After Foundation Repair, Take These 4 Steps

Foundation crack repair can be stressful, disruptive and costly, particularly if your home has significant structural damage. So, naturally, you’ll want the repairs to last as long as possible. 

Foundation Repair

The key to protecting your foundation after having it repaired – and providing a stable, solid base for your home for many years to come – is to address the issues that contributed to your settlement problem in the first place. 

After foundation repair, experts recommend taking the following steps to make sure you don’t have to go through this again.

No. 1: Schedule a Plumbing Test

Plumbing leaks can infiltrate the soil under your home and lead to foundation settlement. But, even if you don’t have a problem with your pipes before having the repair work done, you might after the job is finished.

Lifting and stabilizing your home foundation can shift and damage plumbing lines buried underground. To make sure that your pipes are in tip-top condition after foundation repair, contact a local professional plumber and schedule a hydrostatic plumbing test.

No. 2: Check Your Rain Gutter System

Problems with your gutters can also contribute to foundation settlement. Your rain gutter system needs to funnel water away from your home – if it doesn’t, you can look forward to future structural damage due to the increased water content in the soil.

After foundation repair, check your rain gutters and fix or replace any that are sagging or damaged. While you’re at it, make sure that your downspouts are directed far enough away from your home. You may also want to install gutter guards to protect against clogs, as clogged gutters can overflow and send water right down into your foundation. 

No. 3: Improve Your Landscaping

Once repairs to your foundation are completed, you’ll need to take a look at your landscaping. Tree roots and improper grading could create issues in the future, so now’s the time to make any necessary landscape improvements.

If the land surrounding your home is flat or slopes toward the house, grading the lot could help you avoid drainage-related foundation damage. You should also take a look at any shrubs and trees planted along your home’s perimeter – they may need to be moved further away, or you might need to install root barriers to prevent the roots from growing under the foundation.

No. 4: Make Interior Repairs

Repairing your foundation can work to close up some of the cracks in your interior walls, but it won’t make them invisible. It also won’t fix the cracks or warped areas in your flooring.

You can fix your interior walls and floors yourself after foundation repair, or hire a local contractor for the job. But, you may want to wait a few weeks before getting started on cosmetic interior repairs. That way, you can be sure that the soil won’t settle further and cause further damage. 

Another secret to long-lasting foundation repair? Hire an experienced contractor – like the professionals at Atlas Piers – to complete the work. 

The Atlas Piers team has a 25-year history of providing high-quality service at an affordable price to homeowners throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. For a free, no-pressure consultation and expert answers to your questions about foundation repair, contact us today.  

How Foundation Problems Can Affect Your Business

Does your commercial building have foundation problems? Speedy foundation repair is a must to prevent the damage from getting worse, and to limit the effect it has on your business.

Structural issues within a building can cost a business in several ways. You might begin to lose customers, or someone could face a serious injury. And, if you put off having it repaired, your foundation problems may have a significant impact on your bottom line. 

Foundation Problems

You Could Lose Customers 

Sloping floors, cracks in the walls, gaps around the windows and door frames – all of these signs of foundation problems can be obstacles to customer acquisition. 

Everyone expects a certain level of comfort and security when visiting a business. Perception matters and, if your building is in disrepair, customers may not have confidence in your company. 

They may perceive that, if you don’t have the time or resources to fix obvious structural issues in your facility, they may not be able rely on your products or professional services.

You Could Face Legal Action

Do your interior floors, outdoor walkways or parking lot have cracks from foundation settlement? Cracks aren’t just eyesores – they’re trip and fall hazards.

If you don’t have the foundation repaired, one of your customers could suffer an accident and become seriously injured. They are likely to then sue your business. If they win, the courts will compel you to pay for medical care, lost wages and even pain and suffering. 

And, once word gets out to the media, your business reputation may be damaged. So, aside from legal and injury-related costs, you could end up paying the price in with other customers.

Your Property Value May Drop

You might not plan on selling or leasing your commercial building now, but unrepaired foundation problems will be a thorn in your side when you do decide to make a move.

The resale value of your building will be far less if structural issues are present, and you may have trouble even finding an interested buyer or tenant. With all the other commercial properties on the market, why would anyone choose a building that needs foundation repair?

You Could Face High Foundation Repair Costs 

Solving foundation problems can be a major business expense, so commercial property owners may put off getting repairs. However, too much of a delay can actually drive up the costs.

When structural issues are left unrepaired, the damage continues to worsen as time goes on. And, as the problems spread, the price of foundation repair rises.

Don’t let foundation problems affect your Utah, Nevada or Wyoming business. Let the professionals at Atlas Piers restore the integrity of your commercial building. Our team has the skill and expertise to complete timely, effective and affordable foundation repair with minimal disruption to your business. 

For over 25 years, commercial property owners have trusted Atlas Piers for the highest quality structural support systems. Contact us today and schedule a free, no-pressure inspection and estimate to repair your foundation problems. 

How Foundation Damage Is Caused by Tree Roots

Tree roots can cause foundation damage – and often do – that threatens the structural integrity of your home. 

Tree roots can wreak havoc in a number of ways. Below, we explore some of these common problems and offer professional advice on how to prevent tree-related structure damage. 

How Foundation Damage Is Caused by Tree Roots

Tree Roots Can Grow Under the Foundation

Physical contact between trees and foundations is a common cause of structural damage.

Tree roots can extend outward into the soil more than three times the height of the tree. So, if you have any trees near your home, their roots are likely to be growing under or along foundation.

In many cases, pier-and-beam designs can handle root growth better than slab-on-grade designs, as they can more easily absorb the pressure. Trees that are larger and longer-lived pose more of a threat but any trees can grow in such a way as to cause damage to any home’s foundation.

Tree Roots Take Water from the Foundation Soil

Large trees can pull dozens of gallons of water per day from the soil that underlies your home.

Trees need water to survive so, if your area isn’t getting much precipitation, you will have to provide water in the form of a sprinkler system or manual watering. Unless you give them regular watering, the roots will seek out moisture in the soil, pulling it from under the structure. Over time, the dry, underlying soils compact, resulting in settlement and foundation damage.

Decaying Tree Roots Can Cause Foundation Damage

Even dead trees and trees that have been removed can also pose a problem.

This happens when the root systems of dead trees rot within the soil. And, with removed trees, the roots are left behind. In either case, as the roots decay, air spaces are created in their place. The soil then shifts to fill the voids, and the foundation settles and becomes damaged.

How to Prevent Foundation Damage from Tree Roots

Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent tree-related foundation damage.

Avoid planting new trees too close to your house. For trees already in place, you can have the roots trimmed or install root barriers. Removal isn’t always the right answer, as the resulting soil changes may have a long-term effect on foundation stability.

In addition, make sure you give your trees enough water. That way, their roots won’t go in search of moisture in the soil beneath your home. Don’t overdo the watering, however, as too much water could also damage your foundation and harm the tree.

If you suspect you may have tree-related foundation damage, it’s imperative that you have it evaluated as soon as possible. The professional foundation settlement contractors at Atlas Piers, a trusted industry leader for over 25 years, can thoroughly evaluate your property and determine if trees have compromised the structural integrity of your home foundation.

Atlas Piers offers complimentary, hassle-free inspection and repair estimates to homeowners throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. To schedule your foundation damage consultation, contact us today. 

Foundation Repair and Buying a New Home: Do Your Homework

Many home sellers handle foundation repair before putting their property on the market because they know a problem-free home will bring a better price in a shorter timeframe. However, some sellers do not take this proactive stance.

Buying a house after any necessary foundation work has been done can save you time, money and major headaches later on. That’s why you should never take a home seller’s word on these critical repairs.

foundation repair new home

Before signing on the dotted line, protect your interests by making sure you have copies of all important documents related to foundation repair work.

Original Foundation Repair Agreement

Request a copy of the original repair agreement, as this document gives you the details about the work that was done. Read the terms and conditions carefully, making sure that any warranties or guarantees are transferable. 

Don’t forget to check into the foundation contractor who completed the work. Are they still in business? Do they have a good reputation for quality service? 

Scale Drawing of the Foundation Repair Work

Along with the repair agreement, foundation contractors provide homeowners with scale drawings that illustrate the scope of their repair work. Get a copy of this drawing, as it shows exactly where the piers and footings were repaired. This is essential information because it defines what’s covered under the warranty.

Foundation Repair Warranty

Speaking of the warranty, you need to have a copy – and you must make sure the company is still around to honor it. Read the fine print and get a solid understanding of the coverage terms as well as the causes for warrantable action to be taken. 

Don’t hesitate to contact the company if you have questions about the foundation warranty.

Third-Party Engineering Report for the Foundation Repairs

A third-party engineering report documents the repair work and verifies that everything was completed according to code. 

This important report should also show the final home elevation levels after repair, which you may need for future property improvements. You can also opt to hire your own structural engineer during the home inspection process to confirm that any foundation settlement has been properly repaired.

If you can’t get all of these documents, or if are you unsure about the quality of the repairs, you may want to reconsider your home purchase, as you could have more difficulty with future repair work. And you’ll be in for a bigger hassle – or even potential legal liability – if you decide to sell the property in the future.

For more information, or to schedule your own professional foundation inspection, contact Atlas Piers. Trusted by homeowners and businesses throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming for over 25 years, the Atlas Piers team can answer all of your questions about foundation repair.  

How Much Does Foundation Repair Cost?

Everyone who needs foundation repair wants to know about cost. And that’s not surprising, since structural issues have a reputation for being expensive to correct.

However, as any responsible contractor will tell you, estimating the price to fix a damaged or settled foundation is impossible without an in-person inspection. Many variables play a part in determining the scope of any repair project, so cost cannot be predicted.

Foundation Repair Cost

The good news? Not all repairs involve major reconstructions. So, the cost to fix your foundation may not be as high as you fear. 

Factors that Affect the Cost for Foundation Repair

The price you pay for foundation repair will depend upon your particular situation. 

Generally speaking, the smaller the structural problem and the easier it is to access the settled portion of the foundation, the less you’ll be charged for repair work. But, several other factors can also impact the overall cost.

The type of foundation you have and the level of instability of the soil underneath can affect the price. And, if hidden obstacles are present – such as tree roots or deep footings – the cost will be higher. 

In addition to the complexity of fixing the problem, other variables can add to the cost. For example, many projects require building permits, evaluations from structural engineers and soil reports from geotechnical engineers. And, if you live in an earthquake-prone area, you can expect to pay more for structural repair work. 

What Other Homeowners Pay for Foundation Repair

Still want to know the average cost to repair a foundation? 

According to HomeAdvisor.com, an online home improvement marketplace, the national average cost for foundation repair is $3,963.

But, this alone doesn’t paint a clear picture of what homeowners actually pay for repair work – there’s quite a wide price range.

On the low end, fixing a small crack might cost just $500. For a home that needs major foundation work, the repair can cost upwards of $11,000 – and some projects can run much more than that.

Foundation Repair Financing Options

Worried about how you’ll pay for foundation repair? You don’t have to have cash in the bank – several financing options are available.

A home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC) may be a good option if you’re in a position to borrow against the equity of your home. If not, depending upon your circumstances, you may be able to get a government loan through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Rural Housing Service (RHS).

You could also consider getting a personal loan from your bank or credit union. Or, split the repair work into equal payments by using a new unsecured, interest-free credit card. Many foundation contractors also offer attractive financing options.

At Atlas Piers, we understand that the cost of fixing your foundation problems is a big concern. Rest assured, we strive to provide high-quality work and exceptional service at an affordable price. To schedule a free inspection and estimate for foundation repair in Utah, Nevada or Wyoming, contact us today.

Why You Need a Plumbing Test After Foundation Repair

Foundation repair is no simple process. In fact, from start to finish, the project can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

One important step in the repair process isn’t actually handled by the foundation contractor, but by a professional plumber instead. After the piers are installed and the structure of the home is stabilized, a special plumbing test is typically required.

plumbing test

Here are the important reasons why a plumbing test necessary after foundation repair and some general information on how the process works. 

Foundation Repair Can Create Plumbing Problems

Your home’s plumbing system is hidden in the walls and ceilings – and within the foundation. Many of the pipes that carry water and sewage are buried deep underground.

As you can imagine, shifting the foundation can cause the plumbing to shift. In some cases, the pipes can become damaged when the home is lifted and stabilized.

And, of course, problems with the plumbing could be the reason you needed foundation repair in the first place. Plumbing leaks are a major cause of foundation damage, as water infiltration can create changes in the soil.

Regardless, to ensure all your pipes are in good shape after foundation repair, you’ll need to get a hydrostatic plumbing test.

How the Hydrostatic Plumbing Test Works

Essentially, this test puts your plumbing system under tremendous pressure in order to detect foundation leaks.

To perform the test, an inflatable ball is inserted into the main sewer line, either through an outside cleanout (a pipe that sticks up from the ground, located close to the home) or through the drain system under a first-floor toilet. Then, the system is filled with water, which may be dyed to aid in leak detection.

The water level is then carefully monitored for 20 minutes. If the level drops, a leak exists. 

What if the Test Reveals a Leak?

If the test indicates that you have a leak, you’ll need to have the plumbing damage repaired. 

Fixing the leak will help preserve the foundation and protect your home’s stability for years to come. But, that’s not the only reason to schedule plumbing line repairs.

Leaks can lead to very costly foundation damage in the future. So, contractors who warranty their work usually require homeowners to repair leaks. If you fail to get a plumbing test, or if you ignore the results, you may not have a valid warranty. 

Atlas Piers, an industry leader for over 25 years, offers free inspections and estimates to homeowners throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. For professional advice and assistance with all of your foundation repair needs, contact us today.  

5 Ways Homeowners Create Foundation Problems

Most foundation problems are the result of changes in soil conditions. Throughout the year, soil expands and contracts due to fluctuations in moisture and temperature levels. Over time, this constant shifting and settlement in the soil eventually lead to foundation failure.  

Foundation Problems

Mother Nature and errors made in the construction process are typically to blame for problems with house foundations. But, in some cases, the homeowners themselves contribute to the problem.

No. 1: Planting too Close to the Foundation

Flowers and shrubs certainly look beautiful growing around your home, but planting too close to the foundation can cause problems.

When plants are placed too close to the house, the roots may grow into and damage the home’s structural supports. Installing root barriers can help prevent this from happening, but experts recommend keeping plants a safe distance from the foundation.  

No. 2: Overwatering the Lawn

The unpredictable weather in the Intermountain West leads many homeowners to overwater their lawns. Overwatering puts pressure on the foundation walls, which can cause them to swell and crack.

Lawns don’t need as much water as you might think. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for about one inch per week, spread over three or four days. Using an automatic sprinkler system with a rainfall sensor makes proper watering easier. Or, you could just pay attention the grass. 

When footprints remain after walking on the lawn, it’s time to water. 

No. 3: Poor Water Drainage

Poorly graded yards and inadequate drainage systems are frequently to blame for foundation problems.

If the land around your home doesn’t slope down and away, rainwater and melting snow can seep in near the structural supports and cause the soil to settle. Damaged or improperly installed gutters and downspouts can also direct water into the soil and create foundation problems.

No. 4: Improper Swimming Pool Installation

In-ground swimming pools are a popular property upgrade, but some homeowners fail to consider the foundation when planning their pool installation.

During installation, your pool contractor will take appropriate care to ensure that the pool is watertight. However, because concrete is porous, pool shells can leak. Or, in time, the pool can develop tiny cracks, due to soil settlement. 

If your pool is too close to the house, these leaks may make foundation problems inevitable.

No. 5: Remodeling Projects

Homeowners who are planning interior remodeling projects don’t always think about structural support. But big changes to the house design can lead to foundation problems.

Removing supporting (load-bearing) walls can shift the load of the house and put extra pressure on certain parts of the foundation. Adding a room addition, porch or patio can have the same effect. Before starting any major remodeling project, consult with a foundation contractor or structural engineer to evaluate the potential change in structural load.

Do you think you may have foundation settlement? It’s better to find out now, because correction will be easier and more cost-effective than it will be if you wait until the damage worsens. The professionals at Atlas Piers offer free inspections to homeowners throughout Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. For professional advice and assistance with foundation problems, contact us today.

Top 10 Warning Signs of Foundation Damage

If you have foundation damage, professional repair is the only way to keep the problems from worsening. If you wait too long, your home could develop serious structural issues or even become uninhabitable.

foundation damage

But how do you know if your foundation needs to be repaired? Keep an eye out for the warning signs, and you may catch the problem before it goes too far.

No. 1: Cracks and Bows in Walls

Vertical or horizontal cracks in concrete walls or drywall may indicate that your home has foundation problems. The same goes for bowed or bucking walls, a common issue in basements.

No. 2: Cracks in the Floor

Cracks running through your concrete floors are a big red flag for foundation problems. Garages, basements and porches often crack as a result of settlement pressure.

No. 3: Cracks in Foundation Blocks or Bricks

When settlement occurs, foundation blocks or bricks frequently develop cracks. The bricks can crack vertically, horizontally or in a stair-step pattern.

No. 4: Sagging or Uneven Floors

Do certain areas of your floor creak? Settlement can also cause floors to sag or become uneven. The slope isn’t always easily visible, but a squeaky floor is hard to miss.

No. 5: Doors and Windows that Stick

Sometimes, humidity can cause doors and windows to swell, causing problems with opening and closing. In many cases, however, foundation settlement is the real culprit.

No. 6: Gaps around Door and Window Frames

Even if your doors and windows don’t stick, you could still have foundation problems if you see separations around their frames. Settlement often creates gaps, mainly on the exterior frame supports.

No. 7: Displaced Crown Molding

If the crown molding near your ceiling has started to pull away, foundation settlement could be the reason. Instability in your home’s structural support can cause separation at the corners or cracks in the wood.

No. 8: Cabinets that Separate from the Wall

Do any of your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room cabinets or countertops seem to be pulling away from the wall? Settlement makes walls and floors uneven, which can affect your installed cabinets and counters.

No. 9: Moisture in the Basement or Crawl Space

Foundation cracks can allow moisture to seep inside. If your basement or crawl space is wet, smells musty or has mold growth, settlement may have occurred.

No. 10: A Cracked Chimney

Your chimney is far from the foundation, but settlement in the soil can make it unstable. As a result, the chimney bricks can crack. Or, the entire chimney can develop a noticeable lean.

What to Do If You Find Evidence of Foundation Damage

Foundation problems happen over time, and many warning signs appear just as gradually. So, you may not even notice much of a problem unless you really look. Foundation settlement contractors recommend that you inspect your home inside and out several times each year. If your home is older, or if you have had problems in the past, an annual professional inspection is a great way to catch problems before they get out of hand.

If you suspect your home has settled – or if you’d like the peace of mind in knowing your foundation is structurally sound – schedule your professional consultation. Atlas Piers offers complimentary inspections and repair estimates to homeowners throughout Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. Solving foundation problems is our specialty, so contact us today.

What Causes Foundation Problems?

Foundation problems are a major cause of concern for many homeowners. No one wants to live in a house that isn’t structurally sound, yet repairs can be costly.

Doors and windows that stick or fail to close completely and cracks appearing on the inside or outside of your home are common warning signs of foundation damage. A leaning chimney, sagging front porch and bowed or sloped walls or floors could also indicate a problem.

foundation problems

But what causes these structural issues?

Foundation Problems are Soil Problems

In most cases, the foundation itself isn’t the source of your settlement problems. Though age or improper construction could play a part in some damage, a house foundation doesn’t just shift, settle or crack on its own.

The real culprit is the soil underneath the home.

Homes are not usually built on land with perfect soil conditions. Many houses throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming are built upon expansive soils, which can shrink and swell. As the soil volume changes, the foundation moves. This movement can eventually lead to cracks and other damage.

Foundation Problems are Caused by Water

The soil expands and contracts as a result of changes in moisture content.

Expansive soil contains a high percentage of clay, which absorbs water easily. When it rains or snows, the soil soaks up the water and swells, pushing upwards on the foundation. Then, as the moisture dries up, the soil shrinks back down and the foundation settles.

Drainage issues can also contribute to the problem. Damaged or misdirected downspouts and gutters can dump extra water into the soil closest to your home, oversaturating it and increasing the chance of damage. Having trees, shrubs and plants too close to the foundation can also cause a problem, especially if you overwater these plants.

Cracks and Identifying Foundation Problems

As we mentioned, homeowners with foundation damage often see cracks. Cracks can appear inside, on the walls near the doors, windows or ceiling. Or, the exterior concrete may develop cracking.

Cracks may point to the need for repair. However, contrary to popular belief, they don’t usually indicate the location of your structural problem.

Cracks are like hinges that appear at relief points of movement for the foundation. Shifting and settling in the soil under one part of the home often causes cracking to occur elsewhere.

To find out the source of your foundation problems, you’ll need to have a professional contractor perform an inspection. At the same time, you can request a repair estimate.

The professional team at Atlas Piers offers complimentary consultations to homeowners throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. To learn more or to schedule an inspection for foundation problems, contact us today.

Foundation Settling and the Influence of Soil Conditions

Foundation settling, gone unchecked, can present a significant problem for Utah homeowners.

Foundation Settlement Prevention

Our state’s notoriously poor soils conditions contribute to that problem, and they add to the challenge of foundation repair

How a Home’s Design Affects Foundation Settling

When foundation settlement occurs in a newer home, the homeowner is often quick to point fingers at the architect and contractor. Blaming poor design, faulty construction methods or both, the homeowner often pursues resolution in court.

What they often find, however, is the foundation settling is not the fault of the home’s design or construction methods. Rather, some type of soil issue is to blame in most cases. 

If the problem can be traced to improper soils testing or compaction, the homeowner may have recourse against the contractor. In many cases, however, the problem can be traced to something else.

Utah Soil Conditions and Foundation Settling

In Utah, we are fortunate to enjoy a wide variety of topography and four dazzling seasons. Unfortunately, these are the primary reasons for our abysmal soil conditions. 

Clay soils are the worst enemy of your home’s foundation and – as you might guess – we have lots of clay in our soil. Sandy soils allow moisture to pass through without shifting or changing the nature of the dirt. Clay, on the other hand, absorbs water and expands. When the water dries out, the clay contracts.

The changing of the seasons can exacerbate the problem as well, as the freezing and thawing cycle can also cause the foundation to shift.

Watch for Warning Signs

If you can confront the risk factors around your home to prevent foundation settling, you have little to worry about. Even if you can catch the problem early, it will be much easier to deal with.

Inside your home, keep an eye out for cracks in the drywall, especially those that appear suddenly. Those that radiate diagonally from the corners of door and windows are the ones that most likely indicate a settlement issue.

Take note also if you have a door or window that suddenly starts sticking or won’t shut all the way.

Outside, watch for cracks in your exterior walls that look like stair steps, or that run diagonally to the corners of window or door openings. Along your foundation, watch for new or worsening cracks.

In the basement, be on the lookout for cracks, leaks or bowed walls. If you have a crawl space under your home, watch for bows in the structural support members.

You can also contact a local foundation settlement company to provide an inspection. Atlas Piers provides foundation support systems and foundation repair in Utah as well as Wyoming and Nevada.

Contact us today to discuss your home and any concerns you may have about potential foundation settling.