Foundation Repair 101 — How Is Your Commercial Property Holding Up?

A nightmare for any business owner is to learn that their commercial property has a foundation problem. Foundation issues are significant, and need to be addressed as soon as possible. If not, a small crack can quickly become large and costly. And because we live in Texas where heat and humidity are a constant practically year round, you can almost guarantee that your commercial property will eventually have this problem.

Disaster America Project Manager Stephen Aaron had to deal with this issue while restoring an apartment complex that caught fire in Dallas.

“We were on the job and had assessed the damage that the fire caused. The fire only affected a few units, but because of the smoke damage, the whole complex needed to be restored,” said Aaron. “That’s when we found a substantial crack in the southeast corner of the building. Because of this, before we could start tearing out the old fire damage and replacing it with new, the whole complex needed to be leveled. The crack in the foundation was not caused by the fire, just good old Texas soil and the ground shifting over time.”

Because repairing a foundation is a big job, it’s important to watch for signs inside your building that could indicate there might be an issue. The faster you find the problem, the less expensive it will be to fix it. If you see the following, you should consult a professional:

Exterior cracks to walls and foundation: The foundation of a commercial property should never show any signs of deterioration. You might notice cracks to the foundation or the exterior walls, especially in the shape of a “stair-step.” You might also see:

  • Hairline fractures or cracks
  • Sloping, sagging, or buckling in foundation floors or walls
  • Ruptures or gaps
  • Crumbling or flaking concrete

Water Damage. Water spots on ceilings or leaks around the property can indicate foundation problems. As the foundation shifts, it can start to slowly redirect water flow, resulting in excess water buildup throughout the property.

Soil Shifting. With a large amount of rain, the soil becomes saturated and will start to expand. During prolonged dry periods, the soil becomes dry and starts to contract. The expansion and contraction of soil cause extreme pressure to the foundation of a commercial building, and will eventually cause damage.

Sagging floors/warped ceilings. According to the Greater Houston Builders Association “Issues that originate in the foundation can sometimes appear in the upper levels of the building, often in the form of sagging floors and warped ceilings. Also, be on the lookout for exposed gaps where interior walls are supposed to meet with each floor and ceiling.”

Doors and windows not closing. If you are having trouble opening or closing a door or even a window, there could be something wrong with your foundation. This is in part due to the shifting foundation, which causes problems from the ground up. As the ground shifts and settles, the door and window frames start to slowly warp and change shape.

If you notice any of these signs, the first thing you should do is call a reputable restoration company. We have years of experience and will get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“When we saw the crack in the foundation, our guys got to work,” said Aaron. “The whole building slab is being lifted in various places in sync. We had to put support all over the building to make sure everything stayed level. When there is this type of damage to a building, you want to use a company that knows how to fix the situation without causing other damage during the lifting process. And that is something we understand.”