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Foundation Repair

As foundations settle, damage frequently spreads to other parts of the house, including cracks in interior walls and gaps between exterior siding, windows and doors.

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Your Michigan home speaks to you through cracking walls and drywall nail pops, tilting chimneys, doors and windows that stick open or shut, and uneven floors. When you notice these foundation problem signs, it’s time to turn to the specialists who can help revitalize your home, for good. Permanent foundation repair through pier systems, wall braces, carbon fiber wall reinforcement, and other modern solutions can restore your comfort, and your home’s market value.  


Causes of Foundation Damage

Here are some ways the soil can impact your home and its foundation:

Water passes through sandy soils rather than being absorbed. This fact makes sandy soils very stable. Instead of expanding as they absorb moisture and contracting as they dry out, sandy soils maintain a fairly consistent volume and density.

Because of their stability and good load-bearing qualities, sandy soils are less likely to shift and settle, so they rarely cause foundation problems. Unfortunately, sandy soils are less commonly found than other more problematic soil types.

Loamy soils are usually a very stable soil that shows little change with the increase or decrease of moisture temperature.

The primary concern with foundations built on loamy soils is erosion. When soils underneath your foundation erode, they may begin to be inappropriate strata for sustaining the weight of a foundation and home structure.

Soils rich in clay and silt have the greatest potential to damage a foundation. Clay absorbs water easily, expanding in volume as it becomes more saturated. So-called “expansive clays” can cause foundations to crack, heave and shift.

When clay soils dry out, they shrink and crack, leaving gaps around a house where water from the next storm can penetrate easily and deeply to repeat the expansion cycle. Clay-rich soils usually cause more foundation damage by expanding than by contracting.

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Is Foundation Repair the Right Solution for Me? 

At FSM, we understand the stress that comes with taking on foundation problems. Homes hold monetary and emotional value, and construction defects along with damage incurred from soil and frigid midwestern weather can feel defeating.  

Thick clay native to Michigan is heavily affected by year-round precipitation. As it swells with moisture or frozen water, it applies hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls causing fissures and leaks. Many of these issues are unavoidable without the right protections. At FSM, we’re in the business of giving you long-term solutions that protect your greatest asset: your home.  

We aim to make your investment worth every penny by targeting the problem at the source, so you’re not repeating services and expenses. Our expert inspections are free for all customers, so you can feel confident in booking with us. It’s easy to get started. Just fill out this form and our team will be in contact with you shortly.

FAQs

When homes are first constructed, it’s generally recommended that downspouts drain water about 10 ft. away from the foundation. The further away that water flows, the safer your home is from damage. This can be achieved by installing downspout extensions, drainage systems, or ensuring that your yard’s grade slope is negative. This simply means that whenever it rains or the snow begins to melt, any water will flow away from your home and not toward it.  

Lack of proper foundation drainage can put your home at risk of suffering from water damage. The water around your basement or even in your basement can compromise your foundation and the safety of your home on various levels. Not investing in a high-quality drainage system may seem like the most affordable option, but in the long run, it is the most expensive one.  

Unstable Foundation  

The volume of damage water can cause should never be underestimated. While standing water around your foundation or overly saturated soil may seem harmless, it can cause your foundation to move and shift. When this happens, cracks can appear, causing a whole array of other problems. By keeping your foundation properly drained, you won’t just keep it dry, but stable and safe as well.  

If you do not have proper drainage, heavy rains can easily soak the soil beneath your home, making it less stable. As a result, your foundation can begin to settle. Foundation settlement is a serious problem that should not be ignored. It can make your home collapse if left unsupervised. On the other hand, water accumulating beneath your home can push against your foundation floor or walls, making them crack or bow.  

Mold and Rot Growth  

Keeping water away from your home can also prevent mold growth. Mold mostly thrives in dark and damp places, so your humid basement will be an ideal place for it to spread. Since mold releases airborne spores, it also presents a health hazard. If you inhale them, you could end up with serious respiratory issues. On the other hand, wood rot also prefers humid environments. Since rot can damage your wooden supports and drastically weaken them, it can easily compromise your home’s structural integrity.  

Ensuring that your foundation stays dry is the best way to keep mold and rot away from your home. By doing so, you will make your home a safer and healthier place for your family. Furthermore, you will also increase your home’s market value. Nothing can lower the price of the house as quickly as foundation issues, so make sure you invest in a proper drainage system.

To detect foundation problems on time you need to inspect your foundation regularly. If you notice something suspicious, keeping an eye on the problem will help you prevent it from getting out of hand.  

Annual Inspections  

If you have just moved into a new home, you probably do not anticipate foundation problems to occur right away. However, it is recommended to conduct a routine check once a year to see whether everything is in order. This way you can notice a problem as soon as it shows up and nips it in the bud.  

This may seem redundant, but keep in mind that there are so many things that could damage your foundation. In addition, foundation problems can quickly escalate, so by skipping just one inspection you are giving them enough time to spiral out of control. The sooner you catch a problem, the easier it will be to fix it, not to mention cheaper.  

Monthly Checkups  

If during one of the inspections you notice that your foundation is experiencing some issues, you will need to increase the frequency of assessments to once a month. For example, cracks in your foundation can just be cosmetical, but they can also be a sign of foundation settlement. Keeping an eye on them and contacting a professional as soon as you notice any changes can save you a lot of trouble.  

Of course, it is always best to schedule routine inspections with a professional. Their trained eye will surely notice possible problems sooner so they won’t have time to escalate. Unless you have training in foundation repair, it is better to step aside and leave things to experts.

When many homeowners notice issues around their homes, they will often attempt to fix them by themselves. Unfortunately, not many homeowners will even know where their foundation is, much less how to go about repairing it. Therefore, it is best to leave any repairs you might need to the foundation experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan instead. 

Why DIY Repairs Are Not Recommended 

The foundation is a structure that requires an immense amount of precision and expertise to fix. Additionally, any DIY repairs sold by your local home improvement stores are often not powerful enough to fully repair the foundation. At best, they act as temporary relief while you schedule an appointment with the foundation experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan. 

Even if you are able to find a relatively cheap repair solution elsewhere, applying the wrong solution or making a mistake might result in even more costly damage to the foundation. It is best to invest in powerful solutions you know will be able to permanently protect your foundation now and in the future. Calling the foundation experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan is therefore your best bet. 

Calling the Foundation Experts for Help 

The foundation experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan are trained to handle all sorts of foundation repairs. We will also have the right tools and equipment necessary for installing any tough repair solutions that your foundation or surrounding concrete might need. 

The slab pier system also requires an incredible amount of precision to install as well. If you make a mistake installing a similar system on your own, this can result in massive damage to your home as a whole. You cannot afford the costly mistakes that this could cause, which is why hiring the foundation experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan is your best bet. 

Foundation damage can be a bigger hazard than you might think. Your basement will not be the only room adversely affected. There are plenty of other structures around your home that will be impacted by this damage as well. 

Sagging Floors 

If your foundation has shifted or cracked, chances are your floor’s support beams have too. You might notice your floor has started to sag or bounce in places. This can create a dangerous tripping hazard for everyone in your home. Some homeowners might choose to simply ignore it, which can prove to be extremely dangerous should the damage spread out to other parts of your home. 

Shifted or over spanned floor support beams can also be caused by a construction mistake as well. The support beams are laid at specific lengths away from one another to better distribute the weight of you, your family, and your belongings over them. Sometimes a contractor will leave these beams to go over the span they are supposed to cover if it’s all up to code. This leaves you with issues in the future that you will need to call a foundation expert to fix. The damage from these support beams can obviously spread out to either the concrete around your home or foundation. 

Stuck Doorways and Windowsills and Leaning Walls 

You might also notice your doors and windows have suddenly become much harder to open. Though many homeowners might attribute this sticking to age, it can also be the result of a shifted or cracked foundation too. Without the stability of your foundation’s support, your doorways and windowsills may start to lean or tilt, which can trap the doors and windows in their frames and make them harder to open. 

Similarly, you might also notice that your walls have begun to lean or sway a bit as well. When your walls start to sway, your entire home is sure to collapse soon. Therefore it is so important to fix foundation damage as soon as you can. It can be extremely costly to fix an entire collapsed house, especially if that damage has spread to your neighbors’ homes as well. 

The ground is going to get wet no matter what when it rains. But gutters can help by keeping copious amounts of water away from the soil directly around your foundation. Properly functioning, quality gutters collect rainwater and channel it through downspouts. The downspouts and extensions move this water away from the foundation to help keep your home dry.

Why Foundation Repair Is Needed

key in door

Curb Appeal & Market Value 

According to Homelight, foundation issues can make a dent in your home’s market value, decreasing it by 10-15%. When trying to list your home with noticeable foundation issues, you may run into lowball offers or even issues receiving any offers at all. Most homebuyers prefer to have a move-in ready home; otherwise, you likely attract buyers seeking a home improvement project. When you choose to invest in foundation repair, you may be able to see a return on some of your investment in the offers you receive when listing your home.  

cracking exterior wall

Foundation Problems Get Worse with Time  

Over time, your home’s foundation problems will only grow worse. By the time you’ve seen cracks and sloping floors, structural issues have already been at play for a while, and they are irreversible all on their own. While it may make sense now to wait until things get unavoidable to reach out for help, the truth is, there isn’t a flat rate for foundation repair. The financial burden only gets worse with complex, deeply rooted foundation issues. Acting fast will make a huge difference in your final bill.  

bowing wall side view

Structural Failure May Be Possible 

While finances are the main concern for many homeowners dealing with foundation issues, safety is one of our biggest concerns for our customers. Advanced foundation issues point to major structural problems, and in the worst-case scenario, you could be facing structural failure. Floors or basement walls buckling are a major hazard that can erupt without the proper supports being put in place. Foundation repair can give you hope knowing that you’re safe in your home.  

Common Foundation Repair Tips and Mistakes

Best Foundation Tips

  • Gutters Are Your Friend

Gutters are one of your home’s first lines of defense against foundation damage. By cleaning and inspecting your gutters at least twice a year (four if you have trees close to your home) you make sure that water doesn’t collect around your foundation.  

  • Set Your Yard Up For Success

Landscaping can make or break your foundation protection system. Ensure trees are planted at least 15-20 feet away from your home as they can spread their roots too close to your home, pressing up on your foundation, and causing structural damage. You can also ensure that your yard is positively graded, meaning that rainwater drains away from the home instead of toward it, where it is free to pool and overwhelm the expansive soil.  

  • Go With A Local Foundation Repair Company

At Foundation Systems of Michigan, we’re proud of our local roots. We’re familiar with the soil and freezing cold weather patterns spurring frost heave, basement wall damage, and crumbling exterior structures. We’re aware of the common issues native to our great state but also cognizant that every Michigan home is unique and will need customized solutions. When you choose a repair company with local roots, you can trust that your foundation experts are in tune with your environment and can spot your foundation issue at the source.  

Three Foundation Maintenance Mistakes

  • Attempting to DIY

While many online sources may say that foundation repair is possible to do on your own, many of these solutions are simply bandages and will not permanently ease your foundation’s problems. You may end up having to do these DIY repairs multiple times, or they may make it harder for you to install professional-grade repairs down the line.  

  • Focusing on Cosmetic Repairs First

Many homeowners may eagerly decide to cover up cracks with spackle and paint, but these are simply cosmetic repairs that will quickly chip away after a few months. While masking these structural repairs can be fulfilling in the moment, it’s ultimately a process you’ll need to keep repeating unless you take care of the unstable foundation first.  

  • Putting Foundation Repair on The Back Burner

As we mentioned before, large-scale foundation repairs can seem intimidating. As your partners in foundation repair, we’re here to help guide you through this process as soon as you can. Waiting for too long can complicate not only your structural stability but also your financial possibilities for repair in the future. As a rule of thumb, when you suspect foundation problems, call us for a free inspection to catch these issues early, or rule them out.  

Find your service area

Alpena

Alpena

Contact DryMich today for your basement waterproofing, crawl space, foundation repair, and water management in Alpena!

Jackson

Jackson

Contact DryMich today for your basement waterproofing, crawl space, foundation repair, and water management in Jackson!

Newberry

Newberry

Contact DryMich today for your basement waterproofing, crawl space, foundation repair, and water management in Newberry!

Detroit

Detroit

Detroit’s humid climate spells trouble for homeowners due to soil expansion and shrinkage. This can cause old and new houses alike to suffer from many foundation problems, such as settling, leaking, wall cracks, and warped window frames.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a city that’s no stranger to humidity, which is why many of its homeowners suffer from foundation problems. Concrete settling, mold, bowing walls, and flooded basements can all be linked to soil.

Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo

The constant presence of rain in Kalamazoo can alter the structural integrity of basements, crawl spaces, and foundations, with leakage and damage soon to follow. FSM provides various solutions, making structural problems and water damage a thing of the past.

Lansing

Lansing

Year-round rain can interfere with your home in Lansing, resulting in damages that are problematic and dangerous. FSM offers numerous solutions to homeowners, so you can live comfortably and safely.

Saginaw

Saginaw

Saginaw, MI, often faces plenty of moisture issues from heavy rains and snows. How can FSM protect your home from moisture damage?

Sault Ste. Marie-St. Ignace

Sault Ste. Marie-St. Ignace

Like most parts of Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie sees a consistent amount of rainfall throughout the entire year. Foundation and crawl space problems, as well as basement flooding, are all problems caused by water and soil.

Toledo

Toledo

Given how hot and humid Toledo’s summers are and how rainy it gets during the fall, chances are, you’re struggling with some sort of basement or foundation issue. The conditions of the lower part of your home have a profound effect on the entire structure.

Traverse City

Traverse City

Since most of the houses in Traverse City are 19 years older than the United States’ average, it’s safe to say that many homeowners in this region are experiencing issues with their old, weathered structures.

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