Sunday, 23 November 2008

Foundation Repair

The foundation of a home serves as a means to transfer the weight of a structure to its underlying soil and rocks.Improper foundation settling is one of the factors that brings about the need for foundation repairs.

Improper foundation settlement can devalue structures and can also make them unsafe.Some of the major reasons of improper foundation settling are building on expansive clay,compressive or improperly contracted fill soils and improper maintenance in and around foundations.Another reason for improper foundation settlement is undetected or unsuspected air pockets in the ground below the area of construction.These may cave in and cause the integrity of the foundation to be compromised.

Warning signs of a structure needing foundation repairs are bulging or cracked walls and doors that don't close properly.Building on expansive soils is the main culprit for foundation settlement.When only one part of the foundation either settles or heaves,cracks are formed in the foundation.The exterior warning signs of improper floor settling are rotation of walls,displaced moldings,cracked bricks and foundation and separation around doors and windows from the walls.Interior warning signs of improper floor settling are cracks on the floor,sheet rock and misalignment in doors and windows.

There are many ways of doing foundation repair.Cement,stone,steel or wood were used extensively in past techniques.They would be forced into the ground in a bid to salvage the strength of these foundations.However,this type of repair work has been known to be futile. Two of the most successful ways of foundation repairs are slab jacking and the Piering method.Piering is also known as hydraulic jacking.

Slab jacking is the process of adding grout beneath a slab or beam.This produces a lifting force and restores the said beam or slab to almost its original elevation and adds to its strength.Care should be taken that the amount of sand should be perfect while adding grout.During Piering,steel posts are driven through unstable soil.Hydraulic jacks are used to stabilize concrete slabs that are weakened due to the changes taking place in the underlying soil. Steel beams are used in the Piering method because concrete has great compressive strength.

The strength of your foundation is dependent on the soil to hold it up.However,if you already have foundation problems,this means the soil has proven to be unreliable.You will need to have piers installed to help support the home from further damage. The type of pier you need to use will depend on the type of soil underneath your foundation. The contractor will need to determine what type of pier to use, as well as how deep it will need to go.There are two main types of piers being used today for foundation repair,friction and point bearing piers.Friction piers are dependent on the type of soil it is surrounded with to hold it in place, whereas point bearing piers is dependent on the load bearing strata beneath the foundation in order to hold it in place.

The most important thing you can do is to get different quotes and opinions from different contractors and engineers.They will be able to tell you what is best for your home and situation.

By: Jonathon Lester

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