June 2017 - Carolina Foundation

Jun 22
#FoundationFactFriday: What does your foundation sit on?

Foundation Fact: 60% of all homes built on expansive soils suffer from foundation distress. 

What are expansive soils? Expansive soils are soils that experience continuous change in volume causing homes or businesses that sit atop these soils to move unevenly and crack. These soils expand when water is added and shrink when they dry out.  Foundation settlement is much more common and prevalent than many realize, especially throughout NC and SC. Foundation settlement is a term that no one likes to hear and is an issue that no one hopes to experience.  However, if the correct steps are followed and if the proper repairs are provided, then the issue can generally be resolved quickly and permanently, with little to no disturbance to the property for an expense that is less than initially anticipated, and without decreasing the value of the property.

The details are in the dirt. What type of expansive soils are present in North and South Carolina? North Carolina and South Carolina have a diverse geography from sandy beaches to rugged mountains. These states are separated into three physiographic regions: Coastal Plains, Mountains and Piedmont. Each geographic area has a characteristic type of soil. North Carolina alone has over 400 types of soil. General soil types across both states include: clay, loam, rock, sand and shale. Of these soil types two often cause foundation issues:

  1. Clay soils – Soils that are rich in clay and silt are more likely to cause damage to a foundation. Clay absorbs water easily, and as it becomes more saturated it expands causing foundations to shift, heave and crack. When clay soils dry out, shrinkage occur causing cracks and leaving gaps where water from a future storm can penetrate easily and deeply repeating the expansion cycle.  Foundation damage is most;y caused by clay-rich soils due to expanding rather than contracting.
  2. Sandy loam – Loamy soils usually show little change with the increase or decrease of moisture temperature and are relatively very stable. The primary concern with foundations built on this type of soil is erosion. When soils underneath your foundation erode, they may begin to unevenly distribute the active soil layer immediately beneath your home that is sustaining the weight of a foundation and home structure.

Soil gains load-bearing capacity and stability with depth. The active soil zone immediately underneath your home or business is the main area of concern when it comes to foundation issues. As you go down, layers of other soil types, such as sand, silt, clay, and loam can be found and deeper below is bedrock composed of rock or densely packed soils.

Carolina Foundation Solutions provides a multitude of applications using various products that can target the deeper layer of earth where densely packed, load-bearing stable soils are ensuring that no future movement occurs. Call us at 877-770-7050 or  fill out this form to schedule a FREE assessment to protect your business investment!

Jun 8
#FoundationFactFriday: How heavy is your foundation?

Foundation Fact: The average foundation weighs 7 1/2 tons. 

That’s heavy! Foundations are the structural key to supporting the weight of your home or business. It’s important that your foundation is strong and on solid ground to support the average 50 ton weight of a home and even heavier commercial buildings. In the first #FoundationFactFriday installment, foundation settlement was discussed and one of the solutions CFS offers to remedy such issues – helical piers – was discussed. Now, let’s get to the root of your home or business to discuss the structure of the foundation itself. 

The type of foundation varies by geography, soil and building type. In the Carolinas’, homes often have slab, basement or crawl space foundations, while commercial buildings have mat, continuous footing, shallow foundation with beams or pile foundation.  

Types of Home Foundations: 

  1. Slab Foundation – Slab foundations are built directly on top of the soil. The ground is leveled and trench is dug around the perimeter, gravel is spread across the site and conrete is poured over a moisture barrier layer. The trenches allow room for concrete to be poured where load bearing walls are placed. Plumbing, heating and cooling systems are placed below the slab. This type of foundation transfers the weight of the building directly to the soil via the slab. Slab foundations are Slab foundations are popular among builders and homeowners for their relatively low cost, minimal excavation requirements and quick installation.
  2. Basement Foundation – Basement foundations are the deepest of the foundation types and have footings around the perimeter that are built below the frost line to avoid damages that could compromise the structural integrity of the home. Basements are ideal for storage, extra living space and easy access for maintenace to plumbing, heating and cooling systems. 
  3. Crawl Space Foundation – Crawl space foundations are shallower than basement foundations and elevate a house a few feet above the ground. A footing is poured around the permieter of the site and short walls 16-17 inches deep to support theh home. crawl space foundation is one where the footing is poured as well as short foundation walls to support the home. The interior walls and ceiling of the crawl space are typically insulation as this is the floor to the above home. Utilities are acessible through crawl spaces.  

Types of Commercial Foundations: 

  1. Mat Foundation – Mat foundations also known as raft foundations are a thick soil-rock supported foundation that maintians the same thickness through the entire site of the structure. This type of foundation is classified as either shallow or deep foundation depending on conditions of construction. Mat foundations are used in poor soil areas where building weight has to be dispersed over a large area, or where columns are closely spaced. 
  2. Continuous Footing Foundation – Continuous footing foundations also known as spot foundations are generally classified as shallow foundations that typically consist of columns or grade beams or a combination.  The foundation footing is usually more wide than it is thick and spreads the structure’s weight into the soil supporting the foundation. 
  3. Shallow Foundation with Beams – Shallow foundations also know as a a monolithic slab with grade beams is classified as a shallow foundation where a perimeter and interior trenches are excavated and grade beams are installed in the trenches. Rectangular and square footings get their support from grade beams.  This typeof foundation is generally utilized on structures with lightly loaded foundations.
  4. Pile Foundations – Pile foundations are classified as deep foundations and consist of vertical piers instead of footings that are drilled deeply into the ground. Piles function as laterally braced columns that pierce through weaker soil into more suitable ground. Theweight is transferred to the soil through end bearing.

Carolina Foundation Solutions is comprised of a team of experts with over 100 years of experience in all the above mentioned foundation types. Are you experiencing issues with your foundation? CFS is your trusted solution to help you protect your biggest investment.

Call us at 877-770-7050 or fill out this form to schedule a FREE assessment. 

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