Never put off calling foundation contractors in Louisville if you suspect your home’s foundation needs repairs. The longer you overlook cracks, chips, spalling, and other such damage, the more extensive those issues become. Not only does this mean risking secondary damage including wall cracks and buckled floors, but you will also then be faced with more expensive fixes once you schedule needed repairs!
Knowing how a repair company might address foundation problems can help you better understand what to expect when you do call a Louisville foundation repair contractor. You can also note why it’s vital to schedule those repairs at the first sign of damage, to keep repair costs to a minimum and ensure your property is always in good condition.
How Foundation Contractors in Louisville Determine Damage
Before discussing foundation repair methods, you might note how a contractor determines the extent of damage and what repairs are needed for your property. Knowing what a repair contractor looks for can also alert you to signs of foundation damage to your home, so you know when to schedule a foundation inspection!
· Inspecting visible portions of a foundation is a contractor’s first step! He or she will check basement walls and floors, or piers and beams under a home, looking for cracks, chips, spalling, and unevenness.
· A repair contractor will also check the exposed concrete of a slab foundation for chips, cracks, spalling, flaking, and other such damage.
· A weak foundation allows a home to settle and sink; as it does, it will pull on various solid surfaces inside and outside the house. A repair contractor will then check for cracks along interior drywall and exterior brick or siding, which often indicate a damaged, sinking foundation.
· A repair contractor will also look for buckled floors and floor tiles pulled out of place, crown molding and baseboards pulling away from walls, and gaps between drywall sections in room corners.
· A settled home pulls doorjambs and window frames out of position, so a repair contractor might check all doors and windows of a home to see if they stick or tend to open on their own. He or she might even check those jambs and frames with a level, to note for signs of a sinking home.
· Foundation cracks let moisture into a home especially along lower levels or in the basement. A foundation repair contractor will look for excess moisture in those spaces as well as signs of trapped humidity in the home, including wood rot and mold.
Along with checking for these signs of foundation damage, a repair contractor will evaluate their severity. Small wall cracks might tell him or her that the foundation is just now weakening, whereas larger cracks and lots of moisture in lower levels will alert them to the need for more extensive foundation repair!
A foundation inspection might also include a check of the property’s grade or slope, and for signs of moisture collecting along the home’s foundation. Foundation concrete absorbs moisture which can lead to cracks and chips, so excess moisture can alert a repair contractor to the risk of a damaged foundation on the property.
How Foundation Contractors in Louisville Address Cracks
For minor cracks, a foundation repair contractor will usually apply specialty injections. These injections expand and harden, filling in those cracks and providing added support for the concrete around it. Waterproofing solutions added to the concrete also provide more protection against future cracks.
These specialty injections usually cost just a few hundred dollars per application, but they might last only 5 to 10 years and will then need reapplication. However, if you keep those foundation cracks filled with fresh materials as needed, and ensure proper waterproofing for basement walls and other exposed concrete, your home’s foundation will probably stay strong and stable for many decades.
How Are Pier and Beam Foundations Repaired?
As the name implies, pier and beam foundations include horizontal beams installed along a home’s underside, which are then attached to or otherwise resting on vertical piers. If a home has a crawlspace, it most likely has a pier and beam foundation.
Many pier and beam foundations are constructed from thick, durable wood pieces. Over time, that wood might expand or contract slightly as it absorbs humidity and then dries out.
During this process, those piers or beams might become uneven or gaps might form along their edges. Pounding large shims between each pier and beam can correct this issue, pushing the home back into a level position while filling in those gaps and providing added support for the structure.
For more extensive damage, a foundation repair contractor might suggest outright replacing those piers and beams. New piers and beams, along with encapsulation or a vapor barrier, might cost a few thousand dollars but can also mean a solid foundation for many decades.
Underpinning and House Leveling for Severe Foundation Damage
Severe foundation damage might call for underpinning and house leveling, or both! Underpinning refers to large pins inserted into the ground either around the edge of a damaged, crumbling foundation, or underneath a concrete slab foundation. The pin is then attached to the foundation itself, along large brackets at the top of the pin.
House leveling is used for sunken homes. This process first lifts a home back to a level position, using specialty hydraulic equipment. A slurry is injected underneath that sunken, damaged area; as this slurry dries, it hardens, giving the foundation added support and keeping the home level.
In some cases, underpinning might be needed along with house leveling. Added support from those pins might be needed for severely damaged foundations, very large homes, or properties with soil that doesn’t provide adequate foundation support.
Underpinning usually costs about $700 to $1000 per pin, so your total costs will depend on how many pins are needed to correct your property’s foundation damage. House leveling is often cheaper than homeowners realize, usually costing less than $1000. Both foundation repair methods should last for decades, if not even indefinitely, making them an excellent investment in your home’s overall condition.
While these foundation repair methods might seem extreme, remember that they can keep your home in good condition for years, even for the lifetime of home ownership. A foundation contractor in Louisville can also explain the benefits of various repair methods for your home in particular, and why it would be advantageous for you to schedule those needed fixes quickly!