Foundation Repair Inside Your Home
Foundation damage is one of the most severe issues that can affect a home, particularly when the floor and concrete slab are tilting towards the center of the house. A specialist may suggest particular repair methods based on the foundation problems identified. For example, driven concrete piers or pile guard piers, or a combination of both, could be placed under the outer edge of the foundation to support a side that has begun to sink. In some cases, however, a foundation may need additional support, particularly if it is sinking in the middle. These types of repairs are done from inside of your home.
Why is Your Home Sagging in the Middle?
In the Houston region, the soil beneath our homes is often the primary cause of many foundation problems, including sinking and shifting. The soil in Houston has a high clay content, which causes it to expand and contract significantly with seasonal changes. Unlike sandy soils, which allow water to drain quickly, clay soils tend to absorb and retain large amounts of water. Whether excess water is due to poor drainage around the home or plumbing leaks under the slab, it will eventually result in soft, weak soil, which may not provide adequate support for the home. As a result, the foundation will start to sink and shift.
Differential settlement is a process in which one section of the foundation sinks faster and deeper than the others. If left unchecked, differential settlement will get worse over time due to repeated expansion-contraction cycles and potentially cause extensive damage. Some signs of differential settlement include large cracks in walls, doors and windows that no longer open and close properly, walls bowing or leaning inward, and the foundation separating from the home’s structure. Structural damage within the home will continue until adequate repair methods are implemented.
There is no universal solution for foundation damage, so it is crucial to have an experienced professional inspect your foundation and recommend the best repair method for your specific situation.
Internal Foundation Repair: When It's Necessary and How It's Performed
When a foundation begins to sink and shift, foundation repair experts suggest a specific repair method to lift the foundation back to its original position and stabilize it there. Depending on the location and type of foundation damage, foundation repair can be done by installing driven concrete piers and/or pile guard piers underneath:
- – The outer edge of the foundation that is sinking
- – The outer edge of the foundation, around the full perimeter of the home
- – The middle area of the foundation
If piers need to be installed under the outer edge and middle area of the foundation, and the home has a crawlspace, the piers can be installed in the crawlspace. If the home has a slab-on-grade foundation, which lacks a crawlspace, the piers can be installed from the inside or outside.
The usual pier installation is on the exterior of the foundation. Once the piers are positioned at the designated locations beneath the perimeter beam, technicians will dig tunnels at regular intervals from one end of the foundation to the other. These tunnels allow the technicians to access the middle section beneath the foundation, where they will install piers to level the entire foundation and prevent future foundation issues.
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Tunneling under the foundation is the preferred foundation repair method because it causes less damage to the interior floor. However, as mentioned before, piers can also be installed from the inside of the home. This method is generally recommended when the homeowner wants to preserve specific exterior structures (such as decks, patios, paver driveways, stamped concrete, or elaborate landscaping), which would be costly or inconvenient to repair or replace. While installing piers from the inside is less expensive and faster than the tunneling method, it is more disruptive and often requires flooring replacement afterwards
Regardless of the chosen method, foundation repair involves digging small holes at the location of each pier, which is then installed beneath the slab and pushed into the ground using a hydraulic press. Once all the piers are in place, technicians use a hydraulic bottle jack to lift the middle area of the foundation. The foundation is gradually returned to its original level position using a hydraulic pump, which is connected to all the piers. Once the foundation is level again, the pier columns are attached to foundation brackets to stabilize the foundation. The final step involves removing the hydraulic system, filling in the tunnels and any other excavations, and repairing the slab if needed.
AAA Foundation Service
If you live in the Houston area and need house leveling, there is only one call to make. Trust the professionals of AAA Foundation Service to provide honest information about your home leveling issues. Call us today and we will get you setup with an in-depth inspection, free repair estimate, and a list of solutions.
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