Connecting and Educating Homeowners with the Most Qualified and Pre-screened Foundation Repair Companies Nationwide

Need Info or Local Contractor? Call Us: 309-944-7296

AFFILIATIONS

Understanding Block Foundation Cracks

clock December 27, 2013 05:26 by author
Cracks can affect all types of foundations, including block foundations. By hiring a contractor to install a waterproofing system, you can stop the formation of cracks. Call My Foundation Repairs today to get in touch with a contractor near you!

It is common to have a block foundation in many areas around the country. Block foundations can, after time, experience cracking due to conditions around that foundation. Understanding what each type of crack is can lead to getting the correct fix for those crack types. Some block foundation cracks can be very serious and may require a costly fix if not taken care of right away. As a home or business owner, it is wise to inspect your foundation frequently and be on the lookout for cracks in your block foundation. 

It is also important to note that block foundation repairs usually should not be handled as a do it yourself project. It is important to consult a foundation specialist or engineer to make sure that your block foundation is fixed properly. Use our foundation engineer network to find a foundation repair expert in your area to make sure these block foundation cracks are fixed right the first time.

Block Foundation Crack Types

Horizontal Cracks

horizontal block foundation cracks

Horizontal cracks in your block foundation mean that there is pressure being put on the walls from the outside of the foundation. This pressure can come from water that is built up around your foundation. This hydrostatic pressure is a serious sign that your block foundation walls are under strain.

Your walls may begin bowing and leaning when there is too much pressure. If left untreated, this type of crack in your block foundation can lead to collapse or foundation failure. Wall anchors or carbon fiber strips can be installed to add long-lasting support to bowing and leaning walls. These products can be installed inside or outside the walls depending on the setup of your foundation. Carbon strips are considered a green solution and you won't even really notice that they are there. Wall anchors actually pull the walls back into their original position. Contact a professional to see what solution is right for you.

Vertical Cracks

vertical block foundation cracks

Vertical block foundation cracks are a sure sign of foundation settlement or heaving. These cracks form slowly but will widen over time due to the pressure of your home or business. If left untreated, they could allow water to enter the building.

The good news is that if you contact a foundation repair expert, there are foundation supports and underpinning products such as helical piers or push piers that can add that additional support needed when settlement and sinking occur. Cracks can be filled with epoxy injections or grouting solutions to seal the water out and prevent further water damage. It is always recommended to have a waterproofing solution in place as well in case you do get water in your basement. Waterproofing solutions such as sump pumps can help with the damage that might occur from water that comes in through vertical cracks. When you are fixing your foundation, ask your foundation specialist if they offer waterproofing solutions. You might be able to prevent further problems with your foundation if you have a proper drainage system installed on the interior and exterior of your home. Many foundation specialists offer both foundation repair solutions and waterproofing solutions. When you have both installed, you can be virtually guaranteed to not have further problems with your foundation in the future.

Stair Step Cracks

stair step cracks block foundation

Sometimes, when settlement or sinking occurs with your foundation, it doesn't occur evenly. This causes stair step cracks in your block foundation. This is a serious problem that should be looked at promptly. Underpinning and piering products add support in the right places when your foundation is shifting unevenly. Remember that grouting and epoxy injections can also be used to seal cracks to prevent water leakage in the future so you don't have any water stains or a wet basement.

Be Cautious with DIY Foundation Repair

When you search the internet or watch do it yourself shows on TV, sometimes it seems that foundation problems can be fixed simply by caulk or by mortar. We would not recommend this.

The best thing you can do as a home or business owner is to be vigilant when it comes to your foundation. Inspect it frequently. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris so they function correctly. Make sure water flows away from your foundation. Install waterproofing systems and drainage to control the level of water in your soil. But remember, there are many other factors to the health of your foundation than just too much water! If the soil is too dry, it will shrink away from your foundation causing a lack of support for block foundation walls. Soil that was poorly compacted around the foundation can cause settlement as well. The foundation of your home or business is the most important factor in safety and health of that structure. Protect it, and make sure it is repaired the right way by a foundation expert. 

Solutions for Block Foundation Repair

Each foundation is different so each solution will be different as well. Depending on the weight of the structure, helical piers or piles or slab piers, as well as other underpinning products, can be installed beneath the active layer of soil around your foundation, deep into the earth. This provides long lasting support for the structure. Some foundation repairs are cosmetic. A reputable foundation repair company will let you know this. In these cases, it may just be grout of epoxy injections that need to be performed to seal up the cracks in the foundation. Get in touch with the right foundation repair team through My Foundation Repairs, and get started on the road to a healthy foundation today. Remember that knowing what you are up against is half the battle. The other half is knowing who to turn to resolve the problem. Get started today!



Causes and Signs of Failed Foundations

clock November 14, 2013 12:32 by author blogadmin
Know the causes and signs of foundation failure so you can protect your family and home.

Foundation problems can be caused by both homeowners and mother nature. No matter if you've lived in the same home for years or have purchased a newer home, it is good to know the causes and signs of a failing foundation. Unfortunatly, mother nature can cause foundations to fail and a home owner can't do much about it. Knowing the signs and getting your foundation fixed by a professional foundation contractor early can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Foundation problems don't go away on their own, they only get worse.

Causes of foundation problems that lead to failure

Most foundation problems are caused by the soil surrounding a home. Throughout the year the soil expands and contracts from moisture and temperature levels. Foundations fail when there is too much water or not enough. Sections of the soil can have different moisture levels causing the soil to swell and shrink at various locations. Some sections of the soil can become much drier or wetter than other parts causing stress on your home's foundation. These inconsistencies in the soil generally result from overloading, poor water management, faulty compaction, abundance of organic materials, and erosion.


Transpiration
The soil dehydrates from tree roots beneath the home. The soil shrinks because of this loss of moisture. The soil shrinkage causes homes to settle. 

Plumbing Leaks
Water can seep into the soil from leaky pipes. This causes too much water in the soil and can contribute to unneeded stress on yWater from leaour home's foundation.


Drainage
Poor drainage both on the exterior and interior of your home's foundation can cause exess moisture to build up in the soil. This may cause soil heaving. 

Poor Building Site Preparation
Commonly on building sites soil is removed from part of a building and piled on other soil. The soil needs proper stabilization before the structure is built; otherwise the soil may move below the structure.

Common Ways Homeowners Cause Foundation Falure

  • Overwattering lawns - this is common way to create the ununiform areas of wet and dry soil
  • Planting Too Close To House - It is important to keep plans a safe distance from the foundation, usually more than 5 feet. Roots can cause soil moisture differences and can also grow into the home's foundation.
  • Swimming Pools - seepage from a swimming pool can leak into the soil causing increased pressure on the foundation.
  • Gutters and Downspouts - gutters and downspouts not installed correctly can lead water directly down to your foundation. Be sure to fix leaky gutters and draw water away from the home.
  • Interior Remodeling - large changes to your home's structure can put pressure on your foundation. Hire a professional contractor to ensure the foundation can handle the structural changes.

 

A foundations movement and cracking may result from a wide range of hidden factors, which may include:

Swelling or Shrinking of clays caused by changes in moisture content

Compression of the ground as a result of the applied foundation loads

Soil softening

Frost heave

Improper back filling of the foundation

Variation in groundwater levels

Erosion or undermining of the foundation

Vibration from nearby construction

Hydrostatic Pressure on the foundation

Inadequate design of basement walls, footings and slabs traditionally account for 75 to 85 percent of all problems in homes built upon expansive clay soils. These failures are generally divided between two broad classes of failure – lateral pressure and differential settlement. Both classes of failure generally have few primary causative factors.

Lateral pressures on basement walls have four likely sources:

Pressure from soil weights

Pressure from soil swelling

Hydrostatic pressure

Pressure from frost

It is not difficult to identify lateral pressure, but accurately quantifying the  source is very difficult and should only be handled by a qualified engineer. The inward bowing of a basement or retaining wall is the simplest indication of lateral pressure. The bowing generally occurs when the external forces exceed the wall strength. The maximum bowing will often occur near the center of the wall because the adjoining perpendicular walls provide support in the corners. If bowing becomes severe, these walls can collapse inward.
 
           

Cracking can occur when lateral pressure exceeds the strength of the concrete or block wall. The most common crack pattern begins in the corners and move up or down at 45 degree angles in concrete walls. For block walls, the cracks move along the mortar joints in a stair step pattern. Often these cracks end at a long horizontal fracture that parallels the basement floor.
 

Lateral pressures may affect the overall integrity of a house. Severe structural damage results in a visible opening between the top of the basement wall and the structure. Since water is one of the main causes of these cracks, water infiltration becomes significant in the largest of the cracks. Filling these cracks with epoxy, without solving the water problem, only moves the lateral pressure to another section of the wall.

The difference of the outside ground level and the basement floor creates a mass of soil that must be retained thus causing a lateral pressure. Picture a walk out basement or tall retaining wall. The pressure of soil weight is typically considered during the design of an engineered wall using theoretical earth pressures.

Soils with heavy clay content undergo a change in volume when the moisture content of the soil changes. When expansive clays are placed against basement walls, the swelling of these soils can induce lateral pressures not accounted for in the original design. Cyclic shrink/swell can also reduce the shear strength of the backfill and thus increase the lateral pressures. The solution to this problem can be as easy as replacing clay backfill with gravel or other non-swelling material. When used in conjunction with a footing drain, gravel will prevent increased lateral pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure is pressure exerted by a fluid due to its weight. Hydrostatic pressure against a basement wall develops when water fills voids or “ponds” within backfill immediately adjacent to the wall. This water buildup can cause dripping, seepage, dampness or efflorescence (salt residual). Leakage during heavy rains or poorly designed/maintained drainage increase hydrostatic pressure. Like soil swell, hydrostatic pressure is not typically considered during design and construction of basement walls.

Water that accumulates in backfill and then becomes frozen may cause a large amount of lateral pressure on basement walls. Severe damage can result from frost causing lateral pressures much greater than even hydrostatic pressure. The expansive natures of water crystals have been know to create catastrophic structural damage.

Backfill, that is heavily laden with clay, present long term lateral soil pressure problems. Their cohesive nature makes it practically impossible to re-compact them to a uniform moisture content and density. Clay backfills require significantly stronger basement walls to withstand the larger horizontal pressures. The obvious solution is to backfill with non-cohesive aggregate with proper drainage.

Structural settlement is characterized as either total and /or differential settlement. Total settlement is a complete structure downward movement. Differential settlement is the difference in vertical movement between various locations causing structure distortion. Generally, total settlement is not a critical factor as long as it is uniform. Utility connections are affected to the greatest degree by total settlement. Even relatively small differential settlements can cause cracks in floor slabs, brick walls and drywall.
 
           

Some amount of settlement can be tolerated in most homes provided it is within specified limits. Small amounts of settlements are anticipated in most design work. When homes experience excessive settlement special procedures must be employed to stop or limit the amount of settlement. These special procedures usually employ the use of steel piers or helical anchors. A underpinning procedures.




Different Types of Home Foundations

clock October 28, 2013 10:13 by author
There are different types of foundations, so choose the right foundation to avoid settlement and slab cracks.

Home Foundations

Home FoundationsThough most home foundation are made of concrete, there are a few key differences in the many variations. Some factors that affect what type of foundation you should choose for your home include the soil type in the area, the climate, and the size and design of your home itself. Some soils require a home to have a very deep rooted foundation, while other soils are better at supporting the structure. Also, some types of foundation are not able to withstand cold weather or flood conditions as well as other types. Choose the right foundation to avoid foundation problems such as a sinking or settling foundation, or slab cracks.

The most common type of home foundation is a poured concrete foundation. There are many types of concrete foundations, including the slab foundation, and the basement foundation. In a slab foundation, a concrete slab that makes the foundation is poured onto a bed of crushed gravel. This improves drainage and makes the foundation ideal for areas where the ground does not freeze in the wintertime. A basement foundation is a bit different. This concrete foundation rests in a hole in the ground and is supported by concrete footings, which are poured pads that serve as a base for the walls. These footings are both wider and longer than the walls and work much like feet in distributing the weight of the wall and the above structure. They are often used in places that have cold winters.

The next type of home foundation is the crawlspace. This space is located between the bottom of your home and the soil, and is usually just tall enough for your to crawl into. This type of foundation is great for areas with lots of clay in the soil. They are also one of the most affordable types of foundation. A crawlspace does, however, need to be insulated to prevent water damage from occurring.

Home Foundation Options for Every Situation

For use in areas where the winters are very cold, a frost-protected foundation is the suitable choice. These foundations are usually T-shaped and the footings extend deep below the frost line to provide extra support for the slab. Frost-protected foundations can, however, be installed without digging below the frost line. These are called frost-protected shallow foundations (FPSF), and use insulated concrete to protect the foundation from the cold.

In areas that are prone to flooding, a raised foundation is best. There are two types of raised foundations: pier-and-beam and stem wall. Both require lots of care and planning, as they must protect against water as well as support the weight of the structure. A pier-and-beam foundation works by using concrete or brick blocks reinforced with footings. These blocks are placed about 8-12 inches apart to raise the home above the flood line. Stem wall foundations are similar, but instead of having spaced footings, they have continuous footings.

Permanent wood foundations are another type of foundation. They are recommended by many manufacturers as an alternative to crawlspace, basement, and stem wall foundations. This type of foundation is made of lightweight, preservative-treated, decay-resistant wood. Because they do not require concrete pouring or casting, permanent wood foundations are convenient and easy to install. They are also moisture resistant and easier to insulate than other types of home foundations.

To decide what type of foundation is best for you and your home, talk to a professional structural engineer. My Foundation Repair can connect you with some of the best in the business. Let us help you out today!

 



FIND A CONTRACTOR IN YOUR AREA

CHOOSE STATE:

Month List

Sign in


Go Back to MyFoundationRepairs.com    RSS comment feed RSS