Is the concrete on your driveway or foundation cracking? Have you noticed that the walls seem to be out of place? Are there large cracks on the outside? Does it rain inside as well as out during each thunderstorm? These could all be signs that you are having issues with concrete settlement and cracks. These are not a do-it-yourself fix, and they cannot be patched with crack repair. The costs will outweigh the benefits of this investment because your house will be unsafe and unstable without repair.
The main cause of a settling foundation is usually either that the soil was not properly compacted upon initial construction or that the soil is one which shifts, like sand or clay. In the case of improper compaction, a foundation is dug out bigger than what the actual foundation will be so that workers can get in and put everything in place. However, this means that soil that has been stagnant for hundreds if not thousands of years is being shifted and becoming less compacted. If that soil is then back-filled next to the foundation walls or even underneath, it can cause major settling problems because it cannot handle the weight of the home.
In the case of soils which shift, instead of the house sitting firmly on the ground and the foundation securely in place, the soils will shift over time and cause slight (or large) shifts in the walls and floors. Over time, these can cause big problems with cracking, uneven floors, and waterproofing issues. Certain types of soil should be noted before building on it, and it should be remedied before any construction begins. Or the construction should move elsewhere.
Concrete settlement can be solved in a number of ways, all of which include underpinning and crack repair if necessary. Which type of underpinning that is utilized will be determined based on the place that is settling, the weight, and how severe the settlement is. There may be multiple methods used. Most likely, helical piers or push piers will be used. However, if bowing walls have also occurred, a plate anchor or carbon fiber straps might also be in order.
Piering systems will drive a pier into the solid soil that has been neatly compacted over hundreds of thousands of years and assures a stable hold. It will then attach to a plate or mechanism inside or on the footing. All the weight of the home will then be transferred to the pier. The difference between helical piers and push piers is that push piers are driven into the ground while helical piers are “screwed” into the ground for even greater stability. If need be, crack repair will then be performed on the home so that no water or critters make their inside your home.
Concrete settlement is not as scary as it seems, but it does need to be taken care of as soon as you see it happening. The longer you wait, the bigger the price tag will be for the eventual fix. It will not resolve itself, and crack repair will not resolve the issue either. If you’re looking for an expert in concrete settlement, Custom Concrete & Foundation Specialists can help! Call us today for a free estimate and to get started on fixing up your home or driveway.