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Garage Foundation Problems

Garage foundation repair by My Foundation RepairsWhen it comes to the garage, foundation problems can be just as common as they are in the home. Because garages are normally built on concrete slab foundations, they are especially prone to foundation settlement and cracks. Foundation problems in attached garages are particularly dangerous, as they can affect the home as well. It is good to examine your garage regularly for signs of foundation failure, such as cracks in the wall or floor, bowing or leaning walls, sloped or uneven floors, sticking doors or windows, gaps and spaces between walls and the floor or doors and windows, and settling, shifting or cracking foundations.

Causes of Garage Foundation Problems

Most structural issues in the garage are caused by a settling or shifting foundation. This foundation movement happens when the soil beneath the foundation shifts due to changes in the moisture content or other factors. the most common causes of foundation movement are:

  • Hydrostatic Pressure: When the ground around your foundation absorbs an excess amount of water, the hydrostatic pressure in the soil increases. This pressure can push against the foundation, causing it to shift or crack.
  • Erosion: If there is more groundwater than normal in the soil around your foundation, erosion could cause some of the soil to wash away. This creates empty voids beneath your foundation, providing very little support. The foundation often settles unevenly into these voids as a result of the lack or support.
  • Soil Shrinkage: The same type of voids can form when the soil dries out and shrinks. Because of the soil shrinkage in dry periods, the soil takes up less space, leading to the formation of voids or spaces under the foundation.
  • Poor Soil Compaction: If the soil was not properly compacted at the time of construction, it will settle unevenly over time. This causes the structure on top pf the soil to settle in the same manner, creating several structural issues.
  • Soil Consolidation: The weight of the structure may compress freshly placed fill soils, causing a downward movement of the foundation. This is especially common in areas where there is a lot of clayey soils in the ground.
  • Maturing Vegetation: If there are trees or large shrubs near your foundation, the roots may push on the foundation, causing it to shift or heave as they search for water. The roots can also draw moisture out of the soil beneath your foundation, causing the soil and the foundation above to settle.

Solutions of Garage Foundation Problems

Garage repair by My Foundation RepairsThe best way to support a sinking or shifting foundation is to use a process called underpinning. Underpinning is the use of piering products to lift and stabilize the foundation from underneath. There are several common underpinning techniques that can be used to correct the foundation movement in your garage. These techniques are fairly complicated processes and should only be performed by experienced foundation repair contractors.

The first of these processes is the installation of steel push piers. The first step in this installation process is to install a bracket, excavate around the bracket, and drive the piers deep into the ground until they reach stable soil. Then, the weight of the structure is transferred onto the piers, which are utilized to lift the foundation back to its original position. The foundation is now stabilized and future foundation issues are prevented.

The next type of underpinning method, similar to steep push pier installation, is helical pier installation. Helical piers are used in much the same way, except they are not driven into the ground like steel piers are. They are similar to large screw in appearance, and are threaded into the ground, minimizing the need for extra equipment and disturbance to the work site. These piers are often used with lightweight structures, or when the soil conditions are challenging.

If you notice any foundation problems in your garage, contact a foundation repair specialist as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become, resulting in a more complicated and more expensive repairs. The My Foundation Repairs website can help put you in touch with a professional foundation repair contractor in your area. Contact us today for more information or for a free estimate!