A number of older homes and even some modern homes in Texas were built using a block and base foundation method. A block and base foundation is much different from the concrete slab foundation we see in most modern homes today. Instead of a concrete slab that is laid on a soil pad, a block and base foundation rests on stacks of block on a stabilized soil base. A block and base foundation seems like a sturdy foundation. However, during times of drought the drought starved ground can reduce the foundation’s footing and require repair. DuraTech Texas, LLC would like to share some of the common problems and repair methods for a block and base foundation.
Repairing a Block and Base Foundation
Even though the block and base foundation seems like an obsolete foundation today, they are much easier to repair. A block and base foundation is off the ground which makes accessing the problem much easier and requires less work to repair. A block and base foundation sits about 18 inches off of the ground and the block rests on a stabilized soil which is higher than the original ground level. When repairing a base and block foundation, often metal shims are used to make the needed adjustments to the foundation.
Common Techniques to Fix Block and Base Foundation Problems
One of the most common repairs needed for a block and base foundation is sinking or leveling issues. In the state of Texas the soil is high in plasticity. The soil in Texas will swell during the rainy season. During periods of long drought the soil shrinks which causes the ground to sink along with the foundation. Once the soil shrinks, the soil base is forever lost. Often the blocks will no longer support the home and will even tip over. When the block no long supports the home, adjustments are needed. When repairing a block and base foundation the entire home is lifted up using a hydraulic jack. New blocks are put in place and shims are then added to help level out the home.
Does My House Need Leveling?
As a homeowner it is important to understand that when the home is leveled, the home will not be perfectly level. Even concrete slabs are never perfectly leveled. However, the goal of leveling the home will bring a more straight foundation. A straighter foundation will ensure the doors and windows open and close properly and reduce damage to walls and ceilings.
How Do You Maintain a Block & Base Foundation?
For those who live in a home with a block and base foundation, it is important to maintain your foundation especially during times of drought. When you begin to notice cracks developing in the walls or ceiling, this is often because the foundation is no longer level. When the foundation begins to sink badly you will also notice that the doors and windows will not open or close fully. You can also clearly see the foundation block leaning or no longer making contact with the home’s foundation base.