Damage to the foundation of a home can have devastating consequences. Sunken concrete slabs, shifting walls, cracked masonry and more are all side effects of a faulty foundation. Essentially, part of the earth beneath your home is unstable or the materials used are changing in a way that is giving your home an unwanted facelift. When these problems arise, it is important to know your options for repairing the foundation before the damage gets worse.
Slabjacking is a repair method used when unstable ground beneath a structure is causing the concrete foundation to sink. This may be caused by pockets of water or air between the foundation and the stable bedrock beneath. The result can be vertical and horizontal movement of the house, which will do major damage to floors, walls, driveways, sidewalks, doorways and windows.
Slabjacking means exactly what it sounds like---jacking up the slab. While it's not usually possible to actually put a jack beneath the slab, filling in the ground beneath it will accomplish the same feat. Shooting concrete slurry under the sunken area using high-pressure equipment will fill the void and cause the sinking area to rise. The concrete can be lifted up to the proper grade and it will divert problematic water from flowing under the damaged area.
For serious foundation problems, underpinning is usually the best solution for reliable repair. When the foundation is sinking and uneven, the damage to the home can range from inability to close doors completely to large cracks in the walls or brick separation and breakage that runs floor to ceiling. Even the slightest shift in foundation in one spot can do significant damage to the home.
Underpinning works by extending the support system of the foundation deep into the ground using pins that reach stable soil or rock far below the surface. These pins are wedged between the stable surface and the bottom of the foundation to hold it in place and prevent further sinking. The process can also level the already sunken area.
Some soil is better suited for building than others, and underpinning levels the playing field a bit by going deeper than the surface to support the load of the structure. This will make a foundation less susceptible to damage caused by changing weather, moisture and soil conditions.
Epoxy and Sealers
Sometimes foundation problems are most aesthetic and exist merely because of "shrinkage cracks." Shrinkage cracks happen to newer concrete as a result of the drying process. As the concrete particles move closer together and moisture evaporates, sometimes the slabs will crack. This is not a structural problem, but it can lead to problems if water or other liquids penetrate the cracks and freeze or remain for extended periods of time. Using epoxy and water sealing agents directly on the cracked surfaces will reduce any further damage from shrinkage cracking.