Foundation repair for residential properties is widely discussed, but foundation issues don’t just affect older homes. Commercial buildings and structures can also be subject to foundation issues, sometimes with financially devastating consequences.
Some of the most common foundation problems include
- Damage from natural disasters, including earthquakes and hurricanes.
- Settlement, where the soil contracts or becomes compacted beneath the structure and the structure sinks down.
- Heave, where the soil expands when saturated and the structure lifts up.
- Washout, where the soil is washed out from underneath the structure, leaving unsupported voids in the soil.
- Age, as foundation materials will degrade over time.
When one of these issues occurs, repairing it quickly and cost-effectively is important to keep your operations going. Keep reading for three of the best foundation repair solutions for commercial applications.
The Best 3 Solutions for Commercial Foundation Repair
Our top recommendations for commercial foundation repair are underpinning, carbon fiber, and deep injection, or void fill.
Underpinning involves shoring up an existing foundation by expanding the depth or breadth of the foundation, thereby giving it more foundation over which to distribute the load of the supported structure. There are several types of underpinning: pit, mass pouring, beam and base, and pile underpinning.
- In pit underpinning, a pit is excavated beneath the original foundation, then filled with concrete and connected to the original foundation. This deepens the foundation and increases its load-bearing capacity.
- Mass pouring entails excavating shallowly beneath the structure and removing compromised soil, then filling the excavated space with concrete.
- Beam and base underpinning require the construction of a reinforced concrete beam above, beneath, or replacing the original footing.
- Pile underpinning can include multiple different methods, using different piles, including helical piles. These piles or piers are attached to the existing structure of the foundation and installed into the soil, deepening or widening the foundation and spreading out the load over a greater area.
Helical Pile Underpinning
Helical piles are best known as a foundation in and of themselves, but they aren’t just for new construction; helical piles can help repair existing building foundations. Because poor soil conditions are the main cause of foundation failure, it makes sense to repair foundation issues with helical piles, which are designed to work in poor soil conditions.
To repair damaged commercial building foundations, helical piles can be installed into the soil with adequate bearing capacity and anchored to the existing structure, supporting it. These pile systems use the friction between the screwed-in pile and the soil into which it has been installed to not only support the pile but also keep the soil in place, preventing future issues due to soil expansion or saturation.
Helical piles are an excellent solution for foundation repair for the same reasons they’re good for new foundations: strength, durability, ease, speed of installation, and low construction footprint. Helical piles don’t require as much heavy equipment as other foundations and can be installed with minimal equipment in limited space, as well as installed at an angle — which is often necessary for commercial foundation repair situations. Helical piles have a long lifespan and can last over 100 years, ensuring that repairs last.
2. Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber foundation repair works by epoxying ultra-strong carbon fiber, woven into a fabric strip, to walls that have cracked, bowed, bulged, or turned in. Carbon fiber is incredibly strong and lightweight, and the carbon fiber strips will prevent the wall from further bending or movement.
While carbon fiber repair is valued for its low cost, low profile, ease, and speed of installation, it does have limitations. This method can only be used to repair foundation walls that have deflected by only two inches or less. It is also only effective for structures with accessible foundation walls (i.e., basements), which not all commercial structures have.
3. Deep Injection and Void Fill
Deep injection or void fill is a process wherein polyurethane is injected in liquid form into voids that have formed underneath foundations. The polyurethane then expands as a foam, filling the space, and hardens. This can reinforce soils that have washed out or settled beneath a foundation, as polyurethane does not react with water or soil.
Lighter structures may use mud jacking to repair similar foundation issues, which involves raising the structure and filling the voids beneath it with concrete. This may result in other issues, however, as the concrete is heavy and may cause further settling. For commercial structures, mudjacking may be impossible, due to the size and nature of the structure in question. Since polyurethane can be injected into hard-to-reach voids, it may be the right solution for some commercial foundation repair applications.
Contact Elite Helical for Reliable Commercial Foundation Repair
If your commercial building or structure is suffering from foundation issues, don’t wait until the problem gets any worse—get in touch with Elite Helical today to discuss how our helical pile offerings can repair your foundation issues. We focus exclusively on helical pile foundations and foundation repair, and we serve the needs of the commercial and industrial sectors, from oil and gas to manufacturing and more.