Foundation damage is one of the most costly issues that property owners can face over the lifespan of a building. The best way to avoid expensive damage is to ensure that the home or commercial space has a well-constructed foundation from day one. Read on to find out about five of the most common problems with building foundations to see what can go wrong and what to watch out for during this phase of construction.
- Use of Sub-Par Materials
Not all concrete contractors are dedicated to using high-quality materials. Some try to cut corners without letting their clients know about the potential consequences. They often include insufficient steel or rebar in the foundation or use substandard concrete, which sets the entire building up for failure. It’s always better to work with a reputable company like Frasercon that can guarantee the quality of the building materials used in foundation construction.
- Inadequate Ground Preparation
Proper soil compaction is essential for just about any kind of foundation. Whether the building will be placed on a pier and beam foundation or a floating slab, contractors must ensure that the underlying topsoil is firm and well-compacted enough to support the structure. Proper ground preparation is the best way to avoid settling, so ask the contractors how they plan to prepare the topsoil.
- Failure to Consider Seasonal Conditions
Seasonal changes can wreak havoc on an inadequately prepared or unprofessionally installed foundation. Local contractors have a better idea of what to expect in terms of inclement weather events, so they’ll be better equipped to ensure proper drainage, avoid oversaturation, and create a foundation that is not prone to premature failure when exposed to routine weather stresses.
- Poor Soil Conditions
Building a foundation on an area with expansive clay soils is never a wise idea, yet not all concrete contractors take the time to remove clay to a sufficient depth and replace it with compacted fill. Clay soils expand and desiccate when it rains and dries out. Since they swell when wet and shrink when dry, this creates constant shifting of the ground beneath the foundation. Even a well-designed and well-built foundation won’t be able to take that amount of settling and shifting without incurring damage over time.
- Improper Design
Designing a foundation requires the help of a specialist. If a general contractor claims that his or her team can install the foundation, property owners should be wary. Choosing the wrong type of foundation or failing to take every possible engineering issue into account can lead to serious problems, so it’s always best to work with a specialist.
Ideally, property owners or general contractors should find a concrete company that has experience with everything from post-tension slab on grade foundations with piers to void box slabs and dropped grottos. This will ensure that the contractor and his or her team will be able to come up with a solution that is perfectly suited to the building site’s conditions.
The Bottom Line
Foundation repairs are expensive, so property owners should do everything they can to avoid them. That means finding a reputable concrete company and paying attention throughout the design and building processes to make sure the contractor is living up to his or her word. Property owners or general contractors who do their due diligence now can avoid expensive problems over the lifespan of the building, so it’s worth the time.