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Types of Basement Construction

clock February 11, 2015 10:52 by author

Types of Basement Construction

There are several types of basement construction. The basement foundation of a home provides the strength to keep the home and foundation standing in all types of weather and environmental changes. There are three types of basement construction that are the most common. These are:

  • Poured concrete
  • Block, masonry walls
  • Precast panels

Poured concrete basement are the most common and the choice that most people prefer. This type of basement construction starts by pouring footing for the basement foundation. After these are set, forms are used to hold the poured concrete wall in place as they dry. Poured concrete walls tend to be stronger than other types of basement walls.

A block or masonry wall is the least expensive for basement walls. This type of basement wall construction are made from cinder blocks. This method requires less time than other methods of basement construction. To increase the durability of this type of basement construction, steel rebar is sometimes used to reinforce the masonry wall. 

Precast panel basement wall construction is the method where the walls are molded at another location. Then the walls are transported to the building and place on footers. This type of basement construction is quite strong but is not as commonly done as poured or block basements. 

No matter what type of basement wall you may have, each type has its own sets of problems that can arise. A block concrete basement wall will bow easier than other types due to the pressure against the walls that weakens the mortar joints. 

High hydrostatic pressure outside a poured concrete basement can cause water to seep through due to the pressure creating floor and wall cracks. 

Precast panel basement construction can have moisture problems if the joists are not properly sealed causing moisture vapor to get trapped in the panels. These panels can also attract insects unless they have been treated with boric acid.

Concrete Foundation Repair Solutions

No matter what type of basement concrete construction problem you may be having, the contractors at My Foundation Repairs has the solutions. We use only the best products for block foundation repair and any other type of concrete foundation. These products are manufactured byWall repair using wall plate anchors Earth Contact Products (ECP), the leader in foundadtion repair products in the industry.

To repair bowing basement walls, the contractors at My Foundation Repairs uses helical tieback anchors to pull the wall back to its original level. The installation is done by drilling a very small hole in the interior wall then with minimal outside excavation, the wall is pulled back to its original level. These helical tieback anchors also strengthens the wall so that there won't be any future bowing or leaning. 

Wall plate anchors are used to provide supplemental lateral force to stabilize basement walls and retaining walls. These wall plate anchors have a simple effective design which allows the repair to be completed quickly. There is minimal disturbance to landscaping. 

For any of your concrete foundation repair needs, let the professionals at My Foundation Repairs offer you the best repair solution for your needs. With our experience and using the best products in the industry, you can be assured that the repair will last a lifetime. Contact My Foundation Repairs today.



Cold Effects on Foundations | My Foundation Repairs

clock January 13, 2015 08:05 by author
Cold weather can have a huge affect on concrete foundations causing frost heave. If you notice foundation damage, hire foundation repair contractor to assess your property.

Ice Effects: How Cold Affects Concrete Foundations

cold weather affects concrete foundationsIf you live a cold climate with freezing temperatures, cold weather can have a major impact on concrete foundations. A cracked concrete foundation can result to leaks, wall cracks, and other structural damage. Uncovered foundations that are exposed to the air can freeze the ground several feet, causing frost heave under pavements, homes and buildings. The end results are destructive structures and serious foundation problems, causing you to spend money on major repairs. The best solution is to reduce frost penetration and keep water out of the soil. It is important to know what frost heaving is so you can prevent it.

Unfortunately, foundation damage can occur even before the temperature reaches the freezing point. If the temperature falls below 40 degrees for three consecutive days, the likelihood for foundation damage is high. 

So what is frost heaving and why is it destructive? Frost heaving is caused by freezing temperatures that can damage structures in two ways. 

  • Cold temperatures cause ice to freeze beneath the concrete foundation producing frost heave. Frost heaving is the movement of the soil due to the formation of ice lenses. Ice lenses are long crystals formed by layers of ice within the ground.  
  • The other way is the ground collapsing which is caused by thawing ice lenses. 

Both could affect structures causing vertical ground movement, shifting foundations, unlevel foundations, and cracks in the structure.  Foundation walls, floors, footings, retaining walls, slab pavements and other structures can be seriously affected.

So how does frost heave work? In order for frost heave to occur, there must be freezing temperatures, water and frost susceptible soil. All three conditions must be present. The process involves the following steps:

  1. When the ground freezes, it starts from the top. Since the frozen area of the ground is much harder than the unfrozen area, it locks the foundation in place. As the ground continues to freeze, the freezing process progresses downwards causing the soil below to lift the top layers. This pulls the foundation up, creating gaps and spaces beneath the foundation.
  2. The ground beneath the foundation moves, filling the gaps and spaces that have opened up. The unfrozen area under the foundation eventually freezes.
  3. As the weather warms up, the ground thaws causing the foundation to come back down. Because the space under the foundation is partially filled, it doesn't go back down to its original position.

How To Prevent Frost Heave

Frost heave is an act of nature, therefore it cannot be totally eradicated. However, it can be prevented. Frost heaving mainly occurs in low-lying areas in the ground where there are depressions or dips. In order to prevent frost heaving, reduce the amount of water in the soil to prevent freezing from occurring by combining the soil with compost. Also, apply mulch into the soil to help regulate the temperature in the ground. There are also other methods to preventing heaving such as:

  • Driving the footing deep into the soil
  • Create a 'bell' shaped fitting at the bottom of the footing to prevent the soil from moving the footing
  • Install reinforcing steel in the middle of the concrete slab

There are a variety of methods used by foundation contractors. Find the best preventative method for your property to eliminate the affects of frost heave. If you have visible damage caused by frost heaving in your concrete foundation, contact a foundation repair professional to assess your damages. They will determine the cause and provide the best repair method for the situation.



Concrete Foundation Cracks

clock February 13, 2012 05:01 by author
Foundation cracks don't just magically disappear. Hire a foundation contractor to find out the severity and cause of your foundation cracks.

Is That Foundation Crack Serious?

Concrete Foundation Cracks, Foundation Repair, ECP

In a recent article by Christopher Solomon, Is that crack serious? Foundation problems 101, the seriousness of foundation cracks was addressed. This article spoke to the severe drought that began in Southwest Texas and slowly expanded to cover, Oklahoma City, Wichita and Kansas City. In its wake homes have settled, cracked and crumbled due to the soil drying out. The article went on to report - "The drought that some are comparing to the Dust Bowl has homes rockin' and rollin' as the parched ground beneath them cracks and settles. Homeowners are watering foundations - to keep their abode in place - and forgetting about their grass"

Being in the industry of foundation repair I have noticed the effects from this most recent drought. As the drought has grown the demand for foundation repair products has grown with it. Calls from foundation repair contractors have expanded in volume, frequency and territory. By watching the phone calls you could see how the drought slowly moved from San Antonio, San Angelo and Lubbock to Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton then slowly towards Oklahoma City and Muskogee followed by Wichita, Emporia and Kansas City. More and more homes have been affected by the drought causing them to settle and crack. The soil has been so devoid of moisture that it and anything set upon it has settled downward at an alarming rate. It has affected slab on grade homes, pier and beam homes and full basement homes with equal abandon.

Solomon goes on to explain "The reason: a black gunbo clay that was brought down during the last Ice Age". It also exists in the Atlanta area and in pockets elsewhere, including St. Louis and Denver. But even bedrock can move. The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that one-quarter of the nation's homes have suffered damage caused by expanding soil". With numbers like this it is easy to see what a serious problem we have throughout the Midwest and beyond. As with any major weather event homeowners are subjected to unscrouplous contractors and bad advice. Be very careful of contractors that are very aggressive or new to he industry. They do not care about your home like you do and will be off to swindle the next homeowner after they have collected your money. The best way to protect yourself and your home is to hire a professional foundation engineer to oversee any and all foundation repairs. Often this expense is not only something that gives you peace of mind but also can save you money by preventing bad contractors from doing more damage.

Foundation cracks are not something that goes away or fixes itself. The severity and cause of the cracks needs to be addressed by a professional foundation repair contractor or professional engineer. Then the right solution can be applied you your home to stabilize, lift or straighten your homes foundation. This is a highly specialized field to requires high quality products, professional training and a company that will stand behind what they do for years to come. This does not mean that the best solution is a written warranty that promises the moon in the large print and penalizes you in the fine print, but a written document provided by the foundation contractor that states he will stand behind his work and uphold his reputation. Dont fall prey to "lifetime warranties" that require arbitration and other tactics of poor contractors. If you have a future problem you need to know that the company will be around and willing to fix any unexpected problems willingly.

What to Look For

Later in the article Solomon goes on to say "Horizontal cracks across the foundation are often serious. Horizontal cracks are caused by hydrostatic pressure - basically, too much water behind the foundation. It pushes on the foundation". "Here's a tip: Look down the outside of your house. Does the home appear to be hanging over the foundation, especially in the middle, as if the home is too big for it's foundation? That's a tell-tale sign." On the other hand, a vertical crack often indicates a more serious problem. Vertical cracks often are indicators of settlement, like what comes during extreme droughts. Is the crack wider at the top than the bottom? If so this is a classic sign of settlement. As the foundation tries to settle the concrete foundation starts cracking and starts "tearing" the wall from the top down. First and second floor windows and doors will start sticking, windows will become harder to open and close and drywall cracks will start popping up. These classic signs are indicators that you need to find professional help immediately. 

 



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