A sinking foundation is a serious issue that can damage your home if left unaddressed. Foundation Support Specialists, a trusted foundation repair company serving Texas communities, is here to help you understand the warning signs of a sinking foundation and the necessary repair solutions.
In this article, we will highlight signs that may indicate your foundation is sinking, how to address foundation settlement, and why it’s crucial to address the issue as soon as you notice the signs.
What is a Sinking Foundation?
A sinking foundation refers to a situation where the soil beneath a building’s foundation settles or shifts, causing the foundation to sink unevenly. This can result in various structural problems and compromise the stability of the entire building.
Signs your foundation is sinking include:
- Uneven floors: Noticeable sloping or sagging in certain areas of your home should be mentioned to a foundation specialist.
- Floor cracks: Cracks appearing in the floor, especially if they are widening over time, can result from settling.
- Sticking doors and windows: Difficulty in opening or closing doors and windows due to misalignment is often due to sinking or settling.
- Cracked exterior bricks: Visible cracks in the exterior bricks or mortar joints often appearing in a stair-step pattern can indicate settling.
- Cracked or tilting chimney: A leaning or cracked chimney indicates foundation movement. Similarly, a chimney pulling away from interior walls can indicate foundation settling.
What Causes a Sinking Foundation?
Several factors can contribute to a sinking foundation. Understanding the causes can help you identify potential issues and take appropriate action.
Expansive soils, such as clay, can absorb water and expand, exerting pressure on the foundation. This expansion and contraction cycle can lead to foundation movement and sinking. This can happen rapidly after a period of heavy rain or hot and dry conditions.
Improper drainage around the foundation can cause water to accumulate and saturate the soil. This can be the result of clogged or leaky gutters, clogged downspouts, or improper building. In these conditions, excessive moisture weakens the soil’s load-bearing capacity, leading to foundation settlement.
If the soil beneath the foundation is not properly compacted during construction, it can compress over time, causing the foundation to sink into the soil.
Clay soils have a high shrink-swell potential, expanding and shrinking when wet. Unfortunately, this type of soil is common throughout Texas, and this constant cycle can cause the foundation to shift and settle.
Large trees planted too close to the foundation can draw moisture from the soil, causing it to shrink and leading to foundation settlement. As the root system grows with the tree, these problems can worsen. In some cases like this, tree removal may become necessary.
Can You Fix a Sinking Foundation?
Yes, a sinking foundation can be fixed. Foundation Support Specialists offers effective solutions to stabilize and lift sinking foundations, restoring the structural integrity of your home.
How to Repair a Sinking Foundation
There are several methods used to repair a sinking foundation, depending on the specific needs of your home. We recommend these effective and innovative solutions for Texas homes:
Push piers are essentially long, strong tubes, often made from steel, that are hydraulically driven deep into the ground. The purpose is to reach a layer of soil or substrate that is stable enough to bear the weight of the structure. Once the tubes have reached a sufficient depth, a bracket is attached to your foundation footing. The pier is then used to lift the foundation back to its original level, effectively re-leveling the structure and providing support to prevent further sinking or settlement
Helical piers are similar to push piers but have one or more helical plates welded onto the shaft. These plates enable the pier to be screwed into the ground, rather than pushed. The helical plates allow the pier to cut through soil more easily, essentially ‘screwing’ into the ground until a stable substrate is reached. Once this depth is achieved, similar to push piers, a bracket is attached to the foundation to offer stability and support. Helical piers are often used in situations where soil conditions are challenging but still require less force than push piers for installation. They are ideal for lighter structures and are often used in new construction to preemptively prevent foundation issues.
Slab piers are specialized piers designed to support and stabilize concrete slab foundations. They are generally made from steel and may be either pushed or screwed into the ground.
Why Address Sinking Foundations Now
Worsening foundation issues can cause water damage, property damage, large cracks, and issues with doors and windows. When it comes time to sell a house, foundation issues can seriously detract from home values. It’s important to know what you’re dealing with before these issues worsen.
Contact Foundation Support Specialists for Sinking Foundation Solutions
If you notice any signs of a sinking foundation, don’t hesitate to reach out to Foundation Support Specialists. Our experienced team will assess your foundation for free, provide expert recommendations, and deliver reliable repair solutions tailored to your needs.
The duration of the repair process depends on various factors, such as the extent of the damage and the chosen repair method. Our team will provide you with an estimated timeline during the assessment. In many cases, we can complete a project within a few days.
It is highly recommended to consult a professional foundation repair company for sinking foundation issues. DIY attempts may worsen the problem and lead to further damage.
Proper maintenance, including regular inspection of your foundation, maintaining proper drainage, and avoiding planting trees too close to the house, can help prevent future foundation issues.
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