While the ground beneath your feet may look solid, it is anything but. Water tables, soil quality and weather conditions can have a significant effect on stability, and your house may be affected by changes over time. If you've noticed some issues around your home and may worry about your foundation, how can you determine if it's something significant or simply one of those things?
Many homes have been built on an elevated slab and may have a crawlspace underneath the primary floor. If you have this type of design, then you can a closer look beneath, and this can often tell you what you need to know.
You may have been alerted to a possible problem by some internal cracks or a window that will no longer close properly. These issues may certainly have been caused by subsidence, or they could be due to larger problems linked to the foundation.
Having a Look
When you have a look below, inspect the slab, together with the concrete posts or piers. The piers should extend into the ground and support the posts and beams on top, and they should be straight and in good condition.
Next, look for any cracks in any slab or intersections. You will invariably find some no matter what, and if they are hairline or within the mortar that joins some blocks together, you probably do not need to worry. However, if you find "stepped" cracks that form a zigzag pattern, or large scale, horizontal cracks, you've got issues. You may have elevated pressure on a particular part of the frame or wall, or the foundation itself may have shifted.
It may be possible to fix a problem with your foundation by adding steel braces at strategic positions along the outside wall. You may also be able to fit additional concrete piers in a process known as "underpinning." The contractor may replace some existing piers as well or insert helical screws into the ground to provide some additional stability.
Of course, it can be difficult to determine the scale of a problem through inexperienced eyes. In this case, you should bring in a contractor who specialises in foundation repairs and underpinning. They will conduct additional tests and let you know what type of repair you may need or, in the worst-case scenario, if it calls for a new foundation.
For more information, reach out to a local foundation crack repair service.
Hello, my name is Carl and this is my construction and contractor blog. I do not work in the construction business but last year, my wife and I had a lot of work carried out on our summer home which is located on the Gold Coast. Winter storms had damaged the roof and a couple of seabirds had made a nest in there. The place was a real mess but thankfully the contractors did a great job of repairing the roof and fixing up the damage to the loft space. I learn a lot during the repairs so I decided to start a new blog. Enjoy!