repair

When the concrete around your building starts to buckle, it can threaten the structural integrity of the foundation. To correct concrete slab foundation issues, a contractor will insert piers into the ground underneath the foundation.

We use hot-dip galvanized steel piers and use a gas-powered hydraulic pump to push the steel piers into the earth until they hit bedrock or they won’t go down any further

The best types of piers to use are helical piers and push piers.

Helical piers are made from steel. They are shaped like screws and help to ensure the even weight distribution of your home over the foundation.

Push piers are hollow steel pipes. These pipes get pushed into the earth under your foundation using a hydraulic pump until they hit bedrock which creates the resistance mass needed to keep the piers in place.

Foundation Stabilization

Foundation stabilization is the process of creating additional support to hold a home in the position it is already in. It is a matter of reinforcing the support structures of the foundation rather than lifting and leveling the foundation.

This is often done when a home has been recently remodeled and the homeowner doesn’t want to risk damaging the work that has been done.

Ideally, a homeowner would get any necessary foundation repair done before remodeling their home. Once the home is remodeled, it can be impossible to lift the foundation without damaging the remodeled features of the home.

Foundation experts recommend beginning renovations two to three months after the completion of any necessary foundation repairs. Waiting will allow the house to adjust and settle.

How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?

The cost of foundation repair is difficult to estimate. There are many factors that contribute to the overall cost. These factors include the amount of damaged foundation are, the ease of accessibility to the repair point, the chosen repair method, and any additional services and fees.

Will Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

It is impossible to make a blanket statement about whether insurance will cover the cost of foundation repair.

In Texas, the majority of homeowners insurance policies cover the cost of foundation repair. But only under certain circumstances. Most policies cover foundation repair in the event of fire, explosion, or water damage.

Consult a Foundation Specialist

Foundation Support Specialists is a family-owned and operated home improvement service providing solid and reliable foundation solutions around San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

Take the stress out of foundation repair and check out the foundation repair services Foundation Support Specialists offer or call (210) 267-8828 or (512) 971-2011 to learn more.

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