By Shawn Kyles
Foundation problems become worse over time. Minor cracking from moisture or settlement can turn into large cracks and other foundation issues that make it difficult to open or close windows and doors. At some point, you may even notice walls starting to bulge or floors beginning to slope. Similar problems can occur if the foundation was poorly designed, or built on expansive soil.
When the damage becomes too severe, the entire structure will weaken and eventually collapse. If your home or commercial structure is located in an area where there is seismic activity, the risk of collapse is even greater. When a foundation is damaged, one good jolt could knock the entire building down.
Regular inspections and home foundation repair can keep your foundation in good shape. However, when a foundation isn’t properly maintained or signs of damage are ignored, the foundation may end up needing to be replaced.
Foundation replacement is no small task. You will not be able to live in your home while the work is being done.
To begin with, all of the building’s utilities will need to be turned off. This includes shutting down water and sewer lines. Next, the home will be lifted many feet above the ground in order to replace the cement slab and surrounding walls. A trench may need to be dug around the house in order to remove the walls. It may even be necessary to remove the first floor of the building.
If the soil under the foundation wasn’t properly compact, it will be dug out and replaced.
Once the new soil is put in, it will need to be compacted. After the compaction, a new cement foundation will be poured, which will take several days to cure. The building may also need to be reinforced with steel or other types of support. Concrete and/or concrete blocks will be used to replace foundation walls.
Before the house can be put back on its foundation, the trench around the building will be filled in and any underground utilities will be reconnected. When necessary, outside foundation walls will be waterproofed. The building may also need additional interior and exterior repairs before the job is considered finished.
Foundation replacement can be expensive and take weeks to complete. Both lifting the building and providing proper shoring during the project can be costly. Many times the shoring will require utilities to be relocated.
In older homes, particularly buildings with stone or brick foundation walls, a footing may need to be built for the new foundation.
Annual inspections by an experienced foundation repair company can help you avoid serious foundation and structural damage. A foundation contractor will look for signs of trouble in and around the building and provide recommendations on any needed repairs.
You should also make your own periodic inspections of the property. Never hesitate to contact a foundation repair professional if something doesn’t seem right. It could mean the difference between a simple repair job and foundation replacement.
Shawn Kyles, expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, repair & house bolting at Julian Construction (http://www.julianconstruction.com) in Los Angeles, has inspected over 15,000 structures for building & safety and done more home foundation repair than anyone else (http://julianconstruction.com/about/). See their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I8j7dXzpj4