Foundation settlement repair
Have you noticed cracks in your foundation walls, uneven floors, sticking windows or other signs of foundation problems? You may need foundation settlement repair.
At LRE Foundation Repair, we fix foundation settlement issues by installing steel foundation piers.
These piers extend beneath your foundation, contacting strong supporting soils that will permanently stabilize your structure. As specialists in foundation repair, we can ensure there’s a solution to your sinking settlement with us.
Identifying Foundation Settlement Issues
There are usually a number of different soil layers underneath a property. Foundation settlement and house movement can occur when one of these soil layers can't support the weight.
Signs of a settling foundation can be very subtle at first. Many homeowners can go months or even years before noticing a crack in their foundation. The long-term damage from foundation settlement, however, is ongoing and will lead to more severe foundation problems.
When inspecting properties, there are 5 typical signs of foundation settlement:
Stair-step cracking is very common in brick and concrete block walls and is a sure sign of foundation settlement. As the settlement house movement continues, vertical cracks may widen or become uneven as wall sections tilt away from each other, indicating more severe displacement. Keep an eye out for cracks that are wider at the top than at the bottom, as this is a sign of advancing settlement.
Tilting chimneys that are separating from the home are one of the most intimidating and dramatic signs of a settling foundation. Sometimes a chimney is built on a footing that is not connected to the house foundation. In this situation, the enormous weight of a chimney can make it even more at risk of settlement.
Damaged Doors & Windows
An opening cut in any wall is a weak point, so signs of foundation settlement and house movement often show up around door and window openings. Doors and window frames may be racked out of square, cracks may extend from the corners above doors and windows, and doors may separate from the framing or exterior finish. Other signs of foundation settlement include sticking or jamming doors and windows, and locks that stop working.
Slab Floor Cracking
Cracks in your concrete floor slab can be a sign of foundation settlement, but they may also be a sign that the slab floor alone has settled. There are times when your slab floor may sink or lift independently of the foundation walls, damaging the floors but not necessarily the foundation walls themselves.
Cracks in drywall throughout the house are reliable indicators of foundation settlement. Cracks will often be larger and more obvious in the home's upper levels. Typical drywall cracks during foundation settlement are commonly located at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams. Drywall tape can also be a good indicator, especially if it's ripping or coming loose. Drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors.
Repairing Foundation Settlement
There are several different types of foundation piers designed to address each kind of foundation settlement problem.
We install three different kinds of foundation piers: push piers, helical piers, and slab piers.
Foundation Push Piers
Push piers connect the foundation to strong, stable soil or bedrock. Foundation piers attach to the base of the foundation with special brackets and extend through settling and unstable soil layers, transferring the weight of your home to competent soils.
Installing push piers
Foundation push piers are straight, steel piers that attach to your foundation and extend far below the structure to strong supporting soils. During the installation, a section of the foundation footing is exposed and cut to attach to each pier's bracket. We can install push piers year-round from either inside or outside of your foundation or structure.
Push pier sections
Foundation brackets are secured to the footing, and tubular pier sections are hydraulically driven through each bracket. Pier sections continue to be driven downwards until the piers meet competent strata that can bear the weight of your home without compression.
When all push piers have been installed, they will work in unison to transfer the weight of the structure to the strong soils or bedrock below. If possible, the home is also lifted back to its original, level position.
Foundation Helical Piers
Like push piers, helical piers are attached to the foundation by mounting a bracket. Helical piers include rotating blades that are advanced (or screwed) into the soil.
Foundation helical piers are straight, steel piers that have helical blades welded to each shaft. This installation is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.
These piers are driven into the soils underneath your foundation, then each pier is connected to the structure's foundation via a steel bracket.
Helical pier installation
During the installation, a section of the footing is exposed and cut for each bracket. Next, round-shaft helical piers are mechanically advanced into the soil.
Once the helical pier has been advanced into the soil, a foundation bracket is secured to the footing. When all helical piers have been installed, they will work in unison to transfer the weight of the structure to competent soil. If possible, the structure is also lifted back to a level position.
Slab Pier Systems
When the soil beneath a concrete slab shrinks or settles, the slab itself is also likely to settle, often cracking in the process. Slab piers restore stability by connecting the slab to competent soil at greater depth.
Foundation slab piers are straight steel piers that extend from stable soils deep below the structure to support brackets directly in contact with the underside of the slab. These piers are meant to support a settling concrete floor, and are not appropriate for foundation wall stabilization.
Slab piers are also inappropriate for repairing heaving foundations, where the floor is being lifted by expansive soils or frost heave.
Slab pier installation
During installation, a small hole is cored through the concrete floor. A slab bracket is assembled beneath the concrete slab, and steel tubes are hydraulically driven down through this bracket assembly.
When the slab piers have reached competent soils, the weight of the slab is transferred through the piers to load-bearing soils below. If possible, the slab is lifted back to level position.
At the end of the installation, grout is pumped under the slab to fill any voids, and all cored holes in the slab are restored with new concrete for a clean, professional look.
Foundation repairs we never perform
Like all home improvements and repairs, some foundation repair methods work better than others. Based on our experiences throughout Florida, here are three foundation fixes that we do NOT recommend:
Total foundation replacement
This is expensive, time-consuming and extremely disruptive for a family. Even worse, it doesn't address the real problem: the soils around and under the foundation. Many homeowners remove and replace their foundation without addressing the problem that caused the foundation issue in the first place. When this happens, they often find that after several years, they're facing the same problem all over again.
When it comes to foundation footings, bigger is not necessarily better. Most of the time, the underpinning will not extend beyond the problem soils under your home. If this is true, the larger footings you just paid for will continue to move and cause damage. Concrete shrinks as it cures, and small gaps can form between the new and old footings, causing additional problems.
Blunt, wide concrete cylinders are difficult to push deep into the ground, making it very difficult to extend them past the poor supporting soils under your home. Concrete can crack and break when under pressure, and even in response to temperature changes, making concrete piers a flimsy repair method. Additionally, there is nothing to guide the direction for the pier and no guarantee that they will be installed straight.
Call foundation settlement repair experts in Florida!
At LRE Foundation Repair, we can identify and repair any issue you may be having with settling, sinking foundations, and settlement house movement.
We have a wide variety of solutions for foundation repair that have been tested and proven effective throughout the United States and Canada through the Supportworks network of foundation contractors.
Each of our solutions starts with a free, written foundation repair inspection, and includes a personal consultation with a foundation expert for an in-person inspection.
To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, give us a call at (352) 247-7716 or email us today! We proudly serve Tampa, Orlando, Saint Petersburg, Bradenton, Lakeland, Sarasota, Ocala, Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Clearwater, and nearby.