Foundation Repairs

When a foundation failure is extreme a full or partial rebuild of walls and footings may be the only solution.  Caused by foundation settlement, building on expansive clay, improperly compacted fill, plumbing leaks, transpiration caused by tree roots, or soil shrinkage due to severe and extremes in weather conditions, and inferior construction are just a few.   Some visible symptoms that you may see due to foundation failure include cracks, bowing or leaning in exterior brick or interior finished walls, cracks in mortar, sloping floors (basement or garage for example), gaps or alignment issues in windows and doors or water leaks.

Quick action by you to address the issues will ensure that the problems don't worsen.  Replacing a wall is a last resort, if the issues are addressed quickly different techniques will be used to straighten and re-enforce the wall.  The longer you wait the worst it can get.  Not only can the costs increase exponentially, inaction can lead to an unsafe structure.

The foundation will be fully assessed by a 3rd party independent structural engineer.  A report and plans will be produced and reviewed with the home owner, ensuring that only the required work is completed.  In the end the solution will be implemented, putting you back on a stable foundation.

This residential foundation failed due to heavy clay conditions and water accumulating due to a clogged weeping tile system.  The house had to be supported, the wall was removed and rebuilt.  The weeping tile system was replaced in the work area and a high pressure flush cleaned out the rest of the system to ensure proper drainage.  The wall was then waterproofed and backfilled.
Foundation Repair
Completed foundation wall repair prior to waterproofing
Completed foundation repair in preparation for backfill

Similar to the above job, this residential home had to have its walls replaced.  A previous contractor installed an incorrect fix, which actually exasperated the issue, pushing the wall inwards (picture 1).    The wall was removed in sections (due to structural inhabitance), replaced, weeping tile system was replaced, the wall was then waterproofed and backfilled.
Damaged foundation
Excavation in preparation for foundation wall repair
Block Foundation wall replacement

In this commercial job, the concrete blocks have 'rotted'.  There was no water diversion in place at all, thus continuous water contact, freeze and thaw cycles eventually caused the concrete blocks to crumble.  The structure had to be supported, the old wall removed, a new wall formed and poured with frost-free concrete, then backfilled.
Removal of damaged foundation walls
Block foundation reconstruction
Foundation Wall reconstruction

Frost Adhesion

Frost adhesion is when frost (via the dirt) sticks to the concrete foundation and expands severing the foundation horizontally below grade (grass level).  This has been very prevalent due to extremely cold winters the past couple of years in Ontario.  Usually we see it on a small scale in lifted walkways or sidewalks... on a larger scale, the movement is with your house - we have seen houses lifted as much as 18" out of ground!  Mother Nature at her best...   The fix is similar to waterproofing but with a few added elements - dirt removal is first required and then it replace with a non-frost susceptible material.  In some cases, depending on severity of the heaving, helical piers are used to re-support lifted footings and stop further movement.

The following job was a result of poor drainage, frost susceptible soil, and no slip-plane.  Ontario Building Code currently does not require continuous weeping system around the garage, nor do they require Delta MS around the garage (the slip-plane) inhibiting frost adhesion.  This typically happens in non-heated living spaces, such as garage areas, porches and cold-cellars.  Below you can see the physical movement of the brickwork - a buckling of the bricks, and in the garage floor slight heaving.  Digging down on the outside of the exterior wall revealed a horizontal crack that measured almost 35 foot long, severing the concrete in to two pieces with several inches of space between the upper and lower sections.  To fix this issue, the garage floor was removed, a trench was dug on the inside and outside of the wall and a C-channel 3/8" metal solution installed on both sides of the foundations.  The C-channel is used to compress the two halves together, thus straightening and re-aligning the walls.  The  crack was cleaned and then filled with non-shrink grout.  A new weeping system was installed around the garage, tied in to the regular house weeping system, then backfilled.  The garage floor was replaced.
Damaged Foundation
Exterior damaged foundation walls
Cracked basement foundation walls
Cracked Walls Reinforcement basement interior
Cracked basement wall reinforcement
Foundation Repair of cracked walls

Stone Rubble Foundation Repair

Similar to Engineered Foundation Repair, Stone Rubble Foundation Repair is a process on its own due to the fact your are dealing with a heritage or century home, which was built using different methods and materials.  Using methods used for Engineered Foundation Repair would be incorrect as stone rubble foundations move much more freely than newer foundations.  Therefore different techniques must be used to ensure that water is is moved away from the foundation, protecting the footings from getting washed away.

In this job the walls were cleaned with high pressure hot water, all loose mortar was removed and parged over with lime mortar, which allows for movement (which older homes have).  A 1 to 1 slope is created due to stone rubble not having a traditional footing, which brings water away from the base of the wall.  A weeping system was then installed, along with a water proofing membrane and Delta MS.  The site was then backfilled.
Exterior waterproofing application
Waterproofing membrane and weeping tile
Exterior weeping tile installation

Interior and Exterior Waterproofing

What is waterproofing?   Waterproofing is needed anytime structure is located below grade.  Exterior waterproofing prevents water from entering foundation walls from the outside by hydrostatic pressure or cracks in the foundation, and is the only adequate method to prevent water penetration.  This may be augmented by new or enhanced weeping systems and sump pumps to move water away from the foundation walls.  Interior waterproofing is for minor dampness due to condensation and is usually addressed by coatings or coverings.  In extreme cases where the exterior walls cannot be accessed, internal drainage and weeping systems may be required.

This job required crack repair with a hydraulic cement, followed by a water proofing membrane and then Delta MS.  The site was then backfilled.
Cracked basement foundation repair
Exterior basement waterproofing
Exterior Waterproofing

This job required crack repair with a hydraulic cement, followed by a water proofing membrane and then Delta MS.  A window well drainage riser was also installed due to a window.  The site was then backfilled.
Exterior basement waterproofing
Exterior Basement Waterproofing
Backfilling exterior waterproofing project

In this job and interior water control system was installed, where digging on the outside is prohibitive (expensive concrete patio, or garage).   The system installed is identical to the exterior system except a sump pit with pump, and interior weeping tile system is installed by breaking out a foot of concrete around the perimeter, filled with clear stone, and concrete reinstituted.
Weeping tile installation in basement interior
Interior Waterproofing
Interior waterproofing with weeping tile

Basement Lowering 

Basement lowering is sometimes the only option when trying to finish a basement.  Techniques used include underpinning or bench footings.  What is underpinning?  It is the process of strengthening, stabilizing and re-fortifying the base of a wall when the original structure is not strong or stable enough.  Visual indicators of such a structural issue where the underpinning could be the culprit includes cracks in walls, foundations and shifting or moving walls.  Causes of failure are many, but may include a usage change in the original structure, the original physical soil base has deteriorated, other proximity excavation or simply age.  What are bench footings?  Bench footings are a second option, which are more intrusive but used when conditions (such as soil substrate) requires such a method.  The decision is generally based on an engineers design and will be considered independently of the home owner or Foundations First input.

This job was for a basement lowering and a new walkout.  This included full structural support, wall removal, benching, internal water control.
Supporting wall during foundation rebuild
Rebar installation in preparation for concrete foundation repair
Preparation for concrete foundation

In this basement lowering, new footings, walls, and underpinning were required.  A sump pit and draining system was installed.  The ceiling was re-supported and a new floor was poured.
Pouring concrete foundation
Interior waterproofing sump pump installation
Interior waterproofing interior weeping tile

Concrete Porch

Porches are the entryway to our homes, and a crumbing and cracked porch not only is unsightly, it can be a source of water penetration and also a hazard to yourself, your family and guests.  A new concrete porch can update the curb appeal of your home and when build with quality material and superior craftsmanship will outlast most other structures.

This job initially was for underpinning, which was a repair for a non-permitted benching that was failing.  The underpinning location required the original porch to be removed, and a new porch installed, featuring non-frost susceptible concrete, new footings and foundation.
Original damaged concrete porch
Concrete porch construction formed
Concrete Porch Construction completed

Basement Walkout

Do you need a new basement walkout to enhance the functionality of your home, offer an entrance for a finished basement, in-law suite or rental income property?  We will engineer a solution to ensure that the entry location meets all building codes and is functional for purpose.    We will factor in the surrounding property, the slope and grade of the build location, excavate, lay the footers, foundations and walls, install your selected doors and landscape the area when we are complete.

This job required digging out the area, formed foundation (walls) and stairs with a full weeping system installed, including a water proofing membrane and then Delta MS.  The site was then backfilled.  Then an entrance way was then cut and readied for the door installers.
Excavation in preparation for basement walkout
Preparation for concrete in basement walkout
Basement walkout formed

In this walkout re-construction, the build was limited to existing permits and plans.  The old walkout was removed, formed and concrete poured.  To make the walkout more usable, the lip was enlarged to form a seating area and give the perception of a larger structure.

Completed basement walkout
Concrete Walkout Construction
Basement walkout - backfill

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