Foundation Settlement Problem Signs

Cracking bricks, cracks along door frames, and sticking windows and doors are signs of foundation trouble.

Foundation Settlement 101: The Signs

Settling Foundations – Do These Resemble Your Home?

Recognizing the signs of foundation settlement is the first step to protecting your home. Cracks in blocks and bricks, bowed walls, gaps between your floors and walls, sticking windows and doors, and cracks in drywall around window and door openings are telltale signs of foundation trouble.

Cracks Along Door Framesdrywall-cracking-doorframe

Window Gaps & Crackswindow-gaps-cracks

Stair-step Brick Cracks

What Causes Foundation Settlement?

Click on the text below to learn more about why foundations experience settling.

  • weak-bearing-soilsSome soils are simply not capable of supporting the weight or bearing pressure exerted by a building’s foundation. As a result, the footings press or sink into the soft soils, similar in theory to how a person standing in the mud sinks into soft, wet clay. In such cases, footings may be designed to spread the load over the weak soils, thereby reducing potential foundation settlement. However, the majority of settlement problems caused by weak bearing soils occur in residential construction, where the footings are designed based upon general guidelines and not site-specific soil information.

  • poor-compactionPlacement of fill soils is common practice in the development of both commercial and residential subdivisions. In general, before a foundation can be constructed on a plot, hilltops are cut down and valleys are filled in order to create buildable lots. Properly placed and compacted fill soils can provide adequate support for foundations, and are sometimes brought in from off-site locations. When fill soils are not adequately compacted, they can compress under a foundation load resulting in settlement of the structure.

  • moisture-content-3Extreme changes in moisture content within foundation soils can result in damaging settlement. Excess moisture can saturate foundation soils, which often leads to softening or weakening of clays and silts. The reduced ability of the soil to support the load results in foundation settlement. Increased moisture within foundation soils is often a consequence of poor surface drainage around the structure, leaks in water lines or plumbing, or a raised groundwater table.

  • tree-rootsMaturing trees, bushes and other vegetation in close proximity to a home or building are a common cause of settlement. As trees and other vegetation mature, their demand for water also grows. The root systems continually expand and can draw moisture from the soil beneath the foundation. Again, clay-rich soils shrink as they lose moisture, resulting in settlement of overlying structures. Many home and building owners often state that they did not have a settlement problem until decades after the structure was built.

  • soil-consolidationConsolidation occurs when the weight of a structure or newly-placed fill soils compress lower, weak clayey soils. The applied load forces water out of the clay soils, allowing the individual soil particles to become more densely spaced. Consolidation results in downward movement or settlement of overlying structures. Settlement caused by consolidation of foundation soils may take weeks, months, or years to be considered “complete.” As this occurs, the foundation will experience downward movement — sometimes at an uneven rate. This leads to cracks and structural damage.

Solutions For Foundation Settlement

Let Tennessee Foundation Services End Your Foundation Settlement Problems

Foundation Settlement repair is not a do-it-yourself project. Filling the problem area with dirt or gravel isn’t going to solve the real problem. And if it’s a moisture problem due to poor drainage, the solution will require much more than cleaning out your gutters.

Foundation problems, like foundation settlement, require a professional inspection, evaluation, and may require underpinning or a piering solution to level and stabilize your home.

Tennessee Foundation Services is here to answer all your questions on settling foundations. Remember - if you’re unsure of your foundation’s stability, it’s worth it to find out. Contact us today for your inspection!

Foundation Settlement Repair Methods

Foundation Underpinning: Push Piers and Helical Piers

The Push Pier System permanently stabilizes your home's foundation and offers the best opportunity to lift your home back to level without the expense and disruption of a full foundation replacement. If you've detected cracks, uneven floors, jamming doors or windows that stick, then you may be witnessing the signs of the settling foundation. This is one of the easiest and least invasive means of repairing your settling foundation.

The Push Pier Systems utilize high-strength steel pier sections that are hydraulically driven through heavy-duty steel foundation brackets to reach deep down to competent load-bearing strata. The piers have the ability to reach far below the problem soils and do not rely on friction for capacity. Used in both residential and commercial applications, pier installation can be completed year-round without the major disruption of other methods. Push Piers effectively stabilize settling foundations and provide the best opportunity to lift your home back to a level position.

Push Pier Advantages:

  • Can be installed year-round
  • Piers reach greater depth than other options
  • Long life span – galvanized steel is resistant to corrosion
  • Does not require the use of invasive equipment
  • In most cases can lift foundation back to level position
  • Restores Property Value

Push Piers Before & After

Learn more about push pier systems or contact us today for a free foundation repair estimate!

Helical Piers can fix your failing foundation and restore the property value of your home. If you've noticed interior or exterior wall cracks, a leaning chimney, or gaps in window and door frames, you could have a serious foundation problem.

Contact the experts at Tennessee Foundation Services today to ensure that you utilize the easiest and least invasive means of repairing your settling foundation.

Our Helical Pier Systems will permanently stabilize your home's foundation and provide you an opportunity to lift the structure back to a level position. Round-shaft helical piers have a high resistance to buckling and have the torsional strength to penetrate deep into competent soil unlike other square-shaft helical alternatives. Another benefit of helical piers is that they do not use the weight of the home as resistance during installation, so they can be used on both heavy and lightly loaded structures such as sinking stoops, decks, or sunrooms.

Helical piers are installed by mechanically "screwing" them into the soil using small construction equipment or handheld equipment. Once they reach the proper depth, heavy-duty steel brackets are installed under the footing.

Helical Pier Advantages:

  • Can be installed year-round
  • Round shaft has a high resistance to bending
  • Suitable for both heavy and light loads
  • Long life span – galvanized steel is resistant to corrosion
  • Doesn't rely on the weight of the structure for depth and capacity
  • In most cases can lift foundation back to level position
  • Restores Property Value
Helical Pier System - Foundation Underpinning

Learn more about helical pier systems or contact us today for a free foundation repair estimate!