Types of foundation repairs and when to use them

When it comes to foundation repairs, you first need to know what type of force is operating on your home. The pressure may be caused by lateral or vertical forces (or both).

So, who is the best person to tell you this (can you guess)?

…You guessed it…a licensed structural engineer!

If you are having any signs of trouble with your foundation, such as sticking doors, cracks, wall movement, sagging floors. It may be time to call in an engineer. An engineer is the most qualified person to get to the root cause of the issue and design a repair. They have no incentive to over-bid any work or install a preferred system not tailored to your individual needs. They will give you the knowledge that you need to protect your investment with no guesswork.

You can always find contractors willing to bid work, but are you really getting a repair? Or are you potentially wasting your money? Unless you can see into the future, a licensed independent structural engineer is the only way to make a truly informed decision.

Different kinds of pressures acting on your foundation require different methods of repair. Below are some of the types of foundation repairs for different applications.

Lateral Pressure solutions

Soil pressure against your foundation walls or a retaining wall is known as lateral or horizontal pressure. These walls need to be braced in order to withstand the pressure. Adequate drainage systems that move water away from your foundation and reduce the soil pressure are also key to relieving this pressure. 

  Steel Pilasters These types of foundation wall repairs are used to brace foundation walls when foundation movement causes walls to lean inward.  The bracing of the walls stops any further inward movement.      




  Tie Rods This method uses rods to tie parallel foundation walls to one another to prevent further outward movement. This type of foundation repair is rare and is typically only installed in homes that have several feet of foundation wall exposed on the exterior.



Counterfort A concrete wall poured on the exterior perpendicular to a foundation wall that is leaning. In the pouring process the counter fort is anchored to the foundation wall to stabilize the structure and stop progression of inward wall lean. These can be installed in homes with finished basements to prevent any type of disruption to the interior space.    


 Buttress-Is the same concept as a counterfort but installed on the interior wall. We typically discourage this option because you cannot waterproof at the same time, and they also take up a lot of useable space.       



Steel AnglesAn after-market solution for anchoring the wood framing of a home to the foundation wall. These are typically installed on homes without sill plates or inadequately anchored sill plates. This type of repair is economical, but typically only used for poured concrete walls, not block.    


Piers-Best for Vertical loads

Helical Piers  An innovative foundation repair method that permanently stabilizes settling foundations.  These round steel shafts are drilled to stable earth using specialized equipment. Once in place, the piers permanently support a new or existing structure above it. Also referred to as “underpinning” piers, this type of repair is commonly installed on settling homes, typically with shallow foundations.





 Concrete PiersAre an effective solution when dealing with expansive clay soils in particular as they replace the soil in the immediate vicinity with a more stable substance (concrete).



If we can be of any assistance answering your foundation questions, please contact us here.


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