Sinking foundations are caused mainly by unstable ground and are a big problem for the owner of any building. The signs of a sinking foundation are quite obvious once you know what to look for. A sideways slant to a building is one of the most obvious warnings that all is not well beneath the ground but there are some other, less noticeable clues that your foundation is having a struggle.
Tell-tale signs include windows and doors which won’t close properly or simply “look off”. Cracks in basements or on walls in the main living parts of a home or business. Puddles of rainwater which gather around the base of a building are another symptom that something is amiss.
Once the damage begins to take its toll, that has an unfortunate knock-on effect and the buildings’ structure begins to gradually deteriorate, worsening over time with yet more features of the building beginning to suffer the effects of the shifting structure and that of the elements as they begin to gain entry into the fabric of the building.
If you know that your building is in an area with unstable soil, then it is even more important that you keep an eye out for the signs. Neighbouring buildings for example, may begin to show signs of damage before your building does…take this as a chance to rectify a problem which might be lying in wait. Sort it out early before anything actually happens.
Repairs to a sinking foundation can’t be carried out without a detailed analysis first to ascertain the problem. It’s not always necessary to take action right away…but it’s always best to make sure that this is the case before deciding not to worry just yet!
A structural engineer is able to survey the building and work out what the problem is. Then it’s time to decide what the solution might be. There are many ways to approach the issue of sinking foundations depending on the building and what ground it is built on.
High pressure grouting is one option and is usually used in domestic applications or for smaller buildings; it involves the injection of grout into the soil to improve its load-bearing capabilities. This technique is only effective for a certain amount of time though and is not generally seen as a permanent solution.
Helical piles are the longest-lasting and most reliable fix for the issue of a sinking foundation and because the installation of helical piles is quick and easy when compared to other building maintenance techniques, it is the option many building owners choose.
Eco-friendly, fast and cost-efficient, helical piles can be used in almost all circumstances…even on structures which are built on a slope or in very damp areas.