Commercial foundation repairs require expertise of their own and a licensed, experienced company to handle them. A healthy balance between the foundation and the surrounding property equals a healthy building.
Main causes of foundation problems
Clay soils are predominant in this region and cause most foundation problems in commercial buildings. They act like a sponge absorbing large amounts of water and expanding. This in turn puts enormous pressure on the foundation. The result:
Cracked foundations or walls
Windows and doors sticking
Arched basement walls
Separating or inclined chimney
Long dry spells can also cause the soil to dry out, contract, and the foundation to sink. This is characterized by; cracking around windows or vents, mortar deterioration and cracked floors. Landscaping absorbs water, especially trees, creating an uneven water situation or excessive dryness, causing more shrinkage.
With large properties, the best prevention for major problems is to keep the soil under and around the foundation evenly moist. This can be accomplished through an ongoing schedule of proper irrigation and drainage. Even with proper prevention, you may still need to carry out repairs on commercial buildings such as; repairs to pillars, concrete or steel piles, soil injection, drainage, mudjacking, root barriers and tunnels. Concrete pillars are formed by drilling holes in the ground and filling them with concrete. They must age at least a week after being poured, before being used.
Steel or concrete piles are columns pushed or dug into the ground below the house. Concrete is cheaper than steel. Both can be used immediately, relative to the pillars. In ground injection, water-soluble chemicals are injected into the ground beneath the building to inhibit its ability to absorb water and limit upward ground movement. This is often done in conjunction with additional drainage.
Drainage can range from grade adjustment at gutters and downspouts to more extensive moisture barriers, French drains or slab drains. It is necessary if you have standing water within ten feet of your foundation after a heavy rain, which can happen with houses on clay soil.
Root barriers are used to keep roots out of areas where they are not wanted. They are only preventive. Mudjacking involves lifting a building or area and pumping concrete under it to lift it permanently. Polyurethane resin can also be used. It is inexpensive but has no warranty and can sometimes damage sewer lines. For this reason, it should be relegated to minor patches. Tunneling is part of the repair process that involves digging tunnels under the building rather than drilling holes in the building’s ground or foundation.
Commercial appraisal and estimates
Commercial foundation repair should include supporting the special needs of a commercial building, whether it is the needs of your residential tenants, the ongoing business needs of your warehouse, such as supporting the extra weight in a part of the building during repairs, or the need to provide additional entry and exit while adjusting landscaping for preventative maintenance.
You want a contractor who will assess the structure of your building, can read your structural engineering plans, or design a plan to your needs if there are no plans. You’ll want an estimate that takes into account your building’s unique needs and a contractor who can discuss those needs with you when planning your commercial foundation repairs.