Foundation to Heave
Everything You Need to Know
If you’re reading this, you might have made a disheartening discovery in your basement. The concrete slabs along your foundation floor may have begun heaving upward, warping your foundation and damaging important structural elements throughout your home. You might have seen cracks in your walls or found it difficult to open and close doors and windows. These are all signs of foundation heave, and it is a serious issue that needs an immediate solution.
Signs of Foundation Heave
There are several warning signs that your home is suffering from a foundation heave. You might find any or all of the following:
- Cracked interior walls
- Fractured exterior walls
- Cracked concrete slabs
- Heaving or displaced floor slabs
When you see any of these signs, your home is most likely experiencing damage to its foundation.
How to Fix It:
Solutions can be as simple as repairing a plumbing leak under your foundation — or as extensive as demolishing and then reconstructing damaged sections of foundations or slabs.
A professional foundation contractor is the best person to evaluate foundation heaving problems and suggest suitable solutions.
Foundation upheaval can lift an entire structure, but more often it forces parts of a foundation or slab upwards, while other sections remain stationary. Either way, the damage that results will require the expertise of a foundation repair specialist as shown above.
Causes of Foundation Heave
There are several potential causes for foundation heave, but excess water combined with the supporting soils your home is built on is largely to blame. Your foundation is in direct contact with the soils beneath it, which means anything that affects your supporting soil can affect your foundation.
Expansive soils like clay tend to shrink when dry but expand dramatically when soaking up water. After heavy rains or flooding, soils can swell with moisture content, pushing outward in every direction. If these soils are beneath your foundation, they will exert enormous pressure on your foundation, displacing your concrete and leading to foundation heave.
Frost heave is another common cause of foundation heave. When water freezes, it expands. When the soil expands, it pushes on your foundation and heaves your slabs upward. Even if your supporting soils capture and trap moisture without expanding, the moisture will freeze if temperatures drop low enough. That is especially bad if your home’s foundation was not built deep enough to pass the frost line.
Similar to how expansive soils can affect your foundation, damaged plumbing can be just as bad. If any plumbing lines are leaking or broken, excess water can be introduced into the soil beneath your home. Eventually, and with enough moisture content, these soils will expand and damage your foundation.
Extreme precipitation can lead to your supporting soils absorbing incredible amounts of water. With enough water, your supporting soils can expand, heaving your foundation upward. Just as well, this can lead to incredible pressure on your foundation walls, leading to bowing and cracking walls.
What You Should Do
If you are finding signs that your home is suffering from a foundation heave, you must call or email MidAmerica Basement Systems as soon as you can. We offer free estimates for foundation and slab heave repair for Davenport, Peoria, Waterloo, and the greater Iowa City area.