How Wall Cracks Signal Foundational Issues

At Atlas Piers, we’re proud to provide foundation repair services for settled foundations. Many homes and buildings experience major structural changes as they age, including soil levels in the foundation that may cause shifts or sinking – which in turn will affect the quality of the structure.

One of the most common signs that foundational issues might be present in your building? Cracks in several areas of the structure, including in your indoor walls. Not only are these unsightly to occupants of the space, they also may be signaling that you need foundation repair services as soon as possible. Let’s go over some basics to know on the connection between wall cracks and foundational issues.

wall cracks signal foundational issues

Horizontal Cracks

While wall cracks of any kind are concerning and should be addressed right away, those that are horizontal or angled are the ones that most commonly signal foundational settling issues. This is because most settling takes place due to soil sinking in the foundation, causing the foundation to pull the home itself downward forcefully.

This creates something of a structural tug-of-war. The foundation is pulling the home downward, but the home wants to stay in place. The result you often see first is walls cracking at the seams of where this pressure begins to slowly pull them apart.

Door Frames

The most common area to check for these kinds of cracks will be around your door frames, which will often show damage before other areas of the home. These areas have distinct structural shapes, but these will be impacted and lose their shape during foundation settling.

In addition, your doors and frames could signal foundational issues even if they aren’t visibly cracking. Test for this by opening and closing the door a few times, checking for it sticking or jamming – if so, the frame has been impacted and settling may be occurring.

Crack Width

Once again, any crack you can see with the naked eye on your walls should be addressed immediately. But in terms of those that signal a risk of foundation settlement, we’re generally talking about cracks of greater than a quarter of an inch – these are far outside some of the smaller natural cracks that might appear in some structures, and should be examined by our professionals for structural and foundational damage.

Construction or Foundation?

If you’re noticing a plethora of cracks throughout your home’s walls, including longer cracks that span entire walls or areas, there’s a chance this is due to poor construction of your space. It’s also possible for these to signal the same foundational issues we’ve been discussing here – in either case, this kind of large issue clearly needs a professional inspection ASAP to diagnose the true cause of the issue and address it before it worsens.

For more on what wall cracks are saying about your foundation, or to learn about any of our foundation restoration services, speak to the staff at Atlas Piers today.

Root Causes of Foundation Issues

At Atlas Piers, we’re here for more than just rote foundation repair. While we’ll indeed help you address foundation settling issues with the highest-quality services around, we’ll also assist you with everything from recognizing common foundation warning signs to preventing further issues, even years into the future. 

A part of this involves helping our clients understand the root causes for foundation issues. You may think these have happened to by chance, but that’s not the case – foundation settlement problems take hold over a period of years in most cases, often due to a few possible outside factors. Let’s look at each of these.

causes foundation issues

Drainage Issues

All homes have drainage systems for rain and other moisture, and these have to be configured correctly for several reasons – foundation issues among them. If the draining system isn’t working properly, water may form outside your foundation. The longer it sits, the more it will be able to seep into the soil that makes up your foundation. A little water here is fine, but too much can directly cause foundation settling.

To stop this from happening, ensure your roof is properly sloped in all areas so moisture is filtered toward gutters. Ensure gutters have no blockages at any point, plus that their downspouts are pointed firmly away from the home’s foundation with enough distance that puddling isn’t an issue. 

Soil Conditions

In other cases, the same kinds of moisture concerns may take place in and around your foundation even if your drains and gutters are working properly. This is a particular risk during the current fall period; a very dry summer has led to soil that shrinks, but as soon as rain and snow begins falling, the soil will re-expand. This conversion can lead to settling issues. 

In other cases, certain quadrants of the foundation will have less soil than others. This may cause only certain parts of the foundation to settle while others don’t.

Thirsty Trees or Plants

Trees and various plants get their sustenance through moisture, and if they don’t have enough of it, their roots will reach out into soil in search of more. If these elements grow close to your foundation, their roots may seep into the foundation and dry certain areas of soil too quickly. This will lead to partial settling risks. Luckily, you can avoid this by simply watering all plants and trees properly – if they aren’t thirsty, there won’t be any reason for them to invade your foundation. 

Plumbing Issues

Another source of major unexpected moisture is various plumbing issues, including leaks or cracks. Many plumbing leaks don’t show visible signs until it’s far too late, and moisture may have already seeped into soil. This happening for a long enough period of time can lead to foundation settling problems.

To learn more about the root causes of foundation settling, or for information on any of our foundation repair services, speak to the staff at Atlas Piers today. 

Having Foundation Repair? Here’s How to Prepare Your Home

When your home needs foundation repair, you’ll need to make a lot of decisions and preparations. Fixing structural problems and stabilizing the foundation is a major home improvement, and understanding how to approach your upcoming project can help ensure that the repair goes smoothly.

foundation repair preparation

Before the day of your foundation repair, your professional contractor will explain what to expect and how to prepare for your project. But in case you’re curious, here are a few steps to take to get your home ready.

Remove Your Wall Art

Stabilizing a home foundation requires the use of heavy machinery – which means the walls may vibrate. To prevent framed pictures and artwork from falling and suffering damage, take any wall art down before your foundation repair contractor begins work. 

Safeguard Your Collectibles

The machinery vibrations can also cause your decorative accessories to fall off of their shelves and tables – and you definitely don’t want foundation repair to damage your collectibles. For safety’s sake, pack them up for storage while your home foundation is being stabilized. 

Secure Your Furniture

How stable is your furniture? If you have a tippy television stand, wobbly bookshelf or any other piece that doesn’t quite sit right, take time to secure it in place before the foundation repair contractor arrives and starts using the vibrating machinery.

Protect Your Flooring

If your home has had flooring work done recently, you may need to pull it up temporarily to prevent possible damage. The same goes for carpeting in areas that need interior piers. You might also want to use a self-adhesive film to protect carpets in high-traffic areas.

Relocate Your Outdoor Gear

To repair your home foundation, your professional contractor will need easy access to the perimeter of your house. Before the day of your repair, take a walk around the property and relocate outdoor items — like grills, patio furniture and gardening supplies – that may be in the way.

Prepare Your Plants

Speaking of gardening, you might want to preserve the plants adjacent to the foundation before repair day arrives. Your professional contractor may have to do some digging, and if you don’t remove them, your flowers and shrubs could get trampled or destroyed in the process.

Plan for Your Peace of Mind

Sometimes, for safety, homeowner have to relocate while the foundation is being repaired. But, even if you can stay at home you may prefer to leave the house. The work is rather noisy, and that can disrupt your children and pets — and your personal sanity. You’ll know in advance how long the project will take, so you’ll be able to make plans for a daytime outing or overnight trip to ensure your peace of mind.

If your home needs foundation repair, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is which professional contractor to hire. You need a company with expertise, one with a solid track record of solving structural problems and providing high-quality workmanship. In the Intermountain West, Atlas Piers is that company.

Atlas Piers is a trusted regional industry leader with over 25 years of experience providing affordable high-quality structural support systems for homes and businesses throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. For a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our professional foundation repair contractors, contact us today.

4 Early Warning Signs of Foundation Problem

Foundation problems usually don’t spring up suddenly. The settlement process is gradual, so structural damage often goes unnoticed by homeowners.

But, if you know the early warning signs, you can identify foundation problems before they have a chance to become serious issues, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars to fix. Spot the damage early on and repairs will be much easier – and much less expensive. 

Early warning signs may not be limited to the foundation itself, however. Telltale clues can often be found elsewhere in your home, including the upper floors. 

4 Early Warning Signs of Foundation Problem

No. 1: Water Damage

If you see water damage in or around your home and you can’t find an obvious reason, foundation problems could be to blame. 

Inside the house, be on the lookout for staining, mold and rotted areas in the walls and near plumbing fixtures. Outside, unusually wet ground when it hasn’t rained – or, conversely, parched soil after a heavy rain – could point to an issue with the foundation.

No. 2: Ceiling & Wall Cracks

Cracks in the foundation and inside your home don’t always signal a serious problem with structural integrity, but you should monitor them closely. If you see cracking in your ceilings, drywall or the exterior of your home, you may need foundation repair. 

Be especially wary of cracks radiating diagonally from the corners of windows and doors.

No. 3: Sticking Windows and Doors

Is it a struggle to get your windows and doors to open or close? Humidity might be a factor, but foundation settlement is the more likely reason. Without soil stability, door jams and window frames start to slump and become more difficult to maneuver. 

Pay special attention to problems that develop suddenly.

No. 4: Sloped Floors

Floors that aren’t quite level might be fun for your kids but there’s nothing funny about a sloped floor. Sloping indicates that the foundation is no longer supplying the adequate structural support for your home and that the structure has begun to settle unevenly. 

You might notice the development of cracking or popping of floor tile, a common indication that something of concern may be going on.

Catching Foundation Problems Early

If you notice any early warning signs of a potential foundation problem, contact a local repair contractor as soon as possible. While identifying the issue can be a do-it-yourself task, restoring the integrity and stability of your home definitely requires the expertise of a trained professional.

The structural damage won’t correct itself and as time goes on, the issue will only get worse. The longer you wait for foundation repair, the more you’ll end up paying for the work. Plus, if you leave the problem untreated, you can expect more secondary damage throughout your home, which can potentially become very costly to repair.

Have you spotted early warning signs of foundation problems in your Utah, Nevada or Wyoming home? For a free, no-obligation consultation and estimate from a trusted local repair contractor, turn to the professionals at Atlas Piers.

An Intermountain West industry leader, Atlas Piers has over 25 years of experience repairing structural damage. Our professional team is committed to providing quality workmanship, exceptional customer service, and affordable pricing. If you suspect you have foundation problems, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Foundation Repair: How Long Does It Take?

Foundation repair may take as little as a day or two – or as much as several weeks – to complete. Every project is unique, and several factors go into determining the complexity and duration of the repair.

Your best source of information on how long your repair project will take is a professional local contractor. Most reputable Intermountain West foundation repair companies – including Atlas Piers – offer free consultations and can give you an idea of what time frame you can expect. In the meantime, however, the following guide should help you understand the variables that may influence your repair time.  

foundation repair timeline

Severity of Foundation Damage Dictates Repair Time

The amount of time it takes to stabilize a foundation is directly related to the level of damage present. The greater the settlement, the longer the duration of the project.

Minor settlement damage is much simpler to fix than a complete foundation reconstruction. The latter often requires the installation of several piers – and to accomplish this usually means extensive excavation, which prolongs the repair time. Generally speaking, the more piers that need to be installed, the longer the project will take.

External Factors that Affect Foundation Repair Time

Several other factors can influence the amount of time it takes to repair foundation damage. The following are obstacles that can make a project more complex and time-consuming:

  • Home size – Homes that are two or more stories weigh more, and thus have typically have greater foundation damage, than single-story homes.
  • Surrounding plants and trees – Roots can make excavation more difficult, as does working around existing landscape plants.
  • Weather conditions – Drought or excessively wet weather can create issues with a foundation, affecting the repair time.

What to Do After Foundation Repair

Once your foundation contactors have finished their work, you’ll need to take time to address the issues that caused or contributed to the damage. Otherwise, the problem may return.

For your home foundation to remain stable and secure, experts recommend scheduling a plumbing test. Having a local plumber come out to check your pipes will ensure you have no leaks or damaged underground plumbing lines – both of which can lead to future settlement.

Other steps you may need to take after your settlement repair include fixing or replacing your rain gutter system, grading the land around your home and making repairs to your interior walls and floors.

Would you like more information about the foundation repair process? If you live in Utah, Nevada or Wyoming, contact Atlas Piers for a complimentary, no-pressure consultation. Our professional contractors can give you expert information you need on the projected time and cost for your repair project.

As a trusted Intermountain West industry leader with over 25 years of experience, Atlas Piers is known for providing exceptional service at an affordable price. To schedule a free foundation repair consultation, contact us today.

Should You Buy a Home that Needs Foundation Repair?

Does your dream home need foundation repair?

Should You Buy a Home that Needs Foundation Repair?

Most potential buyers steer clear of homes that have foundation damage, as they fear that fixing the problem will be costly. In some cases, buyers are right to forego the purchase – but not always. Under the right circumstances, buying a home that needs foundation repair may be a wise investment.  

Why You Should Consider Buying a Home with Foundation Damage

Why would anyone buy a house that needs foundation repair? Two reasons: reduced cost and the ability to oversee the repairs that restore structural stability. 

If you agree to purchase a home that has existing foundation damage, you’ll likely enjoy significant cost savings. You may even be able to get your dream home for a fraction of the price, even after you add in the cost of repair work. Few buyers are willing to take on this challenge and sellers are often grateful to find a ready, willing and able buyer.

If you buy a home with existing damage, you’ll be in control of the repair. You can choose the best local foundation contractor, ensuring that your home will remain stable and secure for many years to come. 

What to Do Before Committing to the Home Purchase

Unfortunately, not every home with foundation damage is a wise investment. Before signing on the dotted line, you need to know what you’re getting into, in terms of foundation repair cost.

To determine the cost of repairs, schedule a consultation with a professional foundation contractor. Without an in-person inspection, no contractor can accurately estimate the cost. Don’t forget to factor in the costs of fixing other foundation-related damage to the home, such as wall cracks, shifted plumbing lines, problematic drainage systems and landscaping issues.

Once you know the estimated repair price, you can use the information as a negotiating point when submitting an offer on the home. 

Why Prompt Foundation Repair Is Essential

If you decide to go ahead and buy your dream home despite the foundation damage, make sure to have the repair work done as soon as possible. While you might think you can wait a year or two before investing in repairs, doing so could be a costly mistake.

Left unrepaired, a relatively small foundation problem can grow into a much bigger problem and, the greater the damage, the more you’ll have to pay to get it fixed. So, don’t commit to the home purchase unless you are prepared to have the repairs completed immediately after closing.

If your Utah, Nevada or Wyoming dream home has foundation damage, consult with the trusted foundation repair contractors at Atlas Piers.

With more than 25 years of experience, the Atlas Piers team can provide you with an expert structural damage assessment and estimate to restore your dream home’s stability. To find out if that house you love is worth buying, contact us today to schedule your foundation repair consultation.

Are Foundation Cracks Always a Serious Problem?

Foundation cracks are never a welcome sight for homeowners. After all, cracking can be a sign of significant structural damage, which can require costly repairs. 

cracked bowed sidewalk

However, many Utah, Nevada and Wyoming homes built of brick, concrete and block develop foundation cracks over time. And, fortunately, cracking doesn’t always indicate a serious problem. 

While every crack in a home’s foundation should be carefully monitored and eventually treated to head off further damage and costly repairs, some types of cracking are worse than others. If you’ve noticed a crack or two around your home and want to know what you’re up against, a foundation repair contractor can shed more light on the extent of the problem.  

Hairline Foundation Cracks

Hairline cracks in the mortar between bricks or concrete blocks are typically a result of the curing process. This type of cracking is common and, in most cases, isn’t a cause for immediate alarm. However, if one begins to expand, prompt crack repair can help prevent more extensive and costly damage.

Vertical Foundation Cracks

Vertical cracks, which often appear within a few years of home construction, are also common. Cracking of this nature isn’t likely to cause structural issues for a home, but should be addressed to ward off potential water seepage. Most vertical cracks are easy and inexpensive to repair and seal.

Stair-Step Masonry Cracks

Stair-step cracking in masonry joints are a concern, as they can signal a moisture problem in the soil around the foundation. Cracks that are wider than a quarter-inch, and those that are accompanied by bulging in the wall or foundation, pose the biggest threat to your home’s structural integrity and should be repaired as soon as possible.

Diagonal Foundation Cracks

Diagonal cracking generally appears when a fracture spreads and may mean that the soil is exerting too much pressure on the outside of the wall. To avert further spreading and structural damage, diagonal cracks need to be professionally stabilized and reinforced.

Horizontal Foundation Cracks

Horizontal cracking is caused by repeated soil expansion and contraction, and it usually indicates a serious structural problem. These cracks are symptomatic of an unstable home foundation and, left alone, can cause the walls to bulge or even snap. Repairs for horizontal cracking can be extensive and expensive, but immediate professional attention is a must to prevent the home’s structural integrity from being compromised.

Are you concerned about the cracking around your home’s foundation? If you live in Utah, Nevada or Wyoming, the professional contractors at Atlas Piers can provide a complimentary damage assessment and expert advice on your best course of action.

As a trusted local industry leader with over 25 years of experience, Atlas Piers is known for providing high-quality service at an affordable price. Contact us today for a free, no-hassle consultation and evaluation of your foundation cracks.

Can Foundation Damage Result from Clogged Gutters?

Foundation damage can result from a variety of sources, including expansive soils and poor construction materials and practices. But did you know that something as seemingly innocuous as clogged gutters can also cause foundation settling and damage

Can Foundation Damage Result from Clogged Gutters?

If your gutter system doesn’t function as it should, rainwater and melting snow won’t flow away from your home. Over time, clogged gutters can lead to serious damage and settlement problems that require the services of a professional foundation repair contractor

How Do Clogged Gutters Cause Foundation Damage?

Your gutter system is designed to catch the rain and melting snow that run off the roof and channel the water away from your house. If your gutters get clogged with leaves or debris, however, they’ll overflow and allow that water will pool around your home’s foundation.

Pooling water saturates the soil, which greatly stresses the sides of your home. This added pressure can eventually cause the basement walls to crack and buckle inward.

Over time, clogged gutters can also lead to erosion of the soil, which is a major cause of foundation settlement. As the water drains away, so does the underlying soil – and that results in sunken floors, cracked walls and other interior damage.

Preventing Drainage-Related Foundation Settlement

The first step in preventing drainage-related settlement is to be proactive in cleaning out your home’s gutters and downspouts. Check your gutter system for clogs on a routine basis and after heavy storms, removing debris before it has a chance to create a blockage. Take care of any clogged gutters promptly

You should also inspect the gutter system periodically, making sure the attachments are secure, the joints are adequately sealed and the downspouts are directed at least 5 and 10 feet away from your home. 

In addition, you may want to consider installing gutter guards. Guards can’t prevent all drainage-related foundation problems, but they can make gutter maintenance much less time-consuming. 

Other Tips to Prevent Foundation Damage

To protect your home against foundation settlement, make sure the yard is graded properly. If the soil doesn’t slope away from the house, contact a local landscaper or excavation contractor to have the property regraded.

Tree and shrub roots can also create problems for your home’s foundation. Consider removing any large plants that are near the perimeter of your house, or install root barriers to help prevent foundation damage.

Settlement often occurs as a result of soil expansion and contraction. Keeping the soil at a constant moisture level can help avoid damage. So, if you see a gap between the edge of the soil and your foundation walls, gently add water until the dirt expands to close the gap. Adding small native plants with low water needs around your home’s perimeter can also help stop soil settlement.

Have clogged gutters or drainage issues already created problems in the basement or with the foundation of your Utah, Nevada or Wyoming home? Taking care of repairs sooner rather than later is critical if you want to prevent foundation damage from getting worse. 

For expert foundation repair service at an affordable price, turn to Atlas Piers. As a trusted industry leader with over 25 years of experience providing high-quality support systems, our professional team has the skill to restore your home’s integrity. 

Contact Atlas Piers today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and foundation damage assessment.

Free Foundation Inspections? What’s the Catch? 

Can you really get a free foundation inspection? There must be some kind of catch, right? 

free foundation inspections

Although most service businesses don’t offer much of anything for free these days, reputable foundation repair contractors often don’t charge a fee for performing structural assessments and repair estimates. 

When you schedule a foundation inspection with Atlas Piers, you can trust that it will come with no strings attached.

Why Do We Offer Free Foundation Inspections?

Foundation repair contractors are trying to earn a living, just like everyone. So why would we give away our services for free?

We offer this valuable service to homeowners at no cost because we know that you have many concrete repair contractors to choose from in the Intermountain West and we would like the opportunity to show you what we can do.

Because we have a variety of repair methods available to us – such as helical piers, resistance and tiebacks – we take the time to explain your options and which method(s) we recommend for your foundation settling.

At Atlas Piers, we are committed to helping potential customers make fully-informed decisions, which is why we take the time to discuss our findings and answer your questions.

How Do We Estimate Foundation Repair Costs?

Professional contractors consider a number of factors when estimating a project’s cost.

Your property’s terrain, slope and soil conditions can affect the total price, as can the type of foundation construction you have, the materials used and the history of the site. Hidden obstacles, like tree roots or deep footings, may also contribute to the cost. The price is also likely to be higher if supporting piers or critical components were omitted during construction.

Our estimate will also factor in any other necessary project expenses, such as a building permit, a soil report from a geotechnical engineer or an evaluation from a structural engineer.

Moving Forward with Your Foundation Repair

If you choose to move ahead with your foundation repair, Atlas Piers will use the project estimate as the basis of your service contract with us. Of course, before you sign on the dotted line, you’ll have a chance to ask questions and request clarification. We want you to feel comfortable before you make the decision to hire our team.

Once you give us the go-ahead, we typically request a financial commitment. But, don’t worry if you don’t have enough cash to cover the cost. We’ll work with you to find a way to pay for your repair project. 

Our professional contractors can explain all of your financing options. A home equity loan or line of credit might be your best bet, or you may be eligible for a government-backed home improvement loan. For some homeowners, a personal bank loan or unsecured, interest-free credit card is the answer. Rest assured, we’ll work to make sure that foundation repair is affordable.

Atlas Piers offers complimentary, no-pressure structural assessments and foundation repair estimates to homeowners and businesses throughout Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. Contact us to schedule your free foundation inspection today.