Foundation settling is the sinking or shifting of a building's foundation. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including poor soil conditions, changes in water levels, and tree roots.
So, what does foundation settling look like? There can be cracks in walls and floors, doors and windows that stick, uneven floors, gaps between the foundation and the siding, sloping floors, and bowing walls.
Do you know that foundationsettling can cause a number of problems, including cracks in walls and floors, doors and windows that stick, and uneven floors? Keep reading to explore the signs, causes, and repair methods for shifty foundations.
Cracks in walls and floors: Cracks in walls and floors are one of the most common signs of foundation settling. Cracks can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. Vertical cracks are usually less serious than horizontal or diagonal cracks. Horizontal or diagonal cracks can indicate that the foundation is shifting unevenly and that the structure is at risk of collapse.
Doors and windows that stick: Doors and windows that stick can be a sign that the foundation is settling and that the frames are becoming warped.
Uneven floors: Uneven floors can be a sign that the foundation is settling and that the structure's weight is not evenly distributed.
Gaps between the foundation and the siding: Gaps between the foundation and the siding can be a sign that the foundation is settling and that the structure is pulling away from the foundation.
Sloping floors: Sloping floors can be a sign that the foundation is settling and the structure is tilting.
Bowing walls: Bowing walls can be a sign that the foundation is settling and that the walls are being pushed inward.
Causes of Foundation Settling
The following are some of the most common causes of foundation settling:
Poor soil conditions: Poor soil conditions, such as clay or sandy soil, can majorly cause foundation settling. These types of soil can shrink and swell with changes in moisture levels, which can cause the foundation to shift.
Changes in water levels: Changes in water levels, such as from flooding or drought, can also cause foundation settling. If the water level around the foundation drops, the soil can shrink, and the foundation can settle. If the water level around the foundation rises, the soil can swell, and the foundation can shift.
Tree roots: Tree roots can also cause foundation settling. As tree roots grow, they can put pressure on the foundation and cause it to shift.
Construction defects: Construction defects, such as a poorly designed foundation or improper construction methods, can also cause foundation settling.
How to Prevent Foundation Settling
The following are some tips on how to prevent foundation settling:
Choose a good building site: When choosing a building site, it is important to avoid areas with poor soil conditions, such as clay or sandy soil. It is also important to avoid areas prone to flooding or drought.
Design a good foundation: The foundation of a building should be designed to withstand the weight of the structure and the forces of nature. It is important to consult with a qualified engineer to design a foundation appropriate for the building site and the type of structure being built.
Use proper construction methods: It is important to use appropriate construction methods when building a foundation. This includes using the right type of concrete, reinforcing the foundation with steel, and backfilling the foundation properly.
Maintain the foundation: It is important to maintain the foundation of a building to prevent settling. This includes keeping the soil around the foundation well-drained and repairing any cracks or damage to the foundation as soon as possible.
How to Repair Foundation Settling
If foundation settling does occur, there are a number of ways to repair it. The following are some of the most common methods:
Piering: Piering is a method of repairing foundation settling by installing piers under the foundation to support the structure's weight. Piers can be made of concrete, steel, or wood.
Underpinning: Underpinning is a method of repairing foundation settling by excavating the soil around the foundation and installing new footings to support the weight of the structure.
Slabjacking: Slabjacking is a method of repairing foundation settling by injecting grout under the foundation to lift it back into place.
Helical piers: Helical piers are a type of pier that is screwed into the ground to support the weight of the structure. Helical piers are often used to repair foundation settling in areas with poor soil conditions.
Foundation settling is a serious problem that can cause a number of damages to a building. Suppose you notice any signs of foundation settling. In that case, having the foundation inspected by a qualified professional as soon as possible is important. There are a number of ways to repair foundation settling, so there is no need to panic. Proper repair can restore your foundation to its original condition, and your building can be saved.
About Grand Rapids Foundation Repair Pros
Grand Rapids Foundation Repair Pros is a leading foundation repair company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We have over 20 years of experience in the industry, and we are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality services at the most competitive prices. We offer various foundation repair services, including slabjacking, underpinning, helical piers, and more. If you are concerned about foundation settling in your home, don't hesitate to contact us today at (616) 952-2799.
How do you tell the difference between settling and foundation problems?
Settling cracks are typically hairline cracks that are found inside the home, above windows and doors. Foundation problem cracks are typically wider, maybe diagonal or horizontal, and may be inside or outside the home. Settling may cause minor damage, while foundation problems may cause more serious damage. If you are unsure, consult with a qualified foundation repair professional.
How much foundation settling is OK?
Up to 1 inch of foundation settling is considered to be normal. However, if the settling is uneven or if it is accompanied by other signs of damage, such as cracks in the walls or floors, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. If you are concerned about settling, it is important to have your foundation inspected by a qualified professional.