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Causes of Concrete Foundation Settlement

In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, & Maryland

The stability of a building’s foundation or concrete slab is based largely on the properties of the soil it is built on. When concrete foundations in industrial, commercial, or residential structures settle and move, it can be the result of several soil-related circumstances that include: building on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, or improper maintenance of the grounds around a foundation. When settlement occurs, it can destroy the value of the building and even render it unsafe.

Water is the basic culprit in the vast majority of expansive soil problems. Specific components of certain soils, especially those located in regions that receive a substantial amount of rainfall, tend to swell or shrink with variations in moisture. The extent of this movement varies from soil to soil. For example, soils that are the highest in clay content are generally more susceptible to water while the soils lowest in clay content tends to be the least affected. In some areas the movement is insignificant; in others, it is quite pronounced.

Unstable Soil Problems

When unstable soils are used as a base for concrete foundation systems, some structural movement will inevitably result. If all the soil beneath a foundation or slab swells uniformly, there usually is no problem. Problems occur, however, when only part of the concrete substructure settles. Then, the differential movement of the soil causes cracks or other damage. For many properties, slab settlement problems will result in damage to the structure, potential accidents, and loss of real estate value. Poor drainage, tripping hazards, rough floors, unsightly cracks, and equipment malfunctions may also result from these types of concrete settlement problems.

Solutions for Repairing Foundation Settlement Issues

Traditional methods of addressing such problems have provided less than ideal results. These older systems and the materials that are used with them often require lengthy installation times and do not stabilize the underlying soil, which is at the heart of the problem. As a result, these approaches yield a temporary fix which often result in a short life expectancy for the repair, and higher costs down the road to find a more permanent solution. Hi-Tech Soil Stabilization uses the URETEK’s patented polyurethane Deep Injection Process.

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