top of page
Search

STEP BY STEP: SLAB ON GRADE FOUNDATION REPAIR

Updated: Feb 6

We have talked about foundation repair. A lot. Quite a lot. It is what this blog is about, after all. We’ve talked about the different and most common types of residential foundations in our state, as well as the different types of materiales used for said repairs. And chances are that, if you are a homeowner or prospective buyer, you are pretty familiar with what foundation damage is and why it happens and how to identify when it happens; as well as what foundation repair is and why it is necessary to fix it.


But today we want to talk about the actual process of the repair. In this post we will show you how a foundation repair for slab on grade foundations is carried out, guiding you step by step, so you’ll have a clearer understanding of this all-too important process and know what to expect if the time comes to have your foundation repaired.


We will start with the steps we take prior to the actual repair. With you having identified the possible existence of foundation damage in your property, we will be prompt to schedule a visit, where we will thoroughly inspect your home. We will start with the obvious, most visible signs. First on the outside, then on the inside. Then we will go in deeper, checking for clues that might escape the naked eye. Then one of our most important tools in our arsenal is brought in to play: the zip level.


The zip level is a pressurized, high precision altimeter that provides horizontal and vertical levels with digital readouts of elevation. Using this tool we take readings all over your house, covering every corner of every room. There are acceptable levels of movement, for instance 1 inch over 35 feet which is considered settlement. However 1 inch or more in less than 35 feet is definitely a bad sign. Based on the data gathered by these measurements along the information gathered from our reconnaissance outside your home, we can now put together our floor plan. Collating all this information will allow us to identify which are the specific areas around the house that need repairing.


With this we can now provide an estimate of the cost of repairs (along with any additional contractor services in case they are required). When we present our estimates we always make sure to explain exactly how the job is going to be done, what to expect and the type of materials that are needed, based on the specific needs and characteristics of your home. Once that has been agreed upon we start prepping.


We remove plants and decorative pieces in order to protect them and, whenever needed, we disconnect specific utilities. Then we lay down the tarps. We do all this to minimize the mess and inconveniences that might be temporarily caused while the repair is ongoing.


Then we start digging. Based on the floor plan we determine what are the best ways to tunnel in and access the spots that need be repaired. First we start with the perimeter of the foundation, then we tunnel all the way to where the interior piers will be placed. This is actually the hardest part and the one that takes the most time. Once the tunnels are opened, we identify the exact spots where we will start pushing the piers (These spots can be both beneath the house itself, or right below the perimeter of the foundation. Most of the times it’s both). These are right beneath the beams, as the piers will lift the beams (and therefore the house) back to its rightful level. Now, the piers can be made out of concrete or steel. This will be determined by the needs and characteristics specific to your home and previously agreed upon in the estimate. 


Using a hydraulic pump we start pushing the piers into the soil. One after another, and another, and another. Until we reach the bedrock. How do we know when we have reached the bedrock? The hydraulic pump will let us know; this happens when we either reach 9,000 PSI or refusal. Once that happens, it is time to place the top cap on top of the upper pier, which now protrudes a few inches from the ground, right in the center. The top cap is a block of concrete in the shape of an inverted trapezium. Having done this, we place a bottle jack on the top cap and we start pumping until the lift ram pushes against the beams. Doing this, we will start to see how the beam begins to raise. We do this just enough to allow another pier in between the beam and the top cap, sitting just beside the bottle jack. 


Then we repeat this process in every single spot of the house that needs to be lifted back into its rightful position. Now, as a great Jedi knight once said: ‘This is where the fun begins’ as it is time to lift the foundation. This is how we do it: one member of our team goes back inside the house, and using the zip level in the exact same spots where the initial readings were taken, he begins to give instructions via radio to the rest of the team which is inside the tunnels / around the perimeter of the foundation, to begin pumping the bottle jacks at the same time. On average, pumping 20 times will raise the foundation an entire inch. And while the team manually pumps the bottle jacks, our team member inside the house will see the level rising in real time, only giving the order to stop once the ziplevel reads ‘0’. Perfectly leveled. Then we move to the next section of the house that needs to be lifted back into place. And then the next. And the next. And so on until the entire house has been leveled back.


With the foundation being leveled we install steel shims in the small gap between the pier and the beams. Then we remove the bottle jacks and replace them with more piers, so each repaired spot of will rest on top of two piers, once right besides the other. Again, we install steel shims if necessary and with this your foundation is now being sustained in its rightful place by the new pier system.


This extra step might or might not be necessary depending if any additional services are required, e.g. plumbing. If no additional contractor service is necessary then we will jump directly to the next step.


Which is the cover up. Literally. We need to fill the holes and tunnels with the soil that was originally removed. Again, this might also take longer than the actual repairing of the foundation, given the amount of work that it takes. The soil that covers the holes/accesses to the tunnels will be piled a little higher than usual, given that with time and rains the soil compresses, so we are taking this into account, so in a few months the soil will be compressed back to its original level.


Finally comes the clean up. Cleaning, removing tarps, debris, replanting vegetation and the likes. Remember that at iFix it is our personal policy to leave the place just as good, if not even better than how we found it.


In the following video we will show you the entire process of foundation repair for slab on grade foundations, from start to finish:





Remember that there are dozens of quite useful and illustrative videos in our social media pages; these will help you have a much better understanding about homes, foundations, its issues and the processes needed for repairs; we are always uploading new content, so check back regularly.


And in case you see signs of trouble or have any questions regarding your foundation, don’t hesitate to call us, as we will make sure you understand everything that has to be done, why and how it will be done. This way you will feel more comfortable when entrusting your home to the experts.

Recent Posts

See All

Comentarios


bottom of page