Foundations are among the most important structural components of your house but certainly the least visible. Foundations distribute the weight of your home's walls to the ground below to maintain the structural integrity of your home. Yet you only see your foundation when you are in your basement. Most foundation issues are caused by water eroding the soil beneath your home, though in the Bay Area, home foundation cracking can occur due to the shifting soil from the many small earthquakes in the area each year.
Keeping an eye on your foundation
It's important to keep an eye on your foundation by noting symptoms of home foundation problems. The first signs in your home relate to uneven walls and floors. For example, sticking doors or windows, gaps in molding or caulking, sloping floors, or bowing basement walls can all be indicators that your foundation needs attention. Additionally, visible cracking or sinking of the foundation itself need to be addressed promptly.
Identifying the cause of the problem
The first step to solving a foundation problem is identifying the cause. While you can repair an initial foundation issue with a variety of strategies, understanding the cause will give you an idea of the scope and severity of the problem. It is not fun to discover a foundation issue once, let alone realizing years later what was once a minor problem has become severe because the root cause was not mitigated initially. Hiring a general contractor or a structural engineer to survey your property and foundation is the best way to determine the problem. This small upfront investment could give you the peace of mind of knowing the repair strategies that make sense for you and will last.
Foundation Repair Options
Not all foundation issues require a new foundation. While that may be the case in some situations, particularly for foundations built before 1960 that are not up-to-code and susceptible to earthquakes, there are proven repair options as well. In a case where the soil beneath the house is truly stable, simply fixing cracks and watching for any future shifting may be the best course of action. In general, a cracking foundation indicates that the soil beneath the home is changing and the foundation needs additional support. This can be done by slabjacking or piering. In slabjacking, a foundation that is sinking can be lifted by injecting grout beneath it to reproduce the original supporting force the foundation was built on. Piering includes placing mechanical jacks into the soil beneath the foundation to provide a sturdy surface for the foundation. The best method of repair depends on the cause and extent of foundation cracking.
Inspecting and fixing a foundation should only be done by a professional general contractor or home remodeler. Serving the Bay Area since 1983, Mares & Dow Construction are experts at inspecting and fixing foundation issues found in the San Francisco Bay Area. Save yourself time and call us today to schedule an appointment for your foundation repair.