Commercial foundation repairs require an expertise all their own and a company licensed and experienced to deal with them. A healthy balance between the foundation and the surrounding property equals a healthy building.
Primary Causes Of Foundation Problems
Clay soils are predominant in this region and cause most of the foundation issues in commercial buildings. They act like a sponge soaking up large quantities of water and expanding. This in turn exerts enormous pressure on the foundation. The result:
· Cracked foundations or walls
· Windows and doors that stick
· Uneven floors
· Bowed basement walls
· Separating or leaning chimney
Long dry periods can similarly cause drying, contraction of the soil, and sinking of foundations. This is characterized by; cracking around windows or vents, deteriorating mortar and cracked floors. Landscaping absorbs water, especially the trees, creating an uneven water situation or excessive dryness, causing more contraction.
With large properties, the best prevention for major problems is to keep the soil beneath and around the foundation evenly moist. This can be accomplished through an on-going program of proper irrigation and drainage. Even with proper prevention you may still need to provide repairs to commercial buildings such as; repairs to piers, concrete or steel pilings, soil injection, drainage, mudjacking, root barriers and tunneling. Concrete piers are formed by drilling holes into the ground and filling them with concrete. They must age for at least a week after being poured, before using.
Steel or concrete pilings are columns pushed or tunneled into the ground below the house. Concrete is cheaper than steel. Both can be used right away, compared to piers. In soil injection, water soluble chemicals are injected into the soil beneath the building to inhibit its ability to absorb water and limit upward movement of the soil. This is often done in conjunction with added drainage.
Drainage can be anything from slope adjustment to rain gutters and downspouts to more extensive moisture barriers, French drains or slab drains. It is needed if you have standing water within ten feet of your foundation after a heavy rain, which can happen with homes on clay soil.
Root Barriers are used to keep roots out of areas where they are not wanted. They are preventative only. Mudjacking is the process of lifting a building or area and pumping concrete under it to permanently lift it. Polyurethane resin can be used as well. It is inexpensive but has no warranty and can sometimes ruin sewer lines. For this reason it should be relegated to minor fixes. Tunneling is a part of the repair process that involves tunneling under the building as opposed to breaking holes through the floor or foundation of the building.
Commercial Assessment And Estimates
Commercial foundation repair should include attending to the special needs of a commercial building, be it your residential tenants’ needs, your warehouse on-going business needs, such as supporting the extra weight in part of the building during repairs, or the need to provide extra entrance and egress while adjusting the landscaping for preventative maintenance purposes.
You want a contractor who will assess the structure of your building, be able to read your structural engineering plans, or design a plan according to your needs if there are no plans. You will want an estimate that takes into account the special needs of your building, and a contractor who can discuss these needs with you in planning your commercial foundation repairs.