Category Archives: Foundation Repair

Types of Foundation Cracks & Their Repairs

Cracks in your foundation are likely a bad sign. Foundation cracks almost always appear due to soil movement or poor construction. However, the methods used to repair these foundation cracks differ depending on the kind of foundation crack. Read on to find out which type of foundation crack you have and to see which repair solution Affordable Foundation and Home Repair recommends as a solution.

How to Determine Your Foundation Crack Type

Walk around your home to check for foundation cracks. You should check both the exterior of the foundation and the interior. If you have a basement or crawlspace, you will have to enter that area to look for interior cracks in the foundation walls. Examine the shape and size of the crack as well as the number of cracks. Also be aware of the placement of the crack on the foundation – it is near the corner, or is it near a window, door, or opening?

Once you have examined the foundation cracks, check the list below to find out what kind of crack you have and what kinds of repairs you should invest in:

shrinkage crackConcrete Foundation Shrinkage Cracks
If the concrete that makes up your foundation was not mixed properly, shrinkage cracks may result. These cracks usually appear when the concrete is new, as it cures. They often appear randomly throughout the concrete and are typically very fine, hairline cracks. You might see them in the exterior or interior of the foundation. These cracks do not usually require any type of structural foundation crack repair, but you may want to have them filled with a sealant so that they do not widen and allow water to leak inside.

vertical crackVertical Foundation Cracks
These cracks run up the foundation wall and sometimes continue onto the floor or ceiling of the basement. They are rather common and usually appear due to tension on the concrete when the soil around it shifts or settles unevenly. The uneven soil movement causes the wall to shift or settle, leading to crack formation. Pressure from an overly heavy load in the above house and hydrostatic pressure in the soil can also contribute to vertical foundation cracks. Cracks larger than 1/4 inch should concern you, as they might be structural. Even if these cracks are deemed not to be structural, they should be repaired to prevent water leakage. If these cracks were caused by soil movement, foundation pier installation may help lift and level the foundation and close cracks. If the vertical cracks are accompanied by a bowing foundation wall, helical anchors may be installed to pull the foundation wall back into place.

diagonal crackDiagonal or Stair-Step Shaped Foundation Cracks
Much like vertical cracks, these cracks usually form as a result of differential foundation settlement or soil movement. These cracks might form near the corner of the foundation due to frost damage or foundation heave. Diagonal cracks take a stair-step shape pattern in concrete block and brick foundations. Again, the wider the crack, the more serious the issue, even if it is only because wider cracks allow water to enter the home. These cracks can be repaired in the same manner as vertical cracks – be sure to seal the cracks once the foundation is re-leveled.

horizontal crackHorizontal Foundation Cracks
These are probably the most serious kind of foundation crack. These cracks occur due to pressure from the soil outside or due to settling and shifting soil. Wider cracks are words, but no horizontal foundation crack is a good sign. The repair methods for these cracks should be helical pier installation to lift the foundation or polyjacking to raise the foundation if it is a concrete slab foundation. If the horizontal crack appears in a basement foundation wall, we can install helical anchors or a wall plate anchor system to reverse bowing walls and pull the cracked wall straight, closing the crack. Follow up with sealant if the crack is still visible to prevent leakage.

Spiderweb Foundation Cracks
You might also notice cracks in a spiderweb pattern on your foundation, especially if you have an older foundation. These are usually a sign of normal foundation aging and are usually very fine. If you notice severe foundation deterioration as well, contact an expert. Otherwise, enjoy the character of your old home.

Affordable – Foundation Crack Repair Experts in Alabama

The foundation crack repair experts at Affordable Foundation and Home Repair are known as the Crack Guys. We can handle all types of foundation cracks to get your Alabama home back to normal in no time. The reason that we are so well-equipped to handle any kind of foundation crack is that we offer a variety of services. We provide underpinning with helical pier installation, concrete lifting with polyjacking, or bowing wall repair with plate anchors and helical anchors. We also offer various methods of crawlspace repair, waterproofing, and mold remediation to keep your home healthy all over.

Call us as soon as you see a foundation crack in your home.

Fix Foundation Cracks in Your Huntsville Home

For anyone who has a leaky basement or cracks in their home, rain can be an unpleasant occurrence. The recent rains and more rain showing in upcoming forecasts have some Huntsville homeowners dreading water leakage. But there is a simple way to fix this issue – have the cracks in your home repaired. Our professional crack repair team can take care of any kind of foundation crack in your Huntsville home to prevent water from entering.

Prepare for Rain and Wet Winter Weather

Alabama usually sees an increase in precipitation during the wintertime. As the official winter season draws closer, it is a good idea to make sure that your home is well-protected from leaks and other issues that accompany wet winter weather. The last thing you want is to deal with water pouring in your basement during your holiday parties. Fortunately, Affordable Foundation and Home Repair offers solutions for all sorts of foundation cracks that you might see in your Huntsville, AL home. Take advantage of the current warm temperatures and examine your homes for cracks and other signs of an issue now, before it is too late!

Common Foundation Problems to Address Before Winter

Below is a list of common kinds of cracks you might find in your foundation and throughout your home, as well as other symptoms of failure that often accompany them and repair solutions that we offer. Keep an eye out for the following problems in your home and call our foundation repair team right away if you see any.

Problem: Exterior Foundation Crack
exterior cracks huntsvilleAny time that you see significant cracks in the exterior part of your foundation, it is a possible sign of foundation failure. Some hairline cracks or smaller cracks, narrower than 1/4 inch, might just be the result of normal foundation settlement or aging. However, wider cracks that run directly vertical or horizontal might be signs that the soil beneath your foundation has shifted unevenly, causing the foundation to settle or pull away from the above home. You might also notice water leaks, sticking windows and doors, and uneven floors.

Solution: Helical Piers or Polyjacking
If your foundation has settled, we can lift it using helical pier installation (a process known as underpinning) or fill underground voids with polyjacking. Helical piers are like giant screws that are installed under your foundation and used to lift it back to the proper level. This will stop settlement and close foundation cracks. Polyjacking is the injection of an expansive, polyurethane foam grout to fill voids that might have formed under your foundation in order to lift it and close cracks that might have formed.

Problem: Stair-Step Shaped Crack
stair step crack huntsvilleIf you have a brick or block foundation, or masonry work on your home, you might notice stair-step shaped cracks on the exterior or in your interior basement walls. This kind of crack is also common in chimneys. If you see stair-step shaped cracks, it may be a sign that your foundation has shifted due to soil pressure or is sinking from lack of proper support. Also look for bowing basement walls, leaks in the basement or under the floor, and gaps between the walls and floor.

Solution: Helical Piers, Plate Anchors, or Helical Tiebacks
If the stair-step shaped cracks were caused by foundation settlement, we can use underpinning with helical piers to lift the foundation to the original level ad close foundation cracks. If the cracks are accompanied by a bowing basement wall, we can use helical tiebacks, which are similar to helical piers but are installed laterally underground to offer counter-pressure to the soil and pull basement walls back into position. Wall plate anchors, two-part systems consisting of an anchor that is sunk into the yard adjacent to the basement and a rod that connects the anchor to the basement wall and can be tightened gradually, can also help straighten bowing walls to fix cracks and other problems.horizontal wall crack huntsville

Problem: Horizontal Wall Crack
Horizontal wall cracks, whether they are in the main level of your home in the drywall, or in the basement of your home in the concrete foundation walls, are normally a sign of serious foundation settlement. This type of crack is often accompanied by foundation leakage, gaps and spaces, and sticking doors or windows.

Solution: Helical Piers or Polyjacking
As mentioned before, helical piers and polyjacking are our preferred solutions for sinking foundations. By lifting the foundation, either through the installation of helical piers or the injection of polyurethane foam. Lifting the foundation back to the proper level will help close and seal horizontal cracks in the foundation and keep them from widening further.

Problem: Vertical Wall/Ceiling Crack
vertical cracks huntsvilleYou might also see vertical cracks in your home. Check the exterior foundation for vertical foundation cracks, which might be a sign of foundation settlement. You should also take a look at the inside of your home for vertical cracks that run up the wall and extend to the ceiling. Smaller vertical cracks usually indicate normal foundation settlement and may not be a serious issue. However, any cracks wider than 1/4 inch could be a sign of more serious settlement or movement. Vertical cracks might lead to leaks or pest problems.

Solution: Helical Piers or Polyjacking
Since vertical cracks are usually caused by foundation settlement, the repair process will likely involve one of our foundation lifting solutions – helical pier installation of polyjacking. If the problem is serious enough, we may need to use both helical piers and polyjacking to lift the home and compact soil under the home, preventing further issues.

Additional Issues and Repair Solutions

spiderweb crack huntsvilleThis type of crack, which is normally seen in interior walls or on ceilings, is typically not a major structural concern. Spiderweb cracks are likely a sign fo normal aging in your home. If the cracks appear next to the corner of the room or near doors and windows and are accompanied by other problems – gaps and spaces between the windows and doors and the wall, bowing or leaning walls, additional wall cracks, sticking windows or doors, you should have them looked at by a professional. We will examine the problems and determine the best repair solution.

In addition to crack repair, we also offer a variety of other services, such as waterproofing, crawlspace encapsulation or repair, and mold remediation, to help solve and prevent issues during the winter months. Our team can handle cracks, leaks, mold problems, sloped floors, and more. Do not wait until it is too late! Give Affordable Foundation and Home Repair a call today for help in your Huntsville, AL home.

Common Problems with Older Homes in Huntsville

problems in old homesThe city of Huntsville, AL is home to four major historic districts: Twickenham, Old Town, Five Points Historic District, and Texas A&M University Historic District. The first three of these districts all fall into the 35801 zip code. Chances are, if you live in the 35801 zip code, you live in an older home. You probably already know that older homes tend to have their own sets of benefits and issues.

Older homes are beautiful and have a rich sense of history that newer homes lack. They can be a beautiful place to raise a family or seek out your lifelong passion. However, they also come with their own unique set of problems. Older homes tend to be drafty, they might have unfinished basements, and the room layout might be choppier than in newer homes. Usually, you can fix a lot of these problems with renovation or you can choose to leave them as is to add to the character of the home.

Structural Issues and Water Problems in Older Homes

Old homes also come with their own susceptibility to certain structural, foundation, and water problems:

  • Settlement: Older homes almost undoubtedly have some amount of settlement. Sometimes, this is normal due to the gradual compaction of soil that most homes undergo. However, it is important to have settlement looked at by a professional, especially if it is visibly noticeable and appears to be causing other issues such as cracks or sloped floors.
  • Uneven Floors: Uneven floors might be as simple as warped or improperly cut lumber. However, in many cases, sloped or uneven floors are the result of a beam and post problem in the crawlspace or basement below the house.
  • Sticking Doors and Windows: Some homeowners think that doors and windows that will not open or close are a problem that results from humidity. However, they usually are caused by foundation movement. If the foundation moved, it can cause the walls on top to shift, rotate, or crack, which can create gaps between the doors and windows and the wall that they set in, or can put pressure on the frames, causing doors and windows to stick open or shut.
  • older house foundation and interior issuesCracks: You might see cracks throughout your older home – in the drywall, ceiling, exterior foundation, basement, etc. Hairline cracks are usually not a structural issue but any cracks larger than 1/16 inch may be a more serious matter. Horizontal wall cracks and vertical cracks that extend from the ceiling to the wall might also be signs of foundation settlement or movement.
  • Leaks: If there are cracks in your home, there might also be leaks. Basement cracks, floor cracks, and gaps around windows or doors are some common leaky areas in homes. Roof or fireplace leakage might also be issues, and can sometimes be the result of foundation failure.
  • Termite Damage: If your basement or crawlspace is damp or musty, it might be the perfect habitat for termites. These critters can wreak havoc on your home. If you have wooden supports in your crawlspace or basement, or if you have wooden framing or flooring, check for signs of a termite problem.
  • Mold and Mildew: Any dampness in the basement or crawlspace can also contribute to the growth of mold and mildew. This can greatly reduce the air quality in your home since the mold-infected air from your basement or crawlspace will cycle through the rest of your home. Check for visible mold, musty odors, condensation, high humidity, and other signs of dampness.
  • Poor Drainage: Many older homes have inadequate drainage systems and are susceptible to flooding during heavy rains or when plumbing problems occur. Having your drainage systems updated is a simple way to protect your home.

How We Fix Foundation Issues in Older Huntsville Homes

Fortunately, Affordable Foundation and Home Repair offers a range of different services that can help repair problems in your historic Huntsville home. Our team is dedicated to making your home good as new. We also offer free estimates and financing options to fit your budget.

FOUNDATION REPAIR
If your home is suffering from a structural issue such as foundation settlement, wall movement, or uneven floors, our foundation repair techniques can help. We offer pier installation to lift and support sinking unstable foundations.

CRAWLSPACE REPAIR
If your older home has a crawlspace with a moisture issue or a termite problem, we can help. We offer floor supports, floor joist repair, and crawlspace piers to stabilize your home from underneath. We also offer crawlspace encapsulation with a vapor barrier to protect the crawlspace from moisture.

CONCRETE REPAIR
Some problems in older homes might extend to areas beyond the house, such as the chimney or the patio. In addition to piering, we offer polyjacking to lift concrete slabs and close cracks that might have opened up.

CRACK REPAIR
If there are cracks in your home, we are the experts. We can fix both interior and exterior cracks with one of our repair techniques. Whether we need to raise concrete with polyjacking to close basement cracks or straighten bowing walls to fix wall cracks, we can handle the necessary repairs.

WATERPROOFING
If your home has poor drainage or a lack of adequate waterproofing systems, we can help. We offer surface drainage as well as exterior and interior waterproofing system installation. From sump pumps to French drains, we can handle waterproofing.

MOLD REMEDIATION
Mold and mildew in your home is another serious issue that we can tackle. We specialize in mold soda blasting to remove mold from your basement or crawlspace and leave the area sparkling clean.

Contact us right away for help with problems in an older home in Huntsville, AL and get a free estimate on repairs.

Hurricane Harvey Impacts and Storm Flooding in Alabama

hurricane harvey storm damageAlabama and other southern states have seen a lot of severe weather recently. Between hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the tornado that ripped through northwest Alabama at the end of August and beginning of September, there has been a lot of potential for damage in Alabama homes. One of the biggest recent concerns for many Alabama homeowners and business owners has been storm flooding. The rains brought on by Hurricane Harvey in Texas left many Alabama homes with water problems.

Three EF2 tornadoes that swept through the central Alabama area a few weeks ago caused several large trees to splinter and fall down, left houses without shingles and destroyed a mobile home completely.

There was also significant flooding in southwest Alabama. Areas near Mobile county and Orange Beach, AL received the most rain and suffered substantial flash flooding in some areas, central and northern Alabama still saw the effects of Harvey. Along with the tornadoes that devastated parts of central Alabama, there was some mild rain in the Birmingham area from August 30-31.

Huntsville also saw some rain, and parts of Tennessee and Kentucky suffered from storm flooding due to Hurricane Harvey rains as well.

Why Flooding is an Issue for Your Alabama Home or Business

flooding storm damage alabamaWet or damp basements already affect 60% of homes. That percentage only increases during heavy rains and severe weather conditions. This is a problem because wet and damp basements, crawlspaces, and structures are the perfect spots for a mold problem to develop. Mold growth is a dangerous issue as it can damage the structural integrity of your home or business and cause illness and health problems for you and your family.

Even a small amount of rain can be problematic if your home or commercial structure is not properly prepared. If you do not have an adequate system for surface drainage, water might be allowed to collect and pool right around your foundation. This water can then seep into your home or business through the porous concrete of your foundation, causing water issues inside.

Lack of exterior waterproofing to prevent groundwater from seeping inside can also cause even small amounts of rain to result in water seepage. If water does get inside your home, it is best to have an interior drainage system in place to reroute it and prevent it from causing issues like high humidity or mold growth. If you do not have a properly functioning interior waterproofing system, water will form puddles and may result in mold or mildew growth.

Why Tornado Damage is an Issue for Your Alabama Home or Business

tornado storm damage alabamaBeyond obvious damage like broken windows and missing shingles, tornadoes can cause serious structural problems for your home. If a tornado is strong enough and hits your home head-on, it might rip the entire home off of the foundation or tear one or more walls away from the home. Other times, the tornado damage in your home will be less severe.

However, it is important to thoroughly examine your home for signs of damage. Even shingles that have not been totally ripped off of your home can be damaged by winds, leaving your home susceptible to leakage. Walls might be slightly pulled away from the home, leaving gaps and spaces open. Brick and masonry, as well as other parts of the home, might be damaged by flying debris. If the siding is pulled away from your home due to a tornado, water might leak underneath and pool on the foundation, wearing away at the concrete. Foundations might even suffer cracks during tornadoes if steel poles set in them to support the structure twist and put stress on the concrete. Pier and beam foundations are especially likely to see damage during a tornado, as the structural frame and floor are less anchored and are more likely to shift off of the foundation.

Hurricane Harvey Damage Solutions from Affordable Foundation and Home Repair

Affordable Foundation and Home Repair offers solutions to repair damage from Hurricane Harvey and other storms in Alabama homes. These solutions can also help prevent damage to your structure in the event of future storms. Our options for storm damage repair and prevention include:

  • Surface Drainage: Our team prevents water from collecting around your home when it rains with surface drainage techniques.
  • Exterior Waterproofing: We can install a waterproof membrane with exterior waterproofing to keep groundwater from seeping into your home.
  • Interior Waterproofing: Our experts offer sump pump system installation to reroute water that makes its way into your basement.
  • Crawlspace Encapsulation: With this solution, we install a vapor barrier in the crawlspace to seal out moisture and prevent mold growth.
  • Mold Remediation: We get rid of dangerous mold spores by cleaning your crawlspace or basement with a method known as mold soda blasting.
  • Foundation Repair: We offer installation of helical piers as well as polyjacking to lift sinking foundations and fix foundation cracks.

We also offer a range of solutions to repair beams and posts in crawlspaces and fix cracks in concrete slabs or other areas of your structure. If you live in the central or northern Alabama areas and are worried about damage from Hurricane Harvey storm flooding, tornadoes, or any other storm, call us today.

 

 

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