Crawlspace stem walls are a type of raised foundation that is generally built on concrete footings that are six to ten inches thick and a few feet off the ground, leaving a crawlspace beneath the building. The concrete footings are typically called stem walls and are some of the easiest foundations to repair. The unfinished and unheated space is commonly utilized to accommodate a furnace or house pipes and also serves as a storage area. Proper ventilation in the crawlspace is necessary to avoid the accumulation of moisture and potential issues underneath the house.
The foundation walls in a crawlspace are commonly constructed with poured concrete or concrete blocks and, therefore, may experience cracking. Additional issues in crawlspaces may include leaks and water damage caused by inadequate drainage.
Concrete Slabs Foundations
A large slab of concrete is poured on the ground and left to harden there, left with a thickness of between four and six inches.
The depth of the slab typically increases by 24” to 36” toward the house’s edges to counteract the additional weight there. A beam is a term for the low section of the slab. Beams are placed in a waffle-like pattern across the middle of a slab to strengthen its center. Typically, the distance between the interior joists is 10-14 feet. Post-tension cables or steel rods (rebar) are commonly used to reinforce foundations.
Since repeated soil freezing and thawing can cause even a thick concrete slab to crack, these are more common in warmer climates. Homes on concrete slabs don’t have the luxury of a basement or crawlspace, so while this eliminates the potential for water damage and pest infestations, it also necessitates installing the drainage system directly into the concrete. A problem with concrete slab foundations is when a concrete slab foundation shifts or settles due to poor drainage. When that happens, the foundation repair contractor often has to break into the slab to make the necessary fixes.
A contractor will install piers beneath the concrete slab to fix the foundation problems.
Pier and Beam Foundations
Piers made of concrete, masonry, or wood support a structure on a pier and beam foundation. The piers serve as support posts that are driven into the ground, and the beams sit atop the piers to provide a solid base for the building. The flexibility of pier and beam foundations makes them a popular choice for use in areas with shifting soil. However, environmental factors like humidity, pests, and settlement can cause these bases to deteriorate over time. Piers and beams that have been damaged must be replaced or reinforced before a pier and beam foundation can be repaired.It may be necessary to excavate the area around the foundation, set up new piers and beams, and make adjustments to the foundation’s level.
When the foundation is made out of wood, then it’s likely to be a pier and beam type as well. This is when a home is elevated several feet above the ground, leaving an open-air crawlspace. When the beams are made out of wood, there’s the danger of rot and decay after several years of being exposed to the elements. The most common and affordable solution is simply replacing them with more durable materials. Another option is to add extra support, along with fixing any drainage problem that might be introducing too much humidity into the soil or crawlspace.
When there’s no significant damage or plans to remodel a house or commercial property, experts recommend foundation stabilization. Stabilization implies the creation of more support to keep the building in the position it currently is in (if it’s leveled and not already slanted.) The goal is simply to reinforce the structure, not lift and level it, as it is when repairing.
Foundation stabilization is recommended before carrying out major renovations on the house and waiting two to three months for the stabilization work to settle and adjust.
What is Underpinning – Foundation Repair?
Foundation repair and underpinning are usually used interchangeably, but they’re not the same. Underpinning is more related to stabilization. Underpinning is to reinforce and strengthen the current foundation, making it more rigid, wide, and deep.
Underpinning may be necessary for a building if