St. Louis Sinking Foundation Repair Service
Whether you live in an older home or a newly constructed one, a sinking foundation can happen to anyone. It has little to do with the age of your home and more to do with the soil underneath it.
If you have a sinking feeling your foundation might be unstable, it’s time to call in an expert to stop the damage in its tracks.
What Causes Your Foundation to Sink
The soil that lies beneath foundations is susceptible to change. This is especially true if the soil is expansive. Expansive soil contracts and expands depending on the amount of moisture it absorbs or releases.
When expansive soil comes in contact with water, it absorbs it and becomes dense. Eventually, the water is released and the soil becomes dry again. Over time, this pattern compromises the integrity of the soil and decreases stability. Instability causes the foundation to settle or sink.
How to Identify a Sinking Foundation
Many homeowners are sure they could tell if their foundation was sinking but it’s not as obvious as it sounds. Some signs are clear, such as the home leaning to one side. Others are a bit more subtle.
Your foundation might be sinking if:
- Cracks appear in the foundation and throughout the property
- Doors and windows start jamming
- Your chimney is cracked or misaligned
Sinking Foundation Solutions
The first solution to fixing a sinking foundation is to pay attention to subtle signs. Cracks around the house, for example, might be a natural occurrence or be a sign your foundation is moving. Ask an engineer or contractor to assess the signs for a professional opinion.
Depending on the severity of the situation, piers might be installed to save the foundation from collapsing.
Concrete piles can be inserted at the foot of the foundation to give it a solid, stable base. Piles can add stability but cannot move your home to its original position.
Screw and Helical Piers
Screw and helical piers can stop further shifting. Because they are not designed to support heavy loads, they can stop structures like garages and patios from sinking but not the home itself.
Push and Steel Piers
If foundation damage is severe, push and steel piers may be used to lift and support the entire property. Installing these piers requires drilling a hydraulic press into the earth and implanting a steel base to replace soil. This sophisticated installations require the expertise of structural engineers.
Hiring Professionals for Foundation Repair
Repairing a sinking foundation is no small feat. It takes a professional with experience to detect the problem and restore stability to your home. Hiring a specialist with little knowledge of foundation repair can cost you a small fortune in the long run.
In general, it is wiser to hire an engineer than a general contractor. Structural engineers are responsible for creating assessment reports that contractors will use to repair your foundation. Take advantage of companies that offer free reports to get an idea of the repairs you will need.