Foundation settlement is never something you wish to happen but when you begin noticing cracked bricks on your home, it’s time to consult with a professional foundation repair contractor and determine your need for Virginia foundation solutions.
Have you noticed cracked bricks or foundation cracks on your home? Are you seeing cracks, but are unsure if they are actually settlement? You’ve come to the right place.
This guide serves to educate you about the Causes, Signs, and Best Solutions in Foundation Repair today.
For more information, request a free inspection and estimate from one of our trained Foundation Repair Experts. We’ll provide honest helpful feedback to help you repair your home, Guaranteed for Life*.
VA Foundation Repair: Causes of Settlement
In all truth, the causes of settlement are not always obvious, because all settlement happens below ground. We can’t actually see what’s happening underground right?
The best practice, is to simply assume that whatever happened, it was caused by inadequate soils under the footing. The only way a footing can be allowed to sink is because the soils under the footing are failing to support the foundation.
So…. Bypassing problem soils should be the goal, not just addressing the causes of settlement.
These are the most common causes of foundation settlement in VA:
Tree Root Decomposition
After cutting down large trees near the foundation, the tree roots can decompose, rot away, and open voids under the foundation.
Standing Water Along The Home
If standing water is held against the foundation, it can cause various problems increasing your chances for foundation settlement.
Underground Water Runoff
Running water under the foundation can slowly erode the soil under your footing over time and open large voids, leading to settlement.
Weak Compressible Soils (Clays, Silts, Peats)
Not all ground is meant to be built on. Weak soil types can sink under the weight of a home causing settlement.
Voids open up under the top layer of soil as underground water washes out the soil and creates openings below the surface. If the ground is collapsing under your foundation, it’s important to support the home on the strong soils underneath the affected soils with foundation push piers.
Insufficient Compaction under the Footing
If the supporting soils under the footing aren’t strong, they can sink under the weight of the home.
Moles Digging Holes
As moles dig tunnels around the yard, they soften the soils. If the soils under your foundation are softened and dug out, it can increase the chances for foundation cracks.
Shrink Swell Soils (Clays)
Clay soils can shrink with long period of dryness and swell with an abundance of moisture. As clay shrinks due to dryness, it can open voids large enough to allow settlement.
Sign Of Foundation Settlement
Sinking Uneven Floors
Any time the floors sink or become uneven, it is known that your floor support is inadequate. If the sinking is observed along the exterior walls of the home, you likely will need some Virginia foundation solutions.
Brick Cracks or Foundation Cracks
Cracked bricks, aka stair-step cracks, are the most common sign that your home is experiencing differential settlement issues. Once the foundation has cracked, the corner or weaker half of the home can be allowed to sink. This sinking is what causes most brick cracks. If your home has experienced settlement cracks, it’s time to explore the best Virginia foundation solutions.
It’s very important to observe the difference between cracked bricks from settlement and from ‘Swollen Lintels’. A lintel is a structural piece of steel above doors, windows, garage doors, and foundation vents. These lintels can swell up to 2-3X their original size, lifting the home up above that opening. If the cracks arise from the top corners of an opening supported by a rusted lintel, you might not have settlement.
Sticking Doors and Windows
As the home can settle, sink and shift, it can affect the floors, doors, and windows. If the doors and windows once worked in your home, but not do not, you might be experiencing foundation settlement.
Gaps in Baseboard or Crown Molding
Often times, when a home sinks and settles, the floors, walls, and ceiling can drop at different rates. When our trained Expert Advisors observe gaps in the baseboard or crown molding, we make sure to assess the structure supporting these areas.
If you’ve noticed any of these warning signs in your home, call our office at 757-301-5088 for a free assessment of your foundation or request a free inspection here. We will provide no-pressure, no-obligation advice and solutions to give you peace of mind for your home.
Virginia Foundation Repair: Best Repair Options
Foundation Push Piers
Push piers are the best option to stabilize and correct a failed foundation. They essentially transfer the weight of the home off the problem soils and onto the strongest soils underground. Our push pier installers drive steel pipe deep into the ground until they reach strong stable soils. *With our steel push piers, we can guarantee stabilization for the lifetime of the structure, in the area of installation.
Push piers use the weight of the home to drive pipe down to the stable soils. For lightweight structures like decks, we can’t install push piers because the weight of the structure is insufficient to drive the pipe through the layers of soil. Fortunately, push piers offer the best chance of lifting back to the homes original position.
For structures where push piers cannot be installed, concrete underpinning can be a suitable repair option. Here, we can dig underneath the existing footing, add support, and lock that support in with additional concrete. Since these new concrete piers don’t bypass the problem soils, they cannot be guaranteed long-term.
Additionally, for lightweight structures, another option is helical piers. These piers are like giant screws that are driven into the ground like screws and support the homes weight on the ‘helices’ or spiral coils.
For existing homes, helical piers are not ideal for a few reasons –
1. Exhaustive soil samples are needed to ensure the ‘helices’ are driven into the strongest soil layers
2. Roots and other obstructions can provide false pressure readings
3. In retrofit applications, helical piers cannot be driven straight down but are driven down at an angle, compromising the support of the system.
Helical piers are excellent solutions for new construction on questionable soils or foundations that require extra support strength.
Assessing Your Need for Virginia Foundation Repair
Our Expert Advisors are trained to identify the causes, signs, and best repair options for any Virginia foundation solutions you might need. If you’re concerned about the integrity of your home, we offer free no-obligation, no-pressure inspections and estimates.