Residential Structure: Understanding the Common Foundation Repair Options

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The foundations installed beneath residential structures are strong and durable. However, they can sustain damage, compromising the entire building. The damage is often as a result of poor soil condition or improper installation. In simple terms, if the supporting soil material is not strong enough or the building contractor did not prepare the foundation well, the structure will start to settle and move. While some slight settling is normal and not structurally harmful, the foundation can eventually crack or even sink due to strain. Fortunately, most forms of foundation damage can be resolved. Here is a short outline of the most ideal methods for foundation repair.

Patching and Sealing

Foundation cracks are relatively common and typically, they do not indicate structural damage. Often, these occur because the construction slab shrinks after installation. However, this does not mean that you should leave the cracks unrepaired. If left alone, they could expand and allow water to seep into the foundation. Therefore, you should patch up and seal the slab for optimal performance. You can repair most cracks in slab foundation using hydraulic cement.

This type of repair material is normally applied into the damaged area using a caulking gun or similar tools. When the cement dries, it will expand forming a perfect patch. Other types of cracks can be sealed with epoxy putty or commercial sealants intended for masonry use. If you notice stepped cracks or horizontal cracks in a block foundation, the damage could be structural. Consult a professional foundation technician for further inspection.

Slab Jacking

If you have had the foundation of your building inspected and the contractor has identified slab sinking, they might recommend a form of repair known as slab jacking. Basically, this restoration process involves filling the area beneath the concrete slab so it is raised to the intended position. During the repair procedure, the contractor will drill some holes into the base of the foundation. The hole will be used to pump a special cement mixture into the designated area beneath the slab. This process uses specialised machines, so it should be performed by professional contractors only.

Piling Repair

Piling foundation repair is utilised when the damage to the building is relatively extensive, particularly due to settlement. This technique uses steel pipe pilings to raise the position of the foundation and restore optimal performance. Typically, the steel beams are inserted in the ground beneath the foundation, lifted using hydraulic jacks to raise the slab and then locked into place, ensuring long-term reliability and performance.