Common Foundation Repairs: Stabilization and Leveling

A solid foundation provides stability and support to a structure. Over time, various factors such as soil movement, moisture fluctuations, and structural issues can compromise a building’s foundation, leading to the need for repairs. In this blog, we’ll delve into two common foundation repairs the team at Foundation Repair Services often deals with: stabilization and leveling.

Understanding Foundation Issues

Recognizing signs of foundation problems is the first step in preventing further structural damage. Before delving into these frequent repair methods, let’s take a look at a few common indicators that your foundation might be compromised and should be inspected by a professional:

Visible Cracks: Noticeable cracks in the foundation walls, especially if wider than 1/8 inch, are a clear sign of foundation movement. Horizontal cracks are often more concerning than vertical ones.

Bowing or Leaning Walls: Lateral pressure on your foundation can cause the walls of your basement or crawl space to bow or lean. If you notice the walls don’t look aligned, your foundation needs a closer look.

Separation of Walls from Ceiling or Floors: Gaps or separations between the walls and ceilings or floors may indicate that the foundation is settling unevenly. This can be observed in the form of visible spaces or cracks.

Stabilization Techniques

Once you’ve identified your foundation issue. It’s time to get to fixing it. One common repair many foundations need is stabilization, which refers to the process of strengthening and supporting the foundation of a structure to prevent further settlement, sinking, and other structural damage. Let’s explore some of the various stabilization techniques. 

Underpinning: This technique is particularly successful in areas where the soil frequently shifts. Underpinning involves reinforcing the foundation by extending or strengthening its depth, often by installing concrete or steel piers beneath the foundation to provide additional support.

Helical Piers: Helical piers are twisted steel shafts that are drilled into the ground until they reach stable soil. The piers are then attached to the foundation, providing stability and preventing further settlement.

Pressure Grouting: Pressure grouting involves injecting a mixture of cement, sand, and other additives into the soil beneath the foundation to fill gaps, stabilize the soil, and increase a foundation’s load-bearing ability. 

Leveling Techniques

Leveling a foundation refers to the process of restoring a building’s foundation to a level and stable position using a few different methods described below

Mudjacking: Mudjacking, or slabjacking, is a leveling technique that injects a mixture of grout or polyurethane foam beneath the sunken slab to bring it up to its original position. It is most often used for concrete slab foundations.

Shimming: Shimming involves placing additional material, such as steel shims or wooden blocks, beneath the foundation to level it. This method is commonly used for pier and beam foundations.

Concrete Leveling: In cases of uneven concrete surfaces, leveling can be achieved by applying a self-leveling compound that spreads and levels itself, providing a smooth and even surface.

Whether it’s stabilization methods like underpinning and helical piers, or leveling techniques such as mudjacking and shimming, choosing the right approach depends on the specific issues affecting your foundation. If your foundation is in need of leveling, contact us today. We can accurately diagnose the problem and implement the most effective solution.