Most foundation inspectors, and general building contractors are often able to recognize possible foundation or other building problems which may be costly or dangerous, requiring intervention of an expert foundation repair specialist like James Belville, to make the inspection and repairs. Most often home inspectors, are not qualified or may not be educated in the foundation install and repair industry and may not know or recognize these problems.
James Belville can, without performing any expensive engineering calculations or analysis, recognize signs of important foundation problems and other structural issues developing before engineers and foundation experts are asked to design and repair for catastrophic building failure.
James Belville’s field inspection experience and education combined with an informed and careful inspection, provides building owners valuable information and costs of those repairs. Call James Belville today.
Foundation settlement and movement requiring foundation repair can be caused by building on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, improper maintenance around foundation, or water saturation. Whatever the cause, settlement can destroy the value of structures and even render them unsafe. If you see signs of foundation distress, don’t delay in getting your home repair problem solved. Experience has shown that there are certain portions of exposed concrete structures more vulnerable than others to deterioration from weathering in freezing climates. These are exposed surfaces of the top 2 feet of walls, piers, posts, handrails, and parapets; all of curbs, sills, ledges, copings, cornices, and corners; and surfaces in contact with spray or water at frequently changing levels during freezing weather. The durability of these surfaces can be considerably improved and serviceability greatly prolonged by preventive maintenance such as weatherproofing treatment with concrete sealing compounds. Selecting the most satisfactory protective treatment depends to a considerable extent upon correctly assessing the exposure environment. Concrete sealing compounds and coatings that provide good protection from weathering in an essentially dry environment may perform poorly in the presence of an abundance of water such as on some bridge curbs and railings, stilling basin walls, and piers. Freezing and thawing tests of concrete specimens protected by a variety of concrete sealing compounds and coatings, including linseed oil, epoxy and latex paints, chlorinated rubber, and water-proofing and penetrating sealers, have been performed in Reclamation laboratories. These tests indicate that proprietary epoxy formulations, silicone and saline formulations, and the high molecular weight formulations clearly excel in resisting deterioration caused by repeated freezing and thawing in the presence of water. None of these formulations, however, will totally “waterproof“ concrete. That is, they will not prevent treated concrete from absorbing water and becoming saturated under conditions of complete and long-term submergence. Except for hand-placed mortar restorations and repair of deteriorated concrete, concrete sealing compounds are ordinarily not applied on new concrete construction. The treatments are most commonly used on older surfaces when the earliest visible evidence of weathering appears. That is, the treatment is best used before deterioration advances to a stage where it cannot be arrested. Such early evidence consists primarily of fine surface cracking, close and parallel to edges and corners. The need for protection also may be indicated by pattern cracking, surface scaling or spalling, and shrinkage cracking. By treatment of these vulnerable surfaces in the early stages of deterioration, later repairs may be avoided or at least postponed for a long time.
Repair home foundations and concrete floors using these tips and techniques.
Excess Concrete Mix Water.—The use of excessive water in concrete mixtures is the single most common cause of damage to concrete. Excessive water reduces strength, increases curing and drying shrinkage, increases porosity, increases creep, and reduces the abrasion resistance of concrete. Figure 16 shows the cumulative effects of water-cement ratio on the durability of concrete. In this figure, high durability is associated with low water-cement ratio and the use of entrained air. Damage caused by excessive mix water can be difficult to correctly diagnose because it is usually masked by damage from other causes. Freezing and thawing cracking, abrasion erosion deterioration, or drying shrinkage cracking, for example, is often blamed for damage to concrete when, in reality, excessive mix water caused the low durability that allowed these other causes to attack the concrete. During petrographic examination, extreme cases of excessive mix water in hardened concrete can sometimes be detected by the presence of bleed water channels or water pockets under large aggregate. More commonly, examination of the batch sheets, mix records, and field inspection reports will provide confirmation of the use of excessive mix water in damaged concrete. It should be recognized, however, that water added to transit truck mixes at the construction site or applied to concrete surfaces during finishing operations often goes undocumented. The repair of concrete damaged by excessive mix water is removal and replacement. However, depending on the extent and nature of damage, a number of maintenance or repair methods can be useful in extending the service life of such concrete. If the damage is detected early and is shallow (less than 1.5 inches deep), application of concrete sealing compounds, such as the high solids content (greater than 15 percent) oligomeric alkylalkoxy siloxane or silane systems or the high molecular weight methacrylic monomer system, will reduce water penetration and improve resistance to freeze and thaw spalling and deterioration. Such systems require re application at 5- to 10-year intervals. Epoxy- bonded replacement concrete can be used to repair damage that extends between 1.5 and 6 inches into the concrete, and replacement concrete can be used to repair damage 6 inches deep or deeper. Insufficient concrete cover over reinforcing steel is a common cause of damage to highway bridge structures. This can also be a problem in hydroelectric and irrigation structures. Reclamation usually requires a minimum of 3 inches of concrete cover over reinforcing steel, but in corrosive environments, this can be insufficient. Concrete exposed to the corrosive effects of sulfates or chlorides should have a minimum of 4 inches of cover to protect the reinforcing steel. Insufficient cover allows corrosion of the reinforcing steel to begin. The iron oxide byproducts of this corrosion require more space in the concrete than the reinforcing steel and result in cracking and delaminating in the concrete. Failure to provide adequate contraction joints or failure to make expansion joints wide enough to accommodate temperature expansion in concrete slabs will result in damage. Concrete with inadequate contraction joints will crack and make a joint wherever a joint was needed but not provided. Unfortunately, such cracks will not be as visually attractive as a formed or sawed joint. Formation of the cracks relieves the tensile stresses and, though unsightly, seldom requires repair. Concrete slabs constructed with insufficient or too narrow expansion joints can cause serious damage to bridge surfaces, dam roadways, and the floors of long, steeply sloping, south facing spillways. Such concrete experiences large daily and seasonal temperature changes resulting from solar radiation. The resulting concrete expansion is greater in the top surfaces of the slabs, where the concrete temperatures are higher, and less in the cooler bottom edges. Such expansion can cause the upper portions of concrete in adjacent slabs to butt against one another at the joints between the slabs. The only possible direction of relief movement in such slabs is upward, which causes delaminations to form in the concrete, starting at the joints and extending an inch or two back into the slab. These delaminations are commonly located at the top mat of reinforcing steel. In temperate climates, the formation of delaminations relieves the expansion strains, and further damage will usually cease. In cold climates, however, water can enter the delaminations where it undergoes a daily cycle of freezing and thawing. This causes the delaminations to grow and extend as much as 3 to 5 feet away from the joint. Repair of damage caused by faulty design is futile until the design faults have been mitigated. Embedded metal features can be removed, handrails can be provided with slip joints, and guardrail attachment bases can be moved to locations with sufficient concrete to withstand the tensile forces. Mitigation of insufficient concrete cover over reinforcing steel is very difficult, but repair materials resistant to those particular types of corrosion can be selected for the repair. Repairs can also be protected by concrete sealing compounds or coatings to reduce water penetration. Slabs containing inadequate expansion joints can be saw cut to increase the number of joints and/or to widen the joints to provide sufficient room for the expected thermal expansion.