Foundation Repair

Foundation Repair and Understanding Your Options for a Stable Home

This article provides an overview of foundation repair options for homeowners. From identifying foundation problems to understanding repair methods like slab jacking and steel piers, this article covers the basics of foundation repair to help homeowners make informed decisions when dealing with foundation issues.

Addressing a settling foundation in your home is critical and prompt action is highly recommended. The appropriate foundation repair approach for your home is determined by various factors such as the symptoms observed, soil composition and compactness underneath your house, depth of stable conditions, and the specific type of foundation requiring reinforcement.

Undertaking foundation repair as a DIY project is not feasible for most methods and necessitates the expertise and equipment of a skilled professional. Nevertheless, comprehending the circumstances and being familiar with the available options can be advantageous while engaging a contractor or foundation repair specialist.

Spotting Foundation Issues

In the initial stages, foundation problems may exhibit themselves in subtle ways. For instance, you may detect small crevices in your basement walls or water seepage after heavy downpours. Although such minor issues may seem trivial, they may not always be so and may indicate more significant problems in the future if ignored. If you observe such small signals, it is advisable to consult a professional for a thorough assessment.

In case you observe that doors in your home have become challenging to open or close, windows are difficult to operate, or there are gaps in the trim work or cracks in the drywall, you must act quickly to diagnose and address a potential significant foundation issue.

Sustainable Foundation Repairs

There are several approaches to restoring the support for your home's foundation. The optimal alternative is reliant on the soil composition underneath the house and the specific repair requirements.

Steel Piers

In most cases, installing steel piers underneath your house is the best long-term solution to stabilize the foundation. However, this method is also the most expensive. For this repair, galvanized steel posts are driven deep into the ground beneath the foundation. The piers can reach as deep as necessary to access bedrock or compact soil that can provide adequate support.

Steel piers have an enormous weight-carrying capacity, are functional in almost any soil condition, and are regarded as a permanent repair solution.

Helical Piers

Helical piers are another permanent method for foundation repair made of galvanized steel. Essentially, they are steel posts that twist into the ground with a helically-shaped leading point similar to a screw or auger. Large machinery turns them, pulling the pier deeper beneath the surface.

Helical piers are exceptional at supporting the substantial weight of a home and foundation without the need to reach bedrock. These devices are drilled into the ground until they reach the appropriate heavy and compact soil to support the load before being permanently connected to the house.

Concrete Piles

Concrete piles are blocks or cylinders of pre-cured concrete, which can vary in size from a few inches to several feet long and wide. They are positioned or driven beneath the foundation into compacted soil and may consist of a single piece or several stacked on top of each other.

Concrete piles are a more affordable option compared to steel piers. However, whether or not they are a sufficient solution for your foundation depends on the soil underneath your home.

Poured Concrete Piers Poured concrete piers are another cost-effective solution for foundation repair if the soil conditions underneath your home are appropriate. This method entails digging a substantial hole beneath the foundation, filling it with wet concrete, and allowing it to cure before attaching it to the house.

Poured concrete piers are effective in many soil conditions and can either resemble simple cylinders or be shaped like a bell at the bottom to provide greater support.

Small Foundation Adjustments

Sometimes, your home may experience foundation problems that do not require a heavy-duty repair but still need attention to prevent more significant issues.

Slab Jacking

If your home rests on an unlevel concrete slab or one that shows cracks due to soil erosion, slab jacking can help solve the problem. This method involves drilling holes in the slab and injecting a concrete slurry or dense polyurethane foam underneath the failing section.

Slab jacking can be used to repair sagging sidewalks, driveways, and garage floors. If your home's slab foundation rests on compacted soil, slab jacking can offer a permanent solution to sagging.

However, slab jacking is not a heavy-duty repair method, and additional applications may be needed if the soil continues to erode or settle.


New homes may be built on ground that was not sufficiently compacted before the foundation was constructed. After completion, the soil can shift or erode, causing gaps between the foundation and the rest of the home's structure. This condition may or may not indicate more significant problems.

After assessing the situation, a foundation expert or structural engineer may decide that filling the gap with steel shims is adequate for restoring proper support. Shims can provide a permanent solution if the soil stops settling beneath the home. However, if gaps reappear, a more invasive repair is likely necessary.

Sealing Cracks

After conducting significant foundation repairs, professionals usually seal any remaining cracks in the foundation. This process involves using hydraulic cement, polyurethane foam, or other sealants to prevent groundwater or rainwater from entering the basement or crawlspace.

Sealing foundation cracks is also necessary before finishing a basement to ensure that the new walls remain dry. Although hydraulic cement or specialized poly foam can sometimes provide sufficient support for foundations that do not require extensive repairs, they are generally only used as a supplement to other support methods.