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Foundation Settlement and Its Warning Signs

It’s natural for structures to settle within the first few years they are built, as well as with time and age. But too much settlement is a problem. It all depends on the condition of the soil upholding the structure. Unstable soil that cannot properly support a building happens when the soil is dry and shrinking, wet and softened, or has been poorly compacted.

Typical signs that will indicate foundation settlement include cracks in various patterns, particularly in a stairstep pattern following mortar joints in brick as well as on block walls; drywall cracks; uneven floors; sticking windows and doors; and more. The longer these warning signs and the settlement are neglected, the more damage and safety hazards can occur. A cracking and settling foundation wall can let in pests and water, and the wall could eventually give way and compromise the structural integrity of the building.

Fixing Foundation Settlement with Expert Help

Longtime homeowners in Moberly, MO, recognized some of these warning signs including sticking windows that were difficult to open and close, as well as exterior brick cracks. They kept an eye on these issues over the course of a year, and those problems were only getting worse with time.

The homeowners were afraid of further damage such as the brick façade falling off of the front of the house. They knew they needed to address the problems and the underlying cause, so they began researching foundation companies to obtain repair quotes. During their search, they came across Foundation Recovery Systems, a Groundworks Company serving the area. Groundworks is the nation’s largest privately held foundation services company.

After scheduling a free inspection and estimate, the owners met with a certified field inspector with the local company. The inspector completed a thorough evaluation of the 50-year-old home, noting the same issues the homeowners were concerned with. He also found the front corner of the house near the front porch had settled, measuring 7/8” of settlement, and the brick façade above the settling area and sticking window also was broken.

The homeowners wanted to stabilize and attempt to lift the settling corner, as well as try to close the gaps on the brick. The inspector recommended the perfect solution to achieve these goals – installing four helical piles. Helical piles, which feature round shaft helix blades, are mechanically installed or “screwed” into the ground and down to more stable soil like bedrock to permanently stabilize and help lift a structure back to its original level position.

The owners considered all the quotes and meetings they had with repair companies, and the local Groundworks company stood out as the best choice. They were impressed with the inspector’s compassion, expertise, and attention to detail, and they agreed to proceed with the recommended work.

Installation Project Overview

As the project began, the installation crew first excavated 20 linear feet around the work area and then dug 3’ down to access the bottom of the foundation footing. The crew members were careful in maneuvering and working around a soffit overhanging the work area, and they protected the sidewalk next to the area of install with plywood.

Four helical piles were then installed between 25’ and 26’ down to more competent soil. Once the settling corner of the home was stabilized, additional pressure was applied to help lift the section. This achieved 100% lift, closing the cracks and gaps. Rivets were placed in the wall to benchmark the pile installation locations and help with monitoring the home’s stability. The excavated soil was then backfilled and tamped down.

The homeowners, who observed the entire installation process, said they were very pleased with the crew’s knowledge, courtesy, and quick and professional installation. They were happy the project was completed in one working day, and that they now have peace of mind and a safe and stable home.

About Groundworks

Groundworks is the nation’s largest privately held foundation services company. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, the company provides foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space repair and encapsulation, and concrete lifting. Groundworks is comprised of 18 brand companies, which operate out of more than 35 offices that serve 24 states. Since 1986, the combined companies have helped nearly 1 million homeowners protect and repair their most valuable asset, their home. Groundworks has been named numerous times to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, BBB integrity award, and Best Places to Work.

For more information, visit

The Local Groundworks Company Serving Moberly, MO is:

Groundworks Company Installs (4) Helical Piles to Stabilize and Lift Cracking, Settling Walls of an Aging Home in Moberly, MO

by Holly Richards-Purpura

Foundation Recovery Systems

1401 US-24

Moberly, MO 65270