The foundation is an important and crucial component of every structure. Once it experiences movement and settlement, it will lead to more serious structural issues that need to be addressed right away. There are minor issues like shrinkage cracks that you can repair with sealants or patches but a major issue like a vertical movement; you should be alarmed because it will have huge effect on the structural integrity of the building.
The cracks you see on the walls might be caused by sudden forces like floors and earthquakes or by frost heaves and soil settlement. If you have a foundation problem, you will need the expertise of a Tampa foundation repair contractor. He will use either one of the two common methods of repair, piering or slabjacking.
1. Deciphering the Cracks
The cracks you see on your home are one of the indications that you might have a foundation problem. The hairline cracks are not structural issues but they are still called shrinkage cracks because they are caused by foundation movement. However if you have major issues like stepped cracks, it means that the foundation experiences heaving or settlement.
Almost vertical or really vertical cracks in a concrete foundation are other symptoms of structural problem that you should be alarmed about. If they have wide cracks at one end or both, it means that the foundation’s middle part of heaving, rising or has dropped. If the cracks appear horizontally at the foundation’s joints, it means that the foundation is experiencing too much pressure from the soil. These are all issues that are serious and shouldn’t be neglected.
2. Masonry Patches and Sealants
Cracks that are caused by shrinkage will need to be sealed or patched using masonry patches or sealants products. These shrinkage cracks are common and are commonly filled or caulked with hydraulic cement. Other products used are masonry repair epoxy. This is not a sign that your structure’s integrity is compromised, but you seal it to prevent water and moisture from getting through.
One of the processes done by foundation contractors to repair a sinking foundation is called slabjacking. They fill the space under the slab so it will go back to its original place. The process will have them drill strategically placed holes in the slab’s base and fill them with a mixture of fly ash, cement and other additives. This job will require a specific set of skills and specialized equipment, so don’t attempt to DIY this repair to avoid spending more.
4. Piering Repairs
Piering is another repair method that uses steep pipe pilings to repair a settled foundation. Two types of piers are installed, the push pier and the helical pier. Push piers are driven deep into the soil using a hydraulic ram. A trench is dug around the foundation to install the helical pier and then it is driven into the ground with the help of a steep shaft. To raise the foundation, the contractors will attach hydraulic jacks to both of them.