Looking for accurate cost information related to each foundation repair method?
Perfect, you’re in the right spot. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How do you tell if your home’s foundation needs to be repaired?
- What are the different repair methods?
- How can you save money while fixing your foundation?
Homeowners often neglect their foundations because it isn’t always obvious when they are damaged. However, they’re under immense amounts of stress and can suffer from a myriad of different problems.
Foundation issues also tend to get worse over time because they work tirelessly to support your home and resist the pressure of the surrounding soil, groundwater, and runoff.
Below, I’m going to detail the signs that your foundation is damaged and needs to be fixed, which should help you carry out repairs before the damage becomes too severe. I’ll also discuss the different repair methods and how you can save money while implementing them in your home.
What Are The Signs That Your Foundation Needs Repair?
Your concrete foundation can suffer many different types of damage from a wide variety of underlying problems, and any homeowner should be able to identify an array of foundation problems. Below, I’ll discuss the most common signs that your foundation is damaged.
Foundation cracks are some of the most common foundation issues, and they can occur for several reasons.
All concrete settles under the weight of the structure above within the first few years of construction. These shrinkage cracks usually aren’t dangerous, but they can widen and allow water or insects to enter your home and should be treated with an epoxy sealant. Differential settling or rapid soil movement can create dangerous diagonal or stair-step cracks and unsupported sections of concrete.
Concrete is also porous and will continuously absorb and release moisture from the soil. Even the small degree of expanding and contracting that occurs with this water movement can cause stress cracks to form in your foundation.
Lastly, abundant hydrostatic pressure in the ground around your foundation can put undue stress on your crawl space or basement walls and cause horizontal cracking. This type of damage is usually indicative of loss of structural integrity and can be very dangerous.
If you find cracks in your foundation that are wider than ⅛”, run horizontally or diagonally, or appear in a stair-step pattern, your foundation has suffered damage and needs to be repaired.
Read Also >> How dangerous are foundation cracks?
Foundation walls and slabs continuously work to keep water out of your home, and yet water intrusion into basements or crawl spaces is a widespread issue affecting approximately 60% of homeowners.
Water can wick directly through concrete, creating moisture problems inside, and it can seep through cracks in your basement floor or concrete block walls. Water intrusion is usually a symptom of poor drainage outside of your home and occurs because of excess rainwater or groundwater in your soil.
Any moisture issues, standing water, or water seepage in your basement or crawl space are signs of foundation damage that needs to be repaired.
When the dirt around your home becomes saturated because of improper drainage, hydrostatic pressure builds up and presses against your concrete. The increased weight of the soil can cause your foundation wall to bow inward.
When the soil dries, it often shrinks away from your foundation and creates gaps where additional settling can occur and cause more problems with hydrostatic pressure in the future.
Foundation walls that bow inward usually indicate significant problems and should be addressed by a foundation repair contractor as quickly as possible.
Lastly, gaps forming on the exterior walls of your home can be signs of foundation damage. Your house’s framing is supported by your concrete and can get warped or bowed as dangerous settling occurs. Rigid construction material like brick or stucco siding, windows, and doors won’t shift and instead will create visible gaps in your home’s exterior.
Since your entire home relies on your foundation for structural integrity and a level base, these gaps are often signs of foundation damage and can allow water intrusion or promote insect infestation.
What Are The Different Foundation Repair Methods?
Now that you know how to identify foundation damage, the next step to a safe and structurally sound foundation is adequate repair. Below, I’ll go over the most common types of foundation repair and discuss how they can restore structural integrity to your home.
Slabjacking, also called mudjacking, is the process of pumping a solution below your concrete slab to provide support from underneath.
First, holes are drilled in your slab foundation in areas where additional support is needed. Next, a cementitious solution or expanding polyurethane foam is pumped into the holes. The process fills any gaps beneath your slab and raises the concrete back up to its original level, where it can provide support again.
Piering is a more intrusive repair method, but it provides more stability to your concrete. It’s installed by drilling holes in your slab where a structural engineer detects weakness. Your home is then supported by hydraulic jacks while long piers are sunk into the ground through the hole until they reach a point where they can offer support. They usually sunk to bedrock or to a depth where the friction provides enough resistance to be supportive.
The piers are then fastened to your concrete slab and can offer immense stabilization to your foundation from underneath.
What Are Some Additional Methods of Foundation Repair?
There are different kinds of piers used depending on your location and soil type, as well as different materials for slabjacking. I’ll discuss the options below and explain the most beneficial application of each.
Steel piers are long supports that are often end-bearing, which means they are driven down to bedrock to provide support. These piers are mid-range as far as pricing and will cost approximately $1,250 per pier. They aren’t suitable for all areas, and especially those where bedrock is prohibitively deep. However, they’re excellent solutions in areas with clay soil or other ground that offers inadequate support.
Helical piers have helices on them and get screwed into the ground. The helices offer a platform for support, so helical piers are great for areas where steel piers can’t be drilled down to bedrock. These piers are relatively expensive at around $1,750 per pier on average.
Concrete piers often exceed $2,000 per pier because they require the most amount of excavation. Drilling holes large enough to pour concrete piers is time-consuming, costly, and requires large, heavy equipment maneuvered onto your property. They also are most likely to interrupt your landscaping and require extensive cleanup. They do, however, offer the most support from under your foundation.
High-Density Polyurethane Foam
HDPE foam can be used in slabjacking, and it gets pumped into holes drilled in your foundation to fill voids below your slab. The foam expands naturally and forces the slab back up to level. HDPE foam adds a fair amount of support to your slab, but the national average cost of application is around $8,000. This price can vary based on your soil conditions, foundation size, and presence of plumbing running through your slab.
Segmented piers, also known as pressed concrete piers, consist of preformed concrete pilings that are forced into the ground beneath your foundation using a hydraulic ram. They are very cost-effective at an estimated $1,000 per pier.
Lastly, spot piers are usually made of concrete and are placed in manually excavated holes below your foundation. These piers are the most shallow and often provide minimal frictional resistance for support. They typically cost around $1,000 per pier as well, given the amount of manual excavation required.
How To Save Money on Foundation Repair Methods?
Because the cost of foundation repair is usually high, many homeowners look for ways to save money while repairing the damage.
The first way you can save money is to get a permanent solution carried out by a foundation repair expert as soon as possible. It may be appealing to pass on more expensive repair options and go for the cheapest fix, but cheap fixes are inexpensive for a reason and typically don’t provide permanent solutions. Save yourself money on future repairs can get the proper fix done upfront.
Additionally, you can help reduce the chance of ongoing problems and the cost of interior repairs by addressing the underlying problem. The most common cause of foundation damage is improper drainage of rainwater or groundwater, so fixing these problems can help reduce the chance of recurring damage and the associated expenses.
Installing gutters, downpipes, gutter extensions, and an exterior drainage system like a French drain can be inexpensive DIY solutions to water problems and can help reduce the chance of costly repairs in the future.