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FAQs for Foundations


What kind of problems do house foundations have?

House foundations have a wide array of problems. Most common is a settlement which leads to cracking the finished walls and the floor slabs. If not attended, this can lead to serious damage in the form of cracks on staircases, main supports of houses were damaged, etc.

Another problem is deterioration of the foundation from water damage due to lack of proper drainage. This causes a break in the continuity of the foundation which eventually leads to settling and cracking.

Other frequent problems include slow leaks from cracks or holes, which can be solved with epoxy injections, etc.

Other common problems are leaning chimneys due to poor compaction in under-pinning work.

How long do house foundations last?

Most foundations are designed for a life of 70 years. However some can be repaired if not too damaged. The main problem with house foundations is more the deterioration due to lack of proper drainage, leakage and cracks caused by settlement. Some homes have good foundations but still develop problems because they were built on clay or gravel which expands and contracts with moisture.

What type of repairs can be done on foundations?

Some common repairs on foundations:

  1. Epoxy injection in cracks and holes in concrete and masonry.
  2. Making good to cracked or displaced areas of the basement wall where it was leaky.
  3. Removal, reinforcement and re-placing of brick walls with steel beams so they can be reused.
  4. Waterproofing basement walls by applying waterproof membrane.
  5. Re-leveling the house if it has settled with jacks and hydraulic fluid.
  6. Underpinning, which involves digging deeper foundation to make it stable.

Is under pinning expensive?

Underpinning is very expensive, but the cost depends on the amount of digging involved. It is also difficult work as the workers will have to deal with utilities like water, electricity and telephone cables.

How do epoxy injections work?

Epoxy injections work by filling up cracks and holes with a cementitious epoxy resin. It dries hard, waterproofing the crack or hole which was filled. The main advantage of this method is that it takes very little time to make the repair.

How long do epoxy injections work in a foundation?

Epoxy injections are known to work for about 5 years in most cases. Some maintain their effectiveness for more than 10 years, but it depends on the type of foundation and conditions where the injection was done.

What is waterproofing with membrane?

Waterproofing methods with membrane involve applying a water proof membrane over basement walls. The most common membrane is EPDM rubber. This will stop water from entering the basement wall and seeping through to the inside of the house.

What is underpinning and how does it work?

Underpinning involves digging deep into the ground under a house, then placing it back on its new foundation. The advantages of this method are that the foundation is deeper and more secure, and the house is no longer subject to damage due to settlement. The disadvantage is that it is expensive as it involves a lot of manpower and equipment.

How long does underpinning take?

Underpinning can take anywhere from 1 day to 3 weeks depending on the size of the house and how deep the new foundation must be. It also depends on accessibility and weather.

How can I know if my house needs underpinning?

You can ask a contractor to check the condition of your foundation or examine it yourself by looking for cracks in its walls, which might indicate that it is faulty and settlement has occurred. Leaking problems from basement walls are also signs that the house may need underpinning. However, in some cases, it may be difficult to tell what is causing the leak until you actually dig up the basement floor and check your foundation wall for cracks.

Some homes have good foundations but still suffer damage because they are built on clay or gravel which expands and contracts with moisture. This causes foundation walls to crack and leak leading to further damage. Also, not having proper drainage causes water to accumulate near the house foundation.

Why is it important to repair my leaking foundation?

Leaking foundations can cause a lot of damage such as cracking of flooring and wall plaster, rotten wood, peeling paint on walls and ceilings, and molding. Also, water will eventually cause the structural parts of your house to weaken if not stopped by proper waterproofing and underpinning.

What damage can leaking foundations cause?

If left untreated, leaking foundations will cause a lot of damage to the home. For instance, wood and plaster cracks can spread as water seeps through them leading to more damage such as wet floors and walls due to bad wall insulation. Water pooling on basement floors can also lead to mold formation which has serious health implications if inhaled.

What is a good waterproofing method for basement walls?

A good waterproofing method for basement walls involves applying a water proof membrane on basement walls. For instance, EPDM rubber membranes are very durable and will not tear easily. It also allows vapor to escape from the surface while keeping water out of the home. In addition, it is flexible and can be used on uneven surfaces making it a good choice for basement walls.

What is involved in foundation repair?

Foundation repair involves testing the soil to find out how much it is affected by moisture and what other problems there are such as settlement. Tests for cracks should also be done. If these tests confirm that your foundation needs repairing, the next step will be to remove the exterior wall surface of damaged areas and replace them with new materials like wallboard or concrete.

How long after foundation repair does it take for the affected areas to dry?

This depends on how extensive the leakage is and also its location. For instance, small cracks may take between 2 -3 days to dry but larger ones may need at least a week or more depending on weather conditions. Also, damage near windows will take longer to dry since they are less insulated against moisture.

How long does it take for the affected areas to settle after repair?

This again depends on the extent of damage caused by water leakage and also how well repairs were done. Smaller cracks will not need more than a week but larger ones may need up to 6 months or even longer for settling to be complete.

Can you use steel beams to reinforce foundation walls if they are bowing?

Reinforcing foundation walls with steel beams is a common method used by builders when the house's foundation needs strengthening even though it is in good condition. This may be done to add load bearing capacity to support additional weight from materials such as flooring or roofing. In addition, it helps prevent structural damage if the soil around your home becomes too moist and expands leading to cracking in the foundation walls.

How are steel beams attached to the walls?

When reinforcing your foundation with steel beams, the beams are attached to the walls using special screws that are driven into the wall. You can also use silicone to seal them against leaks. This is because water will rust away any normal metal screw over time making it useless for fixing purposes.

What is mudjacking?

Mudjacking is a process used for lifting sinking concrete surfaces. It involves injecting grout under the foundation to increase its load bearing capacity. This method is also called slab jacking or slab raising since it works by bringing sunken slabs back into position.

What are the advantages of mudjacking?

Mudjacking provides many benefits including stabilizing sinking or settling concrete slabs. It also strengthens the foundation by reducing the pressure exerted on it by soil around it. This method can raise sunken concrete up to an inch and is generally cheaper than foundation repair. Mudjacking is also a good option for people who cannot afford foundation repairs since it does not require removing concrete.

What are the disadvantages of mudjacking?

There are very few disadvantages of using this method since it can be used on almost any building material including wood, steel or concrete. It also does not require excavating the foundation which makes it a fast process.

Can you use mudjacking on sinking driveways and sidewalks?

Yes, mudjacking can be used on driveways and sidewalks. It is basically used for lifting sinking concrete surfaces to restore them to their original shape. This method is also known as slab jacking or slab raising since it works by filling in the gap under the sunken slab through pressure injection of grout.

Which repair method offers the best value for money?

Mudjacking is the most cost-effective solution to foundation damage since it does not require removing or replacing any existing materials. Other methods like repairing interior cracks may be cheaper but they are also time consuming. In addition, you will have to spend additional money on paint or wallpaper afterwards since these repairs destroy the surfaces around them.

Which repair method requires the least time?

Mudjacking is a fast process since no other construction materials have to be removed from around the foundation. In fact, it can take as little as two days to complete a mudjacking project depending on weather conditions and soil type. Other methods like repairing interior cracks or reinforcing walls with steel beams require excavation of soil or concrete which is both time-consuming and complex.

Which repair method is considered most eco-friendly?

Mudjacking is the most eco-friendly solution since it does not disturb the soil around the foundation. Also, no other construction materials have to be removed from around the foundation or basement which makes this process versatile. You can also use recycled grout instead of new material making it a green solution as well.

What are the main advantages of mudjacking?

There are many advantages of using mudjacking since it is considered the most cost-effective solution to foundation damage.

It does not require removing or replacing any existing materials and can even raise sunken concrete as much as one inch depending on the condition of the soil around it. This allows you to save a lot of money since other methods like repairing interior cracks usually destroy surfaces around them leading to additional costs for redecoration.

Mudjacking is also a fast process and can be completed in as little as two days depending on weather conditions and soil type which makes it ideal for people who need quick results.

Can hydrostatic pressure damage your foundation?

Hydrostatic pressure poses a great risk to foundations and can cause it to crack or shift position. It occurs when water accumulates in the soil around the foundation which causes the soil particles to move closer together.

This exerts pressure on your building and can cause damages even though you may not be able to see any changes on the surface of the soil. This pressure can cause problems with your foundation even when the soil around it is soft and loose which makes it a common problem in hot areas where water tends to evaporate quickly.