The foundation of your home plays a massive role in the overall well-being of the structure. If there’s a problem with it, then the integrity of the entire building will be compromised.
If you notice any problem with the foundation, then you need to take quick steps to remedy the situation before it leads to something worse.
Stone Foundation Repair Options & Cost
In the case of stone foundations, extra care has to be taken. This is because they are commonly found in homes that are over a hundred years old.
As you may already know, modern concrete foundations are laid by pouring concrete in a single batch. For homes with stone foundations, this won’t be possible.
Keep reading, as we will be telling you all you need to know about stone foundation repair.
What Is The Support System In A Stone Foundation?
Stone foundations typically use mortar as their support system. This is used to grapple all the stones together and keep the foundation sturdy.
This type of foundation is really strong, but the joints in between the stones will definitely need to be repaired now and then. If the repair in the support system isn’t properly done, problems with the foundation will keep reoccurring and there will be great damage in the long run.
Are Stone Foundations Good?
A lot of people are skeptical when it comes to stone foundations, which is why they keep asking if such a foundation is good.
The thing is, stone foundations are found in very old homes, we’re talking about a hundred years and above. And this is why prospective home buyers are particular about the state of such foundations.
Due to age, there is a great chance that the areas in between the stones have begun to fracture. This can cause great problems in terms of the structure’s overall stability.
The good news is, stone foundations can be repaired and they can last another hundred years. All you will need to ensure a rugged, trustworthy foundation is to hire experienced professionals to handle the job.
This is because stone foundations are not as common as modern concrete foundations, so not too many people are really experts in repairing them.
Major Signs Of Stone Foundation Problems
So, how do you know if your stone foundation has a problem and in need of repair? Well, the truth is, the symptoms of a stone foundation problem are basically similar to modern concrete foundation problems.
Let us take a quick look into some of the signs that depict a problem with your stone foundation.
Diagonal Cracks In Interior Walls
Cracks in your walls are a sign of several problems, one of which might be leakage, but another could be a compromised foundation.
If you find diagonal cracks in your drywall or sheetrock walls, then it could be a symptom of a depleted stone foundation.
Cracks that stem from foundation problems are usually found coming off your door and window frames. If you notice these cracks, then your stone foundation may have a problem.
When settlement forces pull down or push up a section of the wall, then you will find cracks in them.
Exterior Stair Step Brick Cracks
If you notice stair-step crack patterns in brick mortar, then there may be a problem with the foundation. These cracks can pop up on the exterior walls, and sometimes near the window openings.
The bricks that sit on the cracked foundation can either sit in or be pushed up, and mortar cracks that lie along the stair-step path in the direction of the settlement is a pointer to a foundation issue.
The Doors Are Sticking or Not Latching
When your doors begin to stick or don’t latch in shut, then it could mean a problem with your foundation. This symptom usually occurs in the door’s top or bottom edge.
This is a direct effect of the door frame being shifted away from its original position due to some movement in the foundation.
Gapping or Separation of Exterior Trim
This is also a major symptom of a problem in your home’s stone foundation. This occurs in the brick frieze or around other long horizontal pieces of trim.
When there is any form of brick or exterior wall movement, it will cause the trim boards to lose grip of the original placement points, then shoot off the exterior walls.
Movement Of Wood Trim/Built-Ins and Other Inside Fixtures
When your wooden indoor fixtures like kitchen or bathroom cabinets, shelves, or other built-ins begin pulling off the walls and joints, then it is a result of external movement.
A settling foundation can lead to moving walls, which will in turn cause the built-in fixtures to loosen up from their original positions.
Proof of Movement Within Other Inside Fixtures
Cracks in your kitchen or bathroom tiles can be caused by moving walls or floors. The same can be said of other indoor fixtures like countertops.
The wall or floor movement can create gaps in the areas in-between floor and wall tiles where they meet with another surface.
How To Prepare The Groundwork For A Perfect Stone Foundation Repair
So, we’ve studied the symptoms associated with a stone foundation problem, now it’s time to discuss the necessary preparations required for a perfect repair.
Of course, you will need to hire a professional to do this, as they have all the vital tools and experience needed for the job.
The first thing they need to do is get rid of anything that obstructs the view of the stones. Items like chisels, spare stones, a vapor barrier, and trowels can be used for this.
After the foundation wall has been exposed, the repair process can begin.
These are the steps to be followed to carry out a stone foundation repair.
Do a thorough inspection
Repairs cannot commence if you don’t know exactly what you’re dealing with. This is why a detailed inspection needs to be carried out first. Doing this will tell you of the areas where the repairs are needed.
The walls should be checked for signs of any sort of damage. The blocks should be checked to see if they are intact and without cracks. Also, the joints in-between the stones should be given a careful look.
The mortar might be the issue, so that needs to be checked out too.
If you discover any missing mortar or loose stones, then repairs need to be done.
Basically speaking, a good look at all the possible problems is vital in the repair itself.
Replace the stones
After giving the foundation a good look, you will need to be sure of the type of stones that were used in laying the original foundation. This will help you choose the right mortar during the repair.
The old mortar should be chiseled off from the loosened stone until it can be ripped off from the wall. The exposed area should be cleaned, and the right-sized stone should be used to fill up space.
The new mortar should be mixed according to the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid any mistakes. A pointed trowel can be used to lay the thick mortar coating across the bottom of the opening so the stone can be properly set upon it.
When the stone has been placed through the hole, you can place it on the new mortar. You can then force the mortar around the other sides of the stone so it goes all the way through to the other side.
After this is done, the lines along the mortar should be cleaned. This will make it look very professional.
Fill the cracks and finish the mortar joint repair
Hydraulic cement should be used to fill up all the cracks you can find. Make sure the right amount is applied so you get the right finish.
If you find deteriorated mortars, then you need to replace them. The failed mortar should be chipped away about 3 inches deep, then replace the scraped away parts with a new mix.
Now it’s time to push the fresh mortar into the joint and clean the stones. The excesses can be cleaned up with a brush.
As we have mentioned earlier, a stone foundation repair is best handled by professionals, but if you feel you’re up for it, then you can give it a go using the steps provided in this article.
As you already know, a professional stone foundation repair service will cost you some money.
Let’s see how much on average.
How Much Does Stone Foundation Repair Cost?
On average, a stone foundation repair could squeeze out as much as $4,000 from your pocket. It could also go as high as $7,000.
This all depends on the nature of the damage, and of course the contractor’s charges. Keep in mind that not all contractors charge the same.
Stone foundations are very sturdy and can last a long time, but like all physical bodies, they too can deteriorate and need repair.
We hope this article has been enlightening.
Thanks for reading!