Common foundation problems
Due to the numerous stresses that a home's foundation must endure, it only makes sense that this area of a property needs to be cared for with added diligence. Nonetheless, problems may still occur over time. By far, the most common issue is leakage from porous materials or small cracks within the walls. A cracked wall will normally only need minor repairs such as a water resistant mortar followed by a complete basement waterproofing.
Another common problem will occur due to the natural settling of a house. Over time, soils can shift and weight displacements can place added stresses on various parts of a foundation. Also, vibrations from trains or mass transit can contribute to these issues. Finally, substandard or older building materials are another leading cause for a foundation repair.
So, some of the contributing factors that will necessitate such a repair are:
- Leakage due to porosity or minute cracks within a wall.
- Natural environmental settling causing weight displacement.
- Vibrations from local commuting systems or vehicles.
- Substandard construction materials.
More serious problems
Although most such repairs are relatively minor and can be accomplished without the need for a foundation company to be called, there are indeed some warning signs that should be watched for carefully.
Any amount of significant movement over a short period of time is cause for alarm. This includes widening cracks, walls that were solid suddenly becoming cracked or other parts of the property appearing slightly 'tilted'.
Another worrisome sign is if a basement floor appears to be separating from its joint against the base of the wall. This may signal erosion beneath the house or potentially a sinkhole.
Any crack wider than one inch below any major beams needs to be looked at by a qualified foundation repair specialist. These cracks may be indicative of a larger problem while mortar and basement waterproofing alone may not be adequate to solve the problem.
Once again, some signs that a more serious situation may be occurring are:
- Significant movement within a matter of days or weeks.
- A floor separating from the wall joints.
- A crack that is wider than one inch on any wall, particularly below any load-bearing beams.
Choosing a repair company
The next logical step it so choose a properly authorized foundation company. It is difficult to repair concrete walls that exhibit significant damage and the company should be able to provide examples of their previous work. Also, they should be accredited by a recognized building union or authority. Furthermore, always ask for references that can vouch for their ability to repair concrete substructures. Even if the need seems desperate, try to obtain at least two other estimates; these repairs can be quite expensive.
Once again, some factors to consider when choosing a repair company are:
- Obtain examples of previous work.
- The company must be recognized by an accredited building authority.
- References need to be provided.
- Compare at least two different businesses and the services offered.