All foundations settle over time but when part of a house settles faster than the rest (this is called differential settling) it creates a problem. Foundation repair is not something a homeowner can do on their own. Foundation repair requires an experienced contractor working with an engineer to develop a plan of repair. If you suspect you have a foundation problem, contact us and we’ll take a look at it for you.
What Causes Settling?
Here in coastal Volusia and Flagler Counties many older homes have poor soil below the slab. Over time water may have intruded and created pockets of space below your house. Poor soil, poor drainage and buried debris below the slab are all common causes of settling. If your house has organic debris below the slab, over time the debris decays. Then air pockets form below the slab and water will find its way into the pockets. Water always finds the path of least resistance. If there is organic debris below your home, you will have a foundation problem at some point. This house had signs of settling for years. When we began excavation we discovered the house had rotting organic debris below the slab and someone had previously tried to repair the foundation and the repair had failed.
Signs of Foundation Problems
One common sign of a foundation problem are cracks in the exterior walls. Other signs may include cracking along interior walls, floor tiles that crack and pop loose, diagonal cracks in interior walls at the corners of the doors and windows, large cracks in the concrete slab and even bowed walls. In extreme cases you may see interior walls pulling away from the ceiling, large cracks in the concrete slab or a noticeable slope to the floor.
Foundation Repair with Helical Piers
There are several ways to repair a foundation. Based on our research and experience, the best system for this part of Florida is the CHANCE® Helical Pier system. Sawgrass has been an authorized dealer of the CHANCE® Helical Pier system since 1991 and we have certified installers on staff. CHANCE® Helical piers have the advantage of quick installation with small equipment, minimal excavation and immediate loading capabilities
What’s a helical pier? It looks like a giant screw. We screw it into the ground until we reach a point of resistance. How deep can it go? As deep as is necessary by adding extensions to the top of the pier. Once we reach a point of resistance, we bolt the helical pier onto the side of the foundation with a bracket.
CHANCE® Helical Pier with Extension
CHANCE® Helical Pier Installed
A Word about Warranties
Most reputable foundation repair companies offer a limited warranty on the work. CHANCE® Helical piers come with a 30-year warranty on parts and Sawgrass offers a 30-year warranty on the labor. The warranty stays with the house, if you sell your home the warranty transfers to the new owners. Chance has been in business since 1912, they stand behind their product and their warranty.
Paperwork can be a hassle, when we finish repairing your foundation we will register your warranty for you and have everything mailed directly to your home.
Foundation stabilization is not just for differential settling, it’s also for new construction. When building a new home, especially along the Florida cost, it may be an advantage to have helical piers installed after the slab is in place, a process known as underpinning. Many local engineers and architects will include helical piers when designing new construction. If you are planning a new home and would like more information please contact us.