Oxon Hill Foundation Repair
There’s a popular myth that D.C. and its surrounding suburbs, like Oxon Hill, were built on top of a swamp. In fact, only a small portion (less than 2 percent) of the area was actually swampland, but given the unbearably humid summers, the myth certainly makes sense.
Oxon Hill may not have been built on top of a swamp, but its proximity to the Potomac River and its various tributary creeks, flooding is a common problem in the area. Flooding is problematic for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is the havoc it can cause on a home’s foundation.
Given the pace of development in Oxon Hill with National Harbor and the Tanger Outlets, property values are one the rise. But, whether you want to maximize your selling price now, or want to make sure your home continues to increase in value in the future, the state of your home’s foundation has a large impact on its value.
What Is A Foundation?
A home’s foundation is the base on which the home is built and it is in direct contact with the soil. It is designed to transfer the structure’s load, or weight, to the soil underneath the foundation while resisting movement. There are several types of foundations including slab foundations, pier and beam foundations, crawlspace foundations, and basement foundations.
A good foundation must be tailored to the specific soil conditions of the build site if it wants to achieve its goal of transferring load while resisting movement. In the first few years after a home is built, a certain amount of movement, known as settlement, is normal and is usually not structurally significant. When significant movement continues, it can be a sign that foundation repair is necessary.
Signs of Foundation Problems
Nobody wants to buy a house with foundation problems (and banks do not want to approve mortgages on houses with foundation problems), and it will be difficult to sell your home if it exhibits any of these signs of a bad foundation:
• Uneven or sloping floors
• Cracked bricks or cinder blocks
• Wall rotation
• Cracked or bowed walls
• Cracked floors or foundation
• Misaligned doors or windows
• Cracked or separated moldings
• Spaces between the wall and ceiling or floors
If left unchecked, these foundation problems could result in structural damage. If your home exhibits any of these signs, you may need to think about having your foundation repaired.
The root cause of most foundation problems is simply water. Soil is not a homogenous substance; rather, it is composed of various constituents, each of which expands or contracts in response to variations in moisture. The shifting soil causes movement in the foundation, which ultimately leads to the cracks and gaps in your home.
Foundation Problems in Oxon Hill
Ideally, foundation problems could be prevented simply by keeping the moisture level in the soil constant. In Oxon Hill, however, that is simply not possible. The Potomac River and Henson Creek are at constant risk of flooding. In the winter, the accumulated snow in the entire region melts and finds its way to the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. In the summer, flash thunderstorms can overwhelm the waterways with as much as 2 inches of rain per hour.
This heavy and sudden influx of water in Oxon Hill results in the foundations of area homes shifting and sinking into the soil.
Foundation Repair in Oxon Hill
Each home has a unique combination of soil type, foundation type, and moisture problems that will dictate the type and extent of the foundation repair that is necessary. There are several methods of foundation repair available to professionals. They can range from simple crack repairs to a complete foundation replacement.
In between those two extremes, slabjacking, or mudjacking, is a common repair method which involves pumping concrete underneath the foundation. The concrete solidifies underneath the foundation to restore the proper grade and to stabilize the soil underneath the foundation.
Another commonly used method is called piering. Piering involves raising the foundation with a hydraulic jack to the proper grade and installing steel or concrete columns deep into the ground to maintain the elevation.
A foundation repair is useless if the foundation continues to move after the repair. A good foundation repair will also involve ongoing water management. In Oxon Hill, installation of a water drainage system, as well as sealing and waterproofing the foundation may be necessary to ensure that the soil around the foundation maintains a proper level of moisture. If possible, it may even be necessary to regrade the property to ensure water drains away from the foundation.
If you notice any of the signs of foundations problems, it is in your best interest to get the foundation repaired before more extensive damage occurs. Foundation repair can be expensive, so make sure to get free estimates from multiple contractors to ensure that you get the best price on your repair.