2 Foundation Problems And Your Options For Repairing Them

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Your home's basement and foundation slab are important parts of your home's structural integrity, and there can be a number of factors working against their ability to remain stable and sound. Here are two types of home foundation problems you may experience and how you can repair and remedy them.

Settling Foundation

Your home's foundation is the main support that helps your home retain its structure above ground. When the foundation becomes cracked or collapses, you need to repair it to keep your home sound.

If your basement or foundation walls have begun to crack, this can allow moisture to leak into your home. While it is important to seal up these cracks to keep moisture from entering your home, it is also recommended that you determine and repair the cause of the cracking, which can be from settling and shifting soil around your home. Merely patching the cracks will repair the problem temporarily, but as the foundation continues to settle it will cause additional damage. In extreme settling situations, your foundation slab can collapse beneath your home, or your home will tilt slightly.

For foundation walls that have cracked from natural and expected settling that poses no threat to your home, you can fill the cracks by yourself with an epoxy filler. For more severe damage, you should talk to a foundation professional to stop further settling and repair the damage. This type of damage can include larger foundation cracks and your walls or floor sloping to one side. Repairing a foundation may entail excavating the soil below your home and installing wall anchors or steel foundation braces or even rebuilding the foundation of your home.

Expansive Foundation Soil

When the type of soil you have around your home expands and contracts depending on the presence or lack of moisture in the soil, this can cause your home's foundation walls and slab to become damaged. When the soil expands from too much moisture content, it will press in on the walls and crack them inwardly. Conversely, when the soil dries out and contracts, it shrinks away from your home's foundation, which removes the soil's support to the walls and can cause the walls to crack as a result.

If you have never considered this a problem you need to worry about, you might reconsider. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that one-half of all homes in the U.S. are built on expansive soils, and approximately one quarter of all homes have already become damaged by this type of soil. Talk to your area's local building authority to see if this type of soil condition has been reported in your area.

You can reduce large water fluctuations around your home by preventing a large amount of water from reaching the soil around your home several ways. First, plant any plants requiring large amounts of water away from your home. Slope the soil around your home's foundation to allow moisture to flow away from your home instead of soaking into the soil. You can add a mulch, gravel, or other ground covering to help reduce your soil's absorption of the water, or install a concrete walkway around your home's perimeter.

To help keep your soil from drying out and contracting from an extreme lack of moisture, you can install a drip system around the perimeter of your home, which you can turn on to lightly saturate the soil, when necessary. Keep an eye on your foundation soil to for when it becomes too dry, and add water in small increments to raise its moisture level. It is important to not add too much water at once, as this can cause it to soak into your home's foundation or cause soil expansion damage.

If expansive foundation soil has caused your home's foundation to begin cracking, talk to a structural engineer or a foundation repair company about your options and what they recommend to repair the problem. Click here to learn more.

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