Recognizing the Signs of Structural Settlement
If you notice cracks, gaps, or separation within the materials and components of your home, you may be tempted to ignore them, as you may assume they are simply the result of normal aging or settlement. Some of these issues could indeed be due to normal aging, however, many of these issues could be an indication that severe problems are underfoot.
Any one singular issue listed above can be caused by normal settlement and standard aging of a structure, but they can also be a result of something more serious. Contact Carolina Foundation Solutions for a free evaluation, and we can help to assess any and all issues that may be present in an effort to determine what the full story is, and then help to determine what actions may or may not need to be taken.
In some instances, simple adjustments or minor repairs may be needed, such as re-caulking joints in trim or re-pointing small cracks in brick mortar joints. In other instances, structural repairs may be required, such as the installation of underpinning helical piles for settling foundations or the injection of polyurethane foam for sinking concrete slabs.
Signs & Symptoms of Structural Settlement to Look for Along the Interior of Your Home
Here are some common symptoms of structural settlement to look for along the interior of your home:
Walls & Ceilings
- Vertical or diagonal cracks within wall materials around door openings and window openings
- Separation and cracks within drywall at corners
- Separation and cracks within the drywall seams of walls or ceilings
- Doors that will not close or that stick when attempting to open
- Doors that will not properly latch or simply look “out of square”
- Windows that will not properly open or close
- Windows that look “out of square”
- Gaps or separation at joints or corners of baseboard or crown molding
- Gaps or separation between floor and baseboard
- Gaps or separation between ceiling and crown molding
- Gaps or separation at corners or joints of casing around window or door openings
- Sloping within floors
- Gaps and separation within hardwood flooring
- Cracks in tile or grout
- Cracks in concrete slab floor
- Cracks in cinder block or concrete walls (cracks running horizontally, vertically, or stair stepping)
- Inward bowing or leaning of basement walls
Signs & Symptoms of Structural Settlement to Look for Along the Exterior of Your Home
Here are some common symptoms of structural settlement to look for along the exterior of your home.
Exterior Veneer & Siding
- Cracks (horizontal, vertical, or stair step) within brick, concrete, stone, or mortar joints - particularly around window and door openings and corners of the building
- Gaps or separation along joints of wood siding
- Gaps or separation at corners of trim within the soffit or fascia
- Gaps or separation between window or door trim and the veneer (particularly along the sides of windows where the window trim meets the brick)
- Gaps or separation where wood siding meets vertical trim boards along the corners
- Cracks (horizontal, vertical, or stair step) within brick, concrete, stone, or mortar joints
- Horizontal cracks or separation along the top of the foundation
- Gaps or separation between the chimney and the house
- Pulling within the roof flashing around the top of the chimney
- Leaning within the chimney
- Cracks in or around the chimney
Types of Structural Repairs
When it comes to effective, long-term foundation repairs and structural repairs, it’s always best to trust the professionals. Not only will your local foundation repair experts be able to assess the issues found present within your home, they’ll be prepared to discuss the types of repairs that may be needed in detail and ensure that they are performed flawlessly. Some common repairs required to address issues from the above list of signs and symptoms include:
- Epoxy Crack Repairs: A great option for repairing cracks in concrete slabs, as this method involves injecting a high-strength epoxy compound into the cracks to bond and seal the severed areas.
- Epoxy Stitch Welding: Another common repair for cracks in concrete slabs, this method provides additional reinforcement along the cracks through injecting high-strength epoxy material along with carbon fiber strips or staples.
- Carbon Fiber Reinforcement: This is an effective measure of repair for basement walls that are bowing inward or have horizontal cracking. The carbon fiber reinforcement straps are applied directly to the wall and provide the reinforcement and stabilization needed, resulting in a fast and cost-effective solution.
- Polyurethane Foam Injections: A type of pressure grouting procedure that utilizes high-strength, hydro-insensitive structural polymer foam, this method is typically used for concrete slabs and concrete floors that are sloping, unlevel, or uneven. By injecting polyurethane foam into holes drilled through the concrete slab, it’s possible to fill voids between the bottom of the slab and the top of the soil beneath it (or consolidate loose and soft soils) to create a more solid base for the slab—preventing further movement in the future.
- Helical Piles: For leaning chimneys or for setting foundations, the installation of helical piles is typically the most effective and most ideal solution. Helical piles are also commonly used to repair concrete slabs, as the helical piers are paired with slab brackets to transfer the weight of the concrete from the base of the slab to a more suitable, load-bearing location in the soil.
Consult an Expert
Figuring out the right approach for foundation repairs and other similar structural requires thoroughly evaluating all of the existing conditions of a structure and then putting every piece of the puzzle together. The first step in maintaining structural integrity is knowing the signs that your foundation needs attention. Then, call a trusted foundation repair company to determine the best course of action.
At Carolina Foundation Solutions, we make getting an expert opinion easy by offering free inspections to homeowners in North Carolina and South Carolina. One of our highly trained experts will assess your home, thoroughly explain their findings, and provide estimates for any repairs that may be deemed necessary.