FOUNDATION REPAIR

Have you noticed cracks in your home’s walls or ceiling? Is your driveway or sidewalk developing cracks or gaps? These are just a few of the warning signs that your foundation may be in need of repair. A home’s foundation plays a vital role in keeping its structure stable and the occupants inside safe.

Foundation issues arise for a variety of reasons, but it’s best to address even minor problems right away, as they can lead to much larger and more expensive repairs down the road. At Epp concrete, we are experts at foundation repair.

FOUNDATION PROBLEMS

Settlement occurs when the soil below a home is unstable, causing it to expand and contract, resulting in a sinking movement, or settling, of the house’s foundation. This leads to cracks in interior and exterior surfaces, most often on the foundation or on walls and ceilings.

Foundation settlement can be caused by:

  • Evaporation.  Hot and dry conditions may cause soil to pull away from the foundation. Settlement due to this moisture imbalance can cause cracks to appear throughout the structure.
  • Transpiration.  Tree roots can dehydrate the soil beneath a home causing soil shrinkage.
  • Plumbing Leaks.  Water from leaky plumbing is often a major contributor to foundation and settlement problems including heaving.
  • Drainage.  Improper drainage will lead to excess moisture buildup, which can erode or consolidate soils. Excessive moisture may cause heaving and expansive soils.
  • Site Preparation.  Cut and fill situations, where soil is removed from part of the building site and stacked on another, need proper soil stabilization before a structure is built; otherwise, unexpected movements of the soil beneath the foundation may occur.

 

Epp Concrete uses two solutions for foundation settlement problems:

The ECP Steel Push Pier System is a permanent solution for your home’s settlement problem. It provides you with the very best option to restore your foundation back to level. Steel piers are hydraulically driven through our patented steel brackesettlementt to transfer the load of the structure from unstable to stable soil.

  • Unlimited structure lifting capabilities
  • No heavy equipment needed for installation
  • Year-round installation
  • Manifold lift (allows for synchronized lift)
  • 10,000 psi hydraulic capabilities
  • 25-year warranty

Helical piers are steel foundation pins that are driven deep into the soil using hydraulic machinery. They work best on lightweight structures and permanently stop foundation settlement.

  • Quick, mildly invasive installation
  • All parts are American steel
  • Light disturbance to landscaping and yard
  • Can be installed from both interior and exterior
  • Does not cause further damage to structure
  • 25-year warranty

Bowing walls occur when a home’s foundation walls curve inward, forming a “bow.” The most common cause of a bowing or leaning wall is excessive lateral pressure on the exterior. When the pressure becomes too much for the wall to handle, it starts to bow, crack, or even break.  Common causes of bowing walls are:

  • Expansive clay soils expand and contract as the moisture in the ground increases and decreases.
  • Hydrostatic pressure, which is an accumulation of water in the soil surrounding the foundation wall that is exerting pressure against the wall.
  • Frost can also lead to bowing walls as the soil against the wall freezes and applies pressure.

*It’s important to remember that damaged foundation walls are an indication of a serious problem for the home.

To repair bowing walls, we use a variety of products and techniques:

Wall Braces
When pressure from soil movement begins to cause bowing walls, braces can be used to counteract the stress. The Force I-Beam Wall Braces is a patented structural tension-loaded, steel l-beam system that is designed to straighten block or concrete walls over time. The Force is recommended when wall plates cannot be used because of yard restrictions or other obstacles. Without excavation or homeowner assistance, The Force’s unique l-beam/spring-coil design supplies a constant 1000-pound force on bowing walls.

  • Permanently stops failing wall foundations
  • Quick and minimally invasive installation
  • No disturbance to landscaping and yard
  • Applied from inside basement
  • Will not interfere with most framing
  • Can straighten wall over time without excavation
  • Can straighten wall immediately with excavation
  • All parts are American steel
  • Can be installed when both interior and yard access is limited
  • 10 year transferable limited warranty example of wall anchors on home foundation

 

Wall Anchors
Bowing walls are caused by excessive lateral pressure on the exterior. When the pressure becomes too much for the wall to handle, it begins to bow, crack, or break, and many times will even start shearing in towards the bottom. When this happens, contractors install wall anchors on approximate 6’ centers that stop further movement and, with proper tension, will eliminate the bowing over time. The installation of wall anchors allows weight to be evenly distributed up the entire height of the wall and stops not only the inward movement, but also the bottom shear of the wall.

  • Quick and minimally invasive installation
  • Limited disturbance to landscaping and yard
  • Will not interfere with most framing
  • Application done from inside basement
  • Can straighten wall over time without excavation
  • Can straighten wall immediately with excavation
  • All parts Galvanized American Steel
  • 25 year transferable limited warranty on C-Channel wall anchors

 

Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber is a high-strength fabric material that won’t stretch and is virtually unbreakable; in fact, it’s used in the construction of commercial aircraft. Carbon Fiber wall supports are part of the market’s strongest patented system because they tie to the foundation base and house framing. The carbon fiber is fastened to the sill plate with a galvanized bracket and secured to the foundation floor with a carbon fiber pin. Deterioration does not occur because the carbon fiber system is secured to the foundation wall, allowing for an even distribution of outside pressure.

  • Quick and clean installation
  • Works on block and poured concrete foundations
  • Ties in footing, wall and sill place for complete protection against any movement
  • Complete stabilization

Foundation heave, two words no home owner wants to hear. Unlike settlement sinking, foundation heaving or upheaval is an upward structural movement caused by expanding soil, resulting in cracking of floors, walls, ceilings, and other foundation features.  Foundation heave usually occurs in areas where soil has a high clay content, especially in periods of prolonged or heavy precipitation.  While settlement generally takes years and years to occur, foundation heave commonly takes place within the first few years of a building’s construction.

Unfortunately, upheaval is a foundation issue that usually cannot be repaired in its entirety due to its unpredictability.  However, often times foundation problems are misdiagnosed as being heave when in reality, the issue is something else.  If you’ve been told that your home has experienced heaving, contact the experts at Epp to come out to give you a second opinion!

street creepStreet creep is a phenomenon that occurs as a result of nature’s uncontrollable effect on concrete slabs and joints. Both gravity and thermal (changes in temperature) expansion and contraction cause streets to literally move or slide toward surrounding homes. This movement causes pressure and cracking to the foundation of the homes it affects. Contractors place expansion joints in exterior concrete slabs to control movements caused by thermal activity. This is typically done by placing a buffer made of wood, rubber, or other material in between two slabs of concrete. The joints will shrink and expand as the concrete moves, absorbing the force before it damages the foundation. Eventually, these joints become filled with sand, gravel, and other debris and pressure is displaced from street, to driveway, to garage floor, and eventually to your home’s foundation walls.

Street creep is almost completely unpredictable; there’s no definitive way to know when, where, or how far the concrete slabs will move.

Signs of street creep may include compressed expansion joints, cracks in garage walls and floors, gaps around the garage door or foundation, and cracking or movement of foundation walls. Street creep doesn’t occur overnight, but the accumulation of concrete shifting over many years can eventually cause significant damage to the structure of your home.

Cracks in your home’s foundation can be caused by settlement, bowing walls, street creep, and other conditions. Even after you’ve fixed the problem causing the cracks, it’s important to repair the cracks themselves, as they are often the path that water takes when a basement floods. Not only will it mask unsightly flaws in your home’s appearance, sealing cracks will keep water and air leaks from seeping through your foundation walls.