The principal function of a foundation of a home is to transfer the weight of a structure to its underlying soil and rocks. One of the factors that bring about the need for foundation repairs is improper foundation settling. Foundation settlement can devalue structures and also render them unsafe. Building on expansive clay, compressive or improperly contracted fill soils and improper maintenance in and around foundations are some of the major reasons of improper foundation settling. 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.
General symptoms 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 which 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. Though Piers are able to transfer huge downward loads without the help of reinforcing steel, steel is used in the piers for prevention of the pier from being pulled apart or sheared by forces of the expansive soils. The repairs normally take 21 to 30 days, however this time frame can vary depending on soil conditions and weather delays.