Problem: Structural and Foundation Issues
Your foundation is the underground structure that supports your home. At the very bottom of most homes with basements are supportive concrete slabs called the footing, which sometimes contain steel rods for extra support. The exterior walls sit on top of the footing. Sometimes, there is a drainage layer of sand or gravel in between the footing and the concrete slab that is your basement floor. Although some foundations differ from this slightly, almost all are similar to this.
No matter what kind of foundation you have, the dirt and water around your home are prone to change. This can cause serious issues for your home. During a wet season, the whole area may expand and swell, putting pressure on your foundation. During dry seasons, the ground will contract, causing your home to sink or settle.
Over the years, this process can cause a whole array of issues. Houses can settle and sink, moving deeper into the earth, and even end up tipping to one side. As your home moves, it can develop deep cracks and bowing in the walls and floor. This can, in turn, lead to basement flooding. Severe foundation movement can ruin a home, so addressing the problem immediately is important.
Structural Foundation Repair Methods
Structural foundation repairs can be approached from both the inside and outside of the home. Inside, support beams can help your home withstand bowing, cracking, and other issues associated with movement. Outside, steel rods drilled deep into the earth and powerful hydraulic equipment is used to get your home back to its original position, tackling the problem in the biggest and most permanent way possible.
Interior Wall Stabilization
This involves placing reinforcement beams along the interior of a basement’s walls. These beams are most commonly made of carbon fiber, an industrial-strength fabric that cannot snap or bend. Steel is sometimes used instead of carbon fiber. No matter what material the supports are made of, they span from floor to ceiling in order to provide maximum reinforcement for the wall. The reinforced wall will not bow and will protect against cracking.
For the carbon fiber method, the process consists of an expert measuring out appropriate spots on the wall for the supports, smoothening the wall, applying a binding agent such as epoxy, and embedding the carbon fiber into the epoxy. The strips are then locked into place using steel angle iron. This method is nice because the epoxy forms a smooth surface over the carbon fiber and can be painted over so you don’t even know the supports are there.
Major foundation repair involves placing supports directly under your foundation and using hydraulic equipment to lift your home back to its original location. This can correct settling, tilting, rotating, and many of the associated problems. An expert may recommend this solution if you are experiencing serious foundation issues.
The process starts with mapping out areas where supports will be inserted. A crew will dig deep holes around your foundation in order to access your footing. Then, steel piping will be drilled into the footing and affixed with brackets. The piping will reach down far past the footing, deep into the ground to a layer stable enough to support your home.
After the steel support pipes are in place, the crew will use hydraulic machinery to move your entire home, foundation and all, back to its original position. When the home is in the perfect spot, the support pipes will be bolted to the brackets, locking the home’s position in place.