Does your home suddenly have a large foundation crack that wasn’t there before? It could be a sign that you have structural foundation damage. Whether the problem is that your home is settling or there’s serious damage to the building, it can get worse and even irreversible if you ignore the problem. Learn how to determine if you need to call an expert and what structural foundation repair entails.
Causes of Structural Foundation Repair
The majority of structural foundation issues are caused by water, soil, and poor drainage. Soil that’s high in clay content is expensive and contains minerals that absorb water. These changes in moisture content cause the soil to swell and shrink, leading to movement beneath your home’s foundation causing cracks and other damage to form. Other causes of movement and damage include floods, drought, and earthquakes, as well as tree roots that can exert pressure on the foundation and leech moisture to cause the soil to contract away from the home. Problems that can result include damage to your structure, unsightly cracks in your home, water seepage leading to mould, and even loss of the value of your home.
Identifying Structural Foundation Issues
Foundation issues are not always easy to spot until they become a problem. The issues usually become apparent in cracks along the outside foundation and bricks. It can also show in basement cracks that extend from floor to ceiling, pooling water near the foundation or in the basement, walls separating from the ceiling, cracked tiles and buckling hardwood flooring, wavy or bowing walls, misaligned and sticking windows or doors, baseboard separation, cracked chimney, as well as floor cracks and sagging floors.
Some signs are not as obvious but can also indicate a potential structural issue. These include mould, strange smells, and insect infestation in the basement or crawl space. If any of the above problems form, it’s important to contact a foundation repair expert for inspection.
Fixing Structural Foundation Problems
Depending on what the foundation repair team finds, they may recommend performing a repair that could include:
Piling is the technique of driving or screwing steel pipe into the ground to fix failing building foundations and to correct settlement issues. The steel piers are driven into rock or stable soil and are connected to the foundation and then tested. Hydraulic jacks attach to the piers and are used to raise the foundation back to its original elevation. Once the desired elevation is achieved, the piles are attached to wall brackets to maintain the elevation.
Underpinning with concrete is a more conventional method to piling and consists of transferring the load of a structure to a deeper depth in the ground. Essentially pouring a foundation underneath an existing foundation.
Tieback Anchors or Beam-Columns
In some cases, the installation of tieback anchors or beam columns can be added to provide more structural reinforcement to the walls.
If the foundation is cracking due to shrinkage, then sealants may be used to fix the problem. This often includes using modified mortars/masonry repairs or epoxy to fill in the cracks.
Waterproofing and Drainage
Waterproofing the basement prevents water from entering the basement. Installing an air gap membrane to the below-grade portion of foundation and installing a weeping tile system can help to ensure water properly drains away from your home and keeps it dry inside.
Correcting Yard Grade
It may be necessary to fix the yard grade by extending downspouts to further improve exterior water issues. Correcting a negative grade can prevent the water from further running towards the foundation and causing structural and water issues.
Once the foundation is repaired, landscaping may be required to make the area around your home look beautiful once again. Many foundation repair companies will also offer this service to their customers, including repairing or adding new walkways, retaining walls and more.
If your Ottawa home has started to show signs of structural foundation damage, take immediate action by calling our team at The Foundation Experts Inc. We have been providing structural repair in Ottawa for over 20 years and have extensive experience in a wide range of foundation and structural repair areas. This includes foundation replacement, foundation underpinning, geotechnical engineering, waterproofing, window well excavation, basement restoration, sump pumps, weeping tile systems, block repair, and landscaping among other services. Whatever foundation related problem you’re having with your home, it’s crucial to trust the experts to get the repair done right the first time. Visit or contact us today, and we’ll arrange for an inspection.