In Texas, block and base foundation systems were among the first systems used. Homes rest upon stacks of blocks built upon stabilized soil instead of a slab. Drought and time can bring problems, just like any Texas foundation though. Fortunately, after a block and base foundation loses its footing to drought-starved ground, an antique home can be rescued. Today, we at DuraTech Texas would like to discuss the repairs of a block and base foundation systems repair.
What is a Block & Base Foundation?
Ease of access is one advantage to block and base. A block and base foundation support the house 18 inches or higher above the soil, similar to pier and beam foundation systems. On a base of stabilized soil or a pad is where the blocks themselves rest. A matter of adjusting the height of the block stack is repairing the home. The needed adjustment is adding metal shims in most cases. The home is lifted off the blocks where needed, and shims are added as necessary to true the home.
Is Leveling a House Always a Part of Foundation Repairs?
Home is not necessarily leveled in the foundation repair. To begin with, few slabs are absolutely level. Within the tolerances of its original construction, foundation repair realigns a home instead. Windows open and close smoothly, doors open and close cleanly, and cracks in sheetrock often close up once this repair to the slab is complete.
Common Causes of Block & Base Foundation?
In the Houston area, soil is high in plasticity. When wet and contracts when dry, plasticity is the measure of how much soil expands. Because our soil is high in plasticity, foundations of all kinds move. In the soil around your home, you can monitor moisture levels. When they start to fail, these foundations are usually older. Drought, ultimately, is the biggest cause of block and base foundation failure. Too much rainfall and moisture can cause problems too though on the other side. It starts to erode the base and cause problems as water from the roof pounds on the solid base of the foundation. The blocks start to rise up as the soil expands when the water to run beneath the surface. It falls again and causes big problems for homeowners as the soil dries out.
When Should I Worry About Block & Base Foundations?
You could have a foundation problem if your floors feel less than stable. In addition to baseboards separating from the walls, other signs include sticking doors and windows. You have cause for concern and should notify the experts when you start to notice that there are cracks in the sheetrock.
How Do You Repair a Block & Base Foundation?
Solving a block and base foundation problem has a few ways, depending on the circumstances. Below are a few options we at Dura-Tech would like to share.
1) Shimming. Each base that supports the home wooden beam that is placed on top of it is leveled.
2) Wood Replacement. It will have to be replaced if pests or water have caused significant damage to the wood and subfloor material. It is best to remove damaged supports and install new ones.
3) Readjustment. It can be repaired by reducing the distance between the bases to correct the problem if you have noticed humps in your floor due to unsupported beams
4) House Leveling. The crawlspace isn’t big enough, the entire house can be lifted using airbags, if the crawlspace isn’t big enough. Crawlspace should be at least 16”.
5) Shaker Sill. Extra support is added with 4”x6” pieces of wood to offer strength if the distance between the beams is too great. Any squeaky floors you may have will also be taken care of.