Foundation settlement repair
Foundations begin to settle when the integrity of the soil under the footings of a house is compromised. The footings crack and drop, which causes walls and floors to crack and drop, and the house to sink.
Signs of settlement might include:
- Cracks in exterior walls and in the foundation walls.
- Leaning chimney.
- Interior cracks in drywall or plaster, especially over doors or windows.
- Sticking windows and doors.
It's not easy to determine the source of these problems. Basement walls may also crack due to the natural process of concrete curing, or due to hydrostatic pressure on walls from outside the house. But the process to repair these cracks is much different from repairing cracks due to foundation settling.
That's why it's important to have an expert from ABT Foundation Solutions, Inc. take a look at your basement/foundation to determine the exact nature of the problem. Once we figure out why walls are cracking, we can propose the best solution at the most reasonable cost for the repair.
If you think your home has signs of foundation settlement, call the professionals at ABT Foundation Solutions, Inc. or fill out our online form for a free inspection and estimate (if needed). We know what makes a foundation settle in Wisconsin because we've been successfully treating this condition for decadess.
Causes of settlement
What makes a foundation settle?
- Changes in the moisture content of the soil. This can have devastating effects on your foundation. Too much moisture and your foundation walls are subject to hydrostatic pressure. Too little moisture and your foundation walls are not properly supported. ABT knows the clay soil in our area has a tendency to be very unforgiving.
- Weak soil structure. Sometimes residential foundation footings are laid in based on general guidelines and not soil-specific standards. When a builder takes into account the type of soil the foundation will be sitting on, the foundation is protected from future damage if the soil structure is weak.
- Maturing trees and vegetation. Large trees and shrub roots around larger homes can eventually demand a lot of water, taking moisture from the soil around the trees and vegetation − and around the foundation. And these roots can penetrate and grow through foundations.
- Soil consolidation. The weight of the foundation compresses clay soil that is so prevalent in our area. The clay becomes denser or smaller, which can lead to voids around the foundation and/or sinking.
- Poor soil compaction. If a foundation is laid over soil that hasn't been compacted correctly, the foundation will settle improperly.
- Soil composition. Too much clay or too much sand makes it difficult to drain water around the foundation. That means your foundation is subject to hydrostatic pressure, which causes cracks, bowed walls and more.
ABT Foundation Solutions, Inc. has been helping homeowners address foundation issues for more than 15 years. We know the northern and northeastern Wisconsin area, the soil and what makes foundations settle. And we know how to fix the problem, then repair the damage.
Some common solutions to foundation settlement problems include two types of piers. There's a big difference in the application of these two piering systems. But both are vibration-free, cost-effective, long-lasting, approved by engineers and inspectors nationwide, and have more than 30 years of field testing to back up their claims of solving foundation settlement problems.
Push piers are also known as resistance piles, push piles, pipe or friction piers. These are pipes with open ends that are pushed into the ground until they reach soil that is stable enough to hold up the foundation. Once that layer of soil is found, a hydraulic ram is used to insert the piers that are then anchored to the foundation. The weight of the structure becomes a resistance mass to push against, hence the term push pier.
This type of solution is one of the most common solutions to foundation settlement problems. The piers can be hydraulically driven either under or next to the footing of your foundation. A push pier should not be used with broken foundation footings.
A helical pier is a square bar or pipe that has a helice. This resembles a large screw and is 8 to 14 inches long. It looks a lot like a post hole digger. A hydraulic motor turns the pipe, causing it to screw into the ground either vertically or at an angle as required. The stiffer and denser the soil is, the greater the load-bearing capacity. It has the unique characteristic of having the same capacity in compression (vertical load) as well as in a tension (tieback in wall) capacity.