We Solve Structural Problems Caused By Foundation Settlement In Florida And Georgia
If your underlying soil layers aren’t able to support the weight of your home, you’ll likely have problems due to foundation settlement and house movement. If you see cracks in your foundation walls, have uneven floors, or your doors or windows are sticking, you may have a sinking or settling foundation.
At Alpha Foundations, we can install steel foundation piers beneath the foundation and into strong supporting soils to permanently stabilize the structure. We are your local, expert foundation contractors, and we encourage you to contact us for a free foundation inspection and foundation settlement repair quote!
Contact us to schedule a foundation inspection or to request your free estimate!
Identifying Foundation Settlement Issues
Signs of a settling foundation usually start subtly, often going undetected for months or even years. However, foundation settlement can cause ongoing long-term damage that will only lead to more severe foundation problems.
5 Signs of Foundation Settlement
For those with brick or concrete block walls, stair-step cracking is a very common sign of foundation settlement. As the settling continues, you may see that the vertical cracks are widening and becoming uneven. This occurs as wall sections tilt away from each other, and the displacement becomes more severe.
If your chimney is tilting away from your home, this is a dramatic sign of foundation settlement. When chimneys are built on a footing that’s not connected to the house’s foundation, the enormous weight of a chimney can increase the risk of settling.
Learn more about tilting and leaning chimney repair.
Damaged Doors & Windows
Door and window openings are a weak point for walls where signs of foundation settlement and house movement often manifest. Doors and window frames may be skewed, and cracks may extend from the corners of the opening. Sometimes, doors and windows may jam or separate from the framing or exterior finish.
Learn more about sticking windows and doors.
Slab Floor Cracking
Another sign that your foundation is settling is if your concrete floor slab is cracked. This could also be a sign that just the slab floor has settled, though. Sometimes, your slab floor may sink or lift independently of the foundation walls causing floor damage but leaving the foundation walls intact.
Learn more about slab floor crack repair.
Drywall cracks throughout the house are strong indicators of foundation settlement. These will often be larger and more obvious in the upper levels of your home. Cracks are often located at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams. Ripping or loose drywall tape can also be a good indicator.
Keep in mind that drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors, so it’s important to have a professional thoroughly investigate the cause.
Repairing Foundation Settlement
Our team at Alpha Foundations recommends foundation pier installation to stabilize your foundation if it’s been damaged by settlement. We can install three types of foundation piers: push piers, helical piers, and slab piers.
Foundation Push Piers
Foundation push piers are straight, made of steel, and anchor the foundation to strong, stable, competent soil or bedrock. These are attached to the foundation with special brackets. When each push pier is installed, they collectively transfer the structure’s weight to the competent soils or bedrock. Whenever possible, the home will lift back to its original level position. Installation is possible year-round, from either inside or outside of your foundation or structure.
Foundation Helical Piers
Similar to push piers, helical piers are attached to the foundation via a mounted bracket. These straight, steel piers include rotating blades that we screw into the soil. This type of installation is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.
During installation, a section of the footing is exposed and cut for each bracket. Next, round-shaft helical piers are mechanically screwed into the soil. Finally, a foundation bracket is secured to the footing.
When the last helical pier is installed, the piers evenly transfer the structure’s weight to competent soil or bedrock and can be used to lift the structure back to a level position.
Slab Pier Systems
When the soil beneath a concrete slab shrinks or settles, the slab will likely settle and crack. Slab piers restore stability by connecting the slab to the soil at a greater depth for added support.
Foundation slab piers are straight, steel piers that extend down into stable soils below the structure to support brackets directly in contact with the underside of the slab. During installation, we drill a small hole through the concrete floor and assemble a slab bracket beneath the concrete slab. Then, we hydraulically drive steel tubes through the bracket assembly.
When the slab piers reach competent soils, the slab’s weight is transferred through the piers to the load-bearing soil. When possible, the slab will then be lifted back to a level position. At the end of the installation, we pump grout under the slab to fill any voids, and we restore the cored holes with fresh concrete for a clean, professional look.
These piers are designed to support a settling concrete floor, but they are not effective or appropriate for foundation wall stabilization. Slab piers are also inappropriate for repairing heaving foundations, where the floor is being lifted by expansive soils or frost heave.
What NOT To Do
The following are three “solutions” that we do NOT recommend:
- Foundation replacement: Total replacement is an expensive, time-consuming, and extremely disruptive process that often doesn’t address the relevant problem. The problem will often return in less than a few years if the deficient soil issue isn’t resolved.
- Concrete underpinning: “Bigger” isn’t always “better” when it comes to your foundation’s footings. Underpinning doesn’t usually extend beyond the problem soils under your home, and the larger footings you purchase will continue to move and cause damage. Further, concrete shrinks as it cures, allowing small gaps to form between the new and old footings, which cause additional problems.
- Concrete piers: Blunt, wide concrete cylinders are difficult to push deep into the ground and beyond the poor supporting soils. Further, concrete can crack and break when under pressure or in response to temperature changes. This makes concrete piers a flimsy, unreliable repair method.
We Repair Settling Foundations in FL And GA!
At Alpha Foundations, our expert team of foundation contractors can identify and repair any foundation problems you may be having due to settling. We have a wide variety of solutions for foundation repair that have been tested and proven effective by the Groundworks network of foundation contractors.
Since 2002, our team has provided homeowners throughout our service area with expert solutions and superior customer service. Each of our solutions starts with a free, written foundation repair quote that includes a personal consultation with a foundation contractor and an in-person inspection. We guarantee you’ll be 100% satisfied with the service you receive from us!