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Category Archives: Foundation Repair

All About Underpinning: How to Repair a Foundation

What is Underpinning?

Underpinning is the process of strengthening the foundation of a building. It is used when buildings in Arkansas need foundation repair or reinforcement in order to add additional stories to an existing structure. Underpinning is accomplished by increasing the foundation’s depth or width so that it rests on a more supportive soil or is distributed across a greater area.

What Kind of Foundation Damage Requires Underpinning?

The most visible sign that your building needs underpinning is when cracks are visible in the foundation. This is particularly true if the cracks, especially diagonal cracks, are wider than ¼ inch. Other signs of foundation failure include cracked or buckled walls and cracked concrete floors.

foundation sinking Little Rock, AR, foundation repair Arkansas, foundation settlement Little Rock, ARracked foundation, cracked concrete foundationThere are a number of reasons why a foundation in Arkansas may require underpinning:

  • The original foundation is not strong or stable enough
  • The soil supporting the foundation has shifted downward
  • Excavation for construction of adjacent structures has made the soil unstable
  • An earthquake, flood or drought has displaced the structure
  • It is more economical to fix the current foundation than replacing it

How to Repair a Foundation with Underpinning

Steel Piers

steel piersSteel piers are used when the foundation is settling due to soil-related issues. Poor soil includes over-saturated soil that causes too much pressure against the foundation walls or dehydrated and poorly compacted soils that are too weak to support the foundation. Steel piers can be installed either inside or outside of the foundation and are driven deep into the soil until they hit a more solid and stable layer of rock or soil. Then the entire structure is lifted by hydraulic jacks and returned to a level position with the foundation’s weight evenly distributed on the steel pier system.

Steel piers offer many advantages over traditional pilings, including speed of installation, less noise and minimal vibration affecting surrounding areas.

Contact Airlift Concrete Experts for Underpinning in Arkansas

If your foundation is in need of underpinning, call Airlift Concrete Experts today! We serve Alexander, Arkansas and surrounding areas including Little Rock, AR.

 

Selling A House With Foundation Problems vs. Repairing Them First

Selling A House With Foundation Problems

So you’re thinking about selling your house, but there’s only one problem. You’ve been putting off repairing your cracked or sinking foundation for years, and now you’re afraid prospective buyers will be turned off by your foundation problems.

What should you do? Fix the foundation first or sell the house “as-is”?

You’ve got to make a big decision quickly that could potentially cost you a lot of money. Here are a few things to consider.

Signs of Foundation Problems You Should Take Seriously

should i fix my foundation before i sell my house?

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Arkansas, it is important to know how serious your foundation problems are. Following are a few signs that any good real estate agent would tell you to take seriously:

  • Doors and windows that aren’t aligned
  • Doors that stick or don’t latch shut
  • Windows that are difficult to open or have cracks in the glass
  • Sloping floors or staircases
  • Cracks in the walls or ceilings
  • Gaps between the walls or the walls and ceiling
  • Large cracks in the basement or foundation
  • Water in the basement, crawl spaces or house perimeter

These issues usually determine serious structural issues, and may be a major turn off to potential buyers since they can be expensive to fix. You will be required to disclose any problems with your foundation, and interested buyers may require you to have them repaired before they purchase your property.

Should I Hire a Structural Engineer?

If you have signs of serious foundation issues, you might want to consider hiring a structural engineer to determine the full extent of the damages and how much it would cost to repair your foundation. Hiring a structural engineer typically costs anywhere from $500 to $1,000, but it’s worth the cost if you are thinking about moving forward with the repairs.

Even if you decide not to repair the foundation before your sell, it will help you negotiate a fair price with potential buyers. If a buyer loves the house, they are less likely to walk away from the deal if they know the cost of repairing the foundation.

Repair the Problems or Sell the House “As Is”?

selling a house with foundation problems

Whatever you decide to do, it is important to be honest with potential buyers that your house has a foundation problem.

Reasons to leave it

Many realtors would advise you not to fix your home before you list it because whatever repairs you do become part of the public record. The reason that is a problem is that many potential buyers would immediately cross your home off the list because it has foundation problems. If they don’t even show up to see your home, you won’t have a chance to explain that you’ve fixed the problem.

Reasons to fix it first

There are always two sides to every issue. Some realtors suggest that you fix the foundation first. Many buyers would prefer to buy a home without significant problems because their funds are already strapped, and they won’t want to pour additional money literally “into the pit”. Also the reputation of the contractor and warranty should be a strong selling point for a potential buyer.

How Should I Promote My House With a Foundation Problem?

Believe it or not, you can promote a foundation problem as a good thing. Once you adjust the price, let the buyers know that they can “add new amenities to the property while they are repairing it”. Many buyers in Arkansas like the idea of adding a personal touch to their homes, and your house will attract buyers with that kind of Arkansas “can do” attitude.

Some realtors even encourage people to buy homes with foundation issues because the discount is usually 20% to 25% while the cost to fix it is usually only around 10%.

Get a Free Foundation Consultation in Arkansas

If you need to contact a foundation repair expert in Arkansas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Airlift Concrete Experts. We offer foundation repair inspections and free consultations to a 60 mile radius around Alexander, Arkansas, which includes the cities of Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Benton, and Jacksonville.

 

How To Fix Foundation Cracks

Many homeowners with foundation cracks look for quick DIY solutions to get the damage repaired as quickly and easily as possible. However, quick solutions such as caulking and sealing cracks will only provide a temporary cosmetic solution if you have serious foundation damage.

Sometimes, foundation cracks indicate more than what meets the eye: an underlying structural issue. In this case, simply sealing cracks will not prevent your foundation from continuing to settle into the ground. So how do you know if your foundation cracks are serious enough for structural repair?

Do My Foundation Cracks Need Structural Repair?

Vertical and diagonal cracks in your home’s foundation are most often a sign of natural settlement and not necessarily a sign of structural damage in your home. If the crack seems even when you run your finger across it, that probably isn’t a sign of a major problem, and you should be able to do minor cosmetic repair yourself.

horizontal crack foundation, structural cracks in houses

Horizontal cracks can be signs of a serious foundation problem.

Larger cracks that aren’t serious enough to indicate foundation failure may be repaired by you or a contractor. Even a homeowner can fix simple foundation cracks that don’t involve drilling holes into the foundation walls or using high-pressure injection systems. Cracks that leak should be fixed by Airlift Concrete Experts because we have the tools, products and know-how to repair them.

Cracks larger than 1/4” in width, particularly horizontal cracks and ones that leak, are a different matter, and you should consult Airlift Concrete Experts to determine whether further repairs should be implemented in order avoid serious foundation problems or even foundation failure.

Foundation Crack Repair Methods

Following are various methods used by homeowners and professionals to repair foundation cracks. Some methods are more reliable and longer-lasting than others.

Caulk Crack Repair

Often homeowners may try to patch a leaking crack with caulk. This repair lasts only 6 months to a year because water will continue to fill the crack behind the patch. Eventually efflorescence, a white mineral salt in the groundwater, will break the seal and allow water to seep in again.

Hydraulic Cement Crack Fillings

Sometimes homeowners or contractors will try to repair the crack by chiseling out an inverted V-groove and filling it with hydraulic cement. While the cement will fill the hole, it doesn’t bond with the cement. Usually within a couple of years, the concrete wall will fluctuate with changes in temperature and moisture and cause the plug to leak again.

Epoxy Crack Injections

Epoxy crack injection is an effective method designed to fix cracks in poured concrete foundations. Airlift Concrete Experts is highly experienced and knowledgeable about this type of repair.

This type of repair is applied from the inside of your basement, so there is no need for excavation on the outside. Once the epoxy is applied, it usually takes about 5 hours to cure. Epoxy injections will permanently seal cracks and provide structural integrity as the epoxy is stronger than the concrete itself. Call Airlift Concrete Experts today to learn more and find out if epoxy injection is the right solution for you!

Excavation

Sometimes, foundation cracks will continue to form because of serious water issues affecting the foundation. In this case, excavation is required. All structures, sidewalks, gardens and landscaping are removed during excavation. Then multiple layers of synthetic waterproof material is installed to prevent further movement of the wall and prevent water from affecting the foundation.

After the waterproofing is installed, everything is returned. It is important to keep in mind that the excavated soil will settle during the first year, so you will need to regrade it the following year.

Polyurethane Polymer Injection

The best method to repair a foundation crack that is leaking is to inject into it a high-viscosity polyurethane polymer. Unlike other fillers, polyurethane bonds well to both wet and dry concrete, and its high viscosity allows it to fill even the smallest hairline cracks.

Polyurethane polymer can be developed to expand up to 20 times its volume if needed. As a result, the seal will not fail as the wall continues to move and shift. Also, it is much less expensive than other exterior methods because it requires no labor-intensive excavation and can be completed within a few hours.

Fix Foundation Cracks with Steel Piers

Foundation Piers

For more serious cases where foundation cracks indicate structural damage, we can install steel foundation piers to bring permanent stability to your home, preventing cracks and other issues from forming in the future.

Steel piers are drilled below the weak, top layers of the soil until they reach more stable soil deeper in the ground. The weight of your home is then lifted onto the piers, permanently stabilized.

Cracks can now be sealed without worry of forming again because the foundation is in place for good.

Contact Airlift Concrete Experts for Foundation Cracks

If you’re not sure how to repair a crack or whether or not repairing a foundation crack is an adequate solution to your problem, contact Airlift Concrete Experts today. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation and quote!

Pier and Beam Foundations: Common Problems & Repairs

Pier and Beam FoundationUnlike a typical slab foundation, pier and beam foundations are elevated above the ground to provide room for a crawl space. Although they are a fantastic structure when it comes to stability in southern clay soil, they can deteriorate over time. If you have a pier and beam foundation, you need to sufficiently protect it from water damage.

How To Protect Your Pier and Beam Foundation from Water Damage

As a homeowner in Arkansas, the best thing that you can do for your pier and beam foundation is to keep it protected from moisture. Here are a few things that you can do to sufficiently protect your foundation from water damage:

  1. Clean out your gutters. If your gutters are clogged by leaves, branches, and other debris, rain water will pour over directly onto your foundation.
  2. Extend your downspouts. Once your gutters are cleaned out and allowing water to flow properly, make sure that your downspouts are extended at least 5 feet away from your home. This will ensure that rain water is being directed far enough away from your home to not pool around your foundation.
  3. Install a french drain system. If your home is on a slope or hill that allows rain water to run onto your foundation, consider installing a french drain system to keep water away from your home.

Common Problems With Pier and Beam Foundations

Water is a structure’s worst enemy, especially if your home has poor drainage. If water is able to accumulate near your foundation, run toward the foundation, or collect underneath the foundation, it can cause your piers to heave and sink into the soil. Over time, the wood may rot and encourage termite activity. Look out for these common problems in your pier and beam foundation:

  1. Cracks in your piers and beams
  2. Sagging or sloping floors in your home
  3. A wet or damp crawl space
  4. Rotted wood beams
  5. Mold or mildew on your beams

All of these issues can indicate that you are having problems with your pier and beam foundation. An unstable foundation is very dangerous for your home, and will only get worse over time. It is important to have any suspicious signs inspected so that your foundation can be stabilized as soon as possible.

Pier and Beam Foundation Repair Solutions

When a pier and beam foundation begins to deteriorate, the affected wooden members need to be replaced. Replacing the structural members of your foundation is a difficult and complicated task, and will require a professional foundation repair specialist that has the correct tools and equipment to perform the job.

We have repair solutions for any issues you may be experiencing with your pier and beam foundation, including steel piers, crawl space supports, concrete piles, and more.

Airlift Concrete Experts has all of the elite equipment needed to support and repair your pier and beam foundation. With years of experience and highly trained professionals, our foundation repair services are second to none.

Call Airlift Concrete Experts today for professional foundation repair for your pier and beam home. Our expert team will identify the structural issues in your home and determine the best solution for your specific needs and budget. Contact us today for a free estimate!

Types of Foundation Cracks and How to Fix Them

Diagnosing Cracks in Your Foundation

Cracks in your foundation come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is not unusual for foundation cracks to form within the first year of new construction, often near windows, corners of the walls or floors or in the longer sections of your foundation. Most are due to foundation settling and are usually not a cause for concern. If cracks become larger or allow water to seep through, call an expert right away before the damage becomes worse.

Is My Foundation Crack Normal or Dangerous?

If you are unsure about your foundation cracks, monitor them to see if they are increasing in size. Simply use a pencil to mark off and date the ends of each crack. Within a period of time you will be able to tell if the crack is due to natural settling or if it indicates a more serious problem. Tracking them will also help foundation repair experts determine how they were formed and the best way to fix them. Take a look at the types of foundation cracks below to determine if your foundation crack is a cause for concern.

Vertical and Diagonal Foundation Cracks

vertical foundation crack, normal foundation crack, vertical cracks in block foundation, vertical crack in garage foundation

Usually a diagonal or vertical crack in the foundation wall is the result of settling in the concrete foundation and is quite common in new construction. Because concrete shrinks while it cures, these cracks are called shrinkage cracks. They usually run vertically or diagonally, are often located in middle section of walls and are less than 1/8 in wide.

Frequently you will find vertical cracks in block foundations. If the crack is located closer to a corner andis wider than 1/8 in, it is probably not due to shrinkage but indicates a more serious foundation issue. If your vertical foundation crack is wider than 1/8 of an inch, call a professional to get it inspected as it may be a cause for concern.

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

horizontal crack foundation, structural cracks in housesHorizontal cracks often indicate a more serious problem. They are caused by hydrostatic (water) pressure from the outside of the walls and can lead to a failure in the foundation. Most foundations are designed to handle the pressure of water and soil.  Additional pressure due to heavy rains or flooding can create serious horizontal cracks that need to be repaired as soon as possible.

When is a Foundation Beyond Repair?

structural cracks in houses, serious foundation crack, crack in brick foundatioinFortunately, most foundation issues can be repaired with underpinning solutions and hydraulic lifting. A foundation may be considered beyond repair if the investment that it takes to restore it does not add enough value to the home. Although very uncommon, this sometimes occurs when a foundation has completely collapsed and the damage to the home is detrimental.

Listed below are some of the most serious foundation problems that we have seen that should be addressed immediately before your foundation collapses and fails:

  • Cracks that change direction
  • Bulging walls due to water pressure
  • Sloping and weak floors above the foundation
  • Vertical foundation cracks wider at the top than the bottom
  • Fitting a dime through a foundation crack

If you have any of these signs in your Arkansas home, contact a professional contractor as soon as possible. If walls are bulging after a recent flooding, your foundation may be in danger of an imminent collapse. Contact Airlift Concrete Experts immediately.

Repairing Vertical or Diagonal Cracks

Vertical and diagonal cracks in your home’s foundation are most often a sign of foundation settlement and not necessarily a sign of structural damage in your home. If the crack seems even when you run your finger across it, it probably isn’t a sign of a major problem.

Sometimes homeowners and contractors will try to repair the crack by chiseling out an inverted V-groove into and filling it with hydraulic cement. While the new cement will fill the hole, it doesn’t bond with the original cement. Usually within a couple of years, the concrete wall will fluctuate with changes in temperature and moisture and cause the plug to leak again.

Airlift Concrete Experts has professional solutions to fix your vertical foundation cracks once and for all. If you have small cracks and/or water seepage, we can use epoxy injections to repair a diagonal or vertical crack. Once a crack is large enough to insert a dime, you may have a foundation problem and you will need to invest in structural repair.

Repairing Horizontal Cracks

Horizontal cracks on foundation walls often indicate serious problems that may eventually lead to complete foundation wall failure. If the soil around your home is not properly graded and drained, water will eventually saturate the ground around the foundation walls and increase the hydrostatic (water) pressure which may exceed the weight-bearing capacity of the walls and cause them to crack or bow. Homes with clay soils that expand and contract significantly are particularly vulnerable to lateral pressure on their walls.

One of the best methods used for crack repair is epoxy injections.  Epoxy injection is a system that welds cracks back together.  It restores the original strength and loading of the original concrete.  Epoxy injections also restore the design and structural quality and make the concrete seem as good as new.  The epoxy seal makes the foundation impervious seal to air, water, chemicals, debris, and other contaminants.

Go Crack-Free Forever With Professional Foundation Repair

Sometimes filling horizontal cracks and repairing other cosmetic problems simply isn’t enough.  They won’t solve the underlying issues of a failing foundation.  So what should you do?  If you want to benefit from long-lasting results, contact the team at Airlift Concrete Experts. We have the foundation repair solutions that you need to keep your home strong, stable, and crack-free for years to come.