Cracked walls, uneven floors, footpaths, driveways, jammed windows and unaligned doors can all be signs of potential problems with foundation ground. Homeowners who spot these problems around their home often start by calling upon tradespeople to help restore their home to its original condition.
However, as these issues often require a more technical engineered solution, Mainmark is frequently called upon to help. Mainmark’s Teretek® non-invasive resin injection solution is frequently used as a cost-effective way to improve ground-bearing capacity and to re-level buildings that have been impacted by foundation subsidence issues.
Consultation and referral between the homeowner, Mainmark, and speciality trades (such as landscapers, plasterers, plumbers and builders) may take place either before or after ground improvement works have been completed, with different trades each playing an important role in the remediation process.
Following are a few examples of the types of ground issues different trades might encounter when undertaking residential remediation projects.
Landscapers and arborists:
Landscapers can help assess soil conditions at a property while arborists can identify trees with potentially invasive root systems that may be contributing to blocked drains and cracked water pipes. These can all be causes of a home’s foundation ground subsiding. However, trees can also be beneficial for drawing up excess moisture from the ground, so removing trees can sometimes lead to differential soil movement. Homeowners can be guided by a landscaper to help ensure trees are planted at an appropriate distance from the home, driveways, patios and footpaths to ensure this doesn’t become an issue. Landscapers can also provide guidance on suitable retaining walls for different zones around the home and the impact that any new paving may have on site-drainage.
Leaking sewers and water main pipes can weaken a home’s foundations, which is why it’s critical to catch signs of a leaking pipe or cracked drain as early as possible. If not treated it could lead to homes subsiding at different points, or indeed over their entire property. Damaged or unconnected downpipes and overflowing gutters can also cause complications as soils wash away. This is why engaging a licensed plumber at the first sign of a leak, who knows what to look for, can help avoid longer-term ground problems and significant structural damage.
Builders, plasterers and painters:
Wall cracks are a common first sign of potential foundation movement under a home. Therefore, it’s important that homeowners avoid painting or patching plaster over a crack without investigating the underlying issue first. A professional builder can help homeowners differentiate between minor cracks and possible symptoms of a more serious structural issue. Small hairline cracks are usually the result of seasonal expansion and contraction of soils beneath the building over time. These are generally not a cause for concern and can be patched with a flexible filler and repainted. Problematic wall cracks, however, will typically start at windows, doorways or corners of buildings, and they are usually wider than 5mm (about the thickness of a little finger).
Homeowners can take action to help fix large cracks like these, which have been caused by ground subsidence, by re-levelling the home’s foundations. This can be done using a non-invasive method such as Mainmark’s Teretek® resin injection solution. While this will generally result in wall cracks narrowing or closing up, the area may still need cosmetic finishing with the help of a plasterer or painter. With brickwork, some re-pointing or mortar joints may be required, and with plaster or render walls, some patching and repainting is often needed as well.
Maintaining and restoring homes that have been impacted by foundation issues is often a team effort and the type of trades required to support remediation work will depend on the underlying cause. Mainmark has raised, re-levelled and re-supported homes and other residential buildings across the globe for more than 25 years. Providing fast, cost-effective and non-invasive alternatives to traditional underpinning methods, with our experienced team working collaboratively with other trade professionals to help complete the remediation of many homes.
By Robbie Blanchfield
Robbie is the Commercial Manager at Mainmark UK, with over 10 years’ experience in the construction and civil industries across the world, including UK, Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Experienced in both risk management and contracting, he has been involved in many civil and infrastructure projects including the remediation of the Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island, the old Bank of New Zealand building in Kaiapoi and Ultima Furniture’s warehouse in the UK.