Find out what you should do if your foundation is crumbling. Bisson Expert can assess the risks and recommend solutions to stabilize the foundation.

If you notice that your foundation is crumbling, here is some information that will help you solve the problem. Using this information, you will know what to do and who to contact to protect your property and investment.

Why is it important to take action when the foundation is crumbling ?

The foundation is the base on which the building sits. When its integrity is challenged, considerable problems can arise and adversely affect the rest of the property. Fortunately, if the signs of a crumbling foundation are spotted early, it is possible to stop the extent of the damages by calling on a foundation expert. You will thus help prevent future problems by preserving the structural integrity of the foundation.

What is crumbling ?

Concrete is made of various materials depending on the era or its intended use. When the foundation is adversely affected by humidity, its particles start to weaken and the concrete starts to deteriorate. This in turn decreases its resistance and affects its stability and that’s when problems start to arise.

What should you do if you notice that the foundation is crumbling ?

First of all, the problem must be addressed and not ignored. It is therefore best to inspect the foundation to identify the early warning signs :

1. Cracks appearing in the foundation
2. White powder that comes off when you touch it
3. High level of humidity in the basement
4. Joints in concrete block foundations that are brittle
5. Pieces of concrete falling off
6. Large cracks in exterior cladding such as bricks
7. Bubbles forming in the foundation

What are risks when the foundation is crumbling ?

The main risk is a significant deterioration of the building, which in turn decreases the value of the property. If the property is put up for sale, a crumbling foundation can affect its marketability.

More importantly, a major crumbling problem can put the occupants at risk. Some buildings may even be condemned due to the significant deterioration of their structure and foundation.

What causes the foundation to crumble ?

1.Year of construction :
Concrete has changed over the years. During the 1920s, general contractors mixed concrete and various materials found on site. This often produced a poor quality concrete, as we are finding out today. In fact, properties built during those years have major crumbling problems. Their foundations have to be repaired, and sometimes even replaced.
For several years now, the composition of concrete is regulated by strict rules. Some formulas can even be adapted to specific construction projects. Furthermore, steel (reinforcing steel) rods are also added to ensure greater resistance.

2. Geographic area :
The geographical area and soil composition also have an impact on the durability of the concrete. For example, a wet soil is more likely to damage the foundation unlike an area where the soil is dry and mainly made up of sand.

3. Urban development :
Concrete has a tendency to crumble when the house is located near busy roadways for example. The risk of frost being more significant, it can cause the concrete to crumble and thereby weaken the foundation.

4. Humidity :
Over the years, the humidity pushes the minerals out of the concrete. This can also lead to its decomposition and erode its framework.

How can you prevent the foundation from crumbling ?

Seeking advice from a foundation expert will greatly help you. This expert will assess the scope of the problem and recommend the work that will restore the structural integrity of your building. You will know exactly what the problem is and what needs to be done to address it.

Repairing a foundation

Repairing a foundation is reinforcing its components by resurfacing them. More specifically, it means removing all crumbling particles and applying a new coat of concrete on the damaged walls. This helps to restore the structural homogeneity of the foundation and soundness of the building. This is the least expensive solution, which is very effective in the mid and long term.

In some cases, only part of the foundation may be weakened. It is then necessary to replace the damaged section with formwork connected to the rest of the foundation. This type of repair is often seen in areas where the property is on a negative slope or on a corner that is prone to frost.

Replacing the foundation

Replacing the foundation is necessary in case of major problems. This type of work is carried out when the foundation is damaged and the structure is at risk. Replacing a foundation involves lifting and/or supporting the building and then removing the existing foundation in order to replace it with a new foundation that meets the current code standards. This permanent solution is much more expensive and requires the know-how of foundation experts.

One last piece of advice : keep checking your foundation

The foundation is really important; do not neglect it, especially if you have noticed signs of crumbling. Even if this is not the case, we recommend inspecting your foundation before renovating or retrofitting your house. This way, you will have peace of mind and protect your investment. For more information on this subject click here.

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