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Don’t Neglect Signs of Foundation Settlement

Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, it’s important to pay attention to any problem signs that a structure is showing. The longer symptoms like wall cracks, drywall nail pops, and sticking windows and doors are ignored, the worse the overall larger issue of foundation settlement will become. That means significant structural instability, a potentially dangerous environment, and even more extensive and costly repairs down the road.

Foundations can settle for a variety of reasons, including the property’s soil conditions and whether the soil dries and shrinks, becomes overly saturated and softens, or is poorly compacted.

Since buying her house 12 years ago, a homeowner in Topeka, KS, knew the structure had some issues. She recognized slight settlement at the time she moved in, but wall cracks, uneven floors, and other problems have only gotten worse over time. She wanted to restore the home’s structural integrity, as well as her peace of mind so she could live in the house for the foreseeable future.

Addressing Foundation Settlement with Professional Help

The homeowner wanted to work with a reputable repair contractor, which she found in Foundation Recovery Systems, a local Groundworks company serving the area. Groundworks is the nation’s largest privately held foundation services company.

A certified field inspector from the local company’s Kansas City, MO, office visited to complete a thorough evaluation of the 62-year-old, single-story home. He found various horizontal cracks on the basement walls, as well as vertical cracks and gaps throughout the crawl space and on the exterior foundation and siding. He also measured 3.75” of settlement on the north, east, and west walls.

To meet the homeowner’s goal of stabilizing and lifting the foundation, the inspector recommended the perfect repair solution – helical piles. Helical piles or piers are commonly used to permanently reinforce a settling foundation and they can help restore the foundation back to its original position. Because of the considerable settlement measured along three walls, the inspector suggested installing 20 helical piles under these walls.

Installation Project Overview

The homeowner was eager to proceed with the project, and an installation crew with the local company was able to complete the installation in five working days.

The crew began by excavating 106 linear feet around the work area and then dug down just a few feet to expose the foundation footing. Part or all of the front and back stoops needed to be removed for proper installation. Twenty helical piles – five on the north wall, five on the east wall, and 10 on the west wall – were then installed 6’ apart and were mechanically “screwed” into the ground, past the problematic soil, and down to more stable bedrock. Several piles only needed to be installed 5’ down to more stable soil, and others needed to be advanced 12’ down. Once all piles were installed and the home was stabilized, the crew took great care in applying additional pressure to help lift the walls. This resulted in 1” of lift.

The crew then backfilled the soil around the work area and repoured the front porch landing. The homeowner said she was very pleased with this project, and she can now take on additional remodeling projects knowing that her home will be safe and structurally sound for years to come.

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 Topeka, KS is:

Groundworks Company installs (20) Helical Piles to Correct Foundation Settlement Affecting an Older Home in Topeka, KS

by Holly Richards-Purpura

Foundation Recovery Systems

211 SE State Route 150

Lee’s Summit, MO 64082