Shifting, sinking, and leaking foundations are almost always connected to a soil issue. Soil stability is crucial to the structural integrity of any residential or commercial building foundation. No matter how well-constructed they are, foundations cannot stay in place if the soil beneath is unsettled and susceptible to shifting or prone to saturation.
Increased seasonal changes compound the problems, along with soil saturation caused from drought, trees, and sewer leaks. Cosmetic repairs can be made, but the money is wasted if the root of the concern is not addressed.
Even new construction buildings are susceptible to foundation damage as a result of soil instability. In recent years, homes and industrial building have been constructed where it was not previously possible. There are a number of preventive measures that can be applied prior to construction and afterward. While dampproofing and waterproofing are always recommended, they are not effective in preventing soil issues.
The best prevention is prior to construction. If planning on a new home or business building, invest in an analysis by a soil engineer. The resulting report will have recommendations for soil conditions susceptible to shifting, such as too much clay and peat or a former landfill.
Installing a soaker hose roughly two inches deep and six inches away from the foundation is another effective prevention. Burying the soaker hose will eliminate evaporation of the water from the surface. Watering the soil regularly will prevent shifting caused from dry soil. It will also indicate areas that are draining improperly, susceptible to pooling, or becoming too saturated.
Being aware of tree characteristics prior to landscaping can help prevent tree roots from drying out the soil around the foundation. The drought conditions caused by tree roots seeking adequate water supply are a leading culprit in causing soil shifts. Often the roots grow underneath slabs and foundation walls.
Established trees can be transplanted, adequately watered, or replaced. Often tree roots grow underneath concrete slabs and foundation walls. This is accomplished by digging a trench about a foot below the foundation and filling it with a root barrier preventing further root penetration. If problems are still present after a year, then the root barrier was sufficient intervention.
Swiftly responding to warning signs of compromised foundations will lead to the lowest repair costs. The following signs are indications of problems that should be inspected by a professional. Any of the following conditions indicate a possible structural concern that may be related to soil settlement:
Steel piering technology became the preferred method for arresting underground corrosion because of the superior results of the more stable piling piers. The structure rests on top of the pilings, alleviating lateral pressure against the foundation walls caused by soil shifting. The reliability and durability of the steel products decidedly outperformed drilling of concrete piering materials.
More suppliers are developing technologies to optimize mechanical performance, impact resistance, superior adhesion, lateral strength, and increased installation speeds. The newest products including powdered coatings, screw-together technology, and other supporting equipment improve the applications of traditional helical systems.
It is best to have any questionable symptoms of foundation compromise evaluated by a qualified foundation repair contractor. The advantage of having an analysis done is that a professional will be able to determine the difference between a structural or cosmetic issue and recommend the appropriate resolution.
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