It is important as a home or business owner to know as much as possible about the type of foundation you have in your structure. This will help you know what type of foundation problems to look out for, so you can make sure to get the needed foundation repairs for your type of foundation. Here is a list of some of the most common types of foundation and a little bit about each of them to help you know what to look out for in your home or business.
Block Foundation: If you build a concrete block foundation the right way, the result can be an extremely strong foundation. Sometimes it is even stronger than a traditional poured concrete foundation. If it is not built correctly, however, the result can be extremely costly foundation problems. These block basement retaining walls should be sealed completely, and sometimes "rebar" is used to add strength. If the extra steps aren't taken to strengthen these walls, water can get in through the blocks. Another problem frequently seen in these foundations is bowing and leaning. This is because pressure is put on the walls from the outside by a build-up of pressure. This is sometimes caused by water in the soil around your home. The pressure that is built up by that extra water is called hydrostatic pressure. When the pressure is exerted on block foundation walls, bowing and leaning can occur.
Brick Foundation: It was very common in the early 1900's to use brick and mortar to build foundation walls. If you have an older home you may notice this is your foundation type. Red brick and mortar were a commonly used building material at the time. The problem with these foundation walls is that over time, they can become weak. Mortar can break down, bricks can start to peel. If you notice this happening, make sure to look at the walls closely for bowing and leaning of the walls. The soil around these foundations will exert pressure on them, and push them in. This occurs commonly when the brick and mortar breakdown. Sometimes you can just have the mortar or brick repair by a masonry specialist, but sometimes the walls need to have added support. There are bracing and reinforcing tools that foundation repair specialists can use, so contact your local foundation support specialist to make sure the right repair is being performed.
Cement Foundation: The cement foundation is commonly used in building today, especially poured concrete foundations. These are considered strong foundations, easy to maintain. One of the main pluses of a cement foundation is its fire resistance. Don't be fooled though. Cement foundations can still have problems. If you have a new construction home, it is a great idea to ask for new construction piers to be installed. This will add additional support for your poured cement foundation. If you have a cement foundation, you still need to watch for foundation cracks and leaks. The same factors that cause problems for other types of foundations such as block and brick foundations can wreak havoc on poured concrete foundations as well. If pressure is put on these walls they can bow and lean, and even crack. Be vigilant with any type of foundation, including cement foundations.
Cinder Block Foundation: Cinder block foundations aren't always a bad option. If you are building a home in a rural area, sometimes a ready-mix truck can't make it to your location to pour concrete. In these cases, blocks or cinder blocks might be used. As long as they installed on the firm, compacted, even ground and no shortcuts are taken, then this can still be a great option in your home. If cinder blocks aren't sealed properly, however, or the ground beneath them wasn't even and compacted prior to building, big problems can arise. Settlement can cause cinder blocks to crack, shift, and leak. It is important to monitor cinder block foundations for changes. Get to know your foundation by inspecting it frequently. This can make the difference between cinder block repair and complete foundation replacement.
Concrete Foundation: Today there are some benefits to using concrete. Frost resistance concrete is even an option, which is a great benefit. T-shaped foundations are used where the weather is cold as well. A T-shaped footing is installed below the frost line for added support. Slab on grade concrete foundations are common in some areas of the country as well. Again, when done right with no shortcuts, these are very strong foundation solutions. Slab foundations, however, can crack and do sometimes require extra supports such as slab piers. Concrete can still shift and crack, and even collapse if voids open up beneath them. Florida, for example, sees sinkholes frequently. If a void opens beneath a concrete foundation it can be a game changer. Void fill with grout is an option in these cases. If you live in an area where sinkholes and voids are come due to soluble rock in the area, it is smart to know the signs, which are very similar to the signs of foundation failure.
From reading above, you can probably see that no matter what type of foundation you have, from brick to concrete, problems can and will arise. Know your foundation. You are the best advocate for your home's health. Inspect your foundation frequently and contact a foundation professional in your area, or have a structural engineer inspect your foundation so you know better how to deal with your problem. Many foundation experts will give you a free estimate. This can take the guesswork out of what type of repair you need. Regardless of the problem or cost, don't ignore foundation problems. Your foundation is the most important part of your home. If it is in good repair, your home will last for a very long time and maintain a high property value. If your foundation is in poor repair, you can be sure the value of your home will plummet. Let My Foundation Repairs help by getting you in touch with a foundation specialist in your area today. We are here to help!