What is the Best Foundation Repair Method?

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You’ve identified your home most likely has foundation issues. But how are these issues fixed? With foundation repair being a niche industry, finding accurate information for the best repair can be difficult.

What’s important is for you to have the answers needed before proceeding with a foundation repair method. You’ll encounter different proposals with alternate solutions that aren’t best suited to your needs.

Dalinghaus Construction has inspected over 10,000 homes, repairing more than 2,000 with foundation repair methods best suited for those homes in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. With all the experience we have in foundation repair, we more than understand that not every home will have the same plan for repair. Some methods are better than others. When it comes to the best foundation repair methods for homes, Dalinghaus Construction wants you to know what does and doesn’t work for your home before following through with any proposals. That way you can make the most informed decision before starting your foundation repair.

Before looking into repair methods, you need to find the problems

Determining if your house needs foundation repair isn’t always easy to recognize. However, there are signs and symptoms to look for before considering a good repair method for your home, especially if your home is enduring foundation settlement. You’ll want to look for:

  • Drywall cracks
  • Stucco cracks
  • Concrete slab cracks
  • Ceiling cracks
  • Tile cracks
  • Chimney cracks
  • Leaning chimney
  • Sloping floors
  • Doors and windows are hard to open and close
  • Water leaks

Any of these signs on their own isn’t an indicator of a house enduring foundation settlement. Finding more than one of these signs at once means it’s more than likely foundation settlement.

To better understand these signs and symptoms and what they mean, you need to check out our Ultimate Guide to Signs and Symptoms of a Home in Need of Foundation Repair.

How to Identify a Good Foundation Repair Method

A good foundation repair method depends on the structure that needs fixing. The material and build of the structure can determine if the fix requires push piers, helical piers, or polyurethane.

Foundation repair methods are also determined by your expectations and what you want from your fix.

Budgeting might be a big deal for you. The best method to fix the issue might not be financially viable, which puts it up to companies to come up with alternate solutions that can still address the concerns you want to have addressed.

Foundation repair companies look at floor elevation measurements of your home to identify the damaged area of your home as opposed to areas that don’t need addressing.

Knowing the best foundation repair method can be difficult to narrow down. Be sure you get multiple quotes from different companies to compare and contrast their methods. Dalinghaus Construction can tell you less effective repair methods we don’t want you to waste your time on.

Less effective foundation repair methods

Mud Jacking

So mud jacking, or injecting a concrete slurry that resembles mud under a surface to lift it back to its intended elevation, can be problematic with how concrete dries. You can get a structure back to its original elevation when injecting, but concrete shrinks when it dries, inevitably leaving a void and making it so the structure can still sink.

Plus, mud jacking is a very messy process compared to polyurethane injection. Holes used to inject the mud are massive compared to polyurethane, which is about 5/8ths of an inch. The mud typically flies around like a toddler trying to eat food and throwing it everywhere.

Polyurethane injections create a foam that expands at a rapid pace and dries within 15 minutes. Not only can it hold up concrete, but it will have a road operational again in 15 minutes. You would be waiting weeks doing mud jacking and waiting for the material to dry.

Also, the polyurethane foam doesn’t shrink when it cures.

Dalinghaus Construction has had many projects with settling driveways that needed elevating. Cars have been able to drive on those driveways 15 minutes after injection. Polyurethane is more effective compared to mud jacking.

Concrete Underpinnings

We even fix places that have shallow concrete caissons. Concrete is heavy and acts as an anchor. Think of it like a sinking ship that deploys its anchor: the anchor will sink the ship faster.

The concrete is shallow and placed in what is referred to as the “active zone,” or the area where the soil is most prone to shift. These shallow concrete underpinnings will often accelerate the foundation settlement process, especially if lots of concrete is used.

This also goes for concrete piers. Concrete piers – while way cheaper – are much less effective compared to push and helical piers. They are hydraulically driven into the ground but aren’t put in at deep enough distances from the surface. There’s a point where there will be more resistance than these types of piers can handle.

Compare these to push piers, which are galvanized steel pipes hydraulically driven into the ground into bedrock or competent soil. Push piers don’t have to worry about skin friction nearly as much since their design is very sleek, and they have a friction reduction collar to add extra width.

This is a long-winded way of saying push piers do the job better. They aren’t as cheap as concrete piers, but they do higher quality work in holding your home where it needs to be.

If piers aren’t reaching competent soil or bedrock, they aren’t doing the job they’re supposed to do. 

Plus, concrete piers have a limited warranty (if the company installing them offers a warranty at all). They usually last 5-10 years for many companies that practice this foundation repair method. Most companies that use galvanized push pier and helical pier systems will have a lifetime warranty.

This isn’t to say all types of concrete piers are faulty

If a repair method can reach bedrock or competent soil, it will do its job in stabilizing your home. Deep caissons are effective in preventing your home from settling. That said, it isn’t cheap. Whatever you can expect to pay for an average push pier and helical pier underpinning job with Dalinghaus Construction, installing concrete caissons will be at least twice as expensive. 

Our average repair costs around $26,000. So expect at least double that amount when installing deep concrete caissons. Push pier and helical pier systems are just as effective foundation repair methods to hold up your home. 

How can methods be compared?

Comparing methods depends on the job that needs to be done. It can also depend on the type of foundation you have.

For example, if you own a raised foundation and someone suggests using push piers, it might not be the best solution to your problem. Push piers use the weight of your home and are hydraulically pushed into the ground into bedrock.

Because raised foundations are so much lighter compared to slab-on-grade, the push piers wouldn’t go into the ground and would push your home upward. The better plan is to use helical piers since they don’t need to be pushed into the ground; rather, they use helices that cut into the soil, essentially acting like a screw.

The best foundation repair method will be one that accommodates the building and its issues. 

To better understand various foundation repair methods, read our article The Ultimate Guide to Foundation Repair.

Be cautious of companies that try to sell you on the phrase “secure and protect.”

This is also phrased sometimes as “fix and protect,” which involves “fixing” more than the area affected by foundation settlement or heaving. This is an oversell meant to scare you into thinking the rest of your home is going to move.

So instead of having an underpinning to fix the area of your home affected by foundation settlement, they’ll propose installing piers around your whole house. Having piers installed all around your home will significantly increase the price.

The other side of your house sinking after your foundation repair is very, very rare. If you’re extra cautious and you can afford the extra piers, that method may suit you. When all is said and done, foundation repair comes down to your expectations and what you want.

Now that you know the best and lackluster foundation repair methods, be sure you receive multiple bids and read their proposals

You better understand the best foundation repair methods and others that don’t work well. The next step is to receive bids from multiple contractors. That way you can compare the methods other companies are using and find the foundation repair company best suited for you.

You can start with Dalinghaus Construction by booking a FREE evaluation that will take 60-90 minutes of your time. We will have a foundation inspector out to see what is happening with your home and come up with a proposal that best fits your needs.

Don’t only go with Dalinghaus Construction. Find as many bids as you can to figure out the best foundation repair method for your needs. You’ll learn there are repair methods you’ll like more than others.

Read our article Should You Get Multiple Foundation Repair Bids? How You Benefit to better understand why you should receive multiple bids.

You can call (877) 360-9227, or click the button below to book your free evaluation today!


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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One Response

  1. Thanks for the reminder that getting multiple bids can also help a lot when looking for the right foundation repair services. I might need to look into that because I’m thinking about selling my home soon. Out of all the maintenance it will need, foundation repairs would be the most crucial one.

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