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Silver Spring Foundation Repair

The torrid pace of development in Silver Spring has brought with it an influx of businesses, visitors, and residents. Downtown Silver Spring has been reborn from a failed urbanization project to a true mixed-use development, attracting large employers such as Discovery Communications and the American Film Institute, as well as new residents looking for an affordable alternative to the D.C. real estate market. The completion of the Intercounty Connector and the development of the Metro Purple Line light rail are likely to spur further development.

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. Newer homes in Silver Spring are likely to have 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 Silver Spring

Ideally, foundation problems could be prevented simply by keeping the moisture level in the soil constant. In Silver Spring, however, that is simply not possible. Silver Spring averages over 40 inches of rain throughout the year, with disproportionate rainfall due to winter and spring nor’easters and summer hurricanes.

The winter snowstorms in Silver Spring are especially problematic. Although Winter Storm Jonas dumped 18 inches of snow on Silver Spring this year, Silver Spring still gets 11 inches of snow in an average year. As this large quantity of snow melts, it causes flooding. This type of moisture variation can cause big problems for foundations in Silver Spring.

Foundation Repair in Silver Spring

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 Silver Spring, it is also a good idea to water the soil near the foundations during the drier months of late summer and early fall.

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.