Stair step cracks on walls are a common sign of foundation problems caused by settlement and soil issues.
If you've seen cracks in your foundation walls or floors, have bowing or buckling walls, or are dealing with uneven floors, your first instinct is to blame the foundation and the way it was built. However, the real cause of the issue may not actually be your foundation, but the soils around it.
When a foundation is dug out and poured, the removed soil is replaced as backfill. Unfortunately, this process can weaken the soil around the foundation and eventually lead to problems. For many homeowners, this is an unknown source of trouble. At Erickson Foundation Solutions, we can identify soil issues around your home and prevent them from causing further issues with your foundation.
Call us today at 1-855-239-3489 or click below to learn more about our foundation repair services. We offer free estimates on all our work in Windham, Bedford, Amherst and throughout the surrounding areas.
This homeowner in Westford, Massachusetts had a cracked concrete pier under a support post. This post supports the addition of the home and the homeowner would like this fixed ASAP. They decided to call EFS for a free inspection.
Design Specialist Justin Wenners found that the pier had a considerable chunk taken off of the top.
Crew Lead Chris Tremblay and his team removed the old concrete pier and installed the new EZ post where the old pier was.
This home in Arlington, Massachusetts, had experienced sagging in the floors of their front porch. They have seen the issue get worse and decided to call EFS for a free inspection. Our Design Specialist met with the homeowner and recommended replacing the supports and installing Helical Piers under the porch. Our Installation Team arrived at the home and installed 3 Helical Piers under the porch and stabilized the floors.
This homeowner in Amherst, New Hampshire, has a sunroom on the back of their home they have seen the floors start to slope over the past 2-3 years. They wanted this issue looked at by a professional. They decided to call EFS for a free inspection. Our Design Specialist Jason Vachon met with the homeowner and recommended installing 4 EZ Posts to the sunroom to support the sunroom and level the floors.
This home was built on an old fill site, and one day began settling at a rapid rate. In total, the home sank 9 inches. We used push piers to stabilize the home and keep it from sinking any further. We were even able to lift the entire foundation and home up almost back to level, without doing any damage to the structure. In these before and after photos, notice how the lally columns are completely detached from the supporting beams in the basement. We lifted the foundation walls on the perimeter, but the slab in the basement itself was still sunken and crumbling. These columns were replaced with Smartjacks.
The home owners who were once distraught and worried about losing their home are now thrilled and happy to have a stabilized home.
A homeowner in Merrimack, New Hampshire, needed some support added to the addition at the back of their home. The addition in the back of their home had been deemed unsafe by the homeowners. They didn't let anyone go into that room for fear that it would collapse. The homeowners decided to call EFS for a free inspection of their addition. Our design specialist recommended installing EZ post to support the addition.
This homeowner had seen the support posts on their covered porch sink and have a window crack. The homeowner wanted to have the supports replaced so they reached out to EFS. We recommended installing and replacing the 2 old supports with 2 EZ posts to support the covered porch.
Understanding foundation soils is the key to understanding foundation repair problems. The type of soil your home sits on plays a huge role in the risk of foundation damage you have. Sand and sandy loam soils allow water to pass through, making them more stable and less likely to expand and cause foundation problems. On the other hand, clay soils absorb water, expand, and put pressure on the foundation. This pressure can lead to floor cracks, wall cracks, and other foundation problems.
There are several layers of soil under your foundation, including bedrock, untouched "virgin" soils, and the active zone, which is where foundation problems can happen. The active zone is the area that is affected by moisture and climate change, causing soil to expand and contract. These soil movements can severely impact your foundation, causing bowing walls, wall and floor cracks, and lessening stability. Depending on where you live, the active zone can be a few feet below grade or as much as 30 feet below the surface. Our foundation repair services can solve a wide variety of foundation soil problems.
The soil under your foundation is comprised of several different layers, some of which were disturbed when your foundation was originally dug out. When one of these layers can't support the weight of your foundation, it will begin to sink and settle. This is a slow process that will not be immediately obvious, but over time it can have serious effects on your home.
Common signs of foundation settlement include floor cracks, stair-step cracks in walls, cracks in interior drywall, and windows and doors that are difficult to open and close. Foundations usually settle unevenly, causing damage to walls and floors that can eventually lead to failure if not addressed. We use foundation piers to stabilize settling foundations and provide a long-lasting solution.
Foundation heave occurs when soils under your home expand and force the foundation upwards. This process is generally caused by over-saturation of soil. Underground water, prolonged or heavy precipitation, poor drainage, and frost heave can all be causes of foundation heave. Foundation heave will cause cracks in floors, bowing walls, and sticking windows and doors.
It's important to note that although the symptoms of foundation heave and foundation settlement are very similar, the causes are very different and the solution for one won't work for the other. One easy way to spot heave is to examine floor cracks and see if they form an enclosed loop. The area inside that loop is where the greatest pressure is being exerted. In order to fix foundation heave, we use solutions such as improved drainage, soil stabilization with polymer injections, and mechanical foundation repair.
When your foundation is dug out, the removed soil is backfilled into the empty space once the foundation is poured. Backfill behaves differently than "virgin" soil because it no longer has the tightly packed, watertight properties that undisturbed soil develops over decades and decades. When excess moisture enters backfilled soil, it expands and exerts pressure on your foundation walls. This is known as hydrostatic pressure, and it can cause serious damage to your foundation walls.
Foundation walls that are subject to pressure from expansive soils will bow inwards and develop cracks. If too much pressure builds up over time, the foundation walls could eventually fail. We can repair this problem with our wall anchor system, which will stabilize the wall by tying it to stronger soils and preventing inward movement.
If your foundation soils are causing cracks in your foundation, bowing or buckling walls, sticking windows and doors, or any other foundation issues, call the local experts at Erickson Foundation Solutions today. We can solve all types of foundation repair problems caused by foundation soils.
Call us today at 1-855-239-3489 or contact us online to get your free foundation repair estimate! We offer all our services in Bedford, Windham, Amherst, Hollis, Nashua, Manchester, Litchfield, Bow, Stratham, Cambridge and throughout the surrounding areas.