Fix Foundation Damage Sooner Than Later
There are some problems that homeowners will always fix immediately. If the roof is leaking or the water heater has stopped working, it’s a sure bet that contractors are going to be called without delay.
Unfortunately, foundation problems don’t always get immediate attention. A homeowner may notice that a basement wall or a garage slab has cracked. But if water isn’t leaking into the space and everyday life isn’t disrupted, such damage easily gets relegated into the category of, “I’ll deal with it later.”
Don’t Ignore Foundation Damage
There are a number of reasons why it makes sense to deal with foundation problems right away, even when the damage seems to be minimal.
First of all, once a crack forms in a concrete wall or slab, it is much more likely to get larger rather than smaller. And many homeowners don’t understand that it’s actually more important to determine what caused the crack than to make a “quick fix” with grout or sealant. If the crack was caused by soil settlement or soil pressure from outside the foundation, quick repairs that simply fill the crack will eventually fail because of unstable soil conditions.
Health experts frequently advise that it’s wrong to treat the symptom and ignore what might be causing a person’s malady. The same mistake can happen when dealing with foundation damage. Cosmetic repairs like filling cracks and “skim-coating” a settled slab to make it level again are almost always destined to fail. The cause of the foundation crack or slab settlement hasn’t been eliminated, so it will continue to affect the foundation, often resulting in more extensive damage.
Thanks to the many mortar and caulk products available at home centers and hardware stores, homeowners and home repair contractors can make basic foundation repairs quickly, easily and cheaply. But they can’t diagnose soil conditions that threaten to cause more severe foundation damage over time. That’s why it makes sense to call in a foundation repair specialist.
A foundation repair specialist is trained to recognize soil issues that homeowners and general contractors can’t discern. The location and shape of a foundation crack can provide clues to the soil conditions that caused it. So can drainage conditions and even vegetation outside the house. Since most foundation repair contractors will inspect a foundation for free, there’s no harm in calling these experts in.
The Best Fix
In cases where foundation damage is severe -walls that bow or tilt inward, and slabs that sink or heave so that they’re hazardous to walk on, for example-foundation repair specialists have the capability to make such “extreme” repairs quickly and affordably. This comes as a surprise to many people who assume that badly damaged foundations must be demolished and replaced.
When soil conditions have caused a foundation wall or slab to sink, foundation repair contractors can drive steel piers beneath damaged sections to connect the foundation to stable soil at greater depth. Instead of being affected by unstable soil, the foundation can be isolated from it. Steel foundation anchors work in similar ways, helping to stabilize and restore a foundation wall that is being forced inward by expansive soil.