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Be Your Own Inspector for Your Foundation

clock October 23, 2013 06:04 by author
To prevent foundation failure, be your own inspector. Check for concrete cracks, poor drainage, water leaks, and the vegetation around your home.

Foundation Inspection and Foundation Failure

Every home will eventually need a new roof, new paint or routine cleaning. Homes are an expensive investment that requires routine maintenance. Every homeowner should take care of their investment as best as you can. At My Foundation Repairs, we can help you maintain your investment by providing you with tools of knowledge so you can maintain the value of your home. At My Foundation Repairs, we urge our clients to inspect four areas of their home. These four areas include concrete/slab cracks, drainage, vegetation, and water leaks. We are your foundation inspection and foundation failure service provider.

Inspect Your Concrete and Slab Cracks

First, inspect concrete/slab cracks and separations. As the foundation of the home ages, so does the concrete. You may start to notice small cracks, but there should not be cracks or separations if your home is new. Homes that are 10 years old should only have a hairline crack. As your home ages, you may notice wider cracks. Typically homes older than 10 years, may have deep foundation cracks. You may also start to notice garage column cracks or gaps around the doors/windows. If you start to notice these foundation repair signs, don't be alarm. Contact our team of professionals so we can provide a foundation inspection.

Inspect Your Drainage System

Do you have drainage problems in your home? Proper drainage is the second area of inspection. This area of inspection can be very hard to assess because small foundation cracks are usually not visible. Look at the drainage pattern on the exterior of your home. Are your gutters clean from debris or leaves? Are your drain spouts in place? Start by removing all the debris in your gutters to redirect the water away from the foundation. Water can accumulate around the home causing potential foundation damage. Our team of professionals can install a drainage system to divert the draining water.

Sloping lawns and shifting soil can also cause settling foundation and structural repairs. A downward slope can cause poor drainage resulting to water pools. Professional waterproofing contractors can install an interior or exterior drainage system into the ground away from the foundation. For shifting soil, they can support your foundation beneath your home. Our service teams can be your foundation inspection and foundation failure providers.

Inspect Your Vegetation

To find out if your home needs foundation repairs, inspect the vegetation around your home. Your beautiful plants might be a pleasant sight to look at and cause an unpleasant disaster. Over time, they can destroy your foundation if they are closer than 20 feet of your home. The roots draw in water from the soil causing  soil shrinkage. This process damages the foundation. Also, make sure your trees and shrubs aren't adjacent to your property. Trees that are growing next to your foundation can also cause problems. Foundation contractors can inspect your foundation and prevent foundation failure.

Inspect All Water Leaks

Expanding soil can cause foundation failure. Check all the water sources in and around your home which include swimming pools, fountains, leaking pipes, and sprinkler systems. Make sure all water connections are secure from dripping faucets and condensation drip pipes. If they are not functioning properly, repair these problems as soon as possible.

By inspecting your home in these four areas, you can help stop further damage to your foundation. These inspection recommendations are to help you inspect your home's exterior. At My Foundation Repairs, we will make sure you receive free estimates if you think your home needs attention. We are your foundation inspection and foundation failure service provider.



What the Cracks in Your Foundation and Walls Mean

clock October 22, 2013 11:23 by author
Homes with or without basements can develop wall cracks due to foundation issues. Contact a professional so they can determine if you need foundation repairs.

Common Foundation Cracks

Whether or not you have a basement, your home could be in danger of developing foundation or wall cracks. If your home is sinking or settling, you may find that cracks are beginning to form in the foundation. A sinking or settling foundation could cause cracks to form in the basement walls. Sometimes, voids form beneath your foundation, removing support from that part of the foundation and putting pressure on it. This causes the foundation to shift and crack. These voids often occur if the soil beneath the foundation was not properly compacted during construction of your home. They can also be formed by erosion or soil shrinkage in drought conditions. Soil expansion due to excess water can also cause cracks, as the more water the soil absorbs, the more the hydrostatic pressure builds up and puts stress on the foundation.

Foundation Crack Solutions, Wall Cracks, Foundation CracksNormally, cracks in your slab foundations indicate a settling or sinking foundation. If this is the case, the best solution is to use foundation underpinning methods to raise the foundation back to it's original position. The most common types of underpinning are done with steel push piers or helical piers. Both types of piers work in much the same way; they are driven into stable soil deep in the ground and the weight of the structure is transferred onto them. The main difference between these two types of piers is that while steel push piers are merely driven into the ground, helical piers are screwed in to provide a bit of extra stability. Other methods to fix slab cracks could be to fill the voids beneath the foundation by pressure grouting. This will stabilize your foundation and prevent more cracks from forming. If these methods do not completely close the cracks in your foundation, they can be filled or sealed with an epoxy or polyurethane grout.

Basement Wall Crack Repair Options

Basement wall cracks can also be a symptom of foundation failure. There are many different types of wall cracks, and different types indicate different foundation problems, usually bowing walls or settling foundations. Bowing walls are usually caused either by a settling foundation (especially if they are bowing outward), or by excess pressure from the soil around them. They can be fixed with the use of plate anchors or helical tiebacks, which provide lateral counter-pressure for bowing wall. If you find a wall crack in your basement walls, identify what type it is and contact a foundation repair contractor immediately to discuss repair options. The following list describes a variety of wall cracks and what they might mean.

  • Vertical - Settlement or Heaving
  • Horizontal - Bowing
  • Angled - Settlement
  • Angled and Horizontal - Bowing
  • Horizontal and Vertical - Bowing or Settlement
  • Converging in Center - Bowing or Settlement
  • Stair Step(usually in block or brick walls) - Settlement or Heaving
  • Wider at the Top - Side Settlement
  • Wider at the Bottom - Center Settlement

Cracks in your foundation or basement walls are an indication of serious foundation issues and should not be ignored. If you find a crack in your foundation, it could mean that your foundation is settling and needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Cracks in your basement walls most likely mean that you are suffering from either a sinking foundation or bowing walls. My Foundation Repairs can help connect you to a professional foundation repair contractor in your area.

 



Cracked Foundation Repair with Steel Push Piers

clock January 16, 2012 04:19 by author
Steel Push Piers are the most popular form of foundation repair for settling homes. When installed by trained foundation repair contractors steel push piers will provide years of structural support.

Foundation Repair using Steel Push Piers

Foundation repair, steel push piers

One of the advantages of using push piers (resistance piers) for foundation repair is that they use quiet vibration free hydraulic equipment to  install the steel resistance piers. All of the installation equipment is highly portable and can be easily transported on the jobsite. After all of the steel push piers are installed and load tested, the structure can be immediately restored or lifted by transferring the load of the home to the piers. There's no time wasted, waiting for concrete to cure, and no soil to remove from the site. A measured factor of safety is verified, as the piers are 100% load tested to a force greater than the actual working load. This all means that you will get verified structural support for many years when you require steel push piers to be used on your home’s foundation.

Remember to always consult with an independent professional engineer before starting any structural foundation repairs and these repairs should only be performed by trained foundation repair contractors.

Steel Push Piers Installation

Below, the following steps the typical installation procedure for the largest selling Steel Push Piers:

1. Site survey: Pier placements are located around the structure and the location of underground utilities verified.

2. steel push piersExcavation: Small excavations or the entire perimeter is dug for access at each placement location. The space required at the foundation is usually about 3 feet square.

3. Prep of the foundation: This includes notching the concrete footing to place the push pier bracket under the stem wall, preparing the bearing area under the footing to a smooth and level condition, and adjusting the face of the stem wall to vertical at the point of bracket attachment.

4. Bracket Attachment: The steel resistance pier bracket is secured to the footing using anchor bolts. Attachment of the drive stand and the hydraulic cylinder that is used to force the pier pipe into the soil is mounted on the drive stand.

5. Push Pier Pipe Installation: The steel pier pipe is advanced into the soil using the structure as the reaction force with a 10,000 psi hydraulic pump and cylinder combination. The piers may be installed from outside or inside the structure. Pier installation continues until rock or suitable bearing-strata is encountered below the unstable soil near the surface.

6. Load Test: Every resistance pier is load tested by increasing the force on the pier to insure the rock or bearing-strata will support a load greater than needed to guarantee a factor of safety. Typically an engineer will determine the load of the structure and the desired factor of safety before the load tests are performed.

7. cracked foundation repairPreps for Restoration: Once all push piers have been installed, load tested, and the installation data at each placement recorded; lifting head assemblies and hydraulic lifting rams are placed on the steel piers. The lifting cylinders are connected with one or more manifolds and operated using a hydraulic pump.

8. Restoration: Under careful supervision, the load is transferred from the existing failing strata under the foundation, to the load tested piers. The structure can be transferred gently and evenly lifted to as close to the original elevation or to the recommendation of the engineer. The nuts at the pier caps are secured at each placement and the lifting equipment is removed.

9. Clean Up: The soil that was excavated at each steel push pier placement is now replaced and compacted. The site is left clean and neat.

Foundation Repair Solutions

If you have noticed cracks in your drywall, brick or foundation you might need steel push piers to provide structural support foundation repairs. Whether your foundation is concrete block, poured concrete or composed of stone, steel push piers should be your first choice as a foundation repair solution. Foundation repair or structural underpinning projects, with steel push piers, are usually completed in just days, not weeks.



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