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Foundation Repair

If your foundation is cracked, buckling, or has other damage, these problems will become worse over time. Make sure your home is restored back to full stability with our retaining wall anchor systems or push piers.

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Your home’s foundation isn’t something that should be overlooked. If it has cracks, buckling or bowing walls, or other damage, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further problems. If left unrepaired, these issues can worsen over time and affect the structural integrity of your entire home. In most cases, foundation problems arise because of the unstable soil underneath which can lead to foundation settlement and shifting. In Altoona, the sandy, silt soil can create problems for your home as it can expand and contract depending on the amount of water it soaks in. When soil ebbs and flows like this, it causes hydrostatic pressure on concrete and basement walls. This immense pressure can crack your foundation and cause water damage throughout your home. If you’re worried that your foundation may be compromised, call the team at Baker’s Waterproofing. We specialize in foundation repair and basement waterproofing and offer proven products and solutions that will restore your home’s structural integrity once more.  


Causes of Foundation Damage

Our foundation experts will accurately identify the cause of your home's foundation problems.

Soils experience most of their drying and shrinking from two common causes:

Drought: Prolonged dry periods cause soil to dry out. As we know, when clay dries out, it shrinks. Soil shrinkage beneath a foundation has the same effect as soil settling: It usually causes a section of the foundation to crack and settle into the void or hollow area where settlement has occurred.

Maturing Trees: The root system of a tree can be up to twice the size of the tree’s canopy. If a tree’s branches extend over your home, there’s a good chance that they extend under your house as well, drawing moisture up from the soil and causing it to shrink significantly.

The soils around your foundation experience wetting and softening primarily for these three reasons:

Heavy Rain & Flood Conditions: As clay soil gets wet, it holds on to water and becomes very soft. This soft soil can be weak, causing the home to shift (or “sink”) down into it.

Poor Drainage: If water is allowed to stand or “pond” next to your home, the soil will absorb the water. As it does, the soil can weaken and soften once again.

Plumbing Leaks & Broken Water Lines: When a home’s plumbing begins to leak under a slab foundation, the soils underneath can begin to become saturated, weakening their supporting capacity.

In order to level a site where a foundation will be built, builders sometimes bring in loose soil from another location to fill depressed or hollow areas.

This newly moved “fill” soil is much looser and lighter than the dense, hard-packed virgin soils at the site that haven’t been disturbed — possibly for centuries!

The fill soil brought in by the builder has to be compacted thoroughly before a foundation is built on top of it. If the soil is not compacted well, it may begin to compress underneath the weight of your new home, creating settlement problems that can damage your foundation.

Water passes through sandy soils rather than being absorbed. This fact makes sandy soils very stable. Instead of expanding as they absorb moisture and contracting as they dry out, sandy soils maintain a fairly consistent volume and density.

Because of their stability and good load-bearing qualities, sandy soils are less likely to shift and settle, so they rarely cause foundation problems. Unfortunately, sandy soils are less commonly found than other more problematic soil types.

Soils rich in clay and silt have the greatest potential to damage a foundation. Clay absorbs water easily, expanding in volume as it becomes more saturated. So-called “expansive clays” can cause foundations to crack, heave and shift.

When clay soils dry out, they shrink and crack, leaving gaps around a house where water from the next storm can penetrate easily and deeply to repeat the expansion cycle. Clay-rich soils usually cause more foundation damage by expanding than by contracting.

Loamy soils are usually a very stable soil that shows little change with the increase or decrease of moisture temperature.

The primary concern with foundations built on loamy soils is erosion. When soils underneath your foundation erode, they may begin to be inappropriate strata for sustaining the weight of a foundation and home structure.

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Is Foundation Repair the Right Solution for Me? 

Are your windows and doors sticking? Do you have uneven or sloping floors? Are your basement walls bowing or leaning inwards? It’s time to set up an inspection with the experts at Baker’s Waterproofing. When you notice these problems, it means your foundation has been compromised and needs repairs as soon as possible. This can happen due to excessive water damage or shifty soil underneath your home. Fortunately, the specialists at Baker’s have decades of experience in restoring and repairing foundations and basements so that your home can be structurally stable and safe for your family. By setting up an appointment with us, one of our certified field inspectors will evaluate the exterior and interior of your home to thoroughly check for damage. From there, they’ll discuss with you the best solutions for your home’s situation so that you can feel confident in working with a company that cares.  

FAQs

Foundation damage of all kinds is very serious, but settlement is arguably one of the most serious and hard to deal with, because it affects the entirety of your property over time. Settlement is a process of fragmentation and sinking that can be caused by a number of issues, most of which begin in the soil. The limestone and shale rich soil that is commonly found around York, PA, is has very good drainage capabilities, but the climate here can be wild and a particularly bad storm can have a serious impact on the soil around and under your home. 

The issue most likely to cause foundation settlement is a process called soil washout. This can occur when the soil is saturated over a long period of time, or when serious issues like flooding cause intense and short-lived saturation. Washout can displace soil from under your home and leave large voids or area of loose, unstable soil which fail to provide proper support. Over time, this can lead to your property’s foundation cracking and fragmenting as the unsupported areas begin to break away and fall into the voids beneath them. 

This is a serious issue and can lead to cracked and uneven flooring as well as wider structural issues like bowing walls. Here at Baker’s Waterproofing, we can repair a foundation that has suffered from settlement with the installation of foundation piers. These piers are used to lift the damaged sections of foundation back into place and transfer their weight to stable soil far below the surface, thereby preventing the recurrence of settlement at a later time.

Foundation damage is a serious issue that should never be underestimated. As well as being severe, foundation issues are notorious for growing at an exponential rate and having an impact on the wider structure of a property. From your walls to your floors and all the way to your roof, every part of your Pittsburgh property is dependent on your foundation for support and stability. Any movement or destabilization in your foundation will leave the door open for serious damage.

So, as you might imagine, we recommend that you deal with foundation damage as soon as you see the warning signs. Many property owners prefer to wait until a problem becomes impossible to ignore before they act, of course, but there are a few good reasons as to why you should not do this. The dangers of waiting too long are very simple. The longer you wait to fix foundation issues, the more likely they are to grow and spread to other parts of your home. This can lead to all forms of secondary and tertiary damage like dampness, wood rot, and mold formation. All these issues present unique dangers to your health and home.

The benefits of acting as soon as you see signs of foundation damage, of course, are just as simple and powerful as the drawbacks of waiting too long. If you deal with foundation damage as soon as you see it, then you will make the process of repair much simpler and far less expensive. In fact, the cost of repairs will get more and more expensive over a very short period of time. It will also prevent the formation of secondary issues (for example, the formation of mold, which could be harmful to your health and wellbeing). There is also a lower chance that you will need serious cosmetic repair if you act quickly.

Much like the basement and crawl space solutions, many of the foundation and concrete lifting repair options tend to overlap each other. Some of these include the various pier systems. Foundation repair experts may recommend push piers, helical piers, or slab piers depending on the type of damage and foundation you have. They also differ in their shape, installation, and is dependent on the soil type of your home.

There are also many reinforcement systems for strictly foundation walls. The SettleStop Wall Anchor System is installed deep into your soil to support weakened foundation walls from the outside. For a less invasive solution, there is also the SettleStop IntelliBrace™ that can be installed directly onto the inside of your foundation wall and can work to prevent further damage and may even straighten it over time. The SettleStop Carbon Fiber Wall Reinforcing System is ideal for those who have less space or those who want to simultaneously pull wall cracks closed as well.

For concrete lifting, SettleStop PolyRenewal™ injection foam is dually functional. It is an incredibly lightweight foam that expands and can support even the heaviest of concrete slabs and even lift it back into its original position over time. It is also waterproof, so it can protect against soil erosion and thus, soil compaction, and concrete settlement.

Foundation damage can be caused by a number of issues, but they can all be generally split into three categories: pressure, lack of support, or defects. Each of these issues is distinct and unique, but they tend to present themselves in the same ways. The main signs of foundation damage are spreading cracks, unevenness, dampness, sinking, and heaving. You may also notice wood rot or mold as secondary issues if the damage to your Central PA foundation has been at work for some time. So, because the signs are fairly uniform no matter the cause, it is important to contact a professional so that they can determine the cause and the correct solution.

A fundamental flaw or defect in the design or structure of your Central PA property’s foundation is the least likely underlying cause but simultaneously the most serious. Defects can occur as a result of poor design (for example, the architect miscalculating the depth of the foundation) or because of the materials (for example, poorly mixed or cured concrete). Either way, the damage will be hard to rectify, and it will be more likely that foundation replacement will need to be carried out in part or in full. Damage caused by pressure or a lack of support, however, can generally be repaired and prevented from recurring.

Few things can exert enough pressure to damage a property except the earth itself (and incidentally, issues with support tend to be soil-based as well). The soil around Central PA is generally loamy or chalky, which means that it is non-expansive or minimally reactive. As such, its capacity to exert direct pressure is lower than soils that are expansive and clay-based. However, this kind of soil can begin to move if faced with prolonged flooding or heavy rainfall. When this happens, the hydrostatic pressure levels around a home can skyrocket, and soil washout becomes far more likely. Both of these issues can cause foundation damage like fragmentation, sinking, cracking, and lateral movement.

Soils rich in clay and silt have the greatest potential to damage a foundation. Clay absorbs water easily, expanding in volume as it becomes more saturated. So-called “expansive clays” can cause foundations to crack, heave and shift.

When clay soils dry out, they shrink and crack, leaving gaps around a house where water from the next storm can penetrate easily and deeply to repeat the expansion cycle. Clay-rich soils usually cause more foundation damage by expanding than by contracting.

Hydrostatic pressure is a natural force that exists around all homes in York and throughout the country. To put it simply, this pressure is created by the weight of the soil and the water that it contains. All homes are designed and built with this in mind, and are very capable at resisting hydrostatic pressure up to a certain point. They have a threshold, in short, and once hydrostatic pressure levels exceed their threshold, damage becomes more and more likely.

Sudden or significant increases in hydrostatic pressure can be caused in a number of ways. In and around York, or Pennsylvania as a whole, this is most likely to occur because of heavy rainfall and storms during the fall. If your area is contending with soil washout, even your limestone soil won’t be able to prevent localized flooding, and properly draining soil may struggle to keep up after a large amount of snow thawing in the spring.

When this happens, structural damage is almost certain (especially if you have a basement). This is because hydrostatic pressure is often applied laterally. Concrete, which is what most properties’ foundation and foundation walls are made from, is a durable material with huge compressive strength, but very little tensile strength. This means that it really cannot bend or flex and, as such, lateral pressure can cause it to crack and buckle. Bowing walls and foundation fragmentation are common outcomes when hydrostatic pressure gets too high. 

Why is Foundation Repair Needed? 

Whether it is a hairline crack in your wall or a slightly sloped floor, foundation problems always grow worse over time if they are left to fester. If gone unrepaired, they can directly affect your energy bills, living environment and air quality, and the structural stability of your home. If you believe this is happening to your home, here are some reasons why foundation repair is the right choice.  

Home for Sale

Decreased Market Value  

If you’re considering listing your home on the market, you may be on the path to foundation repair. If your home has extensive foundation damage, it can decrease the overall value and make it less appealing to potential buyers. At Baker’s Waterproofing, we can help repair your home’s foundation and restore its structural integrity so that its value stays the same or increases when you go to sell.  

hydrostatic pressure and bowing wall

Hydrostatic Pressure  

Hydrostatic pressure is the force that water in the soil can exert upon a surface, such as your foundation or basement walls. This can lead to water leaking in through cracks and bowing walls to occur. This pressure is a result of an oversaturation of soil around your foundation which presses up against your foundation walls. To combat this from destroying your foundation’s structural integrity, experts can drill holes in the wall to allow water to flow into interior drains. Other solutions including specialized wall beams or anchors also can be installed to shore up and repair walls affected by hydrostatic pressure. 

mold in the corner of a basement

Protects Against Mold Growth  

When water can seep through your foundation due to hydrostatic pressure or a flood, it can cause the growth of mold and mildew on organic surfaces throughout your home. Certain strains of mold, such as black mold, can be extremely detrimental to the health of anyone living in your home. It can cause certain respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies and can also result in dry rot. By repairing any cracks or foundation damage, you can reduce your home’s risk of developing mold.  

Common Foundation Repair Tips & Mistakes 

Helpful Tips for Foundation Repair 

  • If you’re in the initial stages of considering foundation repair, it’s best to choose a quality foundation company, as opposed to a general contractor. While there are many great contractors out there, a lot don’t specialize in foundation problems. At Baker’s Waterproofing, we have decades of experience specializing in foundation repair and the knowledge it takes to get it right, the first time. 
  • Homes both new and old can experience foundation issues, whether they be small or large. It’s important to schedule annual inspections of your home’s interior and exterior to ensure that everything is in proper order. This can ensure that even if something has gone wrong, you’re able to catch it in its early stages.  
  • When safeguarding the exterior of your home, always take into consideration the state of your gutters and the plants and trees in your yard. If your gutters are clogged or damaged, they won’t perform effectively, leading to water pooling around your foundation. It’s important to regularly clean your gutters for debris and inspect them for damage. When it comes to the foliage around your home, any large trees with invasive root systems can cause damage to your foundation in their search for water. Be sure to check if the plants in your yard are able to damage your foundation and either remove them or replant them farther away.  

Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Faulty Foundations 

  • While DIY may be tempting to do when it comes to smaller home repairs, we recommend leaving it to the experts when it comes to your foundation. There are many intricate parts that make up your home’s structural stability and the materials used to build your home, and it’s important to have the right knowledge and expertise when conducting a repair.  
  • As time goes on, and foundation problems are left to fester, the amount of damage will grow worse and more expensive in repair costs. It’s understandable to feel unbothered by a small crack in your wall or a sticking window or door, but these problems can be the beginning of structural failure in your home. When you first notice these issues around your home, call the experts at Baker’s Waterproofing for a free inspection.  
  • Whether it’s a quick fix such as patching up a crack in your drywall or mopping up a leak in your basement floor, these quick fixes aren’t the answer. Along with uneven floors and jammed windows and doors, these problems will only get worse over time. If you think that these are attributed to foundation repair, chances are, you’re right. By getting one of our experts out to your home for repairs and installations of our proven solutions, you can feel confident that your home is safe for years to come.  

Find your service area

Morgantown, WV

Morgantown, WV

The way year-round precipitation interacts with varied soil can wreak havoc on your Morgantown home’s foundation. Keep it sturdy and water-free with quality solutions from Baker’s Waterproofing.

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, PA

Your home's foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space can all be damaged by Pittsburgh's clay-like soil and damp environment, resulting in dangerous structural instability.

Altoona, PA

Altoona, PA

Altoona has a mix of sandy and silty soil, which constantly expands and contracts when it absorbs water. This puts pressure on your foundation and damages the structure of your basement, crawl space, and concrete. Baker’s has solutions to protect your home from issues.

Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, PA

Leaking basements and cracking foundations can happen in Harrisburg homes that are not properly protected from the area’s varied soil and wet weather. Baker’s Waterproofing has you covered with trusted, long-lasting basement, foundation, crawl space, and concrete solutions.

Johnstown, PA

Johnstown, PA

Johnstown’s environment and native soils aren’t a great combination for your basement, crawl space, or concrete foundation. Above-average precipitation and silty clay soil create unstable ground beneath your home, and lead to water damage in the long run.

Lancaster, PA

Lancaster, PA

Lancaster has a rather wet environment with humid and rainy summers, along with cold and snowy winters. When combined with the area’s silty, gravelly soil, these conditions threaten the structure of your foundation. But Baker’s has world-class solutions that keep your home safe.

State College, PA

State College, PA

State College has silty loam soils which don’t drain water very well. This is a big problem for your foundation because the area receives above-average amounts of yearly rain and snow. Eventually, water breaks down the soil and damages your foundation, but Baker’s has solutions for the problem.

York County, PA

York County, PA

York County receives high amounts of annual precipitation and has silty loam soils that are easily washed away and eroded. This combination easily causes damage to your foundation, and Baker’s has world-class solutions and experience to keep your home protected.

Central PA Metro Area

Central PA Metro Area

Wet basements and cracking foundations in Central PA homes are common but dangerous. Baker’s Waterproofing is known for our expertise and reliable solutions that will keep your home permanently dry and stable.

Lehigh Valley Metro Area

Lehigh Valley Metro Area

Cities located in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania receive above-average amounts of rain and snow and have silty loam soil that is easily washed away. This puts your foundation at risk, but Baker’s has world-class experience and solutions that keep your home protected.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area

Silty soil native to the Scranton and Wilkes Barre areas of Pennsylvania is poorly drained, meaning you may have water management issues on your property.

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    Baker's Service Area Map

    PROUDLY SERVING EASTERN, CENTRAL & WESTERN PA AND NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA - INCLUDING PITTSBURGH, MORGANTOWN, ALLENTOWN, HARRISBURG, SCRANTON, LANCASTER, & ALTOONA

    Central PA

    3819 N Susquehanna Trail
    Shamokin Dam, PA  17876

    Harrisburg

    922 North 3rd Street
    Harrisburg, PA 17102

    Pittsburgh

    5 Industrial Road, Building A
    Washington, PA 15301

    York, PA

    800 E King St, Suite 518
    York, PA 17402