When homeowners think about their home’s foundation, they believe that it is the strongest, most durable part of their home. After all, the entire structure sits on the foundation, so owners believe that a foundation is to a home what a black box is to a plane. To them it is basically indestructible, so paying special attention to it is not needed. However, this is a common misconception. There are so many things that can damage your foundation, settlement just being one of them.
If a home was built on unstable soil, it won’t receive the support it needs to bear the load. Particles in unstable soils tend to shrink or expand due to changing moisture levels. When they shrink, they leave gaps in the ground, which is when the settlement occurs. While uniform settlement most often doesn’t have a major impact on the home, differential settlement causes cracks in the foundation walls and can compromise structural stability. With foundation settlement, it is important to address the problem as soon as possible. Otherwise, the whole home could collapse.
When a customer calls us, we usually want to know what type of foundation their home has. This information can give us an idea of what to expect. However, this time we were puzzled. Homeowners from Madison, AL, contacted us, asking for a thorough inspection. We were surprised to learn that their home has not one, not two, but three crawl spaces. And that is not all! Part of their home has a basement, while another part is sitting on a concrete slab. Although the customers didn’t have any major concerns, soon we discovered that their home’s stability was significantly compromised. Luckily, with our foundation repair methods, we were able to restore this home to its previous condition in ten days.
Meeting the Homeowners
Customers from Madison, AL, just slightly west of Huntsville, AL, called us about their foundation. Although they weren’t especially worried about the state of their home, they wanted to make sure that everything was in order. Their home was built in 1984, so it wasn’t a new home, and some issues were expected. The owners moved in less than a year ago and were unsure how long they planned to live in this particular house. Regardless of whether they were going to settle here or sell the property, they wanted to know if anything was wrong with their home. This was a responsible thing to do since problems with foundations can quickly escalate and in the end, repair costs become much higher. Also, if they would decide to put it on the market one day, they would be able to sell it for much more if the home was in perfect shape. The customers reported noticing a few cracks, but they were not sure if it was something that needed to be fixed right away. The customers often go to the basement, almost daily, and they hadn’t noticed any major issues. However, they did report noticing some unlevel areas in their foyer.
Our Initial Inspection
The homeowners contacted us looking for professionals who would be able to thoroughly inspect their three crawl spaces, slab foundation, and basement. They looked for foundation repair specialists online and came across the AFS website. Since we offer a free estimate, they decided to take advantage of this offer and schedule an inspection. When our expert visited their home in Madison, he was able to notice that the home has a complex layout. During the inspection, he detected various cracks throughout the poured concrete in crawl spaces and the basement. It was obvious that the home was settling, and serious steps needed to be taken before the home became even more damaged. Foundation settlement can even lead to the collapse of the entire structure, so this is not a problem that should ever be shoved under a rug. We suggested installing push piers to stabilize the foundation and after the customers accepted our offer, our crew got to work.
Repairing the Damage
The whole project took us 10 days to complete. We ended up installing 27 push piers to permanently stabilize the foundation. Push piers are the best solution for foundation settlement because they provide needed support, are invisible once installed, and are protected against corrosion. Along with permanently reinforcing the structure, the piers also have the potential to help raise the home back toward its original position, restoring the home’s value along the way. These come with a longtime warranty, so homeowners can be at ease knowing that the settlement problem is permanently solved.
Since the inspector noticed that the floor in the foyer was uneven, our crew addressed this problem as well. The foyer was built on a concrete slab. Our crew members used interior concrete lifting to restore the floor back to its original position. After the 10-day project, the Madison home was stable once again. Regardless of whether they will keep the place or sell it in the near future, the homeowners can relax knowing that their settling problem is solved for good.
If you have noticed that something is wrong with your foundation or have seen signs of foundation settlement such as cracks in your home, contact the expert team at AFS. Schedule a free estimate and one of our inspectors will determine the repair methods that will solve your home’s problems in the best way possible.