Are you worried about your foundations? The issue with your property may depend on whether you have pier and beam, or slab foundations. Pier and beam foundations are popular in Texas, as the construction holds itself well in dry soil. The foundations are made of reinforced concrete buried deep in the ground, followed by ‘piers’ (concrete or brick posts), which then are overlaid with floor joists and support beams. There are many benefits to having pier and beam foundations, from having a crawl space to an aesthetically taller looking home. By contrast, slab foundations are built on flat lots and installed directly on the ground.
With both foundation types, there are common issues that may appear and need to be fixed. Here are some common foundation issues, and how you can tell if you have a problem.
Foundations Settling Around The Perimeter
Foundations may settle around their perimeter. The edges of foundations are known as ‘dropped edge beams’ or ‘edge drop.’ These act as a retaining wall for the rest of the slab. They usually sit on blocks where the builders have had to cut and fill against the land’s natural slope. Over time, the foundations around the edge may settle, which means they sink into the soil if it isn’t compacted correctly. During periods of excessive rain, the earth will loosen, while during extreme drought, the soil will shrink and become unstable.
You can tell that your house has settled if the floors have become uneven and appear slanted, or if you spot gaps between your window frames and walls, as these may shift if the foundations are unstable. If you spot these, call a contractor immediately before the problem becomes more severe.
Crawl Space Wood Rot – Pier And Beam Homes
If there is excess moisture in your crawl space, your wooden beams and joists may suffer from wood rot. Wood rot may be caused by moisture seeping through the concrete walls, crawl space floor or vents, due to drainage problems or flooding. These problems can cause the wood to rot or even lead to mold and fungus growth. Wood rot causes beams to weaken and sag, leading to structural damage.
If you have wood rot in your crawl space, contractors will repair the damage by identifying the reason for the rot (flooding, or drainage) and repairing the affected area. If a joist is rotten, they will reinforce it with an identical piece of wood, and minimally rotten beams may be reinforced with steel. If a beam needs to be replaced, the floor above the affected area is lifted and replaced with a brand new beam. Your contractor may use block and base repair, where concrete is stacked below the beam to provide support.
Shifting Piers Under Pier And Beam Homes
When your foundations shift due to soil contraction and expansion, it can also move the piers that support the beams. This can cause the beams themselves to move and lead to unstable or uneven flooring. The foundations could be fine, but if your piers are old and collapsing, this can also lead to shifting beams. Adjusting or reinforcing the piers can fix the piers’ problems, while issues with the concrete slab will require repairs to the initial foundations to repair the issue.
Upheaval Under Slab Foundations
If there is upheaval under concrete foundations, part of all of the slab may lift and become uneven, causing cracks and leading to uneven flooring. This may be caused by the settling edge drop causing other parts of the concrete to lift or by excess moisture in the soil, causing swelling and putting pressure on the slab, so it raises and cracks. When parts of the concrete slab lift, this is known as ‘foundation heaving’, and can cause severe structural damage.
You can spot foundation upheaval in a similar way to settling foundations, as the floor may appear tilted, you may struggle to close doors and windows as they ‘stick’, or you may see cracks appear in the walls or floor. A contractor will repair this by leveling and reinforcing the slab, to restore your home to its original position.
“Full Tilt” On Slab Foundations
Foundation full tilt is when the entire concrete foundation slab tilts. If the ground is exposed to frost or excess moisture, it may shift and expand, leading to the entire concrete slab moving. In cases like these, your walls may crack or bend due to pressure differences. Before this, your contractor may stabilize the wall by leveling out the pressure and then repair the original problem. In cases of full-tilt foundation problems, there may also be upheaval or cracks in different slab areas that need repair. At Pinnacle Foundation Repair, we provide expert foundation repair in Texas. If you’re concerned about your foundations, find out more about our services today, or to talk to us about your foundation problems. All the issues above require expert repair to restore your home’s structural integrity and ensure you can enjoy your property well into the future