Foundation Problem Signs
If you'd like to get your foundation problem repaired permanently, you'll first need to know exactly what's needed for your unique problem. At Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists, our team of trusted in-house foundation repair experts is here to help.
Bowing walls can present serious problems for homeowners in Charlotte, NC. These problem signs can tip you off, so that you can contact a professional in time.
The floor over your crawl space may sag or sink causing structural damage to your home. Learn more about this issue and how to properly support your home.
As the soils around your home settle, so does your foundation which can cause damage to your home. Learn more about why your home sinks.
Drywall nail pops indicate that something is wrong with your home’s foundation, structure, or the wall itself. Detecting the signs helps you get ahead of the damage.
If you’ve walked around your home only to notice cracks along your walls, uneven floors, or sticking windows and doors, you may have a foundation problem on your hands. These problem signs are only the beginning of a larger issue at hand and one that could negatively affect your home’s entire structure. Since your foundation is responsible for keeping your home stable and safe, when it experiences damage, it can lead to a slew of other problems around your home. Thankfully, Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists have years of experience in solving foundation problems and can offer tailored solutions for your home.
Causes of Foundation Damage
Our foundation experts will accurately identify the cause of your home's foundation problems.
While sandy soils remain stable as water passes through them, soils rich in clay undergo significant changes based on their moisture content.
When clay type soils dry out, they shrink significantly — so much that the ground can become covered with cracks. But after a heavy rain, the cracks are gone and the soil is fully saturated with water.
Because clay soil absorbs so much water, it expands during wet weather.
Expansive clay soils can put enormous pressure on your basement or foundation walls. When the pressure becomes more than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to push inwards.
Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid due to the force of gravity.
To understand how hydrostatic pressure can damage foundation walls, imagine how much heavier soil becomes when it’s soaked with water. When the weight of water is added to the weight of the soil, you’ve got much greater pressure pushing against a foundation wall.
Hydrostatic pressure effectively amplifies soil pressure against a foundation wall. When the pressure exceeds the foundation wall’s ability to withstand it, the wall will begin to bow, buckle, tilt inward at the top, or move inwards at the bottom.
In areas with cold winter climates, frost heaving can sometimes put enough pressure on foundation walls to make them fail.
When water turns to ice, its volume increases by about 9%. If wet soil experiences a deep freeze, the wedging or heaving force that results can be extremely powerful.
Frost heaving can put literally thousands of pounds of force against your foundation walls, causing cracks, bowing, and heaving.
Foundation soils experience most of their drying and shrinking from two common causes:
Drought: Prolonged dry periods cause the soil to dry out. As we know, when the clay dries out, it shrinks. Soil shrinkage beneath a foundation has the same effect as soil settling: It usually causes a section of the foundation to crack and settle into the void or hollow area where settlement has occurred.
Maturing Trees: The root system of a tree can be up to twice the size of the tree’s canopy. If a tree’s branches extend over your home, there’s a good chance that they extend under your house as well, drawing moisture up from the soil and causing it to shrink.
The soils around your foundation experience wetting and softening primarily for these three reasons:
Heavy Rain & Flood Conditions: As clay soil gets wet, it holds on to water and becomes very soft. This soft soil can be weak, causing the home to shift (or “sink”) down into it.
Poor Drainage: If water is allowed to stand or “pond” next to your home, the soil will absorb the water. As it does, the soil can weaken and soften once again.
Plumbing Leaks & Broken Water Lines: When a home’s plumbing begins to leak under a slab foundation, the soils underneath can begin to become saturated, weakening their supporting capacity.
In order to level a site where a foundation will be built, builders sometimes bring in loose soil from another location to fill depressed or hollow areas.
This newly moved “fill” soil is much looser and lighter than the dense, hard-packed virgin soils at the site that haven’t been disturbed.
The fill soil brought in by the builder has to be compacted thoroughly before a foundation is built on top of it. If the soil is not compacted well, it may begin to compress underneath the weight of your new home, creating settlement problems that can damage your foundation.
Gerber, Travis and Daniel did an excellent job on our crawl space. They were very professional, on time each day and communicated to us daily on the progress and next steps in the process. Overall, a great experience!
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Cody B and Chad R were on time, knew exactly what needed to be done and the work was excellent
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Iliyan, Cameron and Watts did an incredible job on a very difficult project. They were efficient, clean and clearly explained all aspects of the job. I recommend them for all foundation and Crawlspace work
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Saviores, Ethan and Al did a great job repairing our floor joist, installing a load bearing beam as well as the band board replacement. They explained to me everything they were doing and were very efficient. Thank you for doing a great job!
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Andrew Hicklin came down last week for our annual inspection. He was professional, very friendly and efficient. Andrew inspected everything and replaced our filter and batteries in our inside monitor. He was a delight and returned this week to…
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Foundation Repair Solutions
Each home is unique and so are the foundations they’re built upon, which is why at Dry Pro, we know the importance of customizing proven solutions for your exact needs. Here are some of the solutions we offer for your foundation troubles.
Stabilize your damaged foundation and overcome problems caused by weak, unstable soil conditions with our helical pier system.
Stop the settlement of your foundation and lift it back to its original position with our push pier system.
Repairing bowing or buckling walls in your home can be undertaken in many ways, but wall anchors are one of the most versatile and effective solutions.
Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists repairs bowing foundation walls with our patent-pending I-beam system throughout the Greater Charlotte area and nearby. Call or contact us today for a free estimate!
Is Foundation Repair the Right Solution for Me?
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 such as bowing and buckling walls, gaps between the walls and floors, uneven floors, or sticking windows and doors, it’s time for repairs. If left unrepaired, these problems can directly affect your home’s entire structural stability and result in a harmful and unsafe living environment for your family.
Foundation problems can happen due to several factors, including the soil underneath and water damage. In Charlotte, the area’s predominantly clay soil can swell and expand when wet and shrink and contract when dry. This cycle of shrinking and swelling can lead to foundation shifting and settlement 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 Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists in Richfield, Midland, Pineville, York County, and Greater Charlotte, NC, and nearby areas.
Vapor barriers play a crucial part in protecting your foundation. Charlotte, NC has humid subtropical weather, meaning that there’s a lot of rain and humidity for the better part of the year. Without the right waterproofing solutions in place, your foundation will deteriorate thanks to how destructive water can be. A vapor barrier helps mitigate the damage, but it’s not all that’s needed to stop foundation settling.
What a Vapor Barrier Can Do
A vapor barrier keeps water out of your foundation. This helps prevent soil erosion, especially if you have a dirt crawl space. Without a vapor barrier, the soil around the support posts in the crawl space would erode, causing settling, which affects the entire house. Vapor barriers also prevent the materials in the crawl space from getting torn apart from the freeze-thaw effect.
How to Stop Foundation Settling
Besides a vapor barrier, you will need a crawl space sump pump, a perimeter drain, and a dehumidifier. All these things work together to protect your crawl space, prevent foundation deterioration, and keep your home healthy. A vapor barrier works wonders on its own, but without the other waterproofing solutions, your crawl space is vulnerable to things like condensation and frost heave damage.
Besides just making sure that your crawl space can handle water, you also need to make sure that as little water as possible is flowing towards it in the first place. You can do this by making certain alterations, such as pointing your downspouts away from your home or extending them. Make sure to also watch for clogging, especially during the fall and winter, when drains get clogged due to mud and leaves or they simply freeze over.
Any form of structural damage in your home can become worse, especially if left alone for a long time. Although concrete is strong, it is not the perfect material. It still requires some annual maintenance from a local expert. This allows it to be inspected every once and a while, as well as repaired when it needs to be.
Once a crack has formed on your foundation wall, it always has the potential to grow larger and wider, especially if left alone. Cracks in foundation walls can extend to foundation floors, and, after years and years of neglect, they can even reach other areas of your home. You do not want this to happen to you, as structural damage in more than one area can be dangerous.
Structural damage also can cause your home to become uneven as well. This can happen via sinking, heaving, or tilting, depending on where the damage is found and how bad it is. Not only is this incredibly unsightly, but also this can make your home unsafe to inhabit.
Any opening in your foundation wall is an invitation for water to enter through. Water damage is quite common and can be one of the most expensive damages to repair. Some of these include:
- Mold and mildew
- Wood rot
- Musty odors
- Water stains
Leaks and floods also can introduce pests, both big and small. Many common insect pests are attracted to wet, humid environments, and cracks in foundation walls are the perfect way for them to enter your home. Larger pests, such as rodents, also can be tempted to enter your home through any available openings.
There are three main options that are offered by Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl Space Specialists: the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System, the Channel Anchor System, and the Wall Anchor System. Read on to figure out the differences between them to help you select the one that best fits your needs.
IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System
When it comes down to it, the main difference between the three foundation wall repair systems depends on the amount of landscape space that you have around your home. For homeowners who have a limited landscape space, the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System is likely the best option for repairing cracks in your foundation walls, since it is non-invasive to your home. In fact, it is installed directly on the inside of your foundation walls, without any excavation needed!
Homeowners also do not need to worry about altering the look of their foundation walls or basement space, however. The IntelliBrace™ uses a very sleek metal beam that is coated with zinc to help it be extremely resistant to the formation of rust. Furthermore, it is not bulky at all, so you do not have to be concerned about how much space it takes. Once the IntelliBrace™ System is installed, it easily looks as if it has always been a part of your foundation wall but with extra benefits of stability, strength, and wall repair!
Channel and Wall Anchor System
Both the Channel and the Wall Anchor Systems are able to provide an intense amount of support for your foundation walls, helping them to remain stable and even repairing them over time. Unlike the IntelliBrace™ Wall Repair System, however, both Anchor Systems require our experts to drill holes around your property for installation. This is needed to properly place the anchor systems underground. Therefore, these two options work best for homeowners who have plenty of room in front of their landscaping to have them installed adequately.
The beams of the Channel and Wall Anchor Systems are constructed from a rust and corrosion resistant metal, so you are guaranteed to have them last a long time underground. These systems use the principle of an “equal but opposite force” against the problematic soil phenomena that occur because of the rainy and windy Charlotte, NC climate.
Cracked bricks are a sign of advanced settling since it indicates that the house can no longer withstand the weight of the uneven home. It causes major trouble for the structural integrity of your house.
- Why Replacing Isn’t a Viable Solution
Replacing your foundation isn’t a helpful solution for a few reasons: it’s extremely expensive, inconvenient, time-consuming, and your foundation will go through the same problem again in the future. To replace your foundation and build a new one would mean having to excavate around the entire house, put the house up on temporary supports, tearing the foundation apart, and then building a new foundation. This can take multiple days or weeks, and you will have to live somewhere else until the job is done.
After the new foundation is built, it will settle once more after a few years because the real problem, the soil, has not been addressed. If there is a layer of soil under the foundation, there will be erosion. The only way to stop it is to make sure that the foundation is no longer supported only by the soil.
- What Can Be Done Instead
Instead of replacing the foundation, you can stabilize the settling one by installing helical or push piers. Helical piers and push piers are steel rods that are installed deep underground. They transfer the weight of the house to the stable, load-bearing soil layers below. These soil layers are so deep underground that they do not erode as easily as the loose soil layers near your foundation.
By relying on the piers and the tough soil, your foundation is guaranteed to be supported by a system that never fails. Helical and push piers also can lift your foundation and even out your home. Once the house is even again, not only will the foundation no longer settle but also your bricks will no longer crack as well.
Once your foundation wall repairs have been completed, you will want to start considering how to protect your foundation in the future. This is crucial to prevent destabilizing factors, such as moisture, from ever becoming a fundamental problem for your home again. Make sure you ask your professional contractor what means you can invest in to further protect your foundation walls in the future.
Invest in Regular Home Inspections
An inspection can take under an hour if your home receives annual check-ups, or it may take several hours during your first inspection. This allows the expert to fully check over your foundation, the surrounding area, your basement and crawl space, and other areas of your home. They will be looking for problem signs and subtle indicators of stress on your foundation. This lets them catch problems early and apply small fixes to keep your home in top condition.
Waterproofing Your Basement
If you have undertaken and completed foundation repairs for bowing walls in your home, then investing in adequate waterproofing measures is crucial to further protecting your foundation walls. This also has the double advantage of increasing the lifespan of the newly installed wall anchors.
Both sump pumps and dehumidifiers used in conjunction with one another after foundation repairs are a great (and common) way to protect your foundation walls. These also can be used in conjunction with interior drainage systems to carry unwanted water away from your foundation walls.
Making Mistakes During Installation
If you attempt to repair your own foundation walls, then there is a high chance that you won’t be able to access the same industry gear and equipment used to work on these projects. Even if you can, these solutions often require a great deal of experience to install properly. The most knowledgeable laymen can still make an honest mistake, and, in the realm of foundation damage, this can be catastrophic.
For example, wall anchors are difficult to install properly. If you install a wall anchor only halfway, then you might leave assuming that your home is safe from further foundation damage, when, it is not. Foundation damage that is allowed to fester will only get worse over time. If you make mistakes during the DIY foundation repairs, then in a few months time, you might be looking at more serious problem of foundation sinking.
Repairing damaged foundation walls or structural supports on your own is a very costly endeavor. It involves getting your hands on effective wall anchors or braces, having the correct tools to install them, and having the correct materials to repair cracks and leakages that could be compounding the problem.
The lack of industry connections on the part of the average homeowner means that repairing foundation damage on your own can turn out to be much more costly than having a professional service do the job for you. Moreover, if you make mistakes during your DIY repairs that lead to even more serious issues, you will have to hire a professional service to first fix your DIY repairs and then install repairs of their own. This might compound the costs to much more than it would have been had you avoided DIY repairs altogether.
Why is Foundation Repair Needed?
Having your foundation repaired can be beneficial in many ways. Here are some of the ways that foundation repair is the smart choice for your home.
Increased Resale Value
If you decide to sell your home in the future, you want to make sure that it’s in the best possible condition for its new owners. When your home has signs of significant foundation damage, it can lessen the curb appeal and value when you go to put it on market. A failing foundation can also bring up the conversation about safety issues and an unhealthy environment that could make your house less appealing to buyers. By repairing your foundation, you not only increase the value of your home but can ensure that it’s structurally sound for years to come.
Improved Structural Safety
When foundation problems arise, the safety of your home is at risk. Although the problem signs may seem small at first, the longer they’re left to fester, the more damage they cause to your home’s structural integrity. By having an expert come and inspect your foundation, you can feel confident in knowing exactly what’s going on in your home and the best approach moving forward.
Enhanced Living Environment
Damage such as wall cracks may not seem significant at the moment, but any cracks in your home are a direct entryway for moisture to get in. When excessive moisture finds its way into your home, it increases the humidity levels which can result in mold and mildew growth. Some strains of mold, including black mold, can be extremely toxic and 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
- Although some aesthetic issues such as hairline cracks or uneven floors may seem small at first, these problems can mean trouble is occurring in your home. When you first spot any of the problems mentioned around your home, it’s best to set up an appointment for an inspection with one of our team members as soon as possible. Leaving these issues alone will only cause more damage in the long run and costlier repairs.
- The concrete in and around your home can generally let you know if foundation problems are happening. Whether it be your patio steps, driveway, or concrete slabs in your basement, these structures usually see the most damage because of the soil underneath them and can be directly correlated to your foundation. It’s a good idea to regularly check for signs of damage when walking around your home and call a professional if you think something is wrong.
- When your gutters are free from clogs and damage, they’re able to work effectively to drain water away from your home. If the opposite is true, they can cause water to pool around your foundation and cause issues. By annually cleaning your gutters and inspecting them for damage you can guarantee they’re protecting your home from water whenever it rains.
Mistakes When Dealing with Foundation Failure
- Although general contractors are well versed in multiple areas when it comes to home repairs, your foundation is one that should be handled by a specialist. Choosing to work with a contractor over a company that specializes in foundation repair could land you in a world of trouble if things aren’t done the right way. If you are looking for help with your home’s foundation, trust Dry Pro Foundation and Crawlspace Specialists to get it done right, the first time.
- DIY repairs around homes are vastly popular due to their lower costs and labor requirements. Although completely acceptable for some projects around your home, your foundation isn’t one of them. Due to its intricacy and its sole purpose of keeping your home upright and stable, it’s best to leave any foundation repairs to the experts. This way you can guarantee that your home is repaired correctly and effectively.
- If you’ve recently had foundation repairs installed but still have damage to your gutters or a downspout that’s placed too close to your home, you may wind up with more damage down the road. Although Dry Pro’s foundation repairs are permanent, hydrostatic pressure due to an oversaturation of soil is still able to cause trouble. By cleaning out your gutters from debris, and ensuring there is no damage such as sagging, leaks, or separated joints, you can rest assured that your home is protected all around. When you choose to install a downspout extension, this further enhances the effectiveness of your gutters when the rain starts to fall.
Find your service area
Charlotte, located in the Southern Piedmont region, is known for its lovely terrain. As wonderful as it is, clay soils can cause major structural issues.
Hickory’s wet weather combined with its clay soils cause structural issues for many homes. Dry Pro can offer solutions to fix even the most severe problems.