No matter what kind of building – homes, garages, offices, schools, churches, and so on – all structures have the potential to experience foundation settlement at some point in their lifetime. In fact, it’s completely normal for buildings to settle within the first few years they are constructed. But if this continues over the years, there’s a problem.
Foundation settlement can occur for various reasons, but the root cause typically lies in the soil under a structure. When a foundation has unstable underlying soil – which is caused by wetting and softening of the soil, drying and shrinking, and poor compaction – the structure itself will be unstable as well.
Drying and shrinking, in particular, typically happen during periods of drought. Dry soil that shrinks underneath a foundation leaves gaps for the foundation to settle and sink into. This results in visible problem signs like wall cracks, doors and windows that stick or don’t work properly, and gaps between the floor and wall or wall and ceiling.
A homeowner who has lived in her house for only a few years started to notice some of these telltale signs of settlement in her attached garage, and she was concerned with the stability of the building. She wanted to nip the problems in the bud before anything else negatively impacted the foundation, and Innovative Basement Authority was able to help her do just that.
Meeting the Homeowner
After living in her house for four years, a homeowner in Fargo, ND, decided to update the appearance of the attached garage. The garage was redone by adding new exterior siding, and the interior had unfinished sheetrock on the walls.
Recently, the owner noticed a large crack on one of the interior garage walls, and doors on the garage were misaligned and did not latch properly. It also appeared that the garage was pulling away from the house, and the homeowner believed the structure had previous work done because of sinking issues.
The homeowner was worried about the state of her garage and its foundation, and she didn’t want any problems to get worse. She knew seeking the help of a foundation repair professional would be the best course of action, so she started to research companies that would be able to help her address the issue. Once she found Innovative Basement Authority’s website and started browsing through information, she contacted us for a free inspection and quote.
One of our experienced inspectors then visited the property to complete a thorough assessment of the home’s problematic garage foundation. He noticed wall cracks as well as some gaps between the floor and walls, as well as the walls and the ceiling. He also measured for settlement and found that the back corner of the garage had settled approximately 1.5 inches.
There are numerous ways to address foundation settlement, but the most effective, permanent solution is to install foundation piers underneath the settling foundation for proper reinforcement. Some pier systems also have the ability to potentially lift the foundation back towards its original position, based on the recommendation of repair professionals and if the homeowner chooses.
The inspector initially recommended the installation of push piers under the settling garage corner for stabilization purposes, and the homeowner agreed to move forward with this work to protect the structure.
Repairing the Damage
One of our installation crews was able to complete the stabilization project in four days.
As the crew began by digging down to reach the footer, they noticed some of the foundation and walls were wood. The crew then recommended switching to helical piers because of the type of foundation. The homeowner agreed, and the crew proceeded to install five helical piers into the ground.
Instead of only being installed vertically and driven into the ground, helical piers are “screwed” into the ground and can be installed at various angles. This type of foundation pier also is ideal to use on lighter structures and specialty foundations like the wood within this garage foundation.
Also during the install, the crew noticed the concrete footing was cracked 6 to 7 feet from the corner on both problematic walls, which was causing the settlement. All five helical piers were installed at a depth of 81 feet. This allowed them to reach more stable load-bearing soil to better support the garage foundation.
Once all the piers were properly installed and determined to be supporting the garage, the crew backfilled the installation area and ensured the replaced soil had a positive grade. The homeowner was pleased with the rest of the project and the result of having a stabilized and protected garage.
If your home is experiencing foundation settlement, don’t let it go too long without repairing it. Otherwise, the safety and structural stability of your home will be compromised. Don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Innovative Basement Authority today to schedule a free foundation inspection and repair estimate. Our experienced team has the tools and know-how to help you create a safer living environment for your family.