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Foundation Repair

Cracked bricks, sticking doors and windows, and cracks around door frames are signs of foundation problems.

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If you’ve started to notice cracks along the walls in your home, they may be indicative of a larger problem at hand. Along with wall cracks, bowing walls, uneven floors, and sticking windows and doors can all be signs of foundation failure. These warning signs can be the beginnings of complete structural failure for your home. If you think that your foundation is in trouble, it’s time to call in the experts at JES Foundation Repair for a comprehensive inspection of your home. We have proven products and solutions to restore and repair your foundation once again.  


Causes of Foundation Damage

There are numerous reasons your house may have these problems. Most of these causes stem from the ground.

Expansive soils create foundation damage. Expansive soils, including, clay soil, shrink-swell, and heavable soil, are all different names for the same thing. Expansive soils are responsible for more damage to buildings than any other natural hazard.

This type of soil contains minerals like smectite clays, which absorb a lot of moisture. As the expansive soil soaks up water it expands – up to 15 times its dry volume. Furthermore, the expanded soil then pushes against your foundation and creates cracks or waterproofing problems.

In fact, as the expansive soil dries, it shrinks. The soil shrinkage gives your foundation room to move around. Consequently, this extra room removes the support from your foundation and will cause cracks, settling, and other foundation damage. The pressure of expansive soils against your foundation can exceed 30,000 pounds per square foot.

Deep foundations require a type of foundation repair that has support columns, pillars, or piles. These piers are driven deep into the ground or until they reach bedrock. This is done to provide additional stabilization when the surface soil can no longer support the weight of your home.

These types of foundations require solutions which address problems like settlement or stair-step cracked bricks. For example, if your home has cracked bricks caused by settlement, push piers or resistance piles may be installed. The piers are installed beneath your home’s foundation footing and then driven into bedrock or stable soil.

The piers are installed into stable soil or bedrock because it prevents further settlement and movement. Furthermore, the resistance provided by the stable soil can even help lift your home back to its original level.

When the soil your home is built on can no longer support the weight of your home, the structure will start to settle. An expert may recommend installing a deep foundation system to stabilize your home.

Deep foundation soils and deep foundation systems are best understood by starting with the ground. Soil is made up of obvious layers which have different qualities and are a good indicator of how deep you need to extend your foundation. 

The top layers of soil compress and easily compact – this is where settlement occurs and where you’ll find problem soils like expansive clay. The deeper soil layers, like parent rock, are stable and less likely to move. This is why a deep foundation pier system is installed into competent load bearing soils or bedrock.

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Is Foundation Repair the Right Solution for Me? 

If you’re experiencing problem signs such as wall cracks, basement floor cracks, floor or wall gaps, or tilting chimneys, it’s time for a foundation repair. When it comes to the safety and stability of your home, your foundation plays the most important role. If it starts to show signs of damage, chances are your structure is already compromised. If left to worsen, these problems can directly affect your home’s safety and result in a harmful living environment for your family.  

Problems with your foundation can arise for several reasons, with the two main culprits being water and the soil it’s built upon. In Charlottesville, VA the area’s predominantly silty loam soil, with clay soil underneath can swell and expand when wet and shrink and contract when dry. This leads to foundation settlement and shifting due to the constant shrink-swell cycle, which can be detrimental to your home. If you’re experiencing any of the problem signs associated with foundation failure, call your local, trusted experts at JES Foundation Repair. 

FAQs

Slab foundations are inexpensive and easy to build, making them a popular foundation choice for many. Unfortunately, they are capable of settling just like any of the slabs on your property. 

  • How Slab Foundations Settle  

Slab foundations settle in the same way your driveway or patio slabs settle—due to soil displacement. A negative yard grade and poor yard drainage all contribute to foundation settling, even with slab foundations. The signs are a lot harder to detect, since homeowners can’t observe the damage to their slab foundation in the same way they can their crawl space or basement. 

Besides soil washout, a big factor in foundation soil displacement is pressure. Sandy soils are a lot looser and shifty than clay soils, and because they are less dense, displacement is easy when they have to support large weights. As a house is used over the years and heavy furniture is moved about, the foundation has to support more weight. Over time, this does affect the soil.  

  • How Settled Slab Foundations Are Repaired 

Like any slab on your property, you don’t have to replace a slab foundation once it settles. JES can stabilize and even lift your settling slab foundation using slab piers. They are steel rods that transfer the weight of the house to the competent, load-bearing soils below. Because your slab will no longer rely on loose soil, slab foundations will perpetually support your foundation. 

PolyRenewal™ can also be used on a slab foundation. Polyurethane foam is able to support over 100 tons of weight, so it’s more than capable of lifting your foundation. Polyurethane foam can’t always be used for slab foundations, and, sometimes, slab piers are required. You would have to talk to your local foundation expert to determine which one you need for your settling slab. 

The specialists at JES Foundation Repair offer a wide variety of solutions for you, depending on what part of your foundation needs repair. If you are looking to realign and stabilize your bowed-in foundation walls, you may want to look into the IntelliBrace™ system, JES Foundation Repair Wall Anchors, or the Carbon Fiber Wall Repair. The IntelliBrace consists of a number of incredibly sturdy I-beams that are installed on the inside of your foundation wall to prevent them from buckling inwards even more. The JES Foundation Repair Wall Anchors are installed underground, directly into the hard, densely packed soil so that it can support your foundation wall from below. The least invasive method goes to the Carbon Fiber system, which has a lightweight, sleek, and non-stretchy design constructed to repair cracks and even provide your foundation wall with much needed stability.

If you are mainly experiencing sagging foundation floors, you may want to look into the various Pier Systems or even the Crawl Space IntelliJack™ Support System. There are 3 pier systems to choose from: the Slab, Helical, and Push Pier Systems. Each pier system is catered to both the type of foundation problem, as well as the space constraints of your landscape. Although the IntelliJack™ was made primarily for sagging floors due to crawl space problems, it can also dually work to support foundation floors that are sinking as well. 

Sometimes, the amount of water that builds up around your foundation walls can result in immense pressure against your foundation structure. The SMART VENT Flood Vents offered at JES Foundation Repair provides an alternate pathway for this water so that it does not accumulate onto your foundation wall. This can prevent buckling and structural damage. This water can then be removed via other drainage systems in your home.

A foundation settles because it cannot rely on the soil layer for support anymore. When the foundation was built, the soil was even and dense, but due to erosive elements, it will have shifted over the years. The soil in Roanoke is sandy, so the more it erodes, the more easily it is displaced by a large amount of weight, meaning that the weight of the house itself was contributing toward the settling. To stabilize a foundation, the house needs to be held up by something other than a loose, uneven layer of soil. This is where the helical piers come in.

Helical piers are steel rods that have helix blades welded to one end of the shaft. A hole is either drilled or excavated where the pier needs to be installed and then the rod is mechanically drilled into the soil. Anybody that looks at a helical pier might think that they are too thin to support an entire house, but the truth is that the helical piers aren’t the only ones that will work to support the home. The piers will be driven down until reaching load-bearing soil.

The deeper down you go, the tougher and denser the soil is. Load-bearing soils are dense enough to support the house, unlike the shifty soils that originally failed the house. When the helical piers are attached to the home, they help transfer the weight of the foundation to the competent soil layers. This is how helical piers, despite their slim frame, are able to stabilize a settling foundation.

Determining the warning signs of foundation problems tends to be a bit tricky for homeowners. It can often be confused with general structural issues that can be fixed with simple solutions that you can do right at home. However, DIY repairs are always highly discouraged because it can be risky and cause potential injury.

Some of the warning signs of foundation problems include: 

  • Sinking settlements
  • Tilted chimneys
  • Buckled or cracked walls
  • Wood rot around your home perimeter
  • Sagging floors
  • Uneven doorways and window frames

The foundation of your home is named the foundation for a reason. It is responsible for maintaining many of the structures within your home. Usually, when there is a problem sign in one place, another may appear. It is important to keep an eye out before more drastic problems occur.

It can be tempting to try and compartmentalize the damage you see done to your home. For example, take the kind of damage that can be done to your chimney. Under the best of circumstances, you’d want to hope that a cracked chimney isn’t a sign of more significant damage somewhere else in your home. 

Think of Your Home as A Whole 

Unfortunately, thinking of your home as a disconnected collection of parts is a dangerous way to think. Each part of your home works in tandem with the others. As such, certain parts of your home can indicate damage to the others, even if they don’t seem to be connected at first glance. This is the case with your chimney. If you notice your chimney has started to crack, it is likely that your foundation is suffering as well. In most cases, a cracked chimney is a sign that the damage your foundation is currently experiencing has reached the point where it’s going to be especially expensive to repair. 

Understanding the Water Damage in and Around Your Home 

That said, you can never be certain as to what kind of damage you’re dealing with until you’ve had a chance to look for yourself. As such, if you notice your chimney has started to crack, you’ll want to reach out to the professionals in your area. These parties can walk through your home with you and help determine whether or not you have foundation damage on your hands. Should you have a problem, these parties can help you excavate your foundation and address the problem as appropriately as possible. 

If you do want to repair your chimney, at the end of the day, you have the option to confine your repairs to that structure. However, if you want those repairs to last for more than a short while, you’ll want to try and determine whether or not something is amiss with your foundation as well. The longer you leave foundation damage to fester, the more problems it can cause for the rest of your home.

If you’re dealing with a settling foundation due to soil washout, then you might want to know what your options are. If you do some research, then you’ll hear talk of concrete piers for your foundation, which are meant to stabilize your home so that it won’t settle anymore. 

However, concrete piers as a foundation support system are outdated and unreliable. There are plenty of modern options for your foundation that last longer than concrete piers and actually give you bang for your buck.  

  • Why Concrete Piers Don’t Work 

Concrete piers are not capable of lifting your settling foundation. The way they are made and put into place does not allow contractors to exert the required pressure to lift your foundation back into place. What they are meant to do is simply stop the settling and keep your home in its current position; however, this isn’t even a guarantee. This is because the foundation should not rely on the pier system itself to stay stable but rather on the load-bearing soil deep beneath your property. 

Concrete piers are not able to reach load-bearing soil depths because they cannot be made long enough to do so. The longer and thinner the concrete pier is, the less weight it’s able to support due to its low tensile strength. Making it bigger won’t help either since the bigger the pier is, the more likely it is to experience skin friction. Once a concrete pier feels the pressure caused by the skin friction, it crumbles under the weight of the house. 

  • What You Can Do About Foundation Settling  

At JES, we offer multiple solutions that are able to reliably stabilize your foundation and possibly lift it back into place as well. We have helical and push piers, as well as slab piers for slab-on-grade. They are long rods made of galvanized steel that are attached to your foundation and buried deep underground. Because of their sleek design, they are capable of reaching load-bearing soil and transferring the weight of your foundation to those soils. These pier systems can mechanically exert pressure onto your foundation until it’s stable once more. 

If you have a slab foundation, then we have another repair option for you. You can use PolyRenewal™ to lift your foundation back into place like you would any other slab. It depends on the needs of your home, but utilizing polyurethane foam can lift your foundation until it’s even again without the need for excavation or heavy machinery. The device we use to inject PolyRenewal™ is handheld and small, meaning that it can be used in smaller areas, like your bathroom, if need be.

Wall anchors are one of the most common repair products used to prevent bowing walls from collapsing and return them to their original positioning. Installing these anchors is relatively straightforward, and our team has the tools, skills, and training to give you the results that you need from your wall anchor installation process.

It starts with an assessment of your home and the damaged walls, of course, at which point we will map out the ideal placement for each wall anchor and figure out how many will be needed to get the right result. Once we know where the anchors are going, excavation will begin both inside and outside of your home. The earth anchors will need to be placed in the earth around 10 feet from your home, while holes will be drilled into your foundation walls, so that steel rods can be driven through and connected to the earth anchors. Once they are connected to the anchors, the wall plates can be mounted and connected.

Once the wall anchors have been fully installed, the excavation points can be covered and the interior plates can be disguised. At this point, the damaged wall will have been stabilized and there will be no risk of the wall collapsing expectedly. However, if you are to straighten the wall in question, you will need to have the wall anchors tightened or adjusted a few times. Professionals will do this slowly to prevent causing more damage to the wall.

Why is Foundation Repair Needed? 

When your foundation is repaired, your home is structurally sound and safe. Here are some of the benefits that come with getting your foundation repaired: 

home for sale

Increased Market Value  

If you decide to put your home on the market one day, it’s important to make sure that any damage to your foundation is repaired. When your home has either interior or exterior damage, it can lessen the resale value and make it less attractive to prospective buyers. By repairing any aesthetic and structural damage you can make sure your home’s value stays where you want it and, in some cases, will even increase its value. This also reassures future homeowners that it’s safe for them and their families.  

wall anchor

Enhanced Structural Safety 

Foundation problems are directly related to the safety of your home. When it’s damaged, your safety is at risk. The collapse of walls, uneven floors, and jammed windows and doors can all be detrimental to your home and cause severe safety hazards. When you call one of our experts out for an inspection, they’ll be sure to thoroughly check your home for signs of damage. Afterward, they will walk you through which of our solutions best suits your foundation’s needs.  

stack effect

Improved Living Environment 

When your foundation has cracks, or there are gaps between your floors and walls, it’s likely that moisture is getting into your home. When moisture finds its way in, it elevates the humidity levels which can result in mold and mildew growth. A particularly toxic strain of mold, black mold, can be extremely harmful to people with respiratory issues. It can also cause allergies, and in some cases, asthma attacks. By repairing the cracks in your walls and making sure your foundation is stable and secure, you can prevent the spread of mold in your home. 

Common Foundation Repair Tips & Mistakes 

Helpful Tips for Foundation Repair 

  • Trees’ expansive root systems can also compromise the structural integrity of your home. As these root systems grow, they may come to butt up against your foundation. They may even crack it in their attempt to continue growing. If you want to keep roots from interfering with your home’s market value, try to plant any new trees or landscape features at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. This will ensure your foundation is safe from damage. 
  • When considering damage to your foundation, it’s also important to keep in mind the grading of your landscape. If your yard has a negative grade, whenever it rains or the snow melts, water will flow towards your foundation. If your yard has a positive grade, the water will flow away from your home and be less likely to cause problems.  
  • Water sitting next to the foundation of a home can cause issues such as structural failure and water leaks. As the soil gets wet, it expands and begins to push against the foundation walls. This pressure can cause cracking and create paths for groundwater penetration. To avoid water sitting next to the foundation, it is a good idea to make sure downspouts are properly installed. It is recommended that downspouts extend at least 8 feet away from the foundation walls so that the water drains away from the home and does not accumulate around the foundation walls. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Faulty Foundations 

  • By not fixing a foundation crack or leak you could be at risk of higher energy bills. How? Think of it this way: the more water gets into your home, the harder your air conditioner or heater must work to try and control your home’s internal temperature. If you remove the source of moisture, then you’ll be able to control that temperature more easily. When there’s less work for your HVAC systems to do, your energy bill will lower. 
  • Not only can animals and insects get into your basement if your foundation is damaged, but mold particles can as well. Mold loves nothing more than a damp, dark space in which to grow. Not only will it have the opportunity to get into the nooks and crannies of your basement, but it may start to settle within your foundation. This can mean worsening allergies or illnesses down the road as well as a weakened foundation if repairs aren’t made. 
  • Nothing is more unpleasant than climbing a ladder to clean out your gutters, but it’s an important part of keeping your foundation from cracking. When you clean out your gutters, you prevent rainwater from diving straight down onto the perimeter of your home. As a result, you lessen the amount of water damage your foundation has to endure, preventing cracks as you do so. A little bit of routine housekeeping can save you a lot of money when it comes to your foundation. 

Find your service area

Washington DC & Northern Virginia

Washington DC & Northern Virginia

Is your beautiful Northern Virginia home cursed by a cracking, leaking, or settling foundation? High humidity and expansive clay soil may be the culprit.

Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville, VA

Whether your home is old or new, the expansive clay potent in Charlottesville can impair your home’s foundation. Cracks, leaks, and sagging floors are common here.

Hampton Roads, VA

Hampton Roads, VA

Heavy precipitation year-round in coastal areas of Virginia can be a pain for any homeowner. Is your crawl space, basement, or concrete slab prepared?

Northeast North Carolina

Northeast North Carolina

Between hurricane season and sandy soil, homes in the Outer Banks and greater Northeast NC are subject to structural damage from erosion and poor water management.

Lynchburg, VA

Lynchburg, VA

The hard red clay predominant in Lynchburg is great for agriculture, but destructive for crawl spaces and basements. Experts can help you find a long-lasting solution.

Roanoke, VA

Roanoke, VA

Settled in the valley and ridge region, Roanoke homeowners know flooding all too well. JES has the solutions you need to fortify your home against the elements.

Danville, VA

Danville, VA

Expansive soils in Danville may be the cause for leaking basements, moldy crawl spaces, and cracked foundations. Local experts can help you fight back.

Richmond-Petersburg, VA

Richmond-Petersburg, VA

Sandy soils in Richmond are prone to eroding in the face of heavy rainfall and storms. Crawl space encapsulation and moisture management can help you fight back.

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore, MD

Thick humidity spans across DC in the summer, and it won’t spare your basement or crawl space. Waterproofing solutions may be your best line of defense.

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    JES Service Map

    Service Areas

    BALTIMORE

    1250 Reames Rd
    Middle River, MD 21220

    CENTRAL VIRGINIA

    2410 Southland Dr
    Chester, VA 23831

    HAMPTON ROADS & NE NC

    2569 Quality Ct
    Virginia Beach, VA 23454

    NORTHERN VA & DC

    8122 Bethlehem Rd
    Manassas, VA 20109

    SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA/ROANOKE

    2033 Cook Dr.
    Salem, VA 24153

    WESTERN VIRGINIA

    456 Old Courthouse Rd
    Appomattox, VA 24522