Foundation Repairs: 4 Types of Foundation Problems and Repair Services

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Foundation Repairs: 4 Types of Foundation Problems and Repair Services

Jun 22, 2024

Foundations are the essential base that supports your home, so any issues with them can lead to significant structural problems. At ProCore, our foundation repair services in Ottawa, Gatineau, Kingston and surrounding areas offer support for a number of different foundation issues.

If you’ve come across a potential issue with your building’s foundation, like basement cracks, foundation sinking, or leaks and moisture problems, it may be tempting to panic.

The good news is that professional foundation repair contractors can help!

Common Types of Foundation Problems

Understanding the types of foundation problems and the services they require can help you maintain the integrity of your home. Let’s explore the common issues that require a foundation repair job, and the service they require.

1. Cracks in the Foundation

If you have cracks in your foundation, you may have noticed:

  • Horizontal Cracks: Often caused by hydrostatic pressure or expansive soils. They indicate serious issues and need immediate attention.
  • Vertical Cracks: Typically less severe, these can result from settling or shrinking concrete.
  • Diagonal Cracks: These can indicate differential settling and are common in homes built on slopes.

In these cases, you will need crack repair services. This entails:

  • Epoxy Injection: Used for fixing small cracks, epoxy foundation crack injections fill the crack and bond the concrete back together.
  • Polyurethane Foam: Ideal for water-sealing cracks, this method prevents moisture infiltration and further damage. You may also benefit from basement waterproofing.

You may have asked yourself, “Can I fix my basement cracks myself”? You may have even looked at a basement crack repair kit online. However, it’s important to seek out skilled foundation repair work when cracks are present, whether you find them on the basement floor or wall. Professional foundation repair contractors will use high quality materials and industry best practices for the best result. No matter if you’re repairing multiple foundation cracks or a single crack, trust the foundation experts to get the job done safely and properly.

2. Foundation Leaks and Moisture Problems

Water infiltration through foundation cracks or gaps can lead to significant moisture-related issues within your home. These problems not only compromise the integrity of the foundation but also create an environment conducive to mold growth and other structural issues. Unfortunately, moisture issues can have major negative effects:

  • Weakening of Foundation: Excess moisture can weaken the concrete or masonry materials that make up the foundation walls. This weakening can compromise the structural stability of the entire building.
  • Mold and Mildew Growth: Moisture provides an ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. Mold growth not only damages building materials but can also pose serious health risks to occupants, especially those with respiratory issues or allergies.
  • Damage to Interior Finishes: Water seepage through foundation cracks can damage drywall, insulation, flooring, and other interior finishes. This can lead to costly repairs and renovations.

The good news is, there are solutions for foundation leaks and a damp, wet basement, such as waterproofing services, foundation crack repair, and sump pump installation, to name a few.

  • Foundation Crack Repair: Foundation crack repair involves sealing cracks in foundation walls with epoxy injections or polyurethane foam. This can prevent water from entering the basement or crawl space.
  • Waterproofing: Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to the exterior foundation walls can create a barrier against moisture infiltration.
  • French Drain and Sump Pump: Installing a French drain system around the perimeter of the foundation or a sump pump in the basement can effectively manage groundwater and surface water, preventing it from accumulating around the foundation.
  • Improving Grading and Drainage: Ensuring that the ground slopes away from the foundation and directing downspouts away from the house can help prevent water from pooling around the foundation walls.

The right foundation contractors for the job will offer tailored solutions to your home’s current needs, combined with quality workmanship and transparent service.

3. Foundation Settling or Sinking

When a foundation settles unevenly, it can cause parts of the house to sink, leading to structural foundation issues like uneven floors and misaligned doors and windows.

Foundation settling, especially when it leads to uneven or sinking floors, is a type of foundation issue that typically requires a method known as foundation underpinning. Underpinning is used to stabilize and lift the foundation back to its original level or to prevent further settling. There are several techniques used for foundation underpinning, including:

  • Helical Piers: These are steel shafts with helical blades that are mechanically screwed into the ground beneath the foundation until they reach stable soil. They provide support and lift the foundation to prevent further settling.
  • Push Piers: Also known as resistance piers or hydraulic piers, these are driven into the ground below the foundation until they reach load-bearing soil or bedrock. Hydraulic jacks are then used to lift the foundation back to its original level.
  • Slab Jacking: This method involves injecting a grout mixture (typically a combination of cement, sand, and sometimes additives) under the foundation slab. The grout fills voids and raises the slab to its proper position.
  • Polyurethane Foam Injection: This is a modern alternative to traditional slab jacking. Polyurethane foam is injected beneath the foundation, where it expands to fill voids and lift the foundation back into place.

The choice of underpinning method used in repair projects depends on factors such as soil conditions, the extent of foundation settling, and the specific characteristics of the structure. A company that offers foundation repair services will offer a professional assessment of the situation during a site inspection. Then, they’ll recommend the most appropriate underpinning technique to stabilize the foundation and prevent further structural damage.

4. Bowing Foundation Walls

Bowing foundation walls are a serious structural issue that occurs when the walls of a foundation begin to curve or tilt inward. This phenomenon is typically caused by the expansive pressure of saturated soil surrounding the foundation. The expansive soil exerts lateral pressure on the foundation wall, pushing them inward over time. Bowing walls can lead to significant structural damage if not addressed promptly, including:

  • Cracking: As the walls bow inward, they can develop cracks, particularly along the mortar joints or in the concrete itself. These cracks can allow moisture to penetrate into the basement or crawlspace, leading to further issues like mold growth and water damage.
  • Compromised Structural Integrity: Bowing walls weaken the overall structural integrity of the foundation and the entire building. This compromise can result in uneven floors, misaligned doors and windows, and in severe cases, even structural collapse.
  • Decreased Property Value: Untreated bowing walls can significantly reduce the resale value of a property. Potential buyers may be deterred by the costly repairs needed to rectify the foundation issues.

Bowing foundation walls are a serious concern and require urgent attention. Here are the main methods used to repair them:

  • Wall Anchors or Tiebacks:
    • Installation: Anchors are placed in stable soil away from the foundation and connected to the wall with steel rods.
    • Purpose: They counteract inward pressure from the soil, gradually straightening the wall.
  • Carbon Fiber Straps:
    • Application: Straps are bonded to the wall with epoxy.
    • Function: Provides continuous reinforcement to prevent further bowing and stabilize existing cracks.
  • Steel I-Beams:
    • Installation: Beams are placed vertically against the wall and anchored at the base and top.
    • Purpose: Offers structural support, redistributing the load to stabilize and potentially straighten the wall.
  • Excavation and Rebuilding:
    • Process: In severe cases, affected sections are excavated, rebuilt, and waterproofed to prevent future issues.

Promptly addressing bowing foundation walls with these specialized repair methods can prevent further damage and ensure the long-term stability of your home. Using a professional service is crucial to determine the best solution for your specific situation.

How Much does Foundation Repair Cost?

Foundation repair costs can vary significantly depending on the severity of the problem, the type of foundation, and the chosen repair method. Here’s a breakdown of what to consider when estimating foundation repair expenses:

  • Extent of Damage: Minor cracks may only require sealing, while severe issues like bowing walls or extensive settling may necessitate more intensive repairs.
  • Foundation Type: Slab foundations, crawl spaces, or basements each have different repair challenges and costs.
  • Repair Method: Various techniques such as crack injections, underpinning with piers, or wall stabilization with anchors have different cost implications.
  • Accessibility: Accessibility to the foundation, whether it’s obstructed by landscaping or structures, can affect labor costs. For example, a crawl space foundation will typically have limited access, which can make repairs more labour-intensive. Basement foundations can have similar issues as crawl spaces but typically offer more accessibility for inspection and repairs.

Recognize The Signs of Foundation Trouble Early

Foundation problems can lead to significant structural issues if not addressed promptly. Recognizing the signs of foundation trouble early is extremely helpful. Consulting with a professional to understand the type of repair required can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. Whether it’s concrete floor and wall repair, crack repair, piering, slab jacking, waterproofing, wall stabilization, or soil stabilization, there are specialized services available to tackle each specific issue.

Foundation Repair in Ottawa, Gatineau and Kingston

At ProCore, count on our Ottawa foundation repair services for a very successful outcome. Our satisfied clients appreciate our competitive pricing, fully insured repairs and comprehensive services. Need foundation repairs in Ottawa, Gatineau or Kingston? Call 1-800-PRO-CORE today!

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