When you start to see cracks in your wall or separation between bricks and mortar, you start to do your homework on what may be causing them. If the cause of these cracks or separations is foundation damage, the next question turns to fixing the problem. For a number of foundation repair companies, the answer will involve whatever method of repair is the easiest for them to perform. But, looking at how foundation repair methods compared in Baton Rouge, you will likely find that the soil under our homes makes some methods completely obsolete. Here is a description of some of the more popular methods of foundation repair.
Mudjacking – Also called slabjacking, mudjacking addresses a symptom instead of providing a cure. The process of mudjacking involves pumping a cement grout (or in some cases foam) into a small hole or several small holes drilled near the crack in the foundation. The grout gets pumped into the holes, then fills up the void that was under the slab, and ultimately pushes the crack in the slab back to where it is flush with the other side. This is problematic because, while you may have patched the crack, you have done nothing to address what caused the crack.
Pressed Piling Method – Pressed pilings are very popular in many areas of the country, and can be very effective in many situations. The Pressed piling method put simply, is stacking concrete pilings on top of each other under your slab until they get through the active soil and reach more stable soil underneath. Think of it like refilling a Pez dispenser. This method has its benefits, provided the soil under your home decides to cooperate. If you’re in Dallas, Texas or Des Moines, Iowa, we could see the value of this method. But, the soil we have in South Louisiana is not a good match for this method. Our soil is rich and moist. It expands and contracts with the temperature. This leaves open the possibility of pockets or gaps around the pilings, which would allow for them to shift. As they are merely stacked on top of each other, there is nothing holding them firmly in place. Also, and this is a larger point with our soil, concrete is very porous. This means that the moisture in the soil can easily get inside the pilings, leading to deterioration. If one of the pilings deteriorates, the stack loses stability and can even fall.
Spread Footing Method – The spread footing method doesn’t go deep enough to truly solve the problems that cause the need for foundation repair. They only go two to three feet into the ground, which is far too shallow to get beneath the active soil. The spread footing method is utilized in northern states. In fact, it is the recommended method for road repair by Iowa’s Department of transportation. But, we don’t live in Iowa. Our soil is much richer, much more active, and deeper. So, use of the spread footing method can provide the same results as mudjacking. It should be viewed as a temporary fix; not a permanent solution.
Drilled Pier Method – This is our method of choice. WCK’s home grown experience has shown that the drilled pier method is by far the most effective for Louisiana soil. Plus, it is the most highly recommended method by structural engineers. As the name suggests, this method actually drills rebar reinforced piers as deep as eleven feet, or until a suitable change in the soil is found. This gets below the active soil, setting it apart from mudjacking or spread footing. Plus, it utilizes one solid pier, giving it more stability than the pressed piling method. The drilled pier method can sustain up to 3000 lbs per square inch and widens as it goes up. This widening prevents the soil from pushing back up, making for a more permanent solution.
At WCK, we know the ground underneath your home. Should something go wrong with your foundation, that knowledge is the most valuable tool in getting it fixed correctly and permanently.