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What You Need to Know About Residential Foundation Repair

foundation, home repairs

When you have a problem with your home, it can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s especially when you know that it might be expensive to fix.

Residential foundation repair is a good investment that can make your home more attractive to buyers and increase its value. However, you need to know which issues are worth fixing and which are not.

Crawl spaces

Crawl spaces are a natural part of homes that are built on sloping lots. They provide homeowners with a convenient place to house the internal workings of their homes that a basement traditionally houses, including electrical wiring, plumbing and insulation.

However, crawl spaces can also be problematic. They often become a breeding ground for mold, mildew and pests, which can result in air quality issues, higher energy bills, and potential structural damage.

The most common problem with crawl spaces is moisture. Without ventilation, water vapor can travel from the ground into your home, causing fungi and mold growth, rot and wood failure.

The best way to solve a crawl space moisture issue is to install a vapor barrier that covers the floor and walls. If that doesn’t work, encapsulating the area may be the next step. This involves sealing the vapor barrier and adding insulation and French drain tiles to the crawl space. Then a sump pit and pump are added to collect water from the space.

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Sewer or drainage pipes

Sewer or drainage pipes are located under the concrete slab foundation of a home. When these pipes break, it can cause a serious foundation repair problem.

Residential sewer lines are typically made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), although they can also be made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, iron or copper. Depending on the materials used, a sewer line can last for years.

The drain slope of a sewer line is a key factor in preventing sewer back-ups. The slope is calculated so that the waste can flow through the pipe in a downward direction without hitting any obstructions, like trees.

Occasionally, tree roots can penetrate the piping and clog or damage it. This can lead to expensive repairs. If you have a PVC sewer line, you might consider installing a root barricade to prevent tree roots from invading your sewer pipes.

Piers

If you have a pier and beam foundation, the wooden support structures for the piers can sometimes get rotten. These problems can be costly to fix.

Pier and beam houses are often located in areas that flood frequently. Moisture can soak into the wood, causing it to expand and eventually rot or disintegrate completely.

A foundation repair company may re-shim the entire system to correct looseness in a beam structure or pier stack, distributing weight more evenly and preventing bowing floors that can occur when there are a lot of heavy items on top of the foundation.

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Push piers are also another foundation repair option for light-loaded areas. This method involves installing a bracket above the foundation footing and driving a series of steel pipes into the ground until they reach a firm-bearing stratum in the soil below.

Cracks

Foundation cracks are one of the most common problems homeowners have to deal with. The damage they cause can be expensive.

Fortunately, most cracks don’t indicate serious structural damage, but they should be checked out by a professional.

There are several types of foundation cracks that can occur, depending on the type of structure your home has. They include horizontal and stair-step cracks that run along the wall.

These types of cracks are more likely to happen in poured concrete foundations. But they can also happen in block and brick structures.

The most common non-structural cracks are those that are no wider than 1/8 inch, which typically occur within the first few months after a home’s foundation is poured.

These cracks are generally caused by settling of the house and concrete shrinkage after it’s been poured, but may not cause any serious problem. However, they’re a good idea to seal so moisture and soil smells don’t get in.