How to Repair Foundation Issues: Top 3 Common Methods

April 29, 2021

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If you’re a homeowner searching for how to repair foundation issues, the good news is that most foundation repair projects are not as invasive and costly as you might expect. However, foundation repair is not a DIY job and should always be left to the pros, to ensure quality fixes that last for years!

Most contractors use one of three methods to repair foundation issues:

  1.       Epoxy or polyurethane injections
  2.       Steel or helical pier installation
  3.       House leveling or slab jacking

While some homeowners might be tempted to save money by applying epoxy or poly injections for smaller foundation cracks on their own, it’s always recommended that you schedule a foundation inspection and professional repairs no matter the damage. This will ensure you choose the right repair method for your home and avoid secondary issues such as interior and exterior wall cracks, wood rot, and mold.

repairing a foundation

So that you know you’re keeping your home in good condition and also know what to expect by way of foundation repair, note some added details about these 3 common foundation repair methods. You can then discuss your options with a repair contractor near you and know your house is always structurally strong and stable!

3 Popular Options to Repair Foundation Issues

While a foundation repair contractor is the best source of information when it comes to foundation damage to your home, note a few added details about 3 common options for addressing that damage.

Epoxy or polyurethane injections

Epoxy and poly injections are simple, affordable solutions for minor foundation cracks. These materials not only expand once injected but also harden, providing support while keeping a crack from growing. These injections also help repel water, for even more protection against future damage!

Foundation injections usually last only 5 to 10 years before the material begins to break down and they then need to be reapplied. They’re also not strong enough to support or fill in overly large cracks or fix concrete sections that have separated from each other.

Also, note that these materials aren’t simply injected into a crack, as they won’t bond to broken or soft concrete. Instead, a foundation repair contractor will chisel out a crack along a basement wall or floor and then apply the injection. For outside cracks, he or she might drill into the soil under and around the foundation and access cracks through these openings, for more durable repairs.

Steel or helical pier insertion

repairing a pier foundation

Severely cracked and damaged foundations need more than injections to close up those cracks and keep them strong! Steel or helical pier insertion is an excellent choice for correcting larger cracks and broken concrete.

Foundation piers are inserted into the ground along damaged foundation sections. These piers have brackets at the top; once in place, the foundation is then attached to those brackets. These piers keep the foundation strong and stable, preventing it from shifting and settling over the years.

Piers are somewhat pricey, averaging around $1000 each and your home might need 2 or 3 piers for proper fixes. However, these piers last for decades if not indefinitely. They can also keep a home from settling and provide support for sunken exterior structures such as porches and patios.

House leveling

House leveling might sound extreme but this process is actually far less disruptive to your property than you might expect! Pier insertion, mentioned above, is one form of house leveling; injecting specialty materials under a sunken foundation so that it dries and lifts the foundation into place is another common form of house leveling.

Pier and beam foundations might benefit from pilings inserted under the piers, or shims pounded between the beams and piers. Soil treatments also help remove excess moisture and keep the soil under a foundation strong so that it can provide added support for a structure.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Foundation Issues?

Epoxy injections might average around $500 and, as said, will need reapplication every 5 to 10 years. Your total costs for steel or helical pier insertion will depend on how many piers are needed to correct your home’s damage; helical piers are cheaper than steel but are typically only used for smaller foundations or structures, such as porches.

contractors to fix foundation issues

Other than injections, foundation repair costs average around $2000 to $7000 but most repair methods last for decades if not the life of the home itself. These costs are also a vital investment against secondary damage that often develops over the years.

What Happens If I Don’t Fix My Foundation?

Avoiding foundation repair can be a costly mistake! The longer you put off repairing cracks and chips, the more extensive that damage becomes, and the more expensive it will be to finally address that damaged foundation. Note, too, some secondary damage that often results from neglecting needed foundation repair:

  • Foundation cracks let in moisture, risking wood rot and mold growth.
  • Insects and other pests are attracted to a water source inside a home. Even if you keep your house scrupulously clean, moisture coming in through foundation cracks can mean unpleasant infestations!
  • A weak foundation allows a home to shift and then settle, leading to interior and exterior wall and ceiling cracks, buckled floors, and damaged roofing materials. These cracks are not only unsightly, they let out your heating and cooling, spiking utility costs.
  • That shifting and settling also pull on plumbing pipes and features, risking clogs and water leaks.
  • When a home moves out of a level and even position, door and window frames also become uneven so that doors and windows might stick or become difficult to lock properly.
  • While a home itself might not outright collapse on a weak foundation, in some cases basement walls might start to bow outward and then eventually crumble, leading to costly repairs.
  • Severe foundation damage can also affect property values, making it more difficult to sell your home in the future.

Signs of a Bad Foundation

qualified foundation repair inspector

Most homeowners know that wall cracks often indicate a damaged foundation that’s allowing a home to settle and sink. However, there are many other signs of needed foundation repair you don’t want to overlook! Doors and windows that suddenly stick and doors that hang open might indicate that their frames are out of alignment due to a weak foundation; you might also struggle to close lock bolts securely.

Damp, musty basements can also indicate foundation cracks letting in moisture. Never assume that basements are simply musty by nature! If you notice dampness and especially standing water in your home’s basement, schedule a foundation inspection as soon as possible.

Since foundation cracks and secondary cracks along walls and roofs let out your home’s heating and cooling, keep track of your utility costs throughout the year. If you notice those costs increasing and can’t explain that away due to a rate hike or other reason, note that it may be due to foundation damage.

As framing gets pulled out of position when a home settles, wood pieces might then rub against each other and start to creak, squeak, or “groan.” Suddenly squeaky floors or doors that creak during operation can indicate foundation damage!

Damaged surfaces and building materials around the home can also result from foundation cracks and settling. Popped drywall nails, baseboards and crown molding pulling away from the walls, drywall pieces in room corners pulling away from each other, and buckled floor tiles indicate that it’s time for a foundation inspection for your home!

Determining if a Foundation Crack is Structural

Wall and ceiling cracks can result from a number of issues in the home, including poor-quality materials and installation methods. For example, improper taping can lead to thin, straight cracks where two drywall panels meet. Water leaks behind walls can also soften drywall and wood framing, leading to cracks.

cracked foundation

Homes also settle slightly over the years and especially right after being built, as wood framing adjusts to changing soil conditions and humidity. This settling can result in slight cracks that don’t necessarily indicate structural or foundation damage. Vacant homes also tend to settle slightly, as their interior isn’t as climate-controlled as an occupied home!

Large, jagged, and especially diagonal cracks often indicate structural problems and needed foundation repair. Cracks larger than a quarter-inch also indicate structural damage. Rather than simply patching or taping over these cracks, ensure a proper foundation inspection before repairing those walls.

Should You Buy a Home That Needs Foundation Repair?

There is no “right or wrong” answer as to whether or not you should buy a home with a damaged foundation. As with any needed repairs, a potential homebuyer should ensure they’ve done their due diligence when it comes to the home’s overall condition, the extent of damage, and the cost of repairs before making a buying decision.

home with foundation issues

Potential homebuyers should also note the risk of secondary damage for a home with a damaged foundation. Ensure the home is inspected for mold and insect infestation, and other items not typically included in a home inspection such as damaged door and window frames.

If you find that the cost of repairs doesn’t put the home out of your price range and are willing to invest in that work, the home might be an excellent option for you. However, ensure you are able to have those repairs done quickly. The longer you ignore needed foundation fixes, the more extensive and costly they become and the more likely it is that you’ll need to schedule mold cleanup and other such fixes.

Denver Foundation Repair Specialists is happy to bring this information to our readers and hopefully, it helped answer the question of how to repair foundation issues. If your home or business needs foundation repair or a full inspection, give us a call! Our Denver foundation repair contractors pride themselves on offering high-quality repairs with the most durable materials on the market, and we stand behind all our work with a full guarantee. To find out more, give us a call today!

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