As a landlord, one of the biggest issues you may encounter in your rental properties is foundation damage and settling. These problems can cause various issues, from cracks in walls and ceilings to sagging floors and even structural collapse.
This blog will address the signs of foundation settlement, possible causes, and several repair and prevention solutions.
Signs of Foundation Damage and Settling
Before you can address foundation issues, you need to recognize the signs of damage and settling. Here are some common signs you should be on the lookout for:
- Cracks in walls or ceilings
- Cracks in brick
- Uneven or sagging floors
- Doors or windows that stick
- Gaps between walls and floors or ceilings
- Water damage or mold on basement walls or floors
- Displaced or cracked molding
- Sunken floors or perimeter foundation walls
- Bowing basement walls
If you notice any of these warning signs, take action to address the issue as soon as possible and contact a local foundation repair company for a more definitive diagnosis.
Causes of Foundation Damage and Settling
To adequately address foundation issues, it’s important to understand the common causes of foundation damage and settling.
Here are some of the most common causes:
- Poor soil conditions, including expansive soils, organic soils, and improperly compacted fill soils.
- Water damage or leaks within or around the foundation
- Temperature changes and freeze-thaw cycles
- Damage from nearby tree roots
- Poor construction practices
The cause of the foundation damage will determine the best course of action for repair. For example, if the foundation damage is from water damage, the source of water will need to be addressed first. If the foundation was built in an area with poor soil conditions, then the soil may also need to be reinforced.
Foundation Repair and Options
Different repair options are available depending on the extent of the foundation damage, the location of the damage, and the cause.
Here are some of the most common repair options:
- Underpinning: Underpinning is a time-tested foundation repair method that involves strengthening and stabilizing the existing foundation. This method, which commonly utilizes steel resistance piers, can provide a lifetime of support and stability for weakened or settling foundations.
- Helical Piers: Helical piers are a popular solution to fix settling foundations. They are screw-like piers installed deep into the ground and can provide additional foundation support. This method while typically used with lighter structures is reliable and long-lasting.
- PolyLift:PolyLift is a concrete slab repair process that uses polyurethane foam injection to lift a concrete slab or porch steps to an optimal position. This repair is most popular with slab homes when pier installation may not be ideal, but it is also utilized to lift and fill voids beneath pool decks, driveways, and sidewalks.
How to Prevent Foundation Issues in Rental Properties
While it’s important to know how to address foundation problems when they arise, it’s even more crucial to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Here are some tips to help you prevent foundation damage and settling:
- Proper drainage systems can reduce water damage and prevent water from accumulating,which can weaken the foundation.
- Protect foundations from nearby tree roots and avoid planting trees close to any property.
- Ensure that the weight of the building is distributed evenly.
- Regularly inspect your properties for signs of foundation damage.
Foundation damage and settling can be a nightmare for landlords. Not only can these problems be costly and time-consuming to fix, but they can also lead to significant safety issues. Acting quickly is essential if you see any warning signs of foundation damage in your rental property.
Reach Out to United Structural Systems for Reliable Foundation Solutions
Reach out to our team of professionals today to schedule an inspection or repair. Taking steps to prevent foundation damage in the first place will help you avoid costly foundation repair options while keeping your tenants happy. Contact United Structural Systems now to schedule a consultation with our team.