If you live in the Bay Area of California, chances are you have a slab foundation. This kind of foundation is popular in California because the state experiences mild winters. Most homes do not need a deep foundation to penetrate the frost line of the soil. Slab foundations are less trouble to install and generally less expensive than foundations with a basement or crawlspace. However, under certain conditions, slab foundations are prone to crack formation and settlement or heaving. Because these are common problems in California, it is important that you know about the causes and solutions of sinking slabs as well as the most effective repair options available to you.
What are the Best Foundation Leveling Methods?
There are a lot of ways that different foundation repair companies try to fix sinking concrete slabs. But some of these methods are more effective than others.
Many companies utilize foundation piers to lift sinking concrete foundations. These piers are made out of durable steel and work like underground stilts to stabilize and lift the foundation. Once the settling areas have been determined, the piers are attached to the foundation with brackets and installed underground. They are then hydraulically lifted to level the foundation slab.
Resistance piers, also known as push piers, are one of the most common kinds of underpinning devices. These piers are driven into the ground until they are able to anchor into the solid layers deep underground. Once they anchor into the stable soil, they can be used to lift and support the foundation. Our ECP steel piers are durable and highly effective, giving you a solution that will last.
Here at Bay Area Underpinning, we use helical piers from ECP for many of our slab foundation leveling jobs. These piers work like steel piers, but they are screwed into the ground instead of being driven into the ground.
Poly Foam Injection
Another solution that we offer for foundation leveling is polyurethane foam injection. In this method, we drill small holes into the slab and use these holes to inject a two-part urethane chemical mixture under the concrete. Once it is injected, the mixture expands into a foam. The expansion lifts the concrete and compresses soil to stabilize the entire foundation. Because the foam is ready for normal use again almost immediately after injection, this is a very versatile solution. This method can be used for patios or stoops, driveways, sidewalks, factory floors, and garage floors in addition to slab foundations.
But Why is Foundation Leveling Necessary?
When your foundation begins to sink or settle, it can cause the onset of structural failure in your home. Foundation settlement in California is often the result of voids or spaces opening up in the soil under your home. These spaces cannot support the weight of the concrete above them. As a result, portions of the foundation will settle unevenly.
The more that portions of your foundation settle, the more that portions of your home’s flooring will sink as well. Sagging floors like this leave gaps between the walls in your home and the floor or ceiling. Settling floors and walls can also put pressure on doors and windows in your home, causing the frames to twist or move. This movement might make it more difficult to open or close these windows or doors. Foundation cracks might also form if your slab foundation begins to settle. These cracks can allow water and pests to enter the home and they compromise the structural integrity of the slab.
If you see any problems like those discussed above in your California home, call Bay Area Underpinning today.