Highlighting a Common Problem in San Francisco: Foundation Settlement




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Posted By: bayarea on 19th February 2015 Category: Foundation Repair

clay soils cause settling foundations in san francisco, caDo you know what type of soil your foundation sits on? Because there are various soil types in California, homeowners should be aware of the soil type underneath their foundations. Some soils, like clay soils,  are significantly more hazardous to foundations because of how they behave in wet and dry conditions. As they get wet, the clay soaks up water like a sponge and expand. Conversely, the soil shrinks as it dries. As a result, cracks and large voids form in the soil. As the moisture increases, it causes the soil to lift up. Homeowners began to notice obvious signs of settlement such as wall cracks, distress floor slabs, stair-step brick cracks, leaning chimneys and other foundation issues. Hiring a professional to assess your foundation will help prevent further damage and costly repairs. At Bay Area Underpinning, our team of foundation repair specialists are fully trained to identify the source of settling foundations for San Francisco homes.

What Causes Settling Foundations in San Francisco, CA?

What causes dry conditions in the San Francisco, CA area? Clay soils experience drying and shrinking due to the following conditions:

  • Droughts: Prolonged drought-like conditions cause the soil to dry out. Since clay soil shrinks as it dries out, it causes the foundation to cracks and settle.
  • Tree Roots: As trees and shrubs get larger, their roots expand which draws moisture up from the soil.

Just like dry soil conditions, too much water can also cause damage. Excess water can be caused by the following:

  • Heavy rainfalls: Too much water creates soft and weak soil, causing the foundation to sink over time.
  • Poor drainage: Standing or pooling water around your home can weaken the soil.
  • Broken pipes or leaky plumbing: Leaks saturate the soil underneath the foundation, weakening the foundation support.

What are the Signs of a Settling Foundation in San Francisco, CA?

Since shrinking and softening of clay soils leads to settlement, it’s important to inspect your home for signs of damage. Some obvious signs include:

  • Tilting chimney
  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Drywall cracks
  • Crack in floors
  • Sinking or settling foundation
  • Stair-step brick cracks
  • Leaning walls
  • Bowed walls
  • Sinking or settling garage
  • Cracked stoop and porch
  • Misaligned doors
  • Ceiling cracks
  • Gaps and spaces around windows and doors

If you notice any or all of these signs, contact the professionals at Bay Area Underpinning before your settlement gets worse. We offer quality foundation repair methods to restore your foundation back to normal.

Settling Foundation Solutions in San Francisco, CA

foundation-settlement-san-franciscoAt Bay Area Underpinning, we offer foundation repair methods to level, support, stabilize and restore your damaged foundation caused by settlement and poor soil conditions. Our foundation repair products are made by the leading underpinning manufacturer – Earth Contact Products. We offer the following types of piers:

  • Foundation Push Piers: Steel piers are attached to the foundation. They extend deep below the structure, reaching more suitable soils. The footing is exposed, then attached to each pier bracket. Brackets are secured to the footing, and pier sections are driven through  each bracket until they reach suitable soil. After installing push piers, the piers transfer the structure’s weight to bedrock. The home is lifted and leveled back to its normal position.
  • Helical Piers: Helical piers contain helical blades. They can be installed inside or outside of the foundation. They are driven deep into the ground underneath the foundation, then each pier is attached to the foundation using a steel bracket. A section of the footing is exposed, allowing it to be cut for each bracket. Piers are moved into the soil, then the foundation bracket is securely attached to the footing. After all helical piers are installed, the piers transfer the structure’s weight onto more stable soil. The foundation is lifted, stabilized and leveled.
  • Foundation Slab Piers: Slab piers help support and stabilize settling slab foundations. A hole is made through the affected floor, then a slab bracket is assembled under the slab. Steel tubes are hydraulically driven through the bracket. After reaching the desired soil depth, the weight of the slab is transferred onto the piers to stable soils. To fill in voids and holes in the slab, grout is injected under the slab.

If you notice foundation settlement, contact Bay Area today. We repair settling foundations in San Francisco, CA. Our foundation repair team can identify and repair any problem before it becomes worse. We provide free estimates!

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