Foundation problems are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. When they notice cracks on the wall, excess moisture in their living space, or other signs of foundation issues, some homeowners decide to ignore them completely, hoping that they will magically go away. This is never a good option since foundation problems tend to escalate over time. In the end, they are forced to replace things that could have been fixed if they had addressed the problem in time.
On the other hand, some homeowners decide to repair things on their own. They believe that with some advice from their friends, online tutorials, and a set of tools, they can do anything a team of professionals would do. Unfortunately, this rarely turns out well. Skilled professionals have the knowledge and experience needed to get the job done.
Luckily, in our case, the homeowner was more than aware that the problem she was facing couldn’t be solved with a toolbox from the local hardware store. She called us about a problem with her condo in Dalton, GA, which is located slightly southeast of Chattanooga, TN. The floors were uneven, and she wanted to get to the bottom of the problem before things got worse.
She looked up possible solutions online, which is when she came across our website. Since we offer a free estimate, the homeowner decided to take advantage of our offer and schedule an inspection. Her condo was located in a building that was built in 1991. After we took a look at the situation, we proposed a couple of solutions that would properly address this problem. As soon as the details were agreed upon, our crew began with the project. In just one day we were able to solve the homeowner’s problem and permanently stabilize the floor in her condo.
Meeting the Homeowner
The condo was co-owned by the customer who called us and her brother. They have owned it since 2013, and recently she began to notice problems with the floors. That is when she searched for repairs online and found our website. The co-owner wanted the problem solved as soon as possible, but first, she needed to know exactly what she was dealing with so she could consult with her brother. In case a bigger project was necessary, she also needed to talk to her neighbor with whom she shares the building.
The first thing our inspector checked was the foundation. He discovered that a large crawl space was shared by the entire building. The cause of uneven, sagging floors was quite obvious. The columns on the girder were not properly spread out and there was too much space between them. In addition, there was a lot of moisture in the crawl space, which had started to cause problems. The homeowner reported that there were cracks in the exterior walls as well as interior ones, and unfortunately, our inspector found out that she was talking about horizontal cracks.
The difference between horizontal and vertical cracks is huge. While vertical cracks are often the result of storms or concrete tension in freshly built homes and are benign, horizontal cracks are never good news. These cracks appear when the foundation is settling and are a clear sign that the foundation is under a lot of hydrostatic pressure. Homeowners who notice such cracks should contact a local contractor as soon as possible, so they can inspect the foundation, evaluate the damage, and recommend the best solution.
While they were in the crawl space, our inspector detected that the beams were buckling. Buckling is the event where a beam bends under a compressive load. It was clear that the beams were not able to bear the load above. Our inspector also noticed that a stairwell along the wall that divides the two connecting units was sagging. Upon further inspection, he realized that the staircase was completely unsupported. Therefore, this was not a problem that concerned just this particular homeowner, but her neighbor as well. After we recommended reliable solutions, she went to consult with her brother and her neighbor. When we received the green light, our crew began with installations.
Repairing the Damage
The whole project was completed in one day. In order to stabilize the building and support the sagging staircase, we installed 25 linear feet of metal supplemental support beams. With eight crawl space floor supports, we managed to permanently stabilize the floor in the homeowner’s condo. This is a simple solution to support a sagging crawl space. The adjustable floor support system is used for repairing sagging crawl spaces as well as potentially lifting failing floors. With this solution, we were able to restore the floors to their original position and permanently stabilize them. Luckily, the co-owner of the condo called us in time, and in one day we were able to turn this building into a safe living space not just for her and her brother, but their neighbor as well.
This project was completed in one day because a team of professional contractors was involved. Things might have gone in a different direction if the tenants of the building decided to try and repair the damage by themselves. When the foundation is involved, it is always better to call the experts than to turn the repairs into a DIY project. If you have noticed that something is wrong with your crawl space, do not hesitate to contact AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists and schedule a free inspection. After the initial consultation, we will let you know which solutions are most suitable for your situation.