Follow the tabs below to find where foundation problems may be affecting various parts of your home. Then read about how Foundation Systems of Michigan (FSM) can make your problems disappear. As experienced foundation and structural repair contractors, FSM is a premier foundation repair company that has consulted with thousands of homeowners to design effective solutions for bowing walls, foundation wall cracks, sticking doors, tilting chimneys and other common foundation failures.
Foundations can stay put for centuries. Or, they can begin moving shortly after they were built. Movement is detrimental to foundations, to the rest of your house, and to your wallet as well. It can be caused by several forces, the most common of which is gravity. If the soil beneath your house is too weak, gravity will cause the foundation to sink. As this often happens unevenly, cracking can result. Erosion, including sinkholes, and inadequate footings can also allow gravity to have its way with foundations. Learn about how we can solve these problems.
If your foundation, or a portion of it, has settled, FSM can return it to its original level position with the use of various types of piers and brackets. Piers are driven to stable soil depths and brackets are fitted to the piers. Then hydraulic jacks are used to move your house back to level.
As foundations settle, or are pushed or thrust in various directions, major cracks in masonry are likely to develop. Our experts can “read” cracks and tell you a lot about what’s causing them. Horizontal, vertical, stair-step patterns, and crack size and location are worth a million words! Allow an FSM expert to diagnose your foundation problem today.
When walls are pushed sideways, typically by soil with high clay content as it becomes saturated, they may bow, tilt or slide at the base. In extreme situations, they may buckle or even collapse. FSM will help you take action to alleviate the pressure affecting your wall. We also have various anchors and braces that will stabilize the wall and in many cases, straighten it.
Cracks often appear in concrete slabs as well as in walls. They may be due to house settlement (the foundation settles but the slab doesn’t) or because supporting soils under the slab have been washed away (often due to a broken drain pipe). Expansive soils under the slab may be the culprit. Whatever the reason, FSM can use a variety of techniques to reverse the damage and prevent it from occurring again.
Crawl space foundations and slabs (when there is one) can experience many of the same problems as basement foundations. The problems, however, are compounded by two things. Sometimes the crawl space floor is simply bare earth, and typically homeowners do not visit crawl spaces nearly as often as the do basements. These factors result in situations where moisture, rot, and insects can attack the underpinnings of a home without you being aware of it for years.
Rot and insect damage, even when it doesn’t appear to be severe, can weaken posts and beams to the point where they may begin to sag. FSM recommends CleanSpace encapsulation systems to eliminate the conditions that allow rot-causing fungus and wood-munching insects to thrive.
Crawl space mold and dust mites don’t cause structural problems, but they can cause respiratory problems for everyone living in your house. FSM understands the different types of microorganisms that may be affecting your family, and knows how to fight them. Ask us about our high-capacity, self-draining, Energy-Star rated dehumidifier. It eliminates the moisture mold needs to grow and also filters out particles as small as 2 microns.
It’s surprisingly common to find structural support posts that are sinking, have shifted their positions, or that were inadequately placed during construction. Because these posts support the beams and joists that hold up your house, the result is sagging floors and related problems throughout your home. FSM can quickly install adjustable SmartJack™ supports to stabilize the situation and often lift the beams and joists back to level.
Foundation problems often trigger a host of seemingly unrelated problems throughout the house. As structural underpinnings settle or move, so does the rest of the framing. Wallboard, floors, windows, and doors can all be adversely affected.
For doors and windows to operate properly, it’s critical that their openings be square and plumb. As soon as these openings shift, which they will when foundation settlement occurs, windows jam and doors no longer latch. FSM knows that by re-leveling the foundation, nearly all such problems with go away.
Homeowners often live with sloped floors, considering them to be “part of the charm” of living in an older house. Uneven floors, however, may be a symptom of greater problems, including a settling foundation, sinking support posts, and rot- and insect-damaged framing. Sloped floors also increase the risks of tripping and furniture toppling. Besides, what’s charming to a homeowner may not be to a homebuyer. Call FSM today to find out how we can stabilize and re-level your floors.
Cracks in interior walls may be warnings of more serious problems. Sinking and settling in the basement may cause floor joists to sag. Partitions that rest on the joists may also sag, resulting in stresses that pop nails and cause cracks to open up. You can get out a can of spackling compound, or call us to help you find the root cause of the problem. .
A careful inspection of the exterior of your house may reveal some of the same symptoms of foundation settlement that show up inside – along with a few that may surprise you. Cracks in masonry veneer are common. So are leaning porch columns and tilting chimneys. Call FSM to help you set it all straight again!
Chimneys tilt for the same reasons that foundations move. Typically the soil beneath its footing is weak. As settlement is rarely even, tilting occurs. Look for gaps between the foundation wall or siding and the chimney masonry. Check for roof damage near the chimney flashing. If you spot any of the above, contact us before you experience further damage, such as leaks and squirrel invasions!
Damage to pliable siding materials, such as vinyl and wood shingles are more likely to show up as gaps around windows and doors, and elsewhere. Allow us to inspect your house to determine whether foundation settlement is what’s causing gaps at your house.
Masonry veneer, whether brick, stone or stucco, doesn’t have much give, so it cracks easily when there is enough stress. Not every crack, however, is related to foundation movement. Expansion and contraction as masonry heats and cools can cause cracks, especially if the rebar (reinforcing bars) were improperly installed. In addition, small cracks may occur during the curing process and have nothing to do with foundation problems.
Sinking foundations and slabs happen outside the house, too. Just look to outdoor structures, such as detached garages, barns, sheds, porches, seating walls, retaining walls, patios, decks, walkways – and even masonry mailboxes!
Retaining walls are typically built to hold back soil in a hilly yard and to create space for lawns and driveways. Tremendous pressure builds behind retaining walls, especially when the soil becomes saturated due to rain, which is one reason so many of them tilt and often fail. FSM knows how to secure retaining walls to stable soil with its wall anchor system or helical anchor system. In many cases the existing wall can be salvaged, saving cost and disruption.
Footings for decks and porches, and other outdoor structures are often insubstantial or were not installed to the code-recommended depth. FSM has many products, including piers and jack supports that can be used to correct such problems.
When sections of patios, pool decks and walkways sink and crack, you’re often let with a tripping hazard and a liability, not to mention an eyesore. Whether the cause is weak supporting soil, contractor negligence with regard to compaction, or soil washout, FSM can restore most slabs to their original level position quickly and economically. At that point, cosmetic repairs can be made that make the damage all but disappear.
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