Repairing an Old Home’s Brick Foundation
If you are the proud owner of a charming, historic brick home, you may be accustomed to performing more maintenance than the average house requires. Still, no one likes to learn that their foundation is crumbling, cracking, or buckling.
Not sure what to do next? Learn more about what it takes to repair an old home’s brick foundation. Then, contact Carolina Foundation Solutions at 1-(877) 770-7050 to begin work on your North or South Carolina home.
What Causes Brick Foundation Issues?
Bricks are incredibly hardy, durable building materials. They can withstand decades of rain and snow, sleet and wind, triple-digit heat and bone-chilling cold. The problem is bricks are inconsistent materials, especially those made by hand many decades ago. Here’s why brick foundations don’t last forever.
Mortar isn’t always up to par.
For many historic homes, the quality of a brick foundation’s mortar depends largely on the weather the day the bricks were laid. Other factors include the bricklayers’ accessibility to mixing supplies and how much time the workers left between mixing the mortar and laying the bricks. Because of these factors—and the fact that it could take days or weeks to build a brick foundation—you may find that certain parts of it are less stable than others.
Bricks vary in hardness.
If your home was built before 1900, the foundation may be composed of soft-fired bricks, which are more susceptible to erosion from water and car exhaust than hard-fired bricks. As kiln technology improved, bricks laid after 1900 became more durable. If your brick foundation appears pitted and cracked, or the bricks scratch easily when rubbed with a screwdriver, you may have weak, soft-fired bricks.
The ground is wet & unstable.
Foundations of all types can be damaged by the freeze-thaw cycle, changes in soil moisture levels, tree roots, and drainage issues. The fact is, the ground is always shifting and changing, and your home’s foundation is liable to suffer for it, no matter what material it’s made of.
Regardless of what is causing your brick foundation issues, Carolina Foundation Solutions has the solution. Contact us to speak with a foundation expert today.
Common Problems with Old Foundations & How to Repair Them
Old brick and mortar foundations can develop numerous problems. Here’s how to fix some of the most common ones.
The Mortar Is Missing, Cracking, or Crumbling.
If the bricks are intact, but the mortar is failing, a repair may involve removing and replacing the damaged mortar. Referred to as “tuck-pointing,” this process is best left to a foundation expert for consistent results.
The Bricks Always Appear Wet & Are Deteriorating Due to Excessive Moisture.
As a homeowner, improving your property’s drainage will go a long way in preserving your home’s foundational integrity. To do this, you will need to direct the rainwater flow away from the foundation rather than toward it. Soil grading and the addition of gutter downspout extenders can help tremendously in this area.
The Foundation Walls Are Bowing, Heaving, or Collapsing.
If your foundation walls are bowing, heaving, or collapsing, the likely cause is hydrostatic pressure. This is essentially the strain placed on your foundation from the freeze/thaw cycle of moisture in your soil. When the pressure from the outside is greater than your aging foundation’s walls can bear, you will begin to see bowing and cracking on the inside.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to alleviate this issue in your home’s foundation. Our recommended solutions include:
- Carbon Fiber Reinforcement: Installing carbon fiber reinforcement straps is a fast and cost-effective method of repairing structural walls that are bowing inward. Consisting of a woven grid of corrosion-proof carbon fiber and Kevlar, our carbon fiber reinforcement straps are more rigid than steel. Further, carbon fiber reinforcement won’t interfere with future installation of wood framed walls, wall paneling, or waterproofing systems.
- Dura-Grip Wall Repair System: The Dura-Grip system features a plate-and-rod technology that attaches to your foundation wall’s interior. Through carefully measured and marked anchor locations in stable soil, anchor holes are dug and steel rods are driven through the wall and ground into the anchor holes. Steel cross plate anchors attach to each rod, and adjustments are set to maintain the new wall position. Our team can make future adjustments as needed over time as soil density changes.
- Helical Tieback Anchors: Along with our other soil screw and wall anchor systems, we are proud to offer homeowners CHANCE Helical Tieback Anchors to address leaning or bowing foundation walls. This cost-effective and quick anchoring system is used to horizontally reinforce and stabilize your foundation walls. CHANCE Helical Tieback Anchors are an ideal solution due to their minimized labor costs, immediate proof testing and tension loading, and maximized flexibility with changes in soil conditions.
The Mortar Is Cracked in the Shape of a Staircase.
Horizontal mortar cracks, or cracks that resemble a staircase, indicate foundation settling or “heaving.” A proven method for repairing settlement in foundations is through the installation of underpinning helical piers.
- Underpinning Helical Piers: These operate by providing support and stabilization for the sections of your foundation that are experiencing settlement. They effectively transfer the weight from the footing, or base of the structure, to a layer of suitable, load-bearing soil. Our CHANCE-certified team specializes in the installation of underpinning helical piers, and we take pride in using the best material in the foundation repair industry. To learn more about the process of underpinning helical pier installation, contact Carolina Foundation Solutions