In the past, foundation repair usually meant pouring concrete. But today there are a variety of ways to repair foundations. Some repair methods are better suited for specific conditions, but each has their strength. We’ll look at some of the most popular methods of slab foundation repair in the Dallas and Fort Worth area today. But first, here are some ways to know when you may have a foundation issue.
Detecting Foundation Issues
Houses and buildings will settle over time so you can expect a little unevenness without too much worry. However, you will want to watch for these signs, which could spell more significant problems.
- Doors that won’t shut properly, or fail to stay closed.
- Windows that suddenly start sticking or refuse to completely close.
- Cracks in tile work, especially those over a concrete floor.
- Cracks that suddenly appear in walls, especially in vulnerable areas such as over doors or windows.
If you see these signs, you may be having foundation issues. Follow up on these signs by checking the outside of the building. If you see bulging or leaning walls (use a level), it might be a good idea to get a professional evaluation of your situation.
What Type of Repair Do I Need?
The type of repair needed for your foundation will vary depending on your situation.
Steel Pressed Pilings
When steel piers were introduced, it revolutionized the foundation repair industry. Steel piers foundation repair take much less time than traditional drilled piers, and they disturb much less of the repair site.
The steel pier process has progressed dramatically since its introduction, and today it uses technology and site data to correctly drive the piers into place. Over the years, Advanced was awarded multiple patents for its multi-wall “Pro-Lift” system.
Concrete Pressed Pilings
Cost effective concrete pressed pilings are effective in some types of soil. In this process, discrete concrete cylinders are driven into the ground to act as support piers. The combined pilings serve as foundation support.
However, nothing is in place to keep the discrete piers from shifting to the side in the active soil, weakening the support system. To combat this flaw, pressed pilings are also offered with steel. reinforcement designed to keep individual piers from shifting to the side. Advanced uses steel reinforcement with its 5000 psi concrete piling.
Advanced has mapped over 50,000 installations and uses this extensive data to determine whether steel or concrete pilings are best suited for a specific home.
As an alternative to standard concrete piers, pressed pilings are used for foundation repair. In this process, discrete concrete cylinders are driven into the ground to act as support piers. The combined piers are meant to serve as foundation support.
Pressed pilings offer cost savings over traditional methods of foundation repair, but it comes with another cost. Only some locations allow for the pilings to be pressed into the ground, and pressing failure can sometimes happen without warning. When this happens, the pilings can become cracked without any signs, leaving the support pier system faulty.
Concrete poured-in-place piers are used in the original construction so it would stand to reason that it could be used for a repair. In fact, the use of concrete piers for foundation repair offers a very permanent solution. This makes it popular with many homeowners and engineers.
However, the support required for concrete pier repair can be very cost prohibitive. It’s not always convenient to get a drilling rig in place to make the repair. On top of that, a lot of dirt has to be removed to construct the piers. It is a time consuming and more costly process.
For that reason, concrete piers are the most costly foundation repair method.
Masonry patches and sealants
These are used when the foundation has experienced shrinkage. The most significant symptoms of this issue will be cracks in the corners of the slab foundation. The cracks will be filled with expanding hydraulic cement.
Shrinkage is not a critical structural problem, but it is important to seal any cracks before more damage is done.
Contractors can often repair a sinking foundation with slabjacking. The process involves filling the space under the slab, forcing it back to its original location.
Fixing a slab with slabjacking involves drilling access holes through it and filling the area below it with cement and other additives. Slabjacking can be a very technical process, requiring specialized equipment and highly-trained professionals.
High-Density Polyurethane Foam
The use of high-density polyurethane foam has dramatically simplified some types of slab repair. The technique involves injecting the foam into the foundation using a six-foot checkerboard pattern centered on the problem area.
High-density polyurethane foam has become popular because of the speed of repair it offers. This repair method is also cost-effective in most cases, causing its popularity to spread.
However, this repair method is not without its problems. Plumbing must be checked for leaks before installation since foam can enter the hole and permanently block off the affected pipes. HVAC ducts can be clogged by errant foam during the repair process.
If your foundation problem is severe and cannot be repaired with slabjacking or high-density foam, then it may require the use of pier support. Pier support is the method by which the foundation is supported by buried shafts that sit on stable soil or rock.
There are several types of foundation piers in widespread use today.
Helical piers are probably the most over marketed foundation repair methodology on the market. They look like a large screw and can be used in both exterior foundation and interior slab repairs. When properly installed, they do not perform any better than properly installed concrete or steel pilings.
Spot piers are shallow holes that are filled with concrete. Often they are hand-dug, and they are a great option for light load areas such as porches. However, they are limited in the weight of the foundation they can support.
There are many different ways to repair a foundation. The challenge is to make sure the solution used is the best for the circumstances. We are experienced enough to know what works in the given conditions for slab repair in Dallas, Fort Worth and the surrounding area. Contact us for a free quote today!