Most homeowners have experienced some degree of foundation settling. When a home is new, it may settle a little as the newly excavated site compacts under the weight of the structure. This is not a critical problem and the small cracks and misalignments that result can be easily repaired and shouldn't reoccur.
However, when a home’s foundation experiences settling years after it was built, that’s far from normal and can indeed be critical for the home’s continued stability. This typically occurs when the soil around and under the foundation becomes over-saturated, which causes it to swell or expand. In dry times, such as the ongoing drought that was so troublesome in 2012, moisture is withdrawn from the soil and it compacts or collapses, causing the foundation to drop.
This type of movement causes many problems with the foundation itself and the structure it supports – cracking, separating of masonry walls, jammed windows and doors, water intrusion and many others. The resulting damage from a settling foundation can be minimized, however, if the homeowner acts quickly to re-stabilize the home. To do this, he or she must be familiar with signs that something has gone wrong.
If foundation settling has occurred, the remedy is to raise the foundation back to level and stabilize it against further movement, a process called underpinning. There are various methods of underpinning but the one that offers the most effective and least disruptive result is to install steel hydraulic push piers. These piers are driven to a load-bearing stratum in the earth and are used to hydraulically lift the house back into position and hold it there permanently.
If you see one or more of the signs listed above, there’s a very good chance that your foundation is settling and that you will need the help of an experienced professional to fully diagnose the problem and repair it permanently. At U.S. Waterproofing, our team of specially trained advisors and installers know how to spot serious foundation problems and repair them before they get worse and cause more damage to your home. Please ask for a free consultation if you’re concerned about your home.
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