Every building needs a strong foundation in order to stand. No matter what type of foundation a building has, it needs to stay in good shape or the entire building will suffer. What happens when a homeowner notices a problem with their foundation? Enlisting the help of a professional foundation repair company like Columbia Foundation Repair & Waterproofing (https://columbiafoundationrepairandwaterproofing.com/) is the best way to get the problem taken care of.
While it’s always a good idea to leave the repair itself up to the professionals, it’s helpful to have a working knowledge of the different types of foundations and the methods used for foundation repair so that you understand what’s being done. Here are a few of the best methods for foundation repair in Columbia, MO.
There are a few different types of foundations that may be underneath your house, depending on where the home is built, what kind of grade or slope it sits on, soil type, climate, and more. It’s important to know which type of foundation you have so that you can let the repair company know and so that you can anticipate what type of repair you’ll be going through and what the cost may be.
Concrete slab foundations are exactly what they sound like: a house built on top of a large concrete slab. The slab is poured directly into the ground and built with reinforcing materials to support the weight of a home. The slab is not especially tall, with most being only 4-6 inches thick. This type of foundation is typically used in warmer climates since cold weather can cause concrete slabs to crack. It’s also one of the most popular types of foundations, having been used in 65% of new single-family homes in 2020.
Crawl space foundations are similar to concrete slab foundations in that they also involve a large concrete slab. However, the key difference is that a crawl space foundation has concrete walls underneath the slab that lift it up off the ground by at least 18 inches, creating space underneath the house. Crawl space foundations are typically used for houses that are on a slope.
Basement foundations can be created in a few different ways, but the most common type is called a poured concrete basement. To create this type of foundation, a crew will dig into the ground and put up wall forms completely underneath ground level. They will then use those forms to pour the concrete for the walls, then pour the floor last. Basement foundations are very popular due to the added living space they give a homeowner.
Pier foundations are the last major type of foundation. They involve using vertical pillars or piers to support the bottom of the house and essentially distribute the weight of the house to the soil underneath. They’re a popular choice for houses on uneven terrain or steep slopes- many mountain cabins or beach houses are on pier foundations.
However, one major disadvantage to this type of foundation is the ease with which the piers can become damaged, especially if they’re made of wood. Moisture, termites, and rodents, just to name a few, can cause big problems.
No matter what type of foundation you have, there’s always the potential for problems to arise. Potential problems with your home’s foundation will depend largely on where you live due to the difference in soil makeup, climate, and the grade your home is built on. In Missouri, the soil has a significant amount of clay in it, which increases the probability of foundations cracking. Clay expands with moisture and shrinks when it dries out, so spring rains can cause some problems for foundations here. Cracks can form in the walls when the clay expands.
Cracks are just the first sign of foundation damage. Once those cracks develop, moisture will seep in through the cracks and cause water damage and mold growth. Your floors and ceilings may sag, and doors and windows may get stuck. If you have a basement, watch for cracks in the walls, excessive moisture or pooling, or an increase in the amount of bugs that are getting in. Once you notice any of these signs, you should contact a professional foundation repair company in your area.
On the other hand, if you have a crawl space foundation or a pier foundation, you may notice damage to the piers themselves. It’s a good idea to get up under your house every few months and ensure that the piers are intact and there are no cracks or wood rot.
One of the most common methods of foundation repair is called slab jacking, and it’s used for concrete slabs that have sunk or become uneven. It involves lifting (or jacking) up a concrete slab in order to level it out. Several holes are drilled into the concrete, then a mixture typically consisting of sand, concrete, and water is pumped underneath the slab to raise it up and level it back out. This mixture sets quickly, preventing the concrete from sinking again, then the holes are patched with concrete.
If you’re noticing problems with your crawl space foundation, such as cracks, water damage, or sagging floors due to moisture, crawl space encapsulation may help. Since crawl spaces are close to the ground, they may end up with too much moisture from the soil, rain, or nearby leaks. Crawl space encapsulation is the process of adding a moisture barrier to the crawl space in order to prevent moisture from gathering there and causing water damage, mold growth, and more.
Dehumidifiers and insulated walls are used in addition to the heavy-duty moisture barrier, and the crawl space vents are sealed off. This process can prevent damage to the joists and subflooring, saving you hassle and money down the road.
There are different types of foundations that require different types of foundation repair in Columbia, MO. The most important thing to remember is that all repairs should be handled by a qualified professional. Foundation repair work is challenging, and it requires the proper tools and methods to ensure it’s done correctly. As long as you can partner with a contractor with knowledge, experience, and training, the foundation repair method they choose will ensure a structurally sound building for your future in that home or commercial building.