Friday, October 7th, 2016
1. Stair-step cracking
2. Chimney Separation
3. Separation of Doors and Windows from Framing or Exterior Finish
4. Drywall Cracks
5. Doors and Windows Sticking
Foundation settlement is often caused by the soil present under a home. The home moves or shifts when the soil underneath can no longer support its weight. When some types of soil (e.g. clay) get wet, they expand, and when they dry out, they shrink and crack. Trees with long roots that extend under a home can also suck moisture out of the soil, and drought will have the same effect.
Wetting and softening of soil is another cause of settlement. If there is a heavy rain or flood or your downspout drains onto the lawn next to a home, the soil around it will become soft and muddy, and the structure may begin to sink.
It is also common to create flat, level lots to build houses on. Home builders often remove soil from hills and fill it into valleys to create these lots. If this soil is not compacted well, it can become more compacted under the weight of a home and cause it to sink and shift.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service of Ohio states that over 750,00 acres of the state is made up of “Miamian” Soil. This is a classification which includes a 5 to 10-inch-thick topsoil layer and then an 8 to 35-inch-thick layer below that which is very clay-rich (NRCS). And, as we've seen above, soil with clay particles is the most common to cause foundation settlement.
Steel Push Piers: These are steel piers driven deep into the soil to the bedrock or stable soil layer below. Push piers can be installed from the exterior or interior of a home and can provide an opportunity to lift the home back to its original position. This often closes cracks and improves the operation of doors and windows that were sticking before.
Helical Pier System: These are also steel piers, but they are screwed into the ground to lift and stabilize a house and stop foundation cracks. This is typically a solution for smaller, lighter structures such as porches and decks.
There are also other forms of foundation failure other than settlement. These are sagging floors above crawl spaces and wall failure. We have products to repair these foundation issues as well. These include: IntelliJack, Wall Anchors, and IntelliBrace Beams.
NRCS. "Soils." Natural Resources Conservation Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2016