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Foundation Problems & Solutions

Introduction To House Foundations

Basement cracks and leaks are among the most common sources of callbacks and warranty claims in new housing. Problems apply equally to poured concrete foundations, walls, as shown in Figure 1, slabs, and concrete block walls. These types of problems usually reflect inadequate design and construction practices.

pored concrete foundation and walls
Figure 1 - Poured concrete foundation and walls

The cost of repairs to foundations almost always exceeds the cost of better construction practices implemented at the time of the original construction.

Table 1 identifies and provides solutions to many of the problems typically seen in the foundations of newly constructed houses. The solutions provided represent the better design and building practices being applied by leading builders and the best practical advice being offered by building researchers, professional associations and the home building industry.

In many cases they reflect building code requirements and in other instances, the solutions offered represent practices that go beyond minimum requirements, providing additional protection against potential defects and callback costs.

Table 1 - Problems & Solutions Found In House Foundations

Concrete Foundation Walls - Introduction

Concrete foundations are the predominant foundation type in new home construction, especially in harsher climates in the Northern US and Canada. They encompass poured concrete walls and concrete block walls. When proper construction techniques are used, these tow types of foundation can be durable and defect-free. However, when poor construction techniques are applied, costly construction defects are likely to result.

The major problems can be divided into two categories:

  • Those which result in structural deterioration and damage.
  • Those which result in water leakage and moisture damage.

The causes of their difficulties are often similar.

To reduce the likelihood of problems, builders must specify correct materials, use proper placement and curing procedures, and employ good drainage and moisture-control practices.