Does Your Hampton Roads House Have Any Of The Following Problems? If So, It Might Need Foundation Leveling.
- Uneven floors
- Cracks in walls, floors, or ceilings
- Doors and windows that don’t open and close properly
- Stair step cracks in brick or masonry
- Gaps around doors and windows
- A chimney or porch that’s separating from the house
- Ceilings or floors that are separating from the wall
Contact AMC911 Today For A Free Foundation Evaluation
If you see any of the above – or anything else that seems suspicious – contact AMC911 today for a free foundation evaluation. If we find a problem, we’ll give you a repair estimate.
What Is Foundation Leveling?
Foundation leveling is a repair solution designed to correct differential foundation settlement. Differential settlement happens when a building’s foundation settles into the soil unevenly. This puts a lot of stress on a foundation and causes everything to be out of plumb causing things like uneven floors and cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors.
How Does Foundation Leveling Work?
Foundation leveling is a repair procedure commonly known as underpinning. It involves extending the foundation down to soil that’s able to support it adequately.
Foundation leveling is usually done using either push, slab, or helical piers.
Deep driven push piers are installed inside or outside of the home’s foundation wall. Slab piers are installed inside of the home by drilling through the floor and slab. Helical piers are installed inside or outside of a home to support a foundation wall. None of these piers are visible to the eye once the repair is complete.
Push piers are installed in bedrock, the most stable soil level, using specialized hydraulic equipment. Push piers provide a permanent solution to your settling problem. Push piers not only stabilize your home, but they offer your best chance of raising your home back to its original level.
Slab piers are installed by coring a hole through your home’s slab foundation until firm bearing stratum is reached. The slab pier is attached to the underside of the slab and an uplift is created once the pier is driven to bedrock.
Helical piers are large steel foundation pins that look like oversized screws. Helical piers are used a lot in commercial construction where a deep foundation system is needed. Helical piers are also used to support more delicate structures and in situations where soil conditions are worse than typical. Helicals take the structure’s weight and transfer it to load-bearing soil.
The installation process is as follows:
- Minor excavations – usually 3 feet by 2 feet and 6 feet apart – are made around the affected area of the foundation. (An engineer determines the exact locations of the piers.)
- After galvanized steel brackets are attached to the foundation’s footing, the piers are either driven or turned into the ground (depending on which type of pier is used) until they reach load-bearing soil.
- A synchronized hydraulic lifting system raises the foundation to maximum practical level. The term ‘’maximum practical level’’ means we raise the foundation as much as we can without causing structural damage.
- If there are any voids left behind after lifting, they can be filled using polyurethane foam injection. In the case of crawl space foundations, the screw jacks may need to be adjusted after the foundation is lifted.
- Finally, the excavated soil is put back. If it was necessary to remove any concrete from around the foundation, that would also be replaced.
Foundation leveling is a minimally-invasive procedure. Usually, only a small area of the foundation has settled, and that’s where the piers will be placed.
What Causes Differential Settlement?
The leading causes of differential settlement are:
- Expansive soil – Expansive soil has a lot of clay in it, and because of this, it expands when it soaks up moisture and shrinks when it dries out. This swelling-shrinking cycle creates movement under the foundation and can, over time, cause differential settlement.
- Inadequate soil preparation – Soil needs to be adequately tamped down before you build something on top of it. If this isn’t done, the building could settle into the soil unevenly later.
- Heavy excavation next door – If your neighbor digs a big hole next to your house, it could destabilize the foundation enough to cause differential settlement.
- Natural disasters – We probably don’t need to explain how natural disasters like earthquakes and floods can cause foundation problems.
- Soil erosion – Some types of soil are prone to erosion, which can cause voids to form under the house. If the house sinks into the voids, differential settlement could happen.
- Large trees – Large trees planted too close to the foundation can ‘drink’ water from the soil leaving behind voids.
- Weather changes – Imagine building a house on expansive soil during the dry season. When the wet season rolls back around, the soil will swell, causing problems.
How Much Does Foundation Leveling Cost?
Before performing a foundation evaluation, we can’t say how much any foundation leveling job will cost. We can say that the cost of foundation leveling depends on the type of foundation, the problem, and the chosen repair solution. The good news is that AMC911 provides individual solutions tailored to meet your specific needs. No two foundation problems are the same… It’s important to have a group that specializes in foundation repair in your area before you make any costly mistakes.
Contact us immediately to schedule a foundation evaluation if you suspect your home has a foundation issue. We’ll give you a written repair estimate if we find a problem. Foundation problems get worse if they’re not fixed, so you’ll pay more for repair costs if you wait.
How To Prevent Foundation Trouble
Believe it or not, most foundation problems are caused by excess moisture in the soil around the foundation. Therefore, you can go a long way toward preventing foundation trouble simply by controlling groundwater around the house. Here are some ways to do that:
- Don’t plant flowers, shrubs, trees, etc., next to the foundation. They need water, and that means you’ll be adding water to the soil around the foundation.
- Regrade your yard, if necessary, so it slopes away from the foundation. This prevents water from draining toward the foundation.
- Clean your gutters regularly so that water doesn’t spill over the side of the house and soak the soil around the foundation.
- Use downspout extensions to carry water at least 4 feet away from the foundation before releasing it. They’re inexpensive and easy to install.
- Install a drain tile system. This is a gold standard when it comes to foundation waterproofing.
Our Service Area
AMC911 services the entire Hampton Roads area. If you think your home might need foundation leveling, contact us today and schedule an appointment for a foundation evaluation.