Problems with a sinking foundation are caused when the soil your building rests on is not stable enough to support the weight of the structure. This results in uneven settlement and sinking, and can have many causes, including:
- Soil incorrectly prepared during construction
- Soil volume loss due to drought
- Clay soil expansion and contraction due to water saturation
- Voids (empty spaces) created by water drainage problems
Signs of a sinking foundation include:
- Sloping or uneven floors
- Cracked or bowed walls
- Gaps between walls and floor/ceiling
- Crooked/sticking doors and windows
- Cracks in foundation (often stair step cracks)
- Cracks in concrete floors (basement, garage)
- Cracks between bricks
- Tilting chimneys
- Water leaking into basement
- Separation of an addition from main structure
It is important to correct foundation problems as soon as possible or they will only get worse, causing increasingly expensive interior damage and lowering your property value.
Sinking Foundation Repair Options
There are two ways to address your sinking foundation:
The decision is often based on owner preference, but our consulting engineer will offer guidance if a particular option is strongly recommended for your foundation.
Both raising and stabilizing are achieved with compaction grouting.
This technique is ideal for repairing cast-in-place concrete and concrete block foundations commonly used in the construction of modern buildings. If your building is older, we also have extensive experience repairing stone foundations in historic structures.
Stabilize A Sinking Foundation
Stabilizing a sinking foundation means correcting the soil problem so it becomes strong enough to support the building. The foundation will remain at the current level and not sink any farther.
Stabilizing a sinking building is often preferable to raising it. As it sinks over time, changes in the structure impact the interior, and many buildings are remodeled to correct these problems.
Raising the building often results in structural changes that can impact interior and framing elements such as floors, windows and doors that may have already been repaired to work at the existing (sunken) level. This can also crack newly remodeled finishes such as paint, plaster and drywall.
The need to avoid damage to interior remodeling often is a deciding factor when choosing to either raise or stabilize a building. Another important consideration is that stabilizing a foundation is not as costly as raising one.
Raise A Sinking Foundation
Raising a building with a sinking foundation includes two stages:
- Correcting the soil problem so it becomes strong enough to support the structure
- Raising the structure to the original level
When a building is raised, the grout continues to be slowly and carefully pumped after soil has been compacted and stabilized. The "bulb" of grout, which is strategically placed some distance from the foundation, causes the ground to displace and heave upwards. The newly compacted soil is in direct contact with the foundation, providing uniform support which allows it to be raised in a safe, controlled manner.
While grouting techniques are an advanced alternative to conventional pier installations, Lincoln Company recognizes that there are specific soil circumstances for which piers are an appropriate and economically feasible foundation underpinning solution.
Voids are often created by the installation of resistance piers. Lincoln Company grouts these spaces to prevent water infiltration and provide additional foundation support, which reduces pier point load stress.
Foundation Crack Repair
After your building's foundation has been properly raised or stabilized, it is important to address any cracks in the foundation walls caused by the sinking to stop existing leaks and prevent new water infiltration.
The Lincoln team repairs these cracks using epoxy injection, which is a fast, effective, affordable and permanent solution backed by our 15 year warranty.
Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced engineers to evaluate your building and provide a customized foundation repair quote.