It’s not uncommon for commercial foundations to need occasional repairs. If caught early enough, repair costs can be minimal. However, waiting until you can’t ignore the problem can jeopardize the building’s structural integrity and significantly increase repair costs.
Causes of Commercial Foundation Issues
Commercial foundation issues are often caused by soil problems, but it’s not the only reason. Some other common issues are:
- The soil is over-saturated
- Structural weight is bearing down on the foundation
- Soil is shrinking due to a lack of ground moisture
- Yard run-off is improperly draining (poor drainage)
- Gutter downspouts are in the wrong place
- Tree roots are growing underneath the foundation
- Plant and tree roots are depleting the soil of moisture
- Landslides caused by heavy rains
- Interior or exterior plumbing leaks
- Poor slab construction
Routine foundation inspections will help you spot any issues before they turn into expensive repairs.
Signs of Commercial Foundation Problems
During your foundation inspections, you want to look for a few common signs that often indicate you have a problem. Here are a few things you want to keep an eye out for.
- Cracks in the walls and ceiling
- Floors that are uneven or sloping
- Cracks in the slab
- Door frame is pulling away from the wall
- Windows are leaning or bowing out
- Doors and windows don’t open or shut easily
- Gap between the foundation and wall
- Foundation is flacking, chipping, or crumbling
- Foundation is sinking, moving, or shifting
- Soil is pulling away from the foundation
These are warning signs indicating there is a potential problem with the building’s foundation, and it is time to call in the professionals for repairs.
6 Different Ways to Repair Commercial Foundation Problems
Each type of commercial foundation problem requires a specific type of repair.
Pressed Piling Method
Using pressed piling systems or concrete cylinders is a common foundation repair method in Houston. It’s a simple method using 6” diameter pilings measuring 12” tall, which are placed below the foundation to provide stability. The pilings are sunk into the soil, and the number a contractor uses depends on the building’s size and weight. Often 8 or more pilings are needed, depending on the soil condition, to fully stabilize the building’s load.
Polyurethane Foundation Repair
Polyurethane foam jacking is an effective way to raise sinking foundations. It also does not require a lot of construction or company downtime to make the necessary repairs. The foam is injected into 5/8” holes drilled into the slab. The goal is to drill deep enough to inject the polyurethane underneath the foundation. The foam expands, filling in the open areas between the slab and ground, effectively raising the foundation.
Also known as slabjacking, the mudjacking foundation repair method is similar to using polyurethane foam. It prevents slabs from sinking and shifting on loose soil. Holes are drilled into the slab, and next a mix of water and type of solid material is injected into the slab. You can also use polyurethane foam. The goal is to compress the loose soil into a solid base to prevent any shifting or sinking while keeping the weight load balanced across the slab.
Sometimes the soil is too dense to use conventional piers, and this is when you want to use helical ones. These are threaded steel piers that can be screwed securely into hard ground. The piers are screwed in beneath the foundation, sitting on a solid soil level. Helical piers are inserted evenly across the base to ensure the building’s weight is supported across the slab.
This repair method takes some time. The poured concrete needs to dry before lifting the foundation to its original position.
The repair starts with drilling holes in the foundation to the desired depth and pouring liquid concrete into the openings creating a pier. After the concrete is cured, crews can lift the foundation with hydraulic jacks.
Foundations can settle and shift, and one way to fix these issues is with steel piers. Galvanized steel pipes attached to a hydraulic jack are sunk beneath the foundation to rest on stable, hard ground. From there, the jacks lift the foundation back to its original setting. In addition, it provides support for the foundation and the commercial structure.
URETEK Gulf Coast Can Help with Your Commercial Foundation Repair in Houston
Foundation repairs are common in Houston, and URETEK Gulf Coast is here to help. They are familiar with the various types of soil for building foundations along the gulf coast and the problems it can cause commercial foundations over time. If you see any of the common signs indicating a problem with the foundation, call the experts at URETEK for a commercial foundation repair consultation.