Even concrete foundations are not immune to the occasional call for repair and other maintenance procedures. Cracks might have developed, dents may have occurred, and damages may have been made to the material from natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.
When this happens, you basically have two choices for concrete foundation repair: fix the problem yourself, or call for the help of a professional.
Well, which action might work for your situation actually depends on the gravity of the problem. There are some situations where your do-it-yourself skills may work. There are circumstances, however, that are best left to those who have more knowledge about construction and home maintenance.
The proper way to know which approach will be applicable is to pinpoint first the source of the problem.
For examples, minor cracks in the foundations are generally manageable on your own. You can easily find patching compounds from home improvement stores. Most shops have a wide selection of ‘patches’, depending on the type of crack that you are tackling, its size and origin.
Aside from patching compounds, some cracks can also be repaired using a caulking agent. Using a patch or a caulk for repairing cracks on concrete surfaces is pretty easy and only requires skills on following instructions and handling some tools.
Ideally, you just have to clean the crack, remove the residues and follow the steps for the application of the compound. Of course, this is assuming that the crack is just a crack, and not cause by other underlying problems.
On the other hand, bigger cracks often call for professional intervention. These might be because there’s something wrong with the foundation itself, such as problems with the materials underneath it.
Common reasons are rod snapping out of place, water leaking underneath the foundation surface and creating a hollow within the material, or part of the foundation sinking down. Problems like these would call for repair procedures that entail the use of some tools that only professionals are trained to handle.
Among the procedures commonly employed by contractors when doing concrete foundation repair jobs is slab-jacking and hydraulic piering.
Slab-jacking involves the pumping of grout into the void within the foundation, often to level it up. This is mostly used when part of the concrete has sunken down and hence created an unleveled surface. Slab jacks are the common answer for bringing back the stability and strength of concrete foundations.
On the other hand, piering is often used for more extensive foundation damages, particularly when the damaged area is wider. Piering involves the lifting of the concrete beam with the use of mechanical equipment (in the form of jacks) and placing footing and beams in strategic locations beneath it. The beam would be drilled into the foundation and covered with concrete cement.
There are other procedures used by contractors, depending on the problem and you can check them on the Internet. Just a tip when selecting your contractor:
Always check for certification and don’t hesitate to ask outright for all the costs that might be covered by the service.