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Foundation Repair – Bottle Jacks are BAD!

clock April 27, 2009 10:14 by author blogadmin
Don't repair you foundation by using bottle jacks. A professional can stabilize and support your foundation by installing quality foundation repair products.

For many people foundation repairs are a necessary evil when they are having settling or heaving problems with their home. Most are not up to speed on the technical aspects of structurally repairing their homes basement or foundation, so they look through the phone book or go online and look for a repair expert in their area. With little knowledge or research a foundation repair contractor is chosen based on price or convenience. This is where problems can start, the lack of knowledge is the enemy of quality workmanship.

 

Quality foundation repair contractors have years of experience and a host of quality products and employees at their disposal so that they can apply the best solution to your homes unique situation. The bad contractors base their business on price and convenience. They are able to install their pier systems very quickly and inexpensively because they are adapting your situation to their foundation repair solution and equipment. No thought is given to the real factors involved with structurally stabilizing a basement or foundation.

 

These real world factors include:

            Structural weight

            Structural elevations

            Structural strength of the current foundation

            Pier system capacities

            Synchronized lifting

            Soil properties

            Drainage and water runoff

 

One of the simplest methods to see if you are receiving a quality foundation repair is to inquire about the equipment to be used on your repair. Many low cost, fly-by-night contractors use simple bottle jacks (car jacks) is drive pier sections into the soil. They will then use these same car jacks in an attempt to stabilize your home. This should throw up a red flag to all homeowners. If the contractor will not spend money on quality, engineer approved equipment they most likely will not repair your home in a quality, engineer approved manner.

 

 

While a relatively simple manner to filter out poor installing contractors, it is a good rule of thumb to narrow down your choices. Simply put, bottle jacks are great for temporary support of cars, beams and trailers but when being used for foundation repairs they can cause damage to a homes foundation. Bottle jacks have no pressure gauge to regulate the pressure being applied to a foundation, only a crude mechanical means for adjustment. Bottle jacks have a very small head or saddle, which presses against your foundation when the mechanical pump is depressed. This greatly increases the stress on a foundation causing cracks and possible ruptures in the footing or wall. Increasing the square inches of contact area greatly reduces the applied force on the foundation. Most quality foundation pier systems accomplish this by using a steel bracket with a large surface area for the footing to rest on attached to a specifically designed hydraulic cylinder.

 

The lack of a pressure gauge is another deficiency of bottle jacks. With now means of measuring the force applied to the foundation there is no way of knowing if the foundation can sustain this force. Quality structural repair systems have a gauge and valve to measure and limit the hydraulic forces applied to your home. When lifting a structure, multiple heavy duty hydraulic cylinders and valve banks are used to complete a synchronized lift. This way the foundation is supported and lifted evenly, as not to apply unequal forces on a structure.

 

It should now be obvious why engineers and quality foundation repair contractors do not implement bottle jacks to repair your homes foundation. So when you start your research for a foundation repair contractor start with this one easy filter and narrow your choice from there.



Your Homes Deck is Only as Good as it’s Foundation

clock April 21, 2009 18:50 by author blogadmin
Helical piers are used in deck construction so you can save on lumber, concrete and installation costs.

We have all heard the old adage “It is only as strong as its foundation”. This particularly true with your home and the additions that you make to it. When adding a deck to your home, using helical anchors for its foundation gives you the security of a deep foundation with the ease of installing a helical soil screw. For years helical piles have been used in the new home construction and boardwalk industry due to their ease of use and material savings. This same technique is now being used in deck construction for many reasons including ease of installation, all weather installation and simply economics.

The old fashioned method of buying extra long and expensive deck posts and concrete is being replaced with simple steel helical foundations. Helical foundations are a steel shaft that has a helix shaped flight welded to its leading end that uses installation torque as an indication of capacity. These helical anchors come in many sizes, configurations and lengths. The anchor is turned into the soil via a hydraulic gear motor that is either attached to a small machine, such as a skid steer or even installed by specialized hand held equipment. The gear motor slowly turns the helix into the soil until it is significantly embedded past the upper active regions of soil. After installation a simple steel bracket is attached between the steel foundation and the deck posts.

Gone are the days when we need to excavate soils and fight the placement of deck posts. If a helical anchor is installed in the wrong place they can simply be reversed out of the soil and placed in the correct position without having to backfill the hole. Gone also is the need for concrete mixing and filling around posts. The helical piles install with minimal disturbance to the soil so backfilling and concrete is not required. And lastly, gone are the days of watching your buried deck posts rot away due to water and termites.

On your next deck project save on lumber, concrete and installation costs by using helical anchors as the preferred method of foundation building. You will now have the confidence that your new wood deck with last for many backyard barbeques and neighborhood gatherings for friends and family.



Bowing Basement Walls and Solutions

clock April 16, 2009 07:19 by author blogadmin
Wall anchors are a cost effective solution to repair bowing or leaning basement walls. They also cause little disturbance to your home and lawn.

Basement wall cracks create basement water problems.

April showers bring May basement wall problems. Tax day has come and gone but the spring rains continue creating high water tables and hydrostatic pressure on our basement walls. This water exerts undesigned pressure on our basement walls causing cracks, bowed walls and structurally unsafe conditions. While the first step is always to manage the water, the second step is now our concern. This step is to restore the basement wall to a structurally sound state in a cost effective manner using engineered products designed for this situation and installed by foundation repair professionals.

Wall plate anchors are a viable solution for many block and poured concrete walls that are bowing or leaning inward. These wall plate anchors use the untouched, virgin soils in your yard to anchor your basement wall. This system has many advantages including:

  • Minimal disturbance to your home and lawn
  • Quickly installed
  • All weather installation
  • Cost effective
  • Easily concealed (for basement finishing)

The use of wall anchors can be used many times instead of the costly alternative of removing and replacing foundation walls. The process is a relatively simple process for a quality foundation repair expert. The following is the steps that foundation repair expert follow when installing wall anchors.

  • Estimate wall loads
  • Match wall anchor to load
  • Remove exterior sod at anchor placements
  • Drill or dig exterior anchor hole
  • Penetrate basement wall to allow anchor rod placement
  • Drive anchor rod and connect to anchor plate
  • Attached wall plate to anchor rod
  • Backfill anchor plate hole
  • Tension wall anchor assembly
  • Document wall tension and original wall bow
  • Cleanup and seal against potential water leaks

 

So if your home has bowing or leaning basement walls contact a foundation repair expert to help you solve your problems today.



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