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Chesapeake Beach Foundation Repair

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. Homes in Chesapeake Beach are built on a variety of these foundations depending on the home’s proximity to the waterfront.

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. Chesapeake Beach presents unique challenges to foundation repair because of the large variation in its soil types. Parts of the city, especially around the Naval Research Laboratory, are built on solid sandstone. Other parts of the city close to the waterfront are built on sandy soil.

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 Chesapeake Beach

Ideally, foundation problems could be prevented simply by keeping the moisture level in the soil constant. In Chesapeake Beach, however, that is simply not possible. Chesapeake Beach averages 42 inches of rain throughout the year, with disproportionate rainfall due to winter and spring nor’easters. Moreover, fast coastal winds put additional loads on foundations that are not a concern in more inland homes.

The summer hurricanes in Chesapeake Beach are especially problematic. The combination of sustained winds of 60 miles per hour, coastal flooding, and soil erosion caused by Hurricane Isabel in 2003 damaged many Chesapeake Beach home foundations beyond repair.

Foundation Repair in Chesapeake Beach

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. 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. In Chesapeake Beach, waterproofing is particularly important due to the risk of coastal flooding.

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.