Collapsing Foundations and Piering – Everything You Need to Know

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Collapsing Foundations and Piering

Everything You Need to Know

If your home’s foundation is collapsing, you need to get it repaired right away. This serious problem can ultimately result in your house becoming unsafe to live in — on top of that, the value of your house will depreciate substantially and make a future sale difficult, if not impossible.

One of the most effective ways of fixing a collapsing foundation is called piering, which is when a system of vertical anchors is installed underneath the foundation so that it’s weight is supported by bedrock or soils that are deeper and more stable than those near the surface.

At D-Bug Waterproofing, our foundation repair specialists use the DynaPier® system to deliver reliable piering that far exceeds the home’s original structural integrity, making your foundation better than new.

You’ll never have to worry about your foundation again, and because there’s no heavy excavating equipment required to install it, the process is relatively fast, with minimal disruption to your life. It requires minimal excavation, meaning less mess and disruption to your life.

Why You Might Need Piering

Foundation issues can be caused by everything from soil conditions and moisture content to improper construction methods and more. If left unaddressed, these problems can lead to a collapsing foundation, causing severe damage to your home.

For the most part, foundation issues go all the way back to when your home was originally built. One of the most common causes is your home being built on expansive clay, fill soils, or soils that haven’t been compacted properly.

Expansive Clay

Expansive clay is just clay that reacts to water. Not all clay is expansive, but if that’s the type of clay your home is built on, you’re going to get some damage to your foundation sooner or later.

That’s because the clay expands and contracts significantly when it becomes moist from rainfall or snowmelt. At first, this will just cause settling, but over time, it can cause structural damage.

Fortunately, if your home is being damaged by expansive clay, piering will stabilize your home and keep the clay from damaging your home further.

Fill Soil Issues

Fill soil and structural fill material is just soil that’s used by home builders to create a base for your home’s foundation to sit on. This is usually done because of known issues with the native soil or clay upon which you home is being built.

Fill soil is a surprisingly problematic issue — for example, when your home builder purchased land from a developer, they may have been incorrectly advised that the existing fill was properly compacted. If they don’t double-check, you can end up with foundation issues.

If your builder compacted the fill themselves, they might not have used a bulldozer or front-end loader that was heavy enough to compact the soil properly. Or they might simply have used poor-quality fill or fill that’s not dense enough for the soil that your home is built on.

No matter the ultimate cause, the result can be a collapsing foundation.

Unstable or Sloping Ground

Another common cause of foundation failure is sloping or unstable ground that results in uneven settlement. All homes will settle over time, but if your home was built on unstable ground on in the first place, it will settle more in some areas than others, leading to damage.

High Water Tables and Bodies of Water

Finally, if your home was built near a large body of water or in an area with a high water table, the soil beneath your foundation may eventually erode. Excessive moisture in the soil can also cause a lot of expansion and contraction over the years, damaging your foundation in the process.

Identifying the Signs of a Collapsing Foundation

Some common signs of a collapsing foundation include cracks in your walls or floor, doors or windows that stick or won’t close properly, and uneven or sloping floors. Horizontal cracks are particularly concerning. If a chimney begins to lean or separate from the home, it might be due to a foundation problem.

In some cases, you might notice the exterior of your home leaning or tilting. This is often a clear sign of a collapsing foundation that requires immediate attention. Other outdoor signs include cracked or displaced moldings and the separation of your walls from your home.

If you notice anything along these lines, you’ll want to look into piering immediately. While piering isn’t necessary for all foundation issues, it’s a high-quality, permanent solution that will make your home resistant to foundation problems for the remainder of your home’s lifespan.

How Piering Works

Piering is the installation of steel pipes or ‘piers’ into the ground beneath your home’s foundation. These piers act as a support, bearing your home’s weight and preventing further movement or damage.

The piers are driven down through the problematic, unstable soil or clay until they reach soil that’s stable or until they hit bedrock. The goal is to reach the most stable ground beneath your home so that it never shifts again.

Once the piers are put into place, they create a platform for your home’s foundation to sit on. Powerful hydraulic jacks are then used to make sure the piering is level and takes the pressure off of the unstable soil under your home.

Now that the piers are installed, they can be adjusted over time in case you run into more soil issues or issues with your home settling. These permanent structures ensure you never have to worry about your home collapsing due to the soil underneath.

The entire piering process can take a few days to a week, depending on your home’s size, the type of soil your home is built on, how far down stable soil or bedrock lies, and other factors. This also influences the cost, but remember that piering can help preserve the value of your home in the long run, as selling a house with a damaged foundation is very difficult.

After all, if your home’s foundation continues to degrade, you’ll end up with a bigger problem on your hands than if you’d fixed it upfront.

Got Foundation Problems? We Can Help

If your foundation has serious issues and you need someone you can trust to get the job done right the first time, call D-Bug Waterproofing at 855-381-1528 or contact us today.