Foundation Repair Definitions


Foundation repair definitions Kansas CityUnderstanding foundation repair is the first step for homeowners experiencing foundation problems. That is why we provide a list of foundation repair definitions so you can better understand the process and products we use.

Active soils – Soils that are non-load bearing that constantly move due to the changes in moisture levels.

Backfill – Natural material that is used to fill a void left after construction or excavation. Usually a combination of stone, soil and other materials that were left over after the main project was completed.

Bowing wallsAn inward movement of a basement wall due to excessive lateral pressure on the exterior of the wall and structure

Consolidating soils – This is the process by which soils decrease in volume. It occurs when stress is applied to the soil that causes soil particles to pack together more tightly, reducing its volume. When this occurs in soil that is saturated with water, the water will be squeezed out of the soil.

Crawlspace – A shallow foundation type that incorporates an air space between the soil and the foundation. A crawlspace is usually built with concrete block or stone on a spread-type footing.

Differential settlement or movement –  Differential or uneven settlement occurs when the soil beneath a structure cannot bear the weight that is imposed. The structure will sink and settle into the soil causing foundation problems.

Drywall – Cracks will develop in drywall due to the shrinking and expanding of construction materials or foundation failure. These cracks generally develop at corners and door and windows in a wedge shape, pointing toward suspect areas of failure.

Expansive soils – Soils that swell when exposed to moisture. These soils usually contain clay that attracts and absorbs water. Another type of expansive soil is known as swelling bedrock that contains a special type of mineral called claystone.

Footing – This is an enlargement at the lower end of a foundation wall, pier, or column to distribute the load of the structure.

Foundation cracks – Cracks in concrete walls or slabs that is caused by differential settlement or lateral pressure.

Foundation engineer – A civil, structural or professional engineer that specialized in designing or repairing foundations.

Foundation movement – This is a post-construction movement of a foundation that is detected by changes in elevation accompanied by signs of distress, such as drywall cracks, doors, and windows that stick. concrete cracks, sloping floors, leaning chimney, bowed walls, ceiling cracks, etc.

Foundation repair – The method of underpinning and stabilizing a structure that has moved from its original level.

Foundation settlingA vertical movement of a foundation wall due to a consolidation of soils that support the structure.

Heaving – When a foundation is raised in an area that is higher than its normal elevation due to expanding soils.

Helical pier – An assembly of mechanically connected steel shafts with a series of helix shaped plates attached in a specific location, whose capacity is determined by the force necessary to advance in specific soils.

Horizontal cracks – Cracks in basement walls caused by increased hydrostatic pressure causing bowing or leaning walls.

Hydrostatic pressure – Pressure that is exerted by a fluid due to its weight. The pooling of water at the surface or below grade are examples.

Lateral pressure – The pressure that soil exerts in a horizontal direction on a wall.

Load bearing stratum – A layer of strong, stiff soil or rock that has the capacity to accept and dissipate the force imposed upon by a deep foundation element.

Pier – A vertical load-bearing member such as an intermediate support for adjacent ends of two spans.

Plate Anchor – A large plate connected to a tie rod used on exterior walls for structural reinforcement.

Polyjacking – A state-of-the-art method to raise and level concrete by drilling small holes into the concrete, injecting a polyurethane foam beneath it to fill voids, and allowing it to dry.

Resistant pier or steel pierAn underpinning product that is hydraulically driven into the soil to a load bearing stratum that provides support for a structure.

Sheetrock cracks – Cracks that develop due to the shrinking or expanding of construction materials or foundation failure. These cracks generally develop at corners of doors and windows in a wedge-shaped manner, pointing toward suspect areas of failure.

Sinking or settling walls – Vertical movement of a foundation wall due to undersigned consolidation of soils that are supporting the structure

Skin friction – The frictional resistance developed between soil and a structure or between soil and a pile being driven into it.

Slab cracks – Slab cracks are categorized as either a shrinkage crack, settlement crack or heaving crack.

Stair step crack – A crack in a brick or block wall that progresses upward along mortar joints. These cracks can be from either lateral pressures or differential settlement.

Structural damage – Visible distress in structures such as drywall cracks, concrete cracks, ceiling cracks, sloping floors, bowing walls, etc.

Synchronized lift – A system that allows uniformed elevation recovery and permanent stabilization while minimizing stress to a structure.

Tie-backs – A helical anchor that transfers a lateral load from a failing wall to suitable load-bearing soils. These are used on bowing or leaning walls and give them support and stabilization.

Total settlement – A complete structural downward movement.

Underpinning – The process when helical piers or resistant piers are installed to depths below unstable soil to a strong soil layer and the structure is lifted onto the piers to stabilize it.

Vertical cracks – Vertical cracks in basement walls caused by differential settlement or heaving soils.

Void filling – Low-pressure injection of a grout slurry to fill the space between the foundation and the failing soil.

Wall plate – A heavy duty steel plate designed to supply a bearing surface for lateral load anchors.

Let the professionals at Pro Foundation Technology inspect your home in Kansas City, Overland Park, Columbia, Raytown, and the surrounding area.