You’ve been a diligent property owner and read about common problems that can lead to foundation damage. In the course of inspecting your home or business, you have found that your building is in need of foundation repair, but what time of year is the best time to have that done? Let Airlift Concrete Experts help you decide when you should repair your foundation.
Spring is a Time of Renewal
Many times, foundation problems really show themselves as the winter snows thaw and the spring rains start. This can lead to new problems and old problems being exposed by leaks and widening cracks. If you do have cracks, you should keep a close eye on them during the spring to make sure that they are letting in water from the outside. It doesn’t take much more than a hairline crack for water and pests to enter the foundation.
This can be a good time for foundation repair and some foundation contractors would agree. It is easier to assess the damage at this time, as the symptoms of foundation damage can be pretty obvious when there is a lot of moisture in the soil. In addition, people may notice problems more now as they clean up after the winter. Airlift Concrete Experts would be happy to repair your foundation during the spring!
In the Winter, Time Seems to Slow Down
During the winter, the ground is usually harder and a little more stable than it may be during other times of the year. This stability can allow you to see if the damage is getting worse or has slowed.
You’ll find many foundation companies that say that the winter is the best time for foundation repairs. They are usually not as busy as they are during warmer weather, so you may have a better chance of getting a good schedule from them. However, the winter time is usually a busy time with holidays, so you may have to work home repairs around travel times and holiday expenses.
Now is the Time
So, are you more confused than before about the best time for foundation repairs? Well, the best answer is also the easiest answer: right now is the best time! You shouldn’t wait for foundation repairs until “a better time”. The longer you wait, the more damage that can occur, along with more expenses. The problem won’t get better, it will only get worse. In addition, what looks like a small problem to you may be hiding a large problem that you are unaware of.
Foundation problems are not something to take lightly, they can be dangerous and cause the complete collapse of your home or business.
The foundation experts at Airlift Concrete Experts all recommend that you contact us as soon as possible, if you suspect there is a problem. We’ll come to your property and give you a free inspection. If there is nothing to worry about, we will tell you so, but if it is something that needs to be taken care of, we will give you an estimate for the work.
Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall…all you have to do is call!
There is a time and place for going with the lowest price, but when it comes to foundation repair, you get what you pay for. If the only selling point a company has is that they have the lowest prices, they are in it to be a quick buck and won’t be around long enough to be held responsible for shoddy work. If their low price is the only thing they can promote, they probably don’t have anything else to fall back on. Cheap foundation repair usually means cheap results.
Most “cheapest contractor in town” businesses use non-reinforced concrete pressed piles. While these type of piles may be suitable in other parts of the country, in Arkansas we have clay soil and you have to go much deeper than these piles can go. Airlift Concrete Experts uses steel and helical piers to provide the stability and security that your home or business needs. We may not be the cheapest, but we have the best quality equipment and expertise at a competitive price.
What Are Non-Reinforced Concrete Pressed Piles?
A non-reinforced concrete pressed pile is basically a concrete cylinder that is pushed into the ground using the weight of the structure. A pressed piling consists of a series of precast concrete cylinders which are installed by digging a hole under the building and the structure rests on the pilings, pushing them down. This method of cheap foundation repair is popular because it is easy and profitable for the foundation contractor.
Unfortunately, with this type of repair, there is a point called the “point of refusal” where the weight of the home can no longer push the piles any deeper into the soil. First off, this depth is probably not deep enough to get past the soil that caused the original foundation problems and secondly, if the work crew does not stop at this point, the foundation of the home or business can be damaged. Now the original problem is exponentially worse. The cylinders can be pushed into the soil at an incorrect angle, so they don’t provide the stability that is needed. In addition, the piles can crack during installation, but since they are underground, no one knows until they fail.
What Are Steel and Helical Piers?
Steel and helical piers are similar in their usage; steel piers are driven past the unstable soil, whereas helical piers are drilled in like a giant screw. The building’s weight is transferred from the weak or unstable soil to the piers that are secured in the load-bearing soil. This is a permanent solution that will provide your home or business stability for many, many years. Each pier is individually load-tested before the structure is placed on them, ensuring that they will be able to support the building. Steel and helical piers are not affected by soil movement and require no future maintenance. The quick and effective installation process means there is little disruption to your daily life and the use of the building.
Airlift Concrete Experts use trained technicians for the pier installation and we provide them with only the best piers available. We don’t cut corners to save time and money, foundation repair is too serious for that kind of nonsense. We want you to have peace of mind that your home or business will be stable and secure for years to come, so we have spent years earning the trust of our customers in Little Rock and the surrounding area.
Contact us today to learn more about why “cheap foundation repair” isn’t the best idea and can end up costing you a whole lot more when it comes to keeping your building strong and secure.
Airlift Concrete Experts has many satisfied customers and we take pride in every project we take on. Here are some examples of repair work we’ve done over the years. The professionals at Airlift Concrete Experts can help with masonry work, pool decks, porches, and other concrete lifting and repair work.
We are dedicated to providing you with quality workmanship, top of the line customer service, and outstanding results on every project.
Take a look at the gallery below to see before and after images of some of the projects we have worked on in the past.
If you’ve ever been in a house with a sagging floor, you know how annoying it can be. Sagging floors are unsightly, and can be dangerous as well. A sagging floor means that it has lost support, and it may eventually collapse into the crawl space.
Before you can repair the sagging floor, you need to know what causes it.
Causes of a Sagging Floor
Since your foundation is built on soil, weak soil conditions can cause a variety of structural problems such as bowing walls, settling foundations, cracked concrete, and sagging floors. If the soil under the crawl space is weak, the columns holding up the floor can sink. The sinking column can cause a gap to form between the top of the column and the girder it was supporting. This gap can allow the floor above the girder to sag.
Improper Spacing of Columns
There should be codes and guidelines that a contractor follows when building a home, but if a home was built prior to 1970, the rules may not have been in place. The columns in a crawl space should be spaced a certain distance apart. If the columns have too much space between them, the floors will not have the support that they need. The beam or girder supporting the floor can begin to sag between the columns, allowing the floor to sag.
Weak Floor Joists or Girders
If your crawl space is not sealed, you may have a problem with high humidity and moisture. If you have wooden beams or floor joists, they can soften when they get wet. This causes them to bend, and allows the floor above to sag. Once the floor joists can no longer strongly support the floor, it will begin to feel spongy and uneven.
Signs of a Sagging Floor
Although a really sagging floor is obvious, we hope to repair your home before it gets to that point. Here are some things to look out for before your floor gets really bad.
Check your floor joists for wood rot or excess moisture. Do they feel soft or have mold growing on them? Do they show signs of warping or compressing? These are all indications that your floor joists may not be supporting the floor like they should. Also, while you are in your crawl space, look for gaps between the columns and the girders that hold the floor up.
Inspect your floor. Is it uneven or sloping? A simple test is to use a tennis ball and put it in the corner, it may roll to a low spot that isn’t visible to the naked eye. You can also look for gaps between walls and the floor. While looking at your walls, look for cracks in them. The cracks could be caused by the wall being pulled down as the floor sinks.
Are your door jambs level? If the doors are sticking or you see gaps when the door is shut, they may be being pulled out of level by a sinking floor.
Repairing a Sagging Floor
The steps that need to be taken to repair a sagging floor are not something the average homeowner should take on. Crawl space repair is NOT a DIY project.
If you need to repair a sinking floor, you have to start from the bottom. You will need to get the humidity in the crawl space under control. Installing dehumidifiers and having the area encapsulated will help reduce the moisture level in your crawl space. A vapor barrier will prevent water from entering the crawl space and a dehumidifier will dry out the air that is there.
In addition to keeping your floor joists from weakening, a dry crawl space will prevent mold from going and pests infiltrating your home. Over half of the air you breathe in your home comes from the crawl space, so it’s important that you have clean air for you and your family to breathe.
When inspecting your home to discover the cause of your sinking floor, Airlift Concrete Experts will make sure your foundation is stable. If the foundation is sinking or settling, we can install steel piers to stabilize the foundation, making your home safe and secure.
If the foundation is stable, your home may need to have crawl space jacks installed to support your floor. The crawl space jack is a steel column that will lift the floor joists, keeping your floors from sagging.
Stabilize Your Home
When you repair a sagging floor, you will increase the value of your home and make sure that you and your family have a safe place to live. By taking care of your crawl space, you will have a healthier and more comfortable home. Contact a sagging floor expert as soon as you suspect that you have a problem. The sooner the repair is made, the less it will cost and less amount of work it will take to secure your crawl space.
With all of the dense clay soil that we have in Arkansas, it is common to experience soil shrinkage and expanding. This can cause your concrete slab foundation to settle and crack. If you have a cracked concrete slab on your Arkansas property, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact Airlift Concrete Experts today for a customized solution for concrete slab foundation repair.
Why Do I Have Concrete Slab Cracks?
A concrete slab foundation can form cracks because of slab settlement, concrete shrinkage, or expansive clay soil.
Your slab foundation will settle when the ground below it is no longer able to support the weight of your home. Once this happens, you will begin to notice cracks in your concrete slab. Cracks may even form on the exterior of your home, on your porch steps, or in brickwork and masonry. Concrete slab settlement can be repaired by installing support for your home so that it doesn’t rest on weak soil.
Did you know that concrete can shrink? This often happens to new properties soon after the concrete slab has been poured. In new homes, it is common to find cracks as the structure settles into a stable position. However, if you discover shrinkage cracks in a home older than 6 months, you could be experiencing foundation problems.
If your home rests on clay soil, which most Arkansas homes do, it is more likely to experience slab cracks over time. This is because clay soil expands more than other types of soil when it is wet, and it shrinks more when it is dry.
How Do I Fix My Cracked Slab?
Since some cracks are serious and some are not, it is important to call a foundation repair expert to come inspect your slab cracks. Airlift Concrete Experts will be able to determine whether your slab cracks are harmless, or if they require some sort of cracked slab foundation repair.
Our experienced team will visit your property and provide you with a thorough investigation. We will discover what caused your foundation cracks and provide you with a customized solution.
Why Fixing Concrete Slabs isn’t a DIY Project
It’s easy to patch concrete with products from your local hardware store, so why not just fix your concrete slab cracks yourself?
Since your foundation is the most important structural aspect of your home, you should leave foundation slab cracks to the experts. Simply patching or caulking a crack will not fix any underlying problems. Cracked slab foundation problems need to be addressed by a professional that will know how to permanently repair your foundation and prevent any future damage.
Our Solutions for Concrete Slab Foundation Repair
Airlift Concrete Experts in Little Rock, Arkansas provides several solutions when it comes to cracked slab foundation repair. From underpinning, to push piers, to epoxy injections and carbon fiber – we have a solution for any and every situation that you may be experiencing.
Give us a call today to get started with your free quote on cracked slab foundation repair. We are proud to serve the Little Rock, Arkansas area!
It’s a beautiful summer day, and you’re outside doing yard work when you spot it: the chimney. You said you’d get to it all year long, but it never happened. It started with just a small tilt or a few missing bricks so many months ago, but now it has a definite lean and looks a little precarious. Luckily, Airlift Concrete Experts knows exactly how to help with that overlooked leaning chimney.
A leaning chimney could be a sign that there is a problem with the foundation supporting it. This does not only affect the area of the chimney, but it could extend to the entire foundation. Issues with the foundation should be addressed immediately because they compromise the safety and integrity of your home’s structure. Make sure to call right away especially if your chimney is tilting and there is space between chimney and siding, uneven mortar joints, or cracks in the chimney.
What causes these issues?
If your chimney is tilted or there is space between the chimney and siding, this has to do with a settling foundation, poor soil compaction before the initial construction, or an issue with the footings in the foundation. While there is initially some ‘give’ in materials because a building is expected to settle, there is a problem when there is a major shift or sink and the chimney settles as well into an unnatural and unsafe position. Settling can also lead to other issues like uneven floors and cracks in the walls.
How can Airlift Concrete Experts fix the issue?
There are two main options to fix a leaning chimney, and each will help not only your chimney but your foundation’s general integrity. The first option is to fix the foundation issue that is causing the leaning. The concrete below the chimney and house needs to be supported to resolve the settlement issues. This could be a fairly simple process depending on how serious the settlement is, and it would involve installing steel piers to lift and balance the concrete until it is stable and solid.
The second option is to to use polyjacking. Polyjacking is when polyurethane foam is placed into voids, or empty spaces, to balance out the settling process. This process will provide a less invasive way than mudjacking to correct settlement issues. By filling in these spaces, polyjacking provides a solid base for the concrete and creates a safe foundation environment.
If you see your chimney leaning, don’t ignore it! Call Airlift Concrete Experts today for a free consultation!
Airlift Concrete Experts knows that the key to your foundation’s success lies within the surrounding soil and grass. It’s hard to imagine that cement or bricks could be significantly damaged by rainfall or puddles, but the reality is that over time this can present a huge problem to the structure and integrity of your foundation. If you have too much water in your yard, which then absorbs into the soil, it may build up around your foundation, causing hydrostatic pressure around foundation walls. This can cause bowing walls, wall cracks, and leaking into the crawl space.
These foundation issues are important to address because they can lead to damage to the structural integrity and safety of your home, and they could cause unnecessary extra costs that could have been easily prevented. There are several options for proper drainage in a yard, but the best option for most people in Arkansas is a french drain.
The french drain is an affordable and efficient solution to this problem. To install a french drain, a trench is dug unto the yard, and a pipe (or two) are placed within the trench to redirect the water. Then, the pipes are covered with gravel to propertly direct water down and away from the home. This is a great idea for Arkansas homes because of the large amount of rain and humidity throughout the year. Plus, it doesn’t need to be an eyesore–you can easily cover the french drain with sod after it is installed for a polished look.
Your foundation will be protected for years to come with a french drain system, but in some cases, it’s also advisable to have a sump pump for any extra water issues.
Please contact Airlift Concrete Experts for a free consultation and to see what your options are for waterproofing and repair. We are happy to work with you every step of the way to ensure that you are getting the best fit for what works best for your yard and 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.
There 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 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
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
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 turnoff 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 you 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”?
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.
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 the minor cosmetic repair yourself.
Larger cracks that aren’t serious enough to indicate foundation failure may be repaired by you or a contractor. A homeowner can fix simple foundation cracks that don’t involve drilling holes in 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 to 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 an epoxy injection is the right solution for you!
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 are 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.
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!