Foundation repairs cause just as much of a sinking feeling in your gut as your house sinking into the ground. While you cannot prevent some of the causes of foundation damage in older homes, you can construct a new home using several preventive measures. The following explains some of the most common causes of foundation damage, how to prevent these causes, and what to do after your foundation already has noticeable damage.
Loamy or Sandy Soil
There are islands and coastal homes in freshwater areas. These areas frequently experience loamy or sandy soil, which is too soft to support the weight of a home. Over time, the home's foundation will begin to tilt and sink, which would not be so bad if the sinking happened to all parts of the foundation equally. Unfortunately, that is never the case, and that is how you get a cracked foundation. The sinking parts of the foundation are shearing away from the rest of the foundation.
If you have to build a home on sandy or loamy soil, ask your concrete contractor to brace the foundation from underground. There are various techniques that can reinforce the slab foundation or support a basement-type foundation right before your home is built. This includes post-tensioning for slabs and vertical and horizontal braces for basement foundations.
If you are buying a home that is already on loamy or sandy soil, the contractor can help lift the sinking area of the home by excavating the damaged side and bracing it. Mud-jacking, a process whereby concrete is injected into the surrounding soil, can help firm up the soil around and underneath a foundation while pushing the foundation upward.
To cut corners and expenses, some contractors will not use a high-grade concrete. That is fine and well for the first forty or fifty years of the home's life, but after that the concrete will begin deteriorating faster and need more maintenance. If you build a new house, ask your contractor to use the best and longest-lasting concrete possible. He or she will also reinforce this concrete with rebar, and then it will be a very sturdy foundation indeed. If, however, you are buying an old house and are suddenly faced with cracks in the foundation, it may be because the original contractor used a lesser-grade concrete when the home was built. While quite costly, the best solution to this problem is to lift the home off of the foundation completely, and rip out and re-pour the foundation anew.
Contact businesses like Solid Foundation for more information about or assistance with foundation repair.