Foundation Repairs

Where Does Basement Waterproofing End And Foundation Repairs Begin?  Call 248-834-0050

Would you think that a foundation made out of poured concrete, or concrete blocks, is very strong and could not be damaged? Well, I have news for you. There are a lot of things that can make a foundation break down. Frost, which is actually water in the ground that has frozen, is one of the biggest causes of damage to foundations. I think everybody knows that when you make ice cubes in an ice cube tray, they seem to peak in the middle. That is because water expands when it freezes. So if you can imagine an ice cube the size of the side of your house freezing, there would be a good chance that that this ice could expand and push against your foundation. Frost damage is not something that happens all at once, however. The first year, soil expansion could cause a foundation wall crack. Next year, that small crack could increase. Every winter’s freeze puts new pressure on the wall or foundation, expanding any cracks, and weakening it.

Another thing that can cause foundation problems is settling. In home construction, the footing, which is a flat concrete base for the foundation or basement wall of the house, is not held to the same standards that the footing for a commercial building is held. In commercial work, engineers do a lot of testing of the ground for stability and dryness. In addition, the concrete mix for a commercial building is held to higher standards than for residential. This will probably never change, due to the fact that it’s extremely expensive to build a commercial foundation. In residential construction, the ground could be mushy due to the weather, or due to a bit of a swampy condition in the soil. The soil may not be compacted enough to hold the house up over a long period. Eventually, the footing and foundation might sink. If the weight of the house sinks the footing evenly, and everything remains intact, there will probably be no problem. But what usually happens is that only one corner will sink a couple inches and the rest of the foundation will remain, causing a teeter-totter effect. The stresses of one part sinking and the other part not sinking will crack a footing, foundation or basement wall wherever there is a weakness, such as wherever there is a corner, a window opening, or a beam pocket. The crack would open enough to lessen the pressures. I have seen cracks in these situations as small as a quarter-inch, or as large enough to permit your hand to fit in it.

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Foundation wall crack repair. These are Carbon fiber stitches used for repairing basement walls that have serious cracks. This is meant to repair poured concrete foundation walls in basements. This job needed a total of 7 of these treatments. The cracks were wide enough to get my fingers in. It does a great job.
Another danger to the foundation is vibration. This is very common, yet not many people are aware of it. Most vibration is caused by steady traffic on the roads in the area of your house. Yet even quiet streets can be affected if there is sewer or water line work in the area with resulting traffic shifts, or heavy machinery on your street. Heavy dump trucks on roads that aren’t built for them can cause trouble for houses. I have seen basement walls caved in from unusual traffic. I saw a house in Rochester that had been built long ago on a quiet road that wasn’t used very much. Then, the city started growing, and subdivisions started popping up. This house, which had been sitting quietly for 30 years, became exposed to bone-rattling noise and vibration, which caused it to sink about 5 inches in one corner. Some sinking is so serious it requires foundation jacking.
Repairing foundations with problems such as these is a very specialized area of our business. We may have to consult with an engineer on the more serious cases. Repairing foundation problems such as this is definitely not an area for do-it-yourselfers. Call us at Oakbridge Waterproofing. We will be glad to take a look at your problem and see what we can do to give you a quality foundation repair. Call us at 248-834-0050.


This picture shows a horizontal wall crack. Caused by the wall caving in at that point. Here it shows we removed the concrete floor about a foot out to expose the footing under the wall.


This shows the foundation crack a little better. It also shows how we put our white plastic paneling over the bare wall. This looks nicer plus it would catch any dripping water.


This picture shows the beam installed over the plastic and fastened to the footing at the bottom and the floor joist above


Each beam is custom built for each location along the wall. All are a bit different from each other. We then re-install the concrete floor. The beams are made of rolled steel and weigh 125 pounds each.

Author: Robert B McGuire