Foundation leveling is a process, which can be employed when a house or building is showing signs of foundation settlement. If the soil that lies beneath the structure can no longer bear the weight, settlement can occur, putting the building at risk.
Causes of settlement
There are several possible causes of foundation settlement. In the vast majority of cases, the composition of the soil, or the manner in which the soil was prepared or laid prior to placing the foundations, play a role. Here are some of the most common reasons why soil contributes to foundation settlement:
Native soil is not strong enough to support the structure and lacks the required bearing capacity
Soil was not properly prepared and compacted before the foundations were laid and construction began
The moisture content of the soil alters over time due to seasonal changes. In the dry months, the soil can become dry and shrink, and when the rains return and temperatures drop, the water content increases again
Organic compounds within the soil can breakdown, altering composition
Foundation settlement is one of the most widespread foundation problems in the US.
Signs of foundation settlement to look out for
If you notice signs of foundation settlement, it’s wise to seek advice from a professional foundation repair contractor as soon as possible. In most cases, early intervention is best. If you suspect that your home isn’t level, and there may be a problem with your foundations, an experienced contractor can use tried and tested techniques and specially designed instruments to check for warning signs. Before you start panicking, it is worth noting that many buildings display some of the signs without being at risk of significant damage. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Cracks and splinters in the sheetrock
- Cracks and crevasses in the foundation walls
- Uneven, sloping floors
- Difficulty opening and closing doors due to sloped floors
- Cracks in floor tiles and concrete flooring
Is it possible to prevent foundation settlement?
They say that prevention is always better than cure. The most significant threat to your home’s foundations is water, so it’s crucial to ensure that moisture can escape and drain away from the foundations. Here are 3 tips to protect your foundations:
- If you don’t already have rain gutters, it’s hugely beneficial to invest in them.
- If you have gutters, but you don’t clear and clean them very often, try and make a concerted effort to remove leaves and debris so that they can do their job as effectively as possible.
- Make sure your downspouts are positioned to direct water at least 10 feet away from your foundations. If the spout shoots directly to the foundations, this will impact the foundation walls. In some cities, extending the downspout 10 feet away from the premises is a building code.
If there are signs of foundation settlement, and action is required, there are various foundation repair methods that may be employed. Foundation piers can be used to stabilize or even lift the foundations. Another type of repair, for example, using helical piles or push piers, may also be recommended. Different techniques and equipment offer advantages for different projects. An experienced contractor will be able to determine which option is best based on the individual needs and demands of the project.
For more information and to get a free estimate, contact Rhino Foundation Systems today!