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Chestertown Foundation Repair

Chestertown was founded in 1704 and was an active port city for most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The brick mansions and townhouses that still line many of the Chestertown streets were made possible by the wealth that accompanied the active trade during that era. These old homes, however, are built on stone or rubble foundations which bring with them unique foundation repair challenges.

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. Modern homes use one of several types of foundations including slab foundations, pier and beam foundations, crawlspace foundations, and basement foundations. Older homes, such as the ones found in Chestertown, are built on stone or rubble 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. Although old stone or rubble foundations have usually long since stopped moving, degradation of the foundation in the absence of maintenance can still cause problems that may require foundation repair.

Signs of Foundation Problems

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.

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 Chestertown

The stone foundations in Chestertown yield their own unique challenges to foundation repair. For the most part, stone foundations have usually long since stopped sinking or shifting into the soil.

Over time, though, expanding and contracting soil can exert pressure on the foundation walls, causing cracks in the mortar. Seeping moisture by itself can also cause mortar in between the stones to flake and crack. When enough of the mortar flakes away, the stones can start to move out of place, causing shifts in the house.

Foundation Repair in Chestertown

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 for modern homes 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.

In Chestertown homes with stone foundations, it is important to re-point the walls of the foundation by filling in voids with new mortar before any of the stones begin to shift. If the stones have already begun to shift, it may be necessary hire a mason to stabilize and preserve the wall against structural failure.

It is also important to address the underlying moisture problems that caused the structural failure. It may be necessary to install drainage systems on the exterior and waterproofing systems on the interior.

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.