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Photograph of forms applied to repair a cracked concrete foundation wall.Foundation Repair Methods
Examples of Typical Foundation Repairs

  • FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS - CONTENTS: Repair Methods and Products for Damaged Foundations, walls, & slabs. Photographs of foundation crack patterns used for foundation crack diagnosis
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about foundation repair methods and procedures: repairs to foundation cracks, gaps, movement, tipping, leaning, settlement, or footing damage
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Guide to foundation damage repair methods for bowing, cracking, leaning, settling or other types of foundation damage:

This article series discusses How to Repair Damaged Foundations, Foundation Cracks, Slab Cracks, Bowed, Buckled, Leaning Foundation Walls, Settled Floors.

The photo above shows a bowed masonry block foundation wall with horizontal cracking that occurred due to earth loading at the time of construction, probably by vehicles driving too close to the foundation wall shortly after it was constructed At this website we explain how it is sometimes possible to be confident about the cause of foundation damage which in turn helps assess the risk presented to the building and the repair methods needed for foundation damage, cracks, leaning, buckling, bowing, settlement.



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Guide to Repair Methods for Foundation Cracks

Photograph of a classic shrinkage crack in poured concrete.Repair Methods for Foundation Shrinkage Cracks

Before repairing a foundation crack it is important to diagnose the cause of the crack and its effects on the building structure.

The significance of any foundation crack depends on the crack's cause, size, shape, pattern, location, foundation materials, extent of cracking, impact of the crack on the building, and possibly other factors as well. If there is an underlying ongoing problem causing foundation movement or damage, that problem needs to be corrected too.

Cracks in poured concrete walls that are larger than 1/4", cracks which are increasing in size, or cracks which are otherwise indicative of foundation movement should be evaluated by a professional.

At SHRINKAGE CRACKS in SLABS we discuss how we decide if a foundation crack needs repairing the first place.

Suggestions for Repairing Concrete Foundation Shrinkage Cracks

Repairs to foundation cracks which are not traced to building movement, structural problems, site problems, or other conditions which require site or structural repairs may be attempted for cracked foundations and other cracked concrete structural elements using a variety of products and materials such as masonry repair epoxy or sealant products.

These products, some of which include even structural repair epoxies, might be used to seal against water leakage as well, and may be used for repairing certain cracks in concrete foundations following evaluation and advice from a foundation professional. An evaluation of the presence, absence, or condition of reinforcing steel in cracked concrete foundations should be a part of such an inspection.

Shrinkage cracks, which are not normally a structural defect in a building, may nonetheless need to be sealed against water entry. Common repair methods include chipping out the crack and applying a masonry patching compound to the surface, use of epoxies, or other sealants.

Water entry leaks at foundation cracks: Polyurethane foam sealant is used for foundation crack repairs to stop water entry. (Also find and correct outside water sources). See our article on POLYURETHANE FOAM INJECTION for details on using this product to seal foundation cracks against leakage.

Details about how to repair shrinkage cracks in concrete slabs & foundations are
at SHRINKAGE CRACK REPAIRS

For various methods and products used to seal cracks in concrete floors or walls,
see SEAL CONCRETE CRACKS, HOW TO a description of various products and methods used to seal or repair cracks in poured concrete walls, foundations, floors, & slabs.

Once any concrete cracks it is possible for water to leak into the building through the crack. There are several ways to repair a basement crack leak. An easy, quick, and effective measure to stop basement or crawl space water entry through a foundation crack is to perform an injection of polyurethane foam into the basement crack. [Also be sure to find and fix the sources of water outside.]

Water entry leaks at foundation cracks: Polyurethane foam sealant is used for foundation crack repairs to stop water entry. (Also find and correct outside water sources).

CONTROL JOINT CRACKS in CONCRETE explains how we prevent shrinkage cracks in poured concrete floors and walls

Repair Methods for Vertical Foundation Movement - Foundations, slabs, fireplaces, chimneys

Photograph of a substantial settlement crack in poured concrete. Photograph of a substantial settlement crack in poured concrete.

In the photos shown here, substantive cracks appeared and continued to increase in size in this poured concrete foundation used to support a modular home which had recently been completed. The cracks and foundation movement were probably due to a combination of: poorly prepared foundation footings, blasting on an adjacent building lot to prepare that site for new construction, and possibly omission of steel reinforcement in the poured wall.

As movement appeared to be ongoing over more than a year, the builder might have repaired the foundation by supporting it from below using one of the methods listed in this article:

Since it's sometimes the only appropriate repair method for foundation damage, we also illustrate foundation reconstruction.

Multipoint Foundation Repair Method for Settling Foundations on Un-Stable Soils

Comment:

2016/10/26 Tim at Multipoint Foundations said:

Vacant lot in PA [This refers to a reader question posted originally at SINKING BUILDINGS and now visible at SINKING BUILDING FAQs - Ed.]

I would like to start with Fairbanks Alaska, this is one of the most active permafrost regions in Alaska and the movement can destroy a building (See CCHRC) Multipoint Foundations have over 800 foundations in Alaska (Fairbanks was one of the first locations back in 1985 that had a MPF install and monitored by the University of Fairbanks)Your home is moving due to discontinuous permafrost and the heaving that is caused in the freeze/thaw cycles ...

With the Multipoint foundation you can have a steel frame floating foundation MPF that acts as a concrete raft slab but at only 10 lbs./ft2 so you are not overloading the already poor bearing conditions with a concrete slab at 200-300 lbs./ft2.

The frame acts as a "Snowshoe" and the load of the building is spread out evenly over the site. The system has incredible bridging capacity which allows for loss of bearing in one location to be transferred to another set of feet or bearing plates. This technology is over 30 years old and has been used, without failure, in the harshest environments in the world.

Reply:

Interesting, Tim. Thank you for the comment. I'd like to see more information and perhaps add an article on this approach. If you're interested in helping out you can use our page top or bottom CONTACT link to send along suggestions.

Repair Methods for Bulged Foundation Walls

Photograph of a repair to a bulged foundation wall (C) Daniel Friedman

The motive for a decision to reinforce a building foundation rather than rebuild it can be easily understood by noticing the difference in cost between bolting a few vertical steel beams to a building or building a pilaster and the cost to add temporary support to the floors above, remove an existing foundation, and rebuild a new one in its place.

However the decision to support or reinforce a foundation wall versus rebuilding it is often made by the wall itself. If the amount of bulge or bow is sufficiently severe the wall needs to be rebuilt.

If the underlying source of wall damage cannot be reliably addressed without excavating outside to add drainage and perhaps water proofing, there is additional motivation to perform a more costly repair.

The foundation bulge or lean repair methods listed below are shown roughly in order of their most common appearance in residential buildings. The sketch shown here describes application of a steel I-beam against a masonry block wall for reinforcement.

Repair methods for bulged foundation walls are illustrated and discussed in detail at BULGED FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS where we describe the use of pilasters, reinforcing steel I-beams, foundation anchors, sister walls, steel cables, and even complete foundation wall reconstruction to deal with foundation wall bulging, cracks, leaning, or movement.

Horizontal foundation movement creep

Authority

Opinions herein are the responsibility of the author. Most of this material has been subject to ongoing peer review but is without any professional engineering analysis. Home inspections may include the discovery of defects involving life, safety, and significant costs. Home inspectors who are not both qualified and certain of the authoritative basis of their conclusions should obtain their own expert advice from qualified experts.

This work is also based on the author's construction & inspection experience, training, research, and survey of material from ASHI, and from N. Becker, R. Burgess, J. Bower, D. Breyer, A. Carson, J. Cox, A. Daniel, M. Lennon, R. Peterson, J. Prendergast, W. Ransom, D. Rathburn, E. Rawlins, E. Seaquist, and D. Wickersheimer. Some useful citations are at the end of this paper.

Foundation INSPECTION STANDARDS - Foundation Inspection Standards - ASHI Standards of Practice (American Society of Home Inspectors)

4.1.A.1. The inspector shall ... observe foundation

4.2.A.1. ... describe the type of foundation

4.2.E. ... report signs of water penetration/harmful condensation

Notice that in some Standards there was no mention of observations of damage or unsafe conditions!

But notwithstanding Section 4.1 above, the following section requires the inspector to observe and report evidence of significant damage, including to visible portions of the foundation. Significant in this case means in need of immediate major repair; it might also mean in need of further evaluation by a qualified expert.

2.2 inspectors shall ... 2.2.b.3. ... state ... any ... components

... in need of immediate major repair

2.3 These Standards are not intended to limit inspectors from

2.3.A. reporting observations and conditions in addition

Strategy for Building Foundation or Floor or Slab Crack, Damage, or Movement Assessment

To understand the cause, effect, and remedy for all types of building foundation or masonry wall damage or movement we have categorized foundation damage into these broad categories:

  1. FOUNDATION FAILURES by MOVEMENT TYPE: is the movement active or not, how is the foundation moving: bulging, leaning, settling, etc. ?
  2. FOUNDATION FAILURES by TYPE & MATERIAL: how does damage show up in different types of foundation material & what are the implications for collapse risk or repair need?
  3. FOUNDATION CRACK DICTIONARY, what is the severity of foundation damage, what is its effect on the stability of the structure, and how urgently are foundation repairs needed?
  4. FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS discusses alternative ways to fix a damaged foundation or floor slab crack or movement

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Continue reading at BULGED FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES.

Or see FOUNDATION REPAIR METHOD FAQs

Or see FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS

Or see FOUNDATION CRACK DICTIONARY

Suggested citation for this web page

FOUNDATION REPAIR METHODS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to BUILDING STRUCTURES

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