Deteriorating Retaining Walls

Symptom
Brick, stone, block and concrete retaining walls deteriorating.

Explanation
Over time retaining walls can settle or bow, usually as a result of poor drainage or poor quality of original construction.

Solution
The installation of french drains or vertical supports may prevent further deterioration while some specific cases may require replacement.

Poor Drainage

Symptom
Standing water in the yard or adjacent to the foundation walls.

Explanation
Poor surface drainage around the structure results in standing water.

Solution
Exterior drain systems, French drains and swales can be constructed to get water away from the building.   In addition, improving the grade can often solve the problem.

Stoops/Porches Pulling Away

Symptom
Sunken concrete slabs, such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, slab foundations, and warehouse floors;’ stoops/porches pulling away.

Explanation
Concrete slabs can settle due to contraction of the underlying subsoil.

Solution
Settled concrete structures can be raised and stabilized by pumping a concrete grout beneath the structures, a process known as pressure grouting or mud- jacking.

Sinking Concrete Slabs

Symptom
Sunken concrete slabs, such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, slab foundations, and warehouse floors;’ stoops/porches pulling away.

Explanation
Concrete slabs can settle due to contraction of the underlying subsoil.

Solution
Settled concrete structures can be raised and stabilized by pumping a concrete grout beneath the structures, a process known as pressure grouting or mud- jacking.

Bowed Basement Walls

Symptom
Basement walls cracked, bowed and/or leaning inward.

Explanation
The inward movement of basement walls is normally due to poor exterior drainage and/or expansive soils.

Solution
Underpinning of the main foundation walls is the method used to correct differential settlement and, if needed, raise the settled walls back to their original positions, insofar as possible and practical.   Inward movement can be remedied by reinforcing the foundation walls with steel beams and, if needed, realigning the walls.

Cracks in Brick, Stone, Concrete, Block

Symptom
Vertical or horizontal cracks in the outside veneer or interior foundation walls.

Explanation
Cracks in the foundation walls can be due to settlement of the walls or can be the result of inward movement in the foundation walls.

Solution
Underpinning of the main foundation walls is the method used to correct differential settlement and, if needed, raise the settled walls back to their original positions, insofar as possible and practical.   Inward movement can be remedied by reinforcing the foundation walls with steel beams and, if needed, realigning the walls.

Doors or Windows Sticking

Symptom
Interior cracking of sheetrock over doors or windows; doors or windows sticking and not operating properly.

Explanation
In many cases interior cracks above and below windows and doors, sticking doors and windows, are the result of differential settlement of the exterior walls.

Solution
Settlement of the exterior walls can be halted by underpinning the walls with concrete caisson piers or steel helical piers.    Pressure grouting to stabilize the footings is an option in some cases as well.

Cracks Over Doors or Windows

Symptom
Interior cracking of sheetrock over doors or windows; doors or windows sticking and not operating properly.

Explanation
In many cases interior cracks above and below windows and doors, sticking doors and windows, are the result of differential settlement of the exterior walls.

Solution
Settlement of the exterior walls can be halted by underpinning the walls with concrete caisson piers or steel helical piers.    Pressure grouting to stabilize the footings is an option in some cases as well.

Water In Basement/Cracks

Symptom
Water infiltration into the basement.

Explanation
Water can enter a basement in a combination of ways. Water can seep in where the floor meets the wall; through cracks; around pipes; over the top of the wall; window wells fill up and leak into the basement; or water permeates through deteriorated stone, block or concrete.

Solution
Based on observations of how water enters the basement, water can be stopped by various methods, often times using a combination of solutions such as: internal drain tile systems and sump pumps; excavation and sealing of the external walls; application of sealants on interior walls; window well drainage systems; re-grading of the ground surface adjacent to the structure to improve surface water drainage; mud-jacking to fill voids beneath slabs adjacent to foundation walls; raising and/or replacing patios, driveways, sidewalks and stoops to insure they drain away from the structure; installation of external drainage systems; epoxy injection and tuck pointing of leaking cracks with the appropriate grout; exterior crack repair.

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