There are usually a number of different soil layers underneath a house.
Foundation settlement can occur when one of these soil layers can't support the weight of the home.
Your home is showing signs of damage related to foundation settlement.
How to Fix It:
The installation of steel foundation piers will help permanently stabilize your structure and solve foundation settlement issues that your home is experiencing. These piers will extend beneath the foundation and contact strong supporting soil to solve your problem.
At The Basement Doctor of Central Kentucky, we solve foundation settlement issues of all kinds! Call us for a free foundation settlement repair quote today!
We serve Covington, Lexington, Louisville, and many nearby areas in Kentucky.
Many homeowners may go months or even years without noticing signs of a settling foundation. The signs may be very subtle at first but could advance and create more severe, long-term foundation problems for your home.
As a foundation settles, many telltale signs will become evident. What follows are some of the most common ways that foundation settlement can become visible to the homeowner.
A sure sign of foundation settlement is stair-step cracking that is common in brick and concrete block walls.
If these cracks are not addressed and settlement continues, vertical cracks may widen or become uneven. This will eventually lead to tilting walls sections and other indicators of sever displacement- so keep an eye out for these signs!
Chimneys that are built on footings and are not connected to the house foundation are an enormous risk to home foundation settlement because of their great weight.
These, along with tilting chimneys that are separating from the home are dramatic signs of a settling foundation.
More information about tilting, leaning chimney repair.
Damaged Doors & Windows
Doors and window openings that are racked out of square or have cracks extending from them are definite signs of foundation settlement.
In addition to these, doors that separate from the framing or exterior finish and sticking, jamming doors, or windows and locks that stop working are also signs of a settling foundation that needs attention.
More information about sticking windows and doors.
Slab Floor Cracking
There are times when your slab floor may sink or lift independently of the foundation walls, damaging the floors but not necessarily the foundation walls themselves.
Cracks in your concrete floor slab can be a sign of foundation settlement, but they may also be a sign that the slab floor alone has settled.
More information about slab floor crack repair.
In the upper level of the home, cracks due to foundation settlement are often more apparent because they are larger than anywhere else in the house. If cracks in drywall are appearing consistently throughout your home it's time to do something about it.
Drywall tape that is ripping or coming loose and cracks located at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams are clear signs of foundation settlement. Drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors.
To restore a foundation that has been damaged by issues related to foundation settlement and poor supporting walls, we at The Basement Doctor of Central Kentucky recommend installing foundation piers. Our specially designs piers stabilize, repair and restore damaged foundations.
We install three different kinds of foundation piers. Each one is designed to address a different kind of foundation problem. The three types are push piers, helical piers, and slab piers.
Push piers connect the foundation to strong, stable soil or bedrock.
Foundation piers attach to the base of the foundation with special brackets and extend through settling and unstable soil layers, transferring the weight of your home to competent soils or bedrock.
The installation of foundation push piers is an excellent solution to lift a house and restore it to its original, level position.
These piers consist of straight, steel piers that attach to your foundation and continue far below the structure to strong supporting soils.
It is possible to install foundation push piers all year round either from the inside or the outside of your foundation or structure. In order to do this, a section of the foundation footing is exposed and cut to attach to each pier's bracket.
Foundation brackets are secured to the footing, and tubular pier sections are hydraulically driven through each bracket.
Pier sections continue to be driven downwards until the piers meet competent strata that can bear the weight of your home without compression.
The push piers that have been installed will work together to transfer the weight of the structure to the strong soils or bedrock below. This stabilizes and strengthens your home for years to come.
More about installing foundation push piers.
Read about our push pier system.
Illustration of foundation helical piers stabilizing a home.
Like push piers, helical piers are attached to the foundation by mounting a bracket. Helical piers include rotating blades that are advanced (or "screwed") into the soil.
Foundation helical piers are straight, steel piers that have helical blades welded to each shaft. This installation is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.
After each pier is driven into the soils underneath your foundation, they are connected to the structure's foundation via a steel bracket.
A section of the structure's footing is exposed and cut for each bracket that will be installed.
Once this is complete, round-shaft helical piers are mechanically advanced into the soil. When the helical piers are deep into the soil, a foundation bracket is then secured to the footing.
This properly installed foundation helical piers system will work in unison to transfer the weight of the structure to competent soil below. The structure will be lifted back to its level position and your home will be strong and stable.
More about installing foundation helical piers.
Read about our helical pier system.
Slab piers can stabilize a settling concrete slab.
When the soil beneath a concrete slab shrinks or settles, the slab itself is also likely to settle, often cracking in the process. Slab piers restore stability by connecting the slab to competent soil at greater depth.
Slab piers are not appropriate for supporting foundation walls or repairing damage caused by foundation heave.
Foundation slab piers are straight steel piers that extend from stable soils deep below the structure to support brackets directly in contact with the underside of the slab.
These piers are not appropriate for foundation wall stabilization but are meant to support a settling concrete floor.
Slab piers are also inappropriate for repairing heaving foundations, where the floor is being lifted by expansive soils or frost heave.
A small hole is cored through the concrete floor and a slab bracket is assembled beneath the concrete slab for installation. Next steel tubes are hydraulically driven down through this bracket assembly.
When the slab piers have reached competent soils, the weight of the slab is transferred through the piers to load-bearing soils below. If possible, the slab is lifted back to level position.
At the end of the installation, grout is pumped under the slab to fill any voids, and all cored holes in the slab are restored with new concrete for a clean, professional look.
This installation is possible year-round and provides a permanent solution for your home.
Read about our slab pier system.
Like all home improvements and repairs, some methods work better than others. On the other hand, some methods seem to hardly work at all. In fact, at The Basement Doctor of Central Kentucky, we find that many of our foundation repair jobs are actually just fixing the unsuccessful repairs of other contractors.
Based on our experiences throughout Kentucky, here are three "fixes" that we do NOT recommend:
A complete foundation replacement in Middlesboro. The house is placed on temporary supports while the foundation is excavated and replaced.
Completely replacing your home's foundation is a job that is expensive, time-consuming, and extremely disruptive for a family. This process involves removing all the soil from around your home, jacking it up, and placing it on temporary supports.
After that, your foundation walls are completely removed and a new set of walls are constructed.
This in-depth process may give you new foundation walls, but often does not even address the true problem- the soil! Even with new foundation walls, your home may experience the same problem all over again down the road.
At The Basement Doctor of Central Kentucky, we address the problem with reliable solutions that will fix your problem once and for all.
Concrete piers are too big and blunt to be driven deep into foundation soils, so they usually don't extend to competent supporting soils.
These piers can crack under pressure, and they often install unevenly or crookedly under your home.
To install concrete piers under a home, the soil will first need to be excavated from around your foundation.
Short, 6"-8"wide concrete cylinders are then pushed into the soil on top of one another, strung together by a wire. Shims are then placed between the top of the concrete pier and the footing, then the soil is backfilled. The over-lifting process required to perform shimming may lead to further damage to your foundation.
Blunt, wide concrete cylinders are difficult to push deep into the ground, making it very difficult to extend them past the poor supporting soils under your home.
Concrete can crack and break when under pressure, and even in response to temperature changes, making concrete piers a flimsy repair method.
Additionally, there is nothing to guide the direction for the pier, which means they might not be installed straight. So how will they support your home?
Because of these and other reasons, very few companies will recommend this kind of approach.
Concrete underpinning failed to stabilize this house. Eventually, the homeowner had to invest in a different, more permanent solution for their home.
To install concrete underpinning, the soils must be excavated from around the foundation. Larger concrete footings are poured beneath the existing footings. Once the concrete has cured, the soil is backfilled.
When it comes to foundation footings, "bigger" is not necessarily "better." Most of the time, the underpinning will not extend beyond the problem soils under your home. If this is true, the larger footings you just paid for will continue to move and cause damage.
Concrete shrinks as it cures and small gaps can form between the new and old footings. Open gaps beneath a home are never a good thing!
When concrete underpinning is installed and fails to solve the problem, it is much more expensive to repair. Before installing a new foundation system, all that added concrete will need to be removed.
At The Basement Doctor of Central Kentucky, we can identify and repair any issue you may be having with settling, sinking foundations. We have a wide variety of solutions for foundation repair that have been tested and proven effective throughout the United States and Canada through the Supportworks network of foundation contractors.
Each of our solutions starts with a free, written foundation repair quote, and includes a personal consultation with a foundation expert, an in-person inspection, and a free copy of our 90-page foundation repair book. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call or e-mail us today!
We proudly serve Lexington, Louisville, Covington, areas such as Georgetown, Richmond, Ft Mitchell, Nicholasville, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Florence, and nearby.