By Shawn Kyles
Most homes will have one of three types of foundation - a slab, basement or crawl space. A slab is constructed using poured concrete. There is no space between the slab and the home’s floor. When a foundation is built above the ground, it is called a raised foundation or crawl space foundation because of the room under the foundation, which can be used to install mechanical equipment and make repairs. A basement will have the most amount of room between the ground and floor of the house.
Home foundations will usually need to be repaired at some point in time as the house gets older and begins to settle, or it was built on soil that expands and contracts. Moisture from rain, drains, sprinkler systems and other water sources can hasten settlement, and is often the cause of other types of foundation damage.
Indicators of foundation problems include uneven floors; windows and doors that don’t close properly; rotating, leaning or bulging walls; electrical or plumbing lines that have been broken or dislocated; the separation of the wall from doors, the ceiling and windows; a leaning chimney, or cracks in walls, floor vinyl or tile. When a foundation has been damaged, it will compromise the home’s structural integrity. Not only will this reduce the value of a home, it can also make it extremely unsafe and eventually result in the building’s collapse.
Not all serious foundation problems are easily detected, which is why having your foundation inspected by a specialist is the best way to determine if it needs repairs. An experienced foundation expert will know exactly where to look for damage and can spot situations that could create future difficulties.
Repairing a foundation will be easier and less expensive if any problems are addressed quickly and not put off. Foundation cracks can increase in size over time and allow more water to enter the building. Settlement will also get worse, and cause more noticeable damage and building instability.
A foundation specialist will know what method to use when repairing your home based on both the issue that is being addressed and why the problem exists in the first place. Cracks can be filled with epoxy or foam depending on the type and location of the crack, and support beams can be installed to lift and level a floor. Various kinds of piers can also be used to strengthen the foundation and prevent it from moving, including poured piers, steel piers and pressed pilings. Before any piers are installed, your soil will usually be tested to determine the optimum way to fix your foundation.
A foundation expert is a good source of information on repairs and how to remedy any structural issues you are facing. You can also get reliable advice on how to resolve any water problems that are causing foundation damage.