“This article is written by an independent resource not affiliated with Ram Jack.”
Florida’s combination of cool, damp earth and dry, hot air has a damaging effect on the foundation of many houses. If you live in Florida, it is important to look for the signs of foundation damage and to call a Florida foundation repair company as soon as they appear. Several places should be checked for possible damage and several signs that should set off clear warning bells. Your foundation is an integral structural part of your home and it affects the building from the basement all the way to the roof if it is weakened or failing. If you are worried about foundation damage, the first place you should check is the outside of your house. Damage usually starts at the bottom and works its way up, so you should first look at the foundation itself. Cracks indicate a severe problem and you should call a Florida foundation repair company immediately if you see even a small one. The cracks may be in the foundation itself, or they may have spread up through the brick and the outer walls of your home. Foundation damage may not be so obvious, however, and there are a number of more subtle signs to look for. Poor structural elements can set the whole house out of line and you should check to see if the fascia board is pulling away or if there are gaps around the windows and doors before calling a Florida foundation repair expert.
Once you have examined the outer part of your house, it is time to check inside. If you have a basement, this is a good place to start, as it is usually the first part of the house to suffer damage. As always, cracks in the walls are the biggest sign that it is time to call a Florida foundation repair company. Some cracks, however, may be too small to see. In a basement, the best way to determine if there are tiny cracks in the walls is to look for water intrusion. This is particularly accurate in Florida, where the ground is full of moisture. You should also take a look at the angle of the walls. Check if they are squared with the ceiling and the floor. If they look like they are leaning either in or out, it may be time to call for Florida foundation repair. After the basement, you can move to the inside of your house. Above ground, cracks tend to manifest more in the floors and sheetrock than in the walls themselves. The floors may be hard to check if they are carpeted, but cracks will be obvious in hardwood or tile. A sloping floor is also a sign that you may have foundation problems, as are windows and doors that are misaligned. Even something as subtle as a window that sticks or a door that does not close properly may be a sign of much large problems. If you have an attached garage, you should also inspect this before calling for Florida foundation repair. Garages often experience signs such as gaps around the doors and windows, cracked brick and walls that are rotating out.
Before calling a Florida foundation repair company, it is also important to understand what has caused your foundation damage. Understanding the cause will ensure that you can give the repair company all the information they need to properly fix your foundation. Additionally, while repair is the first step to regaining a sound foundation, you may also need to address the root problems so that the damage does not recur several years down the road. Evaporation is one of the main causes of foundation damage in Florida. Water from the soil evaporates into the hot, dry air, causing the soil to shrink. As the ground pulls away from the foundation, the house settles into the empty space, often causing cracks to form. A large tree, or a number of trees, can have a similar effect on the soil as the roots suck moisture out of the ground. As damaging as desiccation can be, however, excess moisture can also result in the need for Florida foundation repair. Excess dampness will erode the soil, or consolidate it beneath the house, causing the building to settle and the foundation to crack. Two leading causes of excess moisture are improper drainage and leaky plumbing. Finally, foundation damage may be the result of poor construction. If the foundation was not laid properly, did not use enough steel or was built with inferior concrete, it may be more easily damaged. The leading cause of foundation damage, however, is poor soil preparation. Soil that is too soft, not dense enough, or was not properly compacted before construction is far more likely to shift or consolidate, leaving you with the bill for Florida foundation repair.
If you suspect that you have a foundation problem, it is important to call a Florida foundation repair company immediately. A good company will work with you to determine the cause of the problem and to find a solution that will prevent it from happening again in the future. Because local soil conditions play such a large role in house settlement, it may be a good idea to find a company that originates in Florida and is familiar with the most common local problems. You can usually check this by looking at the Florida foundation repair company’s website and reading about their history. Even if they did not start out in Florida, you should see how long they have been working in the area. A Georgia foundation repair company may be just as knowledgeable, particularly if they have been in Florida for several years or even decades.
Once you have found a reputable Florida foundation repair company, it is time to book an appointment. Although you can ask for a quote over the phone, most experts will want to take a look at the foundation themselves before committing to a price. The cost of your Florida foundation repair will depend on a number of factors such as the extent of the damage and what must be done to fix it. It is important to make sure that your repairs are tailored to the cause of your foundation problems, otherwise they will recur years or even months down the road. There are a number of things that a Florida foundation repair company may do to fix your foundation. First, they will determine the cause. If the problem originated because of a plumbing leak, they may refer you to a landscape plumber before going any further with their repairs. Most problems, however, must be repaired using a system called underpinning. This means that technicians will extend your existing foundation into a more stable part of the ground in order to stabilize the entire structure. A good repair technician will evaluate your whole building, not only the parts that are visibly damaged. Depending on the company that you hire, they may only underpin the foundation and stabilize the structure or they may also repair any existing damage by patching cracks and filling holes. If you are trying to keep down the cost, however, the most important thing you can do is act fast. The longer a house is allowed to settle improperly, the more damage there will be to your foundation. The quicker you call for Florida foundation repair, the easier it will be to return your house to it normal, stabilized condition.