Posts by foundationsottawa

insurance-foundation-repair

Is Foundation Repair Covered by Insurance?

Owning a home is a major expense. In addition to making mortgage payments, you will also want to have insurance so that you are covered in case something goes wrong.

But when getting insurance for your home, you will want to pay attention to that fine print as not everything that happens to your home will be covered. One thing that may not be covered is foundation repair. Read on to find out if you are likely to be reimbursed if this sort of damage occurs in your home.

Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover My Foundation Repair?

The terms of your insurance may vary depending on the state you live in, but many policies will not cover foundation repairs. Generally, the only instances when foundation repair might be covered is if damage is a result of other issues like broken plumbing. For example, if water leakage from broken plumbing is causing cracks in your foundation, you may be covered.

Should I Purchase Additional Coverage?

If you are in need of foundation repairs on your home, review your homeowner’s insurance policy. It’s possible that earthquake or flood insurance is included. If this is the case, your home may be covered if foundation damage occurred as a result of these natural disasters.

Earthquake and flood insurance can also be purchased in addition to basic homeowner’s insurance, but most homeowners will not go for this option unless they are required to.

Can I Fix My Home’s Foundation Myself?

If your home’s foundation has been damaged and you don’t have insurance that will cover your expenses, it may be tempting to repair it yourself. Many will try injecting epoxy resin to stair step cracks or cracks that are wider than ¼ inch. However, this only puts a band aid on the problem as it does not address the underlying issues that are responsible for the cracking.

Damage is usually due to excess water in the soil surrounding the home. If this is the case, you may need to have the area drained by a professional to reduce wetness.

In other instances, foundation damage can be due to excessive dryness in the soil. This can cause the property to sink or subside. If this is the case, stabilizing and supporting the foundation with concrete or steel piers will halt its movement. However, this is also work that is best performed by a professional and it can be quite costly.

If you are in the process of buying a new home, decide if your property is vulnerable to foundation damage and see what can be done to make sure you are covered if damage occurs. This can be an important step that will protect you in a worse case scenario.

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water-penetration-ottawa

How Can I Tell What Kinds of Repairs Are Needed If Water is Getting into My House?

If water is getting into your home, you are likely to see signs in your interior. Here are some things you will want to look out for:

  • Occasional puddles in the middle of the floor
  • Damp carpets after it rains
  • Surface water running down foundation walls
  • Warped flooring
  • Water pooling near the home’s foundation
  • Smell
  • Foundation damage

There are many types of repair that may be used to fix these problems and the signs of damage you are seeing can help you determine what type of repair is needed.

Here are some types of repair that are commonly needed to take care of leaks:

  • Slab Leak Repair
  • Cleaning out Overflowing Gutters
  • Reversing Slopes in Pavement and Landscapes
  • Providing Sealant
  • Moving Irrigation Systems

Read on to find out about the damage you may be seeing and how you can keep your house dry.

Slab Leaks: If water is appearing, seemingly out of nowhere, it may be a sign that water is leaking from underneath the slab. This can be due to a ground shift, pipe erosion, faulty wrapping on your pipe or a nicked line in your pipes. Slab leaks should be repaired by an expert and may call for a section of your floor to be replaced.

Cleaning out Overflowing Gutters: If your gutters are clogged, water may pool near your home’s foundation and may eventually get into your basement. To prevent this from happening, clean out your gutters or install a gutter protection system.

Reversing Slopes in Pavement and Landscape: It is best that your pavement or landscape slopes away from your home so that water runs away from it. If it slopes towards your home or is flat in surface, you may need to reverse its positioning.

If your pavements slope, the first sign will be flooding in the basement as this is the lowest area for water to get in. If the area surrounding your home is made of dirt, you may be able to use dirt to fill in the slopes, but if it is made of pavement, a full replacement may be required.

Providing Sealant: Cracks in your foundation are also likely to lead to leaking in the basement. Be vigilant about sealing cracks as soon as you see them to avoid overall foundation repair.

Moving Irrigation Systems: If your irrigation system is too close to your house, the excess water may leak inside. In these cases, early signs of damage will be apparent in the basement.

To keep this from happening, Instruct the installer to avoid placing the irrigation system near the house. If this not possible, make sure the system includes a working rain gauge, so it does not turn on when the lawn is already irrigated such as times when the ground is still wet from a recent storm.

If water is getting into your home, it can lead to serious damage to your foundation and throughout your house. A foundation repair expert can provide repairs that will keep your home safe from leaks and flooding.

We provide reliable service to give your home the protection it needs. If you see signs of a water damage in your home, call us first!

 

 

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house-settling-ottawa

What are Some Indicators That My House is Settling?

Settling is a part of a home’s natural evolution. It is described as a gradual sinking into the ground that occurs when soil beneath the foundation begins to shift.

Settling is usually not cause for alarm but in some cases, it can lead to foundation repair. That’s why it’s important to know when to call for help.

Here are some indicators that your house is settling that may mean it’s time to call for help:

  • Struggling to open doors and windows
  • Gaps between the windows and walls
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Burst water pipes
  • Slanted floors

Read on to find out more about these problems and what they can mean for your home.

Struggling to Open Doors and Windows: As your house settles, it may cause doors and windows to become slightly angled, so they don’t fit inside their frames anymore.

Gaps Between the Windows and Walls: Settling can cause walls to pull away from window frames leaving a noticeable gap.

Cracks in the Foundation: As time goes on, the soil underneath the foundation of your home will start to shift causing the foundation to sink deeper into the ground. The imbalance in the foundation can cause cracks to start appearing.

However, cracks are not necessarily a sign of setting. They can also be a sign of seasonal climate changes, so if you see them, don’t assume settling is occurring.

Burst Water Pipes: Water pipes run throughout your walls. When settling causes the house to shift downward, the pipes can become twisted. Unfortunately, because pipes are hidden behind walls, most homeowners won’t notice they are starting to shift until a pipe bursts.

Slanted Floors: Floors will begin to slant as homes settle. This could be unnoticeable at first, but the problem tends to worsen over time.

It should be noted that slanted floors are not always due to a house settling but can also be caused by deteriorating supports and joists.

Looking over these indicators, we can see that some are more serious than others. There are some issues we can deal with while others may have more of an impact and need immediate attention.

However, the truth is, if you see any signs of settling in your home, it is best to call in an expert. They will be able to tell how serious the settling is and what repairs will be necessary.

If you are looking for an expert to provide you with reliable service call us first. We will be able to determine what repairs are necessary in countering the effects of settling in your home and we will always offer the best prices possible.   We will do whatever is necessary in keeping your house and foundation safe.

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wet-basement

Why is My Basement Flooded?

Basements are prone to flooding and flooding can occur at any time. It is often caused by inclement weather, but there are several other things that can cause flooding. These include:

  • A Blocked Floor Drain
  • Lack of a Sump Pump
  • Blocked Roof Gutters
  • Downspouts that Don’t Extend
  • Water Coming in Through Window Wells
  • Lack of General Maintenance

Read on to find out more about why your basement may be flooded and what you can do to prevent flooding.

 A Blocked Floor Drain: A floor drain works to prevent flooding and other forms of water damage. However, these drains can become clogged with dirt that can obstruct the pipes and prevent draining. Do your best to keep drains free of debris to prevent flooding.

Lack of a Sump Pump: A sump pump works to move groundwater away from the house’s foundation. It channels the water and pumps it into a storm drain.

Not only should you be sure to have a sump pump installed, you should make sure that it is connected to a battery backup as a raging storm can knock out its power source making it more likely that your basement will become flooded.

Blocked Roof Gutters: Like a sump pump, roof gutters work to move rainwater away from your house to avoid oversaturating ground water. If dirt, leaves and other debris clogs your gutters, water will collect and spill over the edges increasing the likelihood that flooding will occur.

Clogging is even more likely to happen if you have trees surrounding your house. If this is the case, gutter screens or guards can be used to prevent leaves and dirt from building up.

Note, debris from trees can be especially harmful in the wintertime as wet leaves can freeze and cause an ice dam that not only blocks gutters but can cause them to pull away from the roof.

Downspouts that Don’t Extend:  Your gutter downspouts should work to drain water so that it is at least six feet away from the home, although ten or twelve feet is even better. If your downspouts aren’t draining water so it is far enough from your house, you can buy extensions at most local hardware stores.

Water That Comes in Through Window Wells: Basements that have below grade windows may have spaces where water can get in. To protect your basement from flooding, install covers to prevent accumulation. Clear acrylic covers are inexpensive and will allow light to come into your basement while keeping water and debris out.

General Maintenance: Cracks in your foundation will make it more likely for water to get into your basement. Although these may be part of a bigger problem, start by sealing any visible cracks with epoxy to prevent flooding.

It is very common for basements to become flooded. If flooding occurs in your house, or if you want to prevent flooding from happening in the first place, give us a call! We will make all the necessary repairs to reverse damage and keep your basement warm and dry, even during those rainy seasons!

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foundation-damage-ottawa

What are Some Signs That Indicate My Home’s Foundation May Be Damaged?

Your house may be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. That’s why you’ll want to pay close attention to any signs of damage before small problems become big problems.

One area of the house that is especially vulnerable to damage is the foundation and small problems that arise can lead to expensive repairs down the road. Here are some things you should look out for to make sure you catch foundation problems early on.

  • Cracks and Fractures
  • Foundation Settling or Sinking
  • Foundation Upheaval
  • Damp Crawl Space in a Pier and Beam House
  • Counters and Cabinets Separating from Walls

Cracks and Fractures: As the foundation of your house moves, the structure will develop cracks. Having some amount of cracking is normal and could occur within the first few years after your house was built. However, gaps that measure more than ¼” thick and are horizontal in nature are more serious. They could indicate that your house’s foundation is under a lot of pressure.

Foundation Settling or Sinking: Over time, you may find that your house is beginning to sink on one side or even in the center. This could be a sign that your foundation is damaged. Interior or exterior foundation piers can be installed to prevent further damage from occurring.

Foundation Upheaval: It is not unusual for foundations to sink or settle over time, but foundation upheaval is another common problem.  This is the opposite of foundation settling and it occurs when your foundation moves in an upward direction.

Foundation upheaval can be caused by soil expanding and contracting and excess moisture under the house. If this is the case, it is best to treat the problem at its source. Slab foundation repair may also be necessary.

Damp Crawl Space in a Pier and Beam House: If the crawl space in your home is damp, it may be a sign that moisture is getting in through cracks in your foundation. Here too, it is best to find the source of the moisture and treat it directly. A polyethylene vapor barrier may also be installed to keep water from evaporating from the soil and making the crawl space damp.

Counters and Cabinets Separating from the Wall: This is a problem that may be barely noticeable at first, but it will worsen over time. If you notice your counters and cabinets separating from the wall, it is best to call in an expert to find out if this is a sign of foundation damage.

If the foundation of your home is damaged, it can result in costly repairs. If you start seeing signs of damage, call us first. We will assess the damage and make all necessary repairs to ensure your house is well maintained for years to come and remains a great investment for you and your family.

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foundation-repair-ottawa

When Should I Worry About Foundation Cracks?

The basics of foundation preservation include:

  • Grade soil away from the foundation
  • Install a sump pump with battery back up
  • Clean gutters

Of course, regular inspection is a priority.  Even with these preventive measures, cracks can form.  Understanding what can happen is a critical element in foundation management.

Causes of Foundation Damage in Ottawa

There are a number of factors that can contribute to foundation problems:

  • Loose soil
  • Overly wet or overly dry ground
  • Inadequate drainage
  • Poor construction
  • Earthquakes or other shifting
  • Temperature changes
  • Flooding

No matter how proactive you may be, including waterproofing and plumbing repairs, cracks can be formed in the foundation.

Cracks

Cracks are generally categorized into three main types:

  • Shrinkage – This is found in houses with poured concrete.
  • Horizontal – Soil or water pressure will cause this type of crack.
  • Settlement – All houses settle over time.  The size and location of any cracks will determine how severe the damage is or can be.

Some alteration in the structure is not necessarily serious.  There are some changes you should look for that will indicate a more grave issue.

  • Bowing walls
  • Misaligned doors and windows
  • Sloping floors
  • Drywall cracks
  • Ceramic tile and brickwork cracks

Watching for Cracks

Both poured concrete and block foundations can develop cracks since each of these will shrink as they dry.

Careful and regular observation is one way to catch problems before they become too big to handle, including financially.  Start with each 90 degree corner.  This is the first place cracks will begin to show.  Use a ruler and accurately measure the width and keep a record.  If the crack begins to widen at one end, this could be an indication of the beginning of trouble.  If you find cracks of ½ inch or wider, have an engineer come in to inspect the area.

Horizontal cracks at the bed joint of a concrete block or brick wall is the sign of a major breakdown.  The soil behind the wall is pressing the wall into a point where it will bend, eventually to break.  This is a condition that requires immediate attention.  First you will need to identify the cause of the horizontal crack and have that repaired before addressing the crack itself.

Vertical cracks can be equally as dangerous.  Cracks that are wider at the top generally means the foundation is dropping and the center is heaving.  Cracks wider at the bottom is usually means the opposite, or a heaving foundation and dropping center.  In either case, call in a structural engineer to evaluate the situation.

 

Not all Cracks are Equal

Some cracks are simply not serious.  While not aesthetically pleasing, they won’t hurt if left untreated.  Angular cracks can form on the top foot or so of brick walls that are laid directly onto concrete foundations.  During the summer the bricks will expand with the heat and push the outer foundation corners.  This will cause angular cracks.  These will probably recur each summer.

 

Cracks can occur above windows, doors, and archways in the upper levels of the house.  This is only due to settling and are relief joints.  The size can vary with temperature changes.  This can be controlled using a dehumidifier in the summer and humidifier in the winter.

 

Basements in Ottawa can often develop hairline cracks.  This is another instance where it is appearance related.  Unless they become ½ wide or wider, there should be no concern.  They usually begin at a 90 degree offset corners and will extend to the corner of the room.  It should stop growing after about a year and you can then fill it with hydraulic cement or urethane caulk.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your foundation or any cracks in your home, feel free to contact us.  We will arrange to have one of our professionals contact you and arrange a time for an inspection and discussion.

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foundation-repair-cost-ottawa

How much should I expect to pay to repair my foundation?

As an Ottawa homeowner you may be experiencing foundation problems.  So, this is a very legitimate question.  An equally legitimate answer is:

It Depends!

Average Foundation Repair Cost

It is impossible to offer an estimate on foundation repair without actually viewing the area.  It will depend on many factors, including:

  • Type of problem
  • Location of problem
  • Severity
  • Type of solution

An example we would like to offer involves the home settling and bricks are cracked:

  • The solution may involve the installation of one or more push piers.  This could take a day or more to install.
  • The foundation work is isolated and only a single pier will solve the issue.  This would be less expensive
  • Bricks are damaged and will need repair.
  • If the concrete slab is sinking, a foam injection would work.

As you can tell, there are many variables.  A wild stab would be that you could expect to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $30,000.

Foundation Repair Cost in Ottawa

If you have problems around your foundation, it is best to seek professionals to inspect the property.

  • Get several estimates, preferably a minimum of three.
  • The lowest estimate is not always the best.
  • Check references.
  • Will they use professional engineers?
  • Review licenses and insurance.
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