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before uneven driveway concrete

Repairing a Settling Foundation and Cracked Driveway in Hoover, AL

A homeowner from Hoover, AL, called us with perimeter foundation concerns. Here is how our team solved her problem.

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A lot of homeowners like to engage in DIY projects. While some insignificant problems can be easily solved with tools found in every basic toolset, there are those projects that shouldn’t be handled by anyone except professionals. Even when the project cannot endanger the structural stability of the home, it is always better to call the experts than to do things on your own. In the end, many DIY fixes result in a disaster and the owner ends up paying more for a permanent fix on top of what was invested in their repairs and materials. 

We were called in by a homeowner facing issues with her foundation and driveway. After a thorough inspection, our inspector was able to detect the cause of the problems and suggest a variety of solutions that will restore the home to its previous state. 

The repair process lasted two days. With piering and concrete lifting, we were able to ensure the home’s structural integrity and make the driveway safe and visually appealing once again. 

Meeting the Homeowner 

After we got the call from a homeowner in Hoover, just outside of Birmingham, AL, about her driveway and foundation, we went to meet with her and to check out the problems. Her home was built in 2005, so it was not very old. As the owner has been living there since 2007, she knew everything there was to know about the home. When we came to the house, the problem with the driveway was evident. It seemed that the right side of the driveway had begun to settle. Since the owner wasn’t planning to move any time soon, she wanted to resolve this and her foundation issues as quickly as possible, so that she could go back to her daily routine. 

Our Initial Inspection 

From the homeowner’s description of the problem, we knew exactly what to expect in terms of her driveway. Mother Nature is tough on driveways. Problematic soil is often a major culprit. Also, sunlight breaks down the surface, creating cracks, and water seeps in, causing even more damage. Since the house is located near Birmingham, where rains and thunderstorms are not unusual at all, it was evident that these driveway issues may have been caused by rainwater. 

When we approached the house, we were immediately able to notice that the concrete had settled on the right side of the driveway, just as the homeowner said. A part of the driveway was cracked and sloping, and the concrete settled all the way out to her sidewalk. 

Our inspector also noticed some cracking along the exterior brick wall and suspected foundation settlement was also a potential issue with the house. 

exterior cracks on the brick

To help the homeowner understand the full extent of the problem, our team used a laser level to show her the drop. It was evident that the foundation was no longer in its original position, and that certain measures needed to be taken to restore this home to its previous state. 

Before we could fix the driveway, we needed to stabilize the home’s foundation. Upon inspection, we explained to the homeowner which repairs would suit her home best. We agreed that piering would help stabilize her foundation and concrete lifting will solve her driveway problem and keep it from occurring again for years to come. The customer wanted this problem solved for good, and these solutions would make her wishes come true. 

After all, a long stretch of cracking concrete can give a home a scruffy look, even if the rest of the property is well maintained. Fixing this kind of problem is like a face-lift for a home. Not only can it boost the home’s curb appeal, but it can also increase its market value. Solving the problem for good could ensure that if one day the owner decided to sell the property, she wouldn’t have to worry about this sort of issue lowering the price. 

Repairing the Damage 

crew installing pier

Since addressing the damage required a multi-step approach, our team focused on the piering first. It was important to stabilize the home’s settling foundation before moving on to driveway issues. Our experience has taught us that piers are among the best stabilization methods to use. With this in mind, our inspector suggested helical piers

We installed five helical piers total to stabilize the home and their individual depths ranged from 7’ to 14’. Of the five piers, three were installed 14’ down, one was installed 12’ down, and the remaining one was installed 7’ down. This kind of support was enough to stabilize the foundation and prevent further settling. The best thing about helical piers is that they are invisible once installed and come with a longtime warranty. 

After the piers were installed, our crew focused on concrete lifting. Replacing an entire driveway can be costly, which is why it was important to fix the damage before the driveway became a crumbling eyesore. Luckily, with concrete lifting, the damage could be undone. The object in question was a 200 square foot driveway and the whole project was done in two days. 

after lifted concrete

Unfortunately, homeowners in Birmingham are no strangers to this sort of problem. When you combine abundant rainfall and severe thunderstorms with expanding soil, you get a recipe for disaster. Luckily, in this case, the damage was easily undone. 

Fixing any kind of foundation-related problem on your own is never a good idea. Most homeowners have no clue where to start, so calling for backup is the best thing they can do. Reaching out to local experts can be the best and fastest way to solve the problem. 

Reach out to our team of professionals and schedule an inspection. After completing a thorough assessment and discussing your concerns, our experts can provide you with a free quote and explain which repairs might suit your home best. If you have noticed any issues with your foundation, don’t postpone the repairs. Call us today! 

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