What is a Sinking Foundation?
A sinking foundation is a problem encountered by thousands of homeowners every year. To spot a sinking foundation, first be aware of the key signs. Concrete that has cracks that appear above ground level may indicate that your foundation has settled unevenly, lower on one side than the other. The pressure of uneven settling leads to stress cracks on your foundation.
You can also watch for floors that are sloped, doors and windows that shut unevenly, and walls that are curved. In the exterior of your home, you can examine the pattern of dirt around the perimeter. If your foundation has settled unevenly, it will leave spaces in between the wall and the ground where new dirt has settled.
A sinking foundation can leave you in fear of losing everything you’ve worked hard to maintain. Uneven or sinking foundations can result in total loss of your home if not corrected. Fortunately, there are a few important warning signs to help you get to the heart of the problem before it gets worse.
Signs of a Sinking Foundation
Look for these four signs if you’re concerned about a sinking foundation.
• Above ground-level cracks:
If you notice cracks in floors, basements or foundation walls, there may be a problem with your foundation’s stability.
• Uneven or sloping floors:
Inside the home, sloping or uneven floors may indicate a shift in your foundation.
• Cracks or gaps between floors and walls:
As the foundation of your home shrinks and expands, gaps may form between floors and walls.
• Chimney and exterior wall separation:
If your home’s chimney begins separating from the exterior wall, the foundation may be compromised.
Causes of a Sinking Foundation
There are three main causes for a sinking foundation. First, your foundation will sink if it was constructed on soil with a large amount of clay. This makes the dirt more susceptible to expansion and contraction when it comes into contact with water. Your foundation will be lifted up by expanding soil, and then it will start to sink when the soil underneath contracts. This process can occur frequently with changing seasons, compromising structural soundness.
Second, a foundation can sink due to poorly compacted soil. If the soil was left too loose, your foundation will settle too much, causing cracks and other damage.
Finally, landscaping that is too close to your home can also lead to damage in your foundation. If the roots of large trees grow under your home, they will dry your soil, leading to contraction and further settling.
Some homes are more susceptible to an uneven or sinking foundation than others. Specifically, homes built on clay-heavy soil are prone to foundation instability for the following reasons:
Expansion and contraction:
Soil with high levels of clay readily absorbs moisture. In this process of absorption and drying out, clay-heavy soil expands and contracts. Over time, this can weaken the stability of a home’s foundation.
Poorly compacted soil, such as soil with high concentrations of sand, is unable to adequately support the weight of a structure. Homes built on loose soil are prone to foundation problems.
Even perfect soil doesn’t provide a barrier against intrusion. Typically, two sources of outside interference can disrupt the stability of a foundation:
1. Hydrostatic pressure – As the level of water in the ground rises, pressure from the water bears down on a home’s foundation. Homes built in tropical climates or in areas prone to flooding may be affected by hydrostatic pressure.
2. Tree roots – Trees do not necessarily grow in a uniform manner. Over time, tree roots can make their way to a home’s foundation and breach the barrier, compromising the stability of the structure.
Effects of a Sinking Foundation
If left untreated, a sinking foundation can have result in serious consequences. Putting off repairs now will only lead to more expenses down the line. The longer you wait, the worse the problem gets, and the higher the number of piers required leading to a more expensive job.
Furthermore, the damage to your home above ground level will increase as your foundation continues to sink, leading to costly repairs. If your foundation is left untreated for too long, it can cause walls to buckle and your home to collapse.
Intech Anchoring Products & Solutions
There are a variety of repair options for sinking foundations. One option is high-pressure grouting, which involves an injection of grout into the soil underneath your foundation.
For a solution that is both permanent and economical, we only recommend using underpinning methods to install steel piers underneath the home. Either helical or resistance piers can be used.
Chance Helical piers consist of a central shaft containing helical flights (helices). These act as bearing plates to support the load of your home, and the shaft functions as a screw in the soil. These are useful in deep soil where you cannot reach bedrock.
After installing a bracket to your home’s foundation, Atlas Resistance Piers, also known as push piers, are driven into the soil until they reach bedrock or soil to support the weight of your house.
Sinking Foundation Repair Steps
- Our certified installer will inspect the condition of your home’s foundation.
- You will receive a customized foundation repair plan.
- Your home is prepared for the new foundation support system.
- Helical or resistance piles are selected and spaced at proper intervals to support the load of your home. For more information on both products, read about them here: Helical Piers vs. Resistance Piers.
- The piles are driven into the stable soil until the prescribed depth is reached. Brackets on top of each pile connect to the base of the foundation wall.
- Rigorous, on-site load tests are conducted to assess the capacity of each pier. This ensures the load is properly supported immediately after the pier is installed.
- The weight of your home is transferred to the new foundation support system and adjusted using hydraulic equipment.
Why Choose Intech Anchoring?
Intech Anchoring has over 20 years of experience in sinking foundation repair. We utilize a skilled team of engineers as well as the most advanced technology in the industry. Intech Anchoring offers competitive prices and superior customer service, along with the highest quality repair products. If you are in need of foundation repair services, contact Intech Anchoring at 800-223-7015 or fill out our contact form.