Many homeowners feel that if their foundation is cracked or damaged, the logical thing to do is to replace it. However, as with most home repairs, it’s important to consider ALL your options if you want to get the most for your money and the least disruption of daily family life.
Whether you choose to repair or replace the foundation, this is a job you’ll only want to take care of once. The most important thing is to find an effective, permanent solution from a contractor you can trust.
What’s Causing My Foundation Problem?
In a nutshell, foundation settlement is the movement your home experiences when the soil beneath it shrinks, settles, or can no longer support the structure’s weight.
Changes that occur in those soils — such as drying & shrinking, wetting & softening, compacting and swelling — all affect the stability, strength and overall condition of your foundation.
A foundation with bowing, buckling walls is demonstrating the damage caused by expansive soils. When clay-rich soils absorb moisture, their volume increases dramatically.
This can increase pressure on your home’s foundation walls by thousands of pounds, causing walls to bow and buckle inward.
A home that is experiencing foundation issues is not likely to get better on its own. As the constant cycle of wet and dry periods continues, your home is likely to experience damage on a continuing basis. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better.
With total foundation replacement, heavy equipment is brought in to totally excavate the soil around your home and expose the foundation.
Anything around the foundation — such as porches, steps, gardens, walkways, and foliage — would be removed.
The house would need to be “jacked up” on temporary supports as the foundation walls and slab floor and are removed. After the new foundation is built, the house is lowered into place, the soil is replaced and the landscape details are restored as much as possible.
This process is disruptive, time-consuming, and much more expensive than foundation repair.
More about foundation repair costs.
Following a thorough foundation inspection, the foundation repair contractor will explain how and why the damage occurred, and how specialized materials and techniques can be used to make permanent repairs.
There are a variety of solutions that can be applied. If you have buckling foundation walls, for example, foundation wall anchors may be suggested as the solution. Foundation settlement issues are often solved with foundation piers.
Foundation repair can be performed year-round, and many repairs just take a day to complete. Our foundation products include a 25-year written warranty, as well as our own performance warranty.
More about our foundation repair products.
It’s important to note that foundation problems can occur in houses of any age, size, and style.
An article from Consumer Reports has shown that an alarming 15% of new homes constructed also experience structural problems.
These problems generally have two causes: poor construction quality, and homes built on poorly compacted fill soils.
Repair The Foundation Or Replace It?
While there are some extreme cases where a foundation just can’t be fixed, we recommend repairing the foundation whenever possible.
Not only is choosing to total foundation replacement extremely disruptive and expensive, it doesn’t address the source of the problem: your foundation soils.
Since you’ve built a new foundation on the same troublesome soil, you can expect the same behavior from that soil — the kind that will “break” your new foundation just like it did the old one!
What Makes Foundation Repair Better?
A reliable foundation contractor will do more than simply repair a damaged foundation. Their repair strategy will take problematic soils and site conditions into consideration so that the original problems cannot recur.
Push piers, for example, extend deep below your foundation, extending past poor supporting soils to bedrock or competent strata to support your foundation and permanently stop settlement.
Wall anchors reach beyond foundation walls, using the soils outside of your foundation to anchor the walls and counteract inward pressure.