Floor Cracks

Concrete floors typically crack when the soil support below has been lost. Slabs settle when the soil beneath is compressed, shrinks or is washed away. As concrete slabs settle, they can cause problems elsewhere in the home as walls separate from floors or ceilings. In addition to wall gaps between floors and ceilings, signs of slab settlement can often include cracks appearing at the corners of doorframes.

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Stair-step cracks are a very common problem and a likely sign of foundation settlement.

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Options to Avoid

It can be unsettling to see a cracked concrete slab in your home. After all, your home’s entire weight is supported by its foundation, and a cracked floor is a sign that something may be very wrong. You may be tempted to fix the problem by either doing too much or too little by either replacing the entire slab or by simply re-leveling it. Neither option is ideal.

When you replace your slab, the original concrete must first be jackhammered into small pieces and carried out by hand. This is a seriously disruptive and expensive process that requires the removal of all furnishings, floor coverings and interior walls. Then the new slab is poured and allowed to cure for up to two weeks. In addition to the cost and disruption, this approach does nothing to address the reason why the slab sunk in the first place.

Releveling the slab involves pouring a self-leveling grout onto the existing slab. If the surface isn’t prepared perfectly, the grout may fail to bond properly, which can cause chunks to break off over time. In addition, the grout adds significant weight to the slab, which can cause further settlement.

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Drying & Shrinking of the Soil Under the Slab HVAC (Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning): Systems may be installed beneath the floor slab. Over time, the ductwork can leak air, which can dry out the soil.

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Washout of Soil Under the Slab: This is usually caused by plumbing leaks. If the plumbing leak is severe and there is a path for the water to flow through, it can wash soil out from under the slab. With a void underneath the floor, there’s nothing supporting the concrete slab anymore. In time, it begins to crack and sink downwards.

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Poor compaction of fill soil during construction of a new home: Layers of soil are commonly moved around or spread out to get to the desired grade level.

When the home is built, footings may be deepened to extend below weak fill soils and avoid a foundation settlement issue. The slab, however, remains on the fill soils. If the fill was poorly compacted, the fill soil compresses and settles, and a void is formed under the slab. In time, the slab cracks, breaks and settles into the void.

Diagnosing and Fixing the Problem

Instead of simply addressing the symptom — the cracked slab — NSquare recommends fixing the problem permanently. This can be achieved using either a piering system to stabilize the slab by connecting it to load-bearing soil or bedrock or high-density, lightweight expanding PolyLevel foam to raise settled concrete to its original position:

  • Push Piers
  • Helical Piers
  • PolyLevel® Foam

Our design techs are trained to expertly diagnose foundation problems. They use highly specialized equipment that allows them to develop a solution tailored to your home’s unique needs. By the time the inspection is over, you’ll know exactly what caused the problem, exactly what it will take to fix it permanently and exactly how much it will cost to do so.

Once a solution has been customized for your home, we pick a date for the job. At that time, a highly trained crew of technicians will install the solution, leaving your home fixed and protected for future generations — restoring its value, improving your family’s quality of life and giving you lasting peace of mind.

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Preparing for installation

Before the installation day of our slab pier system, a representative from our company will have already visited your property and inspected your foundation issue.

At that time, a foundation repair proposal was put in writing along with a map of where the slab pier locations will be installed.

At the beginning of each slab pier installation, a small hole is cored specifically at each mapped position through your concrete slab floor. This hole will create an access point for the slab piers that are about to be installed.

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Positioning the slab bracket

The Foundation Supportworks Slab Pier System utilizes a unique three-piece slab bracket that is assembled underneath your concrete floor, allowing for a much smaller and concealed hole to be cored in your concrete slab.

Additionally, the larger the bracket – the more surface area it covers, allowing for an equal distribution or spread of the load.

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Steel tube installation

Steel tubes are then hydraulically driven or advanced deep into the ground, past any troubled soil that may have been causing your foundation issues beforehand. This way, once installed, your slab will be supported down to strong, competent soils–to stabilize the home. To ensure the quality and long-lasting strength of your slab pier system these steel tubes are designed with galvanized steel to resist corrosion. These tubes are the real strength of the foundation pier system—and are responsible for transferring the home weight to strong supporting soils. The Foundation Support works Slab Pier System utilizes a unique three-piece slab bracket that is assembled underneath your concrete floor, allowing for a much smaller and concealed hole to be cored in your concrete slab.

Additionally, the larger the bracket – the more surface area it covers, allowing for an equal distribution or spread of the load.

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Transfer slab weight to soil

With the brackets and tubes installed and in place, the weight of the concrete slab is transferred through the piers down to the load-bearing strata far beneath your home.

As the system lifts your concrete slab floor upwards, the sinking movement of your floor will be permanently halted along with the best possibility to re-level the slab.

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Inject grout fill

Once the concrete slab has been lifted, a void will be present underneath the floor.

Additionally, if your floor had been sinking because of compacted soil or washout, a gap existed even before the installation.

To address this, we carefully pump grout under the slab to fill in all empty spaces.

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The cleanup

At NSquare, Inc.,, we take pride in leaving your home looking clean and neat. Once the installation is completed, we repair all cored holes neatly with concrete–making your final installation virtually invisible.

Any debris generated during the installation is cleaned up and removed by us. And once we’re done, you can rest easy, knowing that that you have a 25-year warranty on manufacturer’s defects, as well as a performance warranty from us.

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