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What Is the Best Method for Foundation Repair? | A Homeowner’s Guide

by Demi on Aug 30, 2021

If you need foundation repair, it’s good to familiarize yourself with various repair methods available. You can then better understand why a foundation repair contractor might recommend one choice over another!

Noting some vital details about foundation repair methods can also ensure you protect those repairs and your home’s foundation over the years. Check out this quick guide for various methods of foundation repair, and be sure to call a repair company near you at the first sign of foundation damage.

Strong, Long-Lasting Steel Piers for Foundation Repair

Once a foundation has cracked and weakened, it typically needs support and bracing from underneath. Steel piers are an excellent choice for providing this added support; these piers or pins are placed into the ground either under a slab foundation or along the outside of basement walls. These pins are then attached to the foundation concrete with brackets.

Steel piers or pins are an excellent choice for foundation repair as steel is very durable, often lasting 150 years or more before needing repair or replacement. While steel piers might be the most expensive foundation repair method, they can also be the last foundation repair you’ll need over the lifetime of homeownership!

Concrete Piers, for Durable Foundation Repair

Concrete piers are more affordable than steel piers and these also provide support for a crumbling, weak foundation. Concrete segmented piers are small cylinders of concrete slabs premade offsite and then inserted into the ground under a home’s foundation.

Spot piers are concrete piers poured onsite. A repair contractor will drill into the ground and pour fresh concrete pins where needed. These are often used for lighter loads such as porches, patios, sunrooms, and the like.

Since concrete absorbs moisture from the soil around it, these piers are not typically recommended in tropical areas or those prone to flooding. It’s also vital that a homeowner keep their property graded and irrigated as needed, to prevent moisture collection around concrete piers. If a contractor uses high-quality concrete mixtures and installs them properly, and a homeowner protects those piers from moisture, concrete piers can provide durable foundation repair that lasts for decades.

Polyurethane Foam, for Emergency Foundation Repair

Dense polyurethane foam is often used for emergency foundation repair; this foam expands upon application, which helps to lift sunken areas of a foundation as well as concrete slabs including roads, driveways, walkways, and patios. The foam seeps into cracks and crevices of the foundation and then dries and hardens, blocking out moisture and filling in damaged areas.

There are many varieties of polyurethane foam used for foundation repair but these will break down and degrade over time, which is why they’re not typically considered a permanent solution. These foams can also be used along with other foundation repair methods; for example, after house leveling, foam might be injected into various damaged areas to help seal off cracks and chips.

Slab Jacking or House Leveling for Foundation Repair

Once a home’s foundation cracks and weakens, the weight of the home can cause it to sink, usually along one side or section. Once this occurs, you might need to schedule house leveling, also called slab jacking or mud jacking.

House leveling is not as drastic as you might assume! Typically a foundation repair contractor will drill holes through the foundation and then insert a specialty grout or slurry into the holes and underneath the foundation. This slurry expands as it dries and hardens, lifting the structure until it’s level and even once again.

Slab jacking is also sometimes used along with other foundation repair methods. For example, the home might still need underpinning or pier insertion along the foundation edges or underneath the slab, for added support. Polyurethane foam can also be used to close up cracks and gaps, as said.

Protecting Your Foundation Repairs

No matter your chosen method of foundation repair, it’s vital that you protect those repairs over time. Note some added suggestions for keeping a home’s foundation strong and stable.

  • Always ensure proper drainage on your property, to keep water from pooling around a structure’s foundation. Some properties might also need retaining walls, French drain installation, and other drainage solutions.
  • Invest in regular sealing and crack filling for your home’s foundation, to help prevent new cracks from forming and to keep minor cracks from spreading and deepening.
  • You might not associate clogged gutters with foundation damage but gutters and downspouts are designed to direct rainwater and melting snow and ice away from the home. When gutters and downspouts are clogged, damaged, or undersized, this can allow rain to collect around the home’s foundation, risking damage.

Remember to ask your contractor for more advice on how to protect your foundation repair. This will ensure your home’s foundation is always in good condition over the years.

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