Foundations of commercial properties not only sustain the integrity of the entire building but also bear the foot weight. A lot of problems can arise in the foundations of these properties over time.
However, it is important to maintain commercial foundations to avoid loss of lives and finances. This article explains what is commercial foundation repair, the consequences of damaged foundations, the reasons behind commercial foundation damage, and different methods of repairing commercial foundations.
What is Commercial Foundation Repair?
The term commercial foundation repair refers to different methods used to repair damaged foundations of commercial buildings:
- Shopping malls
- Educational institutes
- Healthcare facilities
- Industrial plants
The method of repair may vary based on the type of damage. In addition, the foundations of tilt-up buildings often need to be repaired.
Do you know: What is a tilt up building? The walls of a tilt-up building are pre-constructed and only lifted or tilted up in the horizontal position during construction.
What are the cases of Commercial Foundation Damage?
Here are some reasons why the foundation of your commercial property might get damaged:
Commercial buildings are large and require a lot of concrete for their construction. Sometimes, the foundation of such buildings gets damaged due to problems during construction, such as:
- Improper mixing of concrete
- Poor compression of soil
As a result, underlying issues can develop over time.
- Soil settlement
- Sloped floors
- Cracks in concrete
Defective Drainage System
Water seepage due to drainage issues is a significant cause of foundation damage in commercial buildings. Robby Brown, the founder of a foundation repair company in Texas, claims water leakage and drainage problems to be the major culprits of commercial foundation damage. According to him, water can damage a property in two ways:
Water seeps through the ground and freees around the building’s structure.
Moisture accumulates in the building and favors mold and mildew growth.
Soil Compression and Expansion
Some regions experience extreme differences in dry and wet seasons. In the wet season, the soil absorbs moisture and expands. On the contrary, it loses moisture in the dry season and compresses. This frequent compression and expansion of soil causes the foundation of your building to lose its strength.
Consequences of Foundation Damage
Identifying and fixing foundation problems on time saves your money and prevents long-term damage. However, if left untreated, foundation damage can result in underlying problems.
Broken Drainage Pipes
A moving foundation foundation puts immense pressure on the underground pipes. As a result, the pipes can break, causing water leakage. The water leaking from the pipes seeps into the soil below your building’s foundation and aggravates the already existing problems.
High Electricity Costs
Cracks in the walls of damaged foundations allow air and moisture to enter the building where people work. As a result, it takes more time to heat or cool the building. Ultimately, you have to pay a hefty amount in the name of electricity bills.
As the foundation damage worsens, it starts affecting the roof as well. A leaky roof indicates that if you have been neglecting the foundation of your building for quite a long, it is high-time to get it repaired.
Foundation damage exposes the building to infestations by pests. These infestations not only cause inconvenience to your employees but also damage your building’s reputation. If you see vermin and insects rapidly multiplying in your commercial property, hire a professional as soon as possible to get your foundation inspected.
Germination of Mold
Mold spores from outside land onto the moist surfaces in the building and start reproducing as the conditions are favorable for growth. Cracks in the foundation walls serve as moisture pockets, making your commercial property prone to mold growth, thereby causing:
Damage to wooden structures and furniture.
Health problems among the workers.
Types of Commercial Foundation Repair
Different methods of repairing commercial foundations are available to protect your property from serious damage.
In slab jacking or mud jacking, the experts inject a mixture of cement and topsoil underneath the bowed areas to lift them.
Usage: To level the concrete slabs that have moved or shifted due to the damage.
Benefits: Some benefits of mudjacking include:
However, it is not long-lasting. For instance, if the procedure was done to repair the damage caused by water leakage, but water persists in seeping into the foundation, the damage will reoccur.
In steel piering, steel piers are inserted in an interconnected manner. Then, they are filled with cement.
Benefits: Some advantages of steel piering include:
- Easy installation
- Ability to withstand high pressure
- Lifetime warranty, unlike mudjacking
Nowadays, steel transition piers are available that are fabricated from a mixture of steel and concrete. They are even more durable and provide more stability by digging deep into the soil. However, experts choose between steel piers and steep transition piers based on the below:
- Age of the building
- Building’s condition
- Soil type
In drilled piering, professionals drill a hole and install a steel cage. Following this, they fill the cage with concrete.
Benefits: Drilled piers have manifold benefits, such as:
- They are best for buildings that are sensitive to vibrations
- They are cost-effective
- They can be customized according to the dimensions of the structure
However, a drawback of drilled piers is that they can reach only around 3.5 meters under the soil.
Unlike drilled piers, helical piers can go deep into the soil and, therefore, are a more reliable solution for repairing the foundations of commercial buildings that are sensitive to hydraulic press vibrations. Helical piering is used for below:
- Lifting fragile saggy structures
- Fixing bowed walls
It is robust and causes minimum disruption. However, it is not suitable for clay soils.
Foundations of commercial properties can get damaged due to water leakage, soil compression, and construction issues. Damaged foundations can aggravate the pre-existing problems in your property.
The consequences of a shifting foundation include broken pipes, higher electricity costs, pest infestations, and leaky roofs. However, you can call experts to fix foundation issues by using methods like piercing or mud jacking.