This article was updated on 09/02/18.
A concrete foundation repair is potentially one of the most costly fixes a homeowner can be faced with. This is not a DIY project or one that may be scheduled with respect to convenience.
Rather, if isnt taken care of right away, a cracked or sunken concrete slab may add to the headache with cracked drywall, doors, windows, and kitchen cabinets that drag or dont shut as they should. Roof problems are also common. This is usually easy to check from ground level.
If you do have roof problems (obvious when the ridge deviates from straight) you will need to get it repaired, but only after the foundation is taken care of. Be careful when selecting a roof contractor.
Potential Causes of a Cracked Foundation
The two most frequent causes of a houses cracked or sunken foundation are dryness or unequal moisture in the surrounding soil. This is especially common during the scorching summertime when rainfall is lacking.
Its a simple task to identify when problems are likely to crop up; the dirt will draw away from the edge of the foundation. Soil heavy in clay content are particularly susceptible.
Seismic testing is another serious problem that can result in a cracked foundation. Many times this is the result of geophysical testing for petroleum exploration. These tests thump the ground with a mechanical contraption.
The reflected vibrations paint a picture of the subterranean composition.
The Consequences of Seismic Testing
As might be imagined, the sad result of seismic exploration testing for oil or gas may cause foundation damage in houses in the area. The initial as well as the reflective thumps can crack a concrete foundation.
Often, city governments allow these tests without notifying local homeowners.
Legal proceedings can ensure that big oil compensate homeowners for the residential foundation damage that they cause, but like gambling, its worth it to them if they hit pay dirt.
How to Avoid a Foundation Repair Job
Avoiding an expensive pier or piling repair (due to dry conditions) is just a matter of taking a preventive and proactive approach. As stated above, during long absent rain times, the dirt shrinks and pulls away from the foundation.
When experiencing times of rain, it is advisable to take advantage of the situation with rainwater harvesting. Rain collection barrels are readily available that work in conjunction with your rain gutters. There is no sense in wasting what nature gives us.
Keep an eye on the perimeter and when the dirt pulls about 1 1/2 away from the concrete, link together sufficient soaker hoses to reach around the perimeter of the home. Cap one end and screw the opposite end accessible to a garden hose or your rainwater harvesting barrel.
Place the soaker hoses in the gap between the concrete and the dirt. It might be necessary to temporarily keep it in place by weighing it down with bricks or other objects. New soaker hoses are notorious for wanting to coil back up. Dont worry, after a few watering sessions, they will behave.
Watering a Concrete Slab
As soon as the soaker hose is in place and the garden hose is linked up to it, just turn on the water. The hoses will bubble water out evenly around the home perimeter. Soon, the soil that supports the slab will become saturated and it will support the structure evenly and properly.
Situations and soil composition vary, but generally speaking, a half hour a few days a week is all thats required to keep the slab and surrounding soil stable.