The strength of any home lies in its foundation. Ideally, it should hold the house above the ground, keep moisture from weakening the structure, and resist any seasonal movement of the earth around it. A good and strong foundation is also supposed to last forever.
Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t think about their home’s foundation until there’s a problem. As a result, many homes start to collapse due to the lack or absence of proper maintenance. The good news is, you can reinforce your home’s foundation and prevent any catastrophic failures from happening.
Read on to find out how you can strengthen a foundation and make your home much safer to live in and easier to insure and sell.
Identify Early Signs of Foundation Damage
Identify any defects before doing anything to strengthen your home’s foundation. That’s one importance of conducting regular inspection and maintenance. Because if you neglect early indicators of destruction, replacing the entire foundation would be inevitable.
Note that foundation replacement can cost around $30,000 to $100,000, depending on the size and location of your home. But you can prevent that from happening by looking out for the following early signs of foundation damage and consulting a foundation specialist from Regional Foundation Repair.
- Diagonal cracks on the interior walls or ceilings of rooms
- Doors sticking or not latching right
- Gaps in kitchen and bathroom tile lines
- Sunken or uneven concrete floors
- Window frame pulling away from the brick wall
- Large and zig-zag cracks on the exterior walls
Examine The Existing Foundation
If you see more than a few of those signs, it’s probably about time to reinforce your home’s existing foundation. But before doing so, note that the soil where you built your home is also essential to consider. Some structural failures happen because of a lack of soil knowledge.
Your home is situated on many different layers of soil with varying qualities that can affect its foundation. That’s why it’s best to check whether the soil underneath is stable both during dry and wet seasons. The constant cycle of wet and dry periods can expand and contract certain types of soil, putting stress on your home’s foundation.
By determining the defects and characteristics of your home’s existing foundation, it is easier to decide what type of strengthening should be done.
Methods of Strengthening ExistingFoundation
There are various methods to perform foundation strengthening, and the right one depends on the specifics of your home’s structure and situation. But highlighted below are some of the usually utilized techniques.
One way to reinforce an existing foundation is through underpinning. This method is often used to correct damaged foundations that suffered many cracks, particularly those that are apparent and wider than ¼ of an inch. In less common cases, it’s also required to add floors or increase the load-bearing capacity of the existing foundation.
Underpinning is available in several types, but the most common ones include:
- Mass Pouring: While this method typically has low-cost labor, it’s most suitable for shallow underpinning, meaning the foundation doesn’t require much digging. It simply involves excavating a hole underneath the existing foundation and filling it with concrete to strengthen the base.
- Beam and Base: This newer form of underpinning also utilizes the traditional mass concrete base. However, it integrates reinforced beams constructed either above, below, or in the existing foundation. Note that the feasibility of this method relies on the structural design above the foundation of your home.
- Pile Method: In this strategy, concrete piles are pushed at equal distances along both sides of the wall. Concrete or steel needles are used to connect the piles and create a stable foundation. But pile underpinning is most effective for waterlogged soils where walls carry heavy loads.
Jacketing is another way to fortify your home’s existing foundation. But constructing a concrete jacket on the current footing is used when there are columns that necessitate strengthening. Expansions only add an extra burden to the divider, and putting on more solidarity to the foundation is essential to make sure the wall is sturdy enough to accommodate them.
This method can be done by perforating holes into the existing material of footing and epoxy grouting the longitudinal reinforcement of the jacket.
Another method to boost the existing foundation is mudjacking. After drilling tiny holes into the foundation, cement and other materials are directly injected into them. The materials will then elevate the concrete that’s unaligned.
While mudjacking is relatively cheap and fast to complete, it is used more on smaller footprint spaces and when a foundation’s so weak that piers or pilings can’t be installed. But if the soils underneath the mud will expand, mudjacking should not be used below a foundation.
Reducing the chances of having flood damage is also one way to fortify your home’s existing foundation. House lifting is the most effective method if your home sits at a critical low point on your property where water can collect and damage your foundation. It is not easy, but a hydraulic jack can be placed under the home to lift it.
Hire A Professional for Foundation Work
It’s probably tempting to fix foundation problems by yourself. But it can be risky and cost you more money if it’s not executed correctly. Also, note that detecting and repairing foundation damage often needs special equipment. That’s why it’s always best to hire a professional to fix any foundation problems.