Knowledge of common foundation types will help you understand how your commercial property or your home is protected. It also helps you understand how different types of foundations can show different signs of foundation failure.
How do you know what foundation problems make the foundation repairs on your property necessary? The more you understand the common foundation types, the more prepared you’ll be to spot potential foundation failure.
Here are some of the most common foundation types to help you best protect yours.
Most homes in Texas built in the last 50 years use slab concrete foundations. Frost resistant concrete, in particular, is beneficial to protect the property from damage during cold snaps. In some cases, a T-shaped foundation is installed just below the frost line to provide additional support.
Although slab concrete is common and provides strong foundation solutions when it’s done right, they can sometimes crack. To prevent this from happening, the foundation might require supports such as slab piers.
However, concrete foundations can still crack and shift. They can even collapse if a gap in the soil opens beneath them, which can happen if the property is built on expanding soil or soluble rock.
If you have an older home that was built during the early 1900s, there’s a good chance your foundation is made from brick and mortar. Brick and mortar was popular at this time to build foundation walls, especially red brick.
Unfortunately, red brick and mortar can weaken over time. You might be able to spot foundation failure in the brick itself. When the mortar begins to break down, the bricks will peel and you’ll notice leaning or bowing walls.
In some cases, the problem might be simple enough that you can contact a masonry specialist to repair the brick and mortar. However, if your walls need additional support you may need to contact a foundation repair specialist to brace and reinforce the brick.
Concrete blocks are made with stone or sand to make them heavier than cinder blocks, which don’t have much strength to withstand pressure. Properties that are made with a concrete block foundation can actually expect to last for a while if they’re built properly.
If they’re not built properly, a concrete block foundation can lead to a lot of issues later on. Many homes in Texas don’t have basements, but if you do have one it’s crucial your retaining walls have been completely sealed. Otherwise, water can get in through the blocks and cause basement flooding.
Other potential issues with concrete block foundations include bowing and leaning walls. Water in the soil around your home can cause a build up of hydrostatic pressure, which causes your walls to bow or lean.
Cinder blocks are considered weaker than concrete blocks, but they’re not necessarily a bad option depending on where the property is built. A home that’s built with a cinder block foundation may be safe if the foundation is installed on firm, compacted, even ground.
But, as is the case with concrete blocks, problems can happen if installers try to take a short-cut or if the ground the foundation is built on is uneven. Cinder blocks that aren’t sealed correctly can cause water to seep into the building and cause flooding and other water damage.
A cinder block foundation built on uneven ground can also face issues with settlement. Settlement can cause cinder blocks to leak, shift, and crack. That said, if your home or property has been built on a cinder block foundation it’s crucial to monitor your home for any chances.
It’s a good idea to monitor your home regularly regardless of the type of foundation you have. The more familiar you are with your home, the better you’ll be able to spot when something is damaged. And the faster you spot foundation damage, the more likely you’ll be able to have a foundation repair instead of an overall replacement.
Foundation failure can be a major issue no matter what kind of foundation your home has. Texas is home to 60 different kinds of soil and there are some problematic soil types that can cause your foundation to shift.
The good news is, if you’re looking for Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, or San Antonio foundation repair services, Perm-Pier has you covered. To learn more about our commercial and residential foundation repair services or to schedule a soil analysis, schedule a free evaluation today.