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Foundation Problems

in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Myrtle Beach & All of South Carolina

You’ve probably heard a figurative phrase indicating something – knowledge, relationships, etc. – requires a strong foundation to thrive.  

We employ this in the most literal sense. Your homliterally needs a strong foundation. If it doesn’t have one, it’s going to crumble – literally and figuratively. 

So, do you know what kind of foundation your home has? What’s the condition of what is holding everything up? No homeowner wants to think about big projects like foundation repair. But if you’re vigilant enough to catch cracking, moving walls early enough, you’ll avoid the dangers of a failing foundation and the stress of a long and involved repair process.  

Even if you’ve got other remodeling you’d rather tackle like kitchen and bathroom upgrades, remember the phrasing about having a stable foundation and start your project plans from the ground up.  

Whether you just spotted movement recently or put wall cracks out of your mind, now is the time to act. Fix these problems the right way the first time to ensure the health and safety of your home and family.  

Mount Valley Foundation Services can help you do just that. Our expert team will properly diagnose your foundation issues and recommend the best course of action for repair with customized solutions. We are proud to serve homeowners and commercial property owners in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Myrtle Beach, and throughout South Carolina as well as over the state lines. 

Read on as we explore common questions and concerns regarding foundation issues and repair on this page. 

Although you may not be able to immediately pinpoint the root of your foundation problems, you may notice warning signs that could be a good indication for why these problems are occurring. Not to mention, these common foundation problem signs could also help prevent other damages such as bowing walls, foundation settlement, foundation cracks, and other issues with your foundation.

What are signs of a bad foundation?

Although you may not be able to immediately pinpoint the root of your foundation problems, you may notice warning signs that could be a good indication of why these problems are occurring. If you’ve noticed any of the following signs and symptoms in and around your home, you’ve got a problematic foundation on your hands. 

What Causes these foundation problems in my home?

Foundation issues can happen for a variety of reasons – unstable soilimproper gradingand expansive soils, just to name a few. But all of these have a common thread – the ground your home was built on. The soil under and around your house has a huge impact on the structure.  

You might think all soil is the same, and it is to an extent. Three basic ingredients make up soil and its texture – sand, silt, and clay, as well as a combination of any or all of them. Sand is quick to drain water, silt soils tend to have intermediate drainage properties, and clay tends to hold onto water. 

There are many soil types around the globe, and you can get an idea of the amount of soil ingredients across the United States by looking at NASA Earth Observatory mapsSouth Carolina has a good mix of the three main ingredients, and the state alone has more than 180 different kinds of soil. Sandy soils are more common near the coast, and sand and clay can be found throughout most of the state. 

Whether your home has a slab foundation or concrete block walls in a crawl space or basement, the soil is going to impact your living environment in some way. Here are just a few ways soil affects your home:

 

  • The Clay Bowl Effect and Hydrostatic Pressure 
    After your home’s foundation was completed, previously excavated soil was replaced around the walls. This loose, fluffy soil is not as dense or tightly packed as undisturbed soil farther away from the house. So, when water collects in the soil immediately surrounding the home it creates a “clay bowl.” The saturated soil expands and puts pressure, known as hydrostatic pressure, on foundation walls. When this constant pressure becomes more than the walls can bear, they will begin to show signs of failure in the form of cracks and inward movement. 
     
  • Soil Settlement and Poor Supporting Soil for Chimneys 
    It is natural for soil to settle over time. But as the backfilled soil around your exterior foundation walls sinks into place, it can slope towards the house. This allows water to easily collect and then seep in through the walls. Soil also can settle unevenly and lead to other problems in your house. You could see diagonal cracks in drywall and from corners of windows and doors. These windows and doors also may not open or close properly. 
     
    If you have a fireplace in your home, you need to keep an eye on the chimney. The chimney could show some dramatic signs of foundation failure such as cracking and leaning away from the rest of the structure. These problems can happen if the chimney foundation was not built on the same foundation or soil as the rest of the structure or if the foundation lacks the proper footing. 
     
  • Water and Moisture in A Vented Dirt Crawl Space 
    Water and moisture also can have a significant impact inside your home, as well. If you have a dirt crawl space with open vents, this allows outside air, water, and pests inside the crawl space directly underneath your house to cause a host of problems. More than 50% of the air you’re breathing indoors comes from below-grade areas like crawl spaces. So, whatever is in your crawl space such as mold, moisture, and humidity, also is in the rest of your house and affecting you. One example of a structural impact is with the support system under your house. If wooden support systems become saturated with water or exposed to high humidity and excessive moisture, they can rot and buckle. Metal supports also will corrode and rust in the same conditions. All this then leads to sagging, uneven floors and problems with hardwood floors. 

Why Should i fix my foundation?

If you’re wondering what’s in it for you if you take on a foundation repair project, the answer is a lot! Neglecting problem signs and symptoms is dangerous and will end up being time-consuming and costly. But there are so many ways you, your family, and your home will benefit from fixing foundation issues. Here are just a few of the advantages:  

  • Enhanced Safety and Structural Integrity 
    First and foremost, safety should be your top priority when it comes to your home. You wouldn’t want your loved ones to live in the presence of compromised walls and unstable floors, would you? When you shore up your foundation with trusted solutions, you are ensuring its safety and structural integrity, as well as the happiness and wellbeing of your family. 
     
  • Improved Real Estate Value 
    Whether you plan to live in your house for many years or sell it soon, your home is going to be on the real estate market at some point. And before it is, you need to make sure it’s ready. Foundation problems can reduce your home’s resale value by 10 to 30 percent, and buyers could have problems getting a mortgage. Most homebuyers expect a house to be free of worries like significant repair needs, so it’s best to address any problems beforehand. Protect your home today and for the future by fixing it the right way.  
     
    Also, as a South Carolina homeowner selling your house, South Carolina Code § 27-50-40 states you must provide a written disclosure statement to the purchaserSome necessary information you need to include is the condition of the chimney, floors, foundation, basement and other structural components, as well as any infestation of wood-destroying insects and accompanying damage that has not been repaired. 

what's the best way to fix my foundation?

Now that you’re more familiar with foundation problems and their need for repair, are you ready to take back your house? A lot of people weigh their options of foundation repair vs. foundation replacement. Foundation replacement is quite invasive and time-consuming and won’t actually get to the root of the problems. But various repair methods will permanently solve the issues, so you won’t have to worry about them again. 

As you start to think about your plan of attack, consider who will be completing the work. Foundation repair is a significant commitment, and it may be tempting to try to save money and do it yourself. But even if you are a handy “jack of all trades” or know someone who is, it is best that you leave the heavy lifting to professionals. This type of repair is a big deal, and a lot can happen if you try to DIY your way through it. Oftentimes, these DIY repairs don’t stand up to code or the test of time, and you’d have to spend more time and money to bring in a contractor to fix them. 

It can be intimidating and daunting to think about hiring a contractor, and no doubt you’ve heard about horrible experiences others have had with shady contractors and their shoddy work. But don’t let these tales completely influence your decision. Have faith that there are companies out there with your best interest at heart who truly want to help you. Learn more in our “Know the Signs of a Good and a Bad Basement Repair Contractor” blog. 

The best thing you can do is educate yourself and do plenty of research before you hire a contractor. You want to make sure you’ll be confident in who you invite into your home. Learn as much about a company as you can. Look at reviews, check third-party resources like the Better Business Bureau, and ask for references. Also seek company must-haves like proof of insurance, licenses, and other pertinent certifications and documents. 

What Can mount valley foundation services do to help me?

As a homeowner, it’s in your best interest to obtain quotes from at least three companies before committing to a repair project. And we at Mount Valley Foundation Services would be honored to assist you along your foundation repair journey. 

When you contact us, we’ll schedule an appointment for one of our certified field inspectors to meet with you for a free inspection and estimateDuring this consultation, the inspector will complete a thorough assessment of your home’s structure, including looking for any signs of cracking and movement and measuring for settlement. He will review his findings with you, as well as go over your repair project goals. 

The inspector will then provide you with an estimate with recommended solutions tailored to your specific repair needs. He also will also consider your budget and discuss payment and financing options. Take your time to review and sit with this estimate, and don’t be afraid to reach back out to your inspector with follow-up questions or concerns. 

Then, when you’re ready to proceed with work and have signed a contract with your inspector, we will schedule that work with one of our highly trained installation crews. Our team will use the best products proven to repair and protect your home. The job is not done until you are completely satisfied, so speak up if you notice any issues or if it doesn’t meet expectations. We also provide service and annual maintenance opportunities to ensure the solutions we installed are continuing to maintain your home’s safety and structural integrity. 

what will be used to fix my foundation?

You wouldn’t want just any old item quickly thrown together with the hope of it keeping your foundation intact. You need the very best solutions that will stand the test of time and the toughest forces to protect your home. That is exactly what we use to repair your foundation.  

The products we install are manufactured here in the United States, and each one is carefully designed and tested by a team of structural and geotechnical engineers. Our heavy-duty wall reinforcement and piering solutions are made with galvanized steel to prevent rust, corrosion, and damage. All our systems come with a long-term written warranty, giving you complete peace of mind. 

Here are the solutions we’ll use to address foundation problems in your home: 

Wall Repair and Reinforcements – The severity of your foundation wall problems can vary, so we offer a variety of repair and reinforcement options. 

  • Wall Anchors – Wall Anchors are the most effective method for permanently stabilizing moderate to severely distressed or bowed basement walls. They extend out to more stable soil well beyond your home’s foundation, providing an anchor point to brace the foundation wall. This stops inward movement and prevents wall failure. The anchors can be tightened over time to help move your foundation walls back toward their original positions. 
  • IntelliBrace™ Beams – IntelliBrace™ beams act the same way as Wall Anchors in stabilizing and potentially straightening moving walls, and they also can be tightened at intervals during dry seasons. They are best to use when there is limited access available outside of the home for exterior wall repair. 
  • Carbon Fiber Supports – Durable Carbon Fiber supports firmly bond to the walls to stabilize and hold them in their current positions. This prevents any further cracks or inward movement. Their low profile and smooth finish allow them to easily be concealed with painted or basement finishing materials.
Piering Systems – Our foundation pier systems are used on settling foundations and walls to permanently stabilize them and help lift them back to their original level positions. Each system is installed in deep soil strata to better support the foundation. 

  • Push Piers – Push Piers are driven through a bracket attached to the foundation footing and down to bedrock or a stable soil layer. This is the most used type of pier for most foundation settlement applications. 
  • Helical Piers – Helical Piers are manually advanced or screwed into the ground and are best for specialty foundation settlement applications and for very light structures like porches. 
  • Slab Piers – Slab Piers can be installed the same way as Push Piers and Helical Piers and are used to stabilize your concrete slab foundation. 
Crawl Space Supports – Floors and floor joists above crawl spaces and basements can sag over time and if they are not properly supported. Our IntelliJack system, designed to stop settling, stabilizes these sagging areas and can help lift them back to level.

Additionally, our state-of-the-art PolyRenewal system can be used to lift, level, and stabilize cracking and uneven concrete slab floors in your home and garage. 

How much does foundation repair cost?

And now down to brass tacks. Undoubtedly, the cost of repair is a huge concern for homeowners. And that’s natural. Money matters, and so does your home. You want to make sure you’re protecting your house with the best, cost-effective solutions.  

There is a lot to consider with foundation repair such as the extent of damage, the area needing to be repaired, square footage, the material needed, labor, etc. This differs from company to company. So be sure to have a thorough discussion with your contractor about pricing and payment. 

Also, no two foundation problems are alike, and there are no one-size-fits-all fixes. Every home is different and requires its own unique repairs. So, what may have been the answer for a friend or neighbor might not be a perfect fit for your home’s repair needs. That’s why it’s so important for one of our inspectors to physically visit your house and look at your foundation problems. That way, he’ll be able to properly diagnose the issues and recommend the best, customized solutions. 

To give you an idea, average home improvement spending is around $7,500, and most homeowners pay between $4,000 and $10,000 for foundation repairs. Some average foundation repair product prices are $1,000-$3,000+ per foundation pier, $500-$1,300+ for leveling/slab jacking, and $2,000-$6,000 for sealing/subfloor drainage. 

Check with your insurance carrier regarding concerns with repair needs and insurance coverage, as all policies are different. Some policies may cover losses from fires, but many exclude coverage for issues such as foundation cracks or settling. But coverage may kick in if the foundation has been damaged from other problems like broken plumbing, for example. (Source: SF Gate) 

 

Are you ready to create a safer and healthier living environment for your family? It all starts with a strong foundation. Give us a call and let our expert team help you in your foundation repair journey. We look forward to working with you! 

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At Mount Valley Foundation Services, we are here to help you save your property from foundation problems. If you notice any of the foundation problem signs or you have any questions about our foundation repair services, please contact us today at 803-220-3550. We offer free estimates for properties located in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Myrtle Beach, throughout South Carolina & over the state lines.

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