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Wet Basements and Spring Rains

clock March 12, 2009 14:02 by author blogadmin
Excess water in your basement can lead to foundation damage. Hire a foundation engineer so you can get quality service and permanently keep your home dry.

Spring Home Improvement - Part 2

 

Solving structural foundation problems can be accomplished with steel push piers, helical piers, plate anchors and helical tiebacks by foundation experts. The type and method of foundation repair should only be prescribed by a trained expert. High quality foundation repair methods can be installed very quickly with less inconvenience than other methods. Your foundation will be secured and the original elevation will be retrieved maintaining the original integrity of your home.

 

The next step is to make sure that rain water is not running down the outside of your foundation walls. The best approach is to start at the top and work your way down. At the top is your guttering and downspouts. Gutters need to be secured and cleaned so that rain runs toward downspouts freely. The downspouts then take the water down to ground level where they must be directed away from the foundation. This can be accomplished with splash blocks, extenders or an underground system that takes the water through a series of piping and out beyond the zone of influence.

 

Grading the soil downhill is the next step. This is a very important step in the process of eliminating water problems. Mulch and debris must be removed before adding a clayey soil slope out approximately ten feet from the structure. This gentle slope directs water away from the home and prevents water pooling and hydrostatic pressure on foundation walls. Any cracks or gaps between concrete driveways and slabs should be filled to prevent any water infiltration. These gaps are often overlooked by homeowners due to their small size and location. Water runs across the concrete and is funneled into these gaps causing large amounts of water causing erosion and undermining, which opens voids for water to rest. Preventing water from attacking your foundation is the first step to preventing the need for foundation repair solutions.

 

Upon completing these easy steps you will be able to enjoy your basement this spring and summer without worrying about unexpected flooding. If your home has a crawlspace, the area under your home will be dry and mold free without paying for an encapsulation system that traps large amounts of water and mold under a thin layer of plastic that only hides your real problem. Do not fall for the scare tactics and bad advertising, use these simple steps to permanently keep your home dry and structurally sound.

 

Always remember, hiring a foundation engineer is your best insurance to getting a high quality job done right and not being sold a very expensive band aid.

 



Wet Basements & Spring Rains

clock March 10, 2009 13:11 by author blogadmin
Heavy spring rains produce wet basements and crawlspaces. Inspect your foundation for water damages such as cracks and settlement to prevent flooding.

Spring Home Improvement - Part 1

 

With spring right around the corner, we all should start thinking about the potential for wet basements and crawlspaces. With spring come heavy and frequent rains.  These rains can and will create havoc under your home if you are not prepared. Gutters need cleaned, downspouts checked, sump pumps need checked, perimeter grading must be maintained and foundations need to be kept in good shape.

 The best sign that spring is right around the corner is the amount of waterproofing contractors advertising their latest, greatest interior water diverting system. These waterproofing contractors are the first to ignore the causes of water infiltration, only praying on the easy band aid fixes. These band aids include encapsulation, interior drain systems and super duper wonder sump pumps. These quick fixes do not address the problem only the symptom. You have to keep water away from your home and maintain your foundation if you want to have a dry basement or crawlspace.  

Look for the signs and your home will tell you what is happening. These signs include efflorescence, mold, cracks in drywall,  windows and doors that are sticky and water leakage. Once you know you have a problem your next step is to look for the cause. Causes include transpiration, plumbing leaks, poorly maintained gutters, drainage and poor soil conditions. Any of these can cause undue pressure on foundations which results in leaks and cracks. 

Checking your basement for cracks and leaks should be the first step in making sure that you will not end up with a wading pool in your basement. Whether you hire a qualified foundation engineer or a foundation repair expert your foundation needs to be thoroughly inspected for wall cracks and ruptures, bowed foundation walls, settling footings and walls along with other structural defects. These defects must be solved before the rains start to prevent your basement from flooding. Neglecting structural defects assures foundation problems in the future. 

A simple way of detecting whether your foundation is under structural stress is with crack monitoring. Crack monitors are simple devices that measure and record movement of foundations over a period of time. These simple products can help determine if foundation repairs are necessary or not. Not only are they simple to install and read, they also are fairly inexpensive. Just have one installed over a crack and record the movement over time to really see what the basement walls are doing.



Steel Push Pier Installation

clock March 2, 2009 11:55 by author blogadmin
Settled foundations composed of stone, concrete block or poured concrete can easily be restored by using steel push piers. The piers are 100% load tested.

 

   
 

Maybe the most popular form of foundation repair is steel push or

resistance piers. Understanding them is the first step to solving your 

foundation repair needs. 

 

Quiet vibration free hydraulic equipment is used 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 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.

Whether your foundation is composed of stone, concrete block or poured concrete, steel push piers should be your first choice as an underpinning solution. Foundation repair or underpinning projects are usually completed in just days, not weeks. Should conditions change, the piers can be easily inspected, tested and/or adjusted. The following steps provide an example of the typical installation procedure. Figure 1 shows a structure with a spread footing.  

   

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

2.  Excavation: 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. (fig 1)

3.  Prep of the foundation: This includes notching the footing  to place the 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. (fig 1)

 
   

 

4.  Bracket Attachment: The steel 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. (fig 2)

5.  Pier Pipe Installation: The 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. (fig 2)

 

6.  Load Test: Every 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. (fig 3)

7.  Preps for Restoration: Once all 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 piers. The lifting cylinders are connected with one or more manifolds and operated using a hydraulic pump. (fig 3)

   
   

 

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. . (fig 4)

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

 



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