As a home or business owner it is important to know as much as possible about the type of foundation you have in your structure. This will help you know what type of foundation problems to look out for, so you can get the correct repairs. Here is a list of some of the most common types of foundation:
Common Foundation Types
If a concrete block foundation is built the right way, the result can be an extremely strong foundation. If it is not built correctly however, the result can be costly foundation problems. These block basement retaining walls should be sealed completely, and sometimes “rebar” is used to add strength. If the extra steps aren’t taken to strengthen these walls, water can get in through the blocks. Another problem seen in these foundations is bowing and leaning. This is because pressure is put on the walls from the outside. This is sometimes caused by water in the soil around your home. When pressure is exerted on block foundation walls, bowing and leaning can occur.
It was very common in the early 1900’s to use brick and mortar to build foundation walls. If you have an older home you may notice this is your foundation type. The problem with these foundation walls is that over time, they can become weak. Mortar can break down and bricks can start to peel. If you notice this happening, make sure to look at the walls closely for bowing and leaning. The soil around these foundations will exert pressure on them, and push them in. Sometimes you can just have the mortar or brick repair by a masonry specialist, but sometimes the walls need to have added support.
The cement foundation is commonly used in building today, especially poured concrete foundations. These are considered strong foundations that are easy to maintain. One of the main pluses of a cement foundation is that it is fire resistant. Cement foundations can still have problems, though. If you have a new construction home, it is a great idea to ask for new construction piers to be installed. This will add additional support for your poured cement foundation. If you have a cement foundation, you still need to watch for foundation cracks and leaks. The same factors that cause problems for other types of foundations can wreak havoc on poured concrete foundations as well. If pressure is put on these walls they can bow and lean, and even crack.
Cinder Block Foundation:
Cinder block foundations aren’t always a bad option. If you are building a home in a rural area, sometimes a ready-mix truck can’t make it to your location to pour concrete. In these cases blocks or cinder blocks might be used. As long as they are installed on firm, compacted, even ground and no short cuts are taken, then this can still be a great option in your home. If cinder blocks aren’t sealed properly however, or the ground beneath them wasn’t even and compacted prior to building, big problems can arise. Settlement can cause cinder blocks to crack, shift, and leak. It is important to monitor cinder block foundations for changes. Get to know your foundation by inspecting it frequently. This can make the difference between cinder block repair and complete foundation replacement.
There are some benefits to using concrete. Frost resistance concrete is even an option. T-shaped foundations are used where weather is cold as well. A t-shaped footing is installed below the frostline for added support. Slab on grade concrete foundations are common in some areas of the country as well. Again, when done right with no short cuts, these are very strong foundation solutions. Slab foundations, however, can crack and do sometimes require extra supports such as slab piers. Concrete can still shift and crack, and even collapse if voids open up beneath them. If a void opens beneath a concrete foundation it can be a game changer. Void fill with grout is an option in these cases. If you live in an area where sinkholes and voids are common due to soluble rock in the area, it is smart to know the signs, which are very similar to the signs of foundation failure.
Foundation issues can occur regardless of foundation type. It is important to know what kind of foundation you have and the issues that can arise with it. If you think there’s a problem with your foundation, contact us at Epp and we’ll give you a free estimate.