In this edition of Your Home’s Foundation, Ruth Frey sits down with foundation experts Gary Seider and Christy Johnson to discuss the signs of foundation damage. They explain how to hire a trusted foundation repair specialist and walk through the foundation repair inspection process. Read a summary below, and watch the full video for an in-depth look at foundation repair.
Foundation in the News
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the news on homes and foundations. From the droughts in California, to sinkholes in Florida, failing foundations are a frequently discussed issue and homeowners need to be educated on the topic.
What are the First Signs of Foundation Damage?
- Stair step cracks in brick walls
- Cracks in bricks
- Bowing basement walls
- Sticking windows and doors
- Cracks in drywall
What are the Differences Between a Horizontal Crack and a Vertical Crack?
Vertical cracks can occur for a number of different reasons. They are generally an indication of an overload or they could be demonstrating separation of part of a building. When the soil is no longer strong enough to support a home, a vertical crack may appear.
Horizontal cracks are usually going to appear when something is bowing or rotating, a basement wall for example. This would occur in a time of soil swelling or wet conditions. Just like soil can shrink when it loses moisture, it can expand when it gains moisture. These are referred to as volume change soils. When soils expand they can push on basement walls, and when those walls are incapable of supporting the expansion, they can show horizontal cracks.
Dried Clay Soil
It can take a long time for clay soils to recover from a drought. Because clay soil absorbs water slowly over time, it could potentially never recover to the same volume. Clay soils can become denser with time, but they can also increase in volume with changes in water content. Clay will try to pull in water, which can cause swelling. So when you have a severe drought, followed by a wet period, the clay soil will shrink and then swell which in turn can cause foundation problems.
Foundation Repair During a Drought
If a home has a foundation repaired and later the soil swells, it can impact the original foundation repair. Generally when foundation repair is done, the house is protected against further settlement. In other words, most repairs will protect a home against future potential problems. In some cases, foundation repair companies’ even use void forms, which allow extra space for soils to expand. Whether or not you have to be worried about expansive soils depends on the region of the soil. For example, in the Rocky Mountain Region void forms may be used. The use of void forms is most impacted by your area and the severity of a drought.
What To Do With Cracks in Basement Drywall
It’s best to contact your local CHANCE Alliance Network Installer to truly understand what’s happening with your home’s foundation. It’s ideal to call, schedule an appointment, and have them analyze what’s happening with your home. They will be able to advise you on whether or not you should use a CHANCE helical pile system or ATLAS piering system.
When a CHANCE certified installer comes to inspect your home, they will typically determine whether or not there is a foundation problem. This is referred to as the plan of repair and it’s extremely important to have this done so that the homeowner is assured that an expert has inspected and evaluated the foundation. They will determine which part of the foundation needs to be fixed, or if the entire structure needs to be repaired. Sometimes, a foundation repair expert will tell you there isn’t anything to fix, and the problem you have isn’t as big as you anticipated.
Important Questions to Ask Your Foundation Repair Inspector
- What brand of product are you using for a deep foundation to fix a home?
- Are you using CHANCE products?
- Do you have referrals?
- Do you have any customers that I can contact to enquire about your previous foundation repair projects?
- Do you have insurance?
- Are you listed as a registered business with the state?
- Are you fully licensed and able to pull a permit?
- How long have you been in business?
Where to Begin Your Research
To sort through the foundation repair contractors and find the most trusted resources, find your CHANCE certified installer through My Foundation Solutions. CHANCE certified installers are well trained, qualified and represent the Hubbell brand.
The CHANCE Warranty
Not only are CHANCE products backed by decades of experience and Hubbell Power Systems, they also come with a 30-year, fully transferable warranty. This protects the homeowner and future homeowners with the CHANCE product warranty as well as the CHANCE installer’s warranty.