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What Is Benchmarking In Foundation Repair?

inspector using a laser level and benchmarking a foundation wall

Repairing a settling foundation with piers is crucial, but there’s more to the process than driving piers down into the ground. After each pier is installed, benchmarking has to be done to allow for future inspection and ensure the piers continue to function properly in stabilizing your home. 

Benchmarking plays an important role in repairing a settling foundation and sets the tone for future inspections. Without it, you might have problems years down the road. This article explores benchmarking, how it’s done, and why it matters in foundation repair.  

A Quick Guide to Foundation Settlement 

You probably know that homes settle with time but don’t understand why the foundation needs support. Foundation settlement is the major reason why contractors have to stabilize the foundation. Three of the top contributing factors include: 

  • Poor Compaction: When the builder fails to tamp down soil properly, it will start sinking as it’s unable to bear the weight of your home. 
  • Dry Soil: Soils dry up and shrink in summer, creating voids that the foundation settles into.  
  • Wet and Soft Soil: During drought, cracks can form under your foundation. These openings let water in during heavy rains, leading to wetting and softening of foundation soil. Such soils are typically soft, loose, and unable to hold your home’s weight. 

Engineers and inspectors usually follow the guidelines set out by the American Society of Civil Engineers when addressing settlement issues. These guidelines provide them with a standard way of examining foundations. Evaluations factor things such as localized foundation deflection and its overall tilt. 

Signs of Foundation Settlement

Like every homeowner who’s experiencing settling for the first time, you may notice symptoms including:

drywall crack and sticking window

These issues only worsen with time. As soon as you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate to contact local foundation repair professionals like Tar Heel Basement Systems for assistance.

Foundation Piers: The Best Fix for Settling Foundation 

There are several ways to bolster a shifting foundation. But nearly all of them are ineffective.

At Tar Heel Basement Systems, we recommend installing foundation piers, typically push piers or helical piers. These steel tubes are driven into the ground until they encounter the bedrock’s resistance. Here’s how we install them:

  • The ground is excavated to expose your footings. 
  • The footing is notched so the pier bracket can have somewhere to rest. 
  • A strong steel bracket is fastened to your footings. This enables piers to go down straight. 
  • Starter tubes and sleeves are driven down the bracket before drive assembly commences. 
  • Pier sections are carefully pressed through the external sleeve. 
  • Finally, the piers are driven deep into the ground.  

Piers are installed one at a time until your home is fully stabilized. 

Why Does Benchmarking Matter in Foundation Repair? 

Several years ago, contractors struggled to stabilize settling foundations using piers. Why? They didn’t have benchmarks that would aid them with future installations or repairs. Not only did repairs take long, but they were ineffective because they didn’t know whether a fix worked or not.

Today, benchmarking allows contractors to determine the correct depth and location of piers if your foundation requires piering solutions or future repairs.

How to Benchmark a Foundation 

It’s natural for homeowners to be curious about anything that affects their home’s structural integrity, especially the foundation. Here’s how benchmarking is executed: 

  • Once all piers have been installed during a piering project and the home has been stabilized, the installers place benchmarks above each pier, one at a time. 
  • A laser level is set up, and tiny rivets are driven into the foundation wall. 
  • Installers will use them to perform future inspections, ensuring optimal pier performance. 

Need Foundation Repair Help? Contact Us Today!

Tar Heel Basement Systems inspector measuring outside a house

Benchmarking is important for your home’s stability, and it is not something you can DIY. It is a step in pier installation, requiring a professional with the necessary experience. 

For help with addressing foundation settlement with piers, contact Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free foundation repair inspection and repair quote. Our experts will help address your foundation settlement issues with the right piering solution to set your home up for success. 

Foundation Repair FAQs

The duration for repair can vary depending on the severity of the settlement and the repair method chosen. Generally, repairs can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The team at Tar Heel Basement Systems will work diligently to complete the repairs promptly without compromising on the quality of the work. 

Yes, helical piers are versatile and can be used for different foundation types, including concrete slabs, crawl spaces, and basement foundations. Contact Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free inspection to determine if helical piers are suitable for your home.

Insurance policies vary greatly. Generally, home insurance does not cover damages due to settlement since it’s considered a maintenance issue. However, it’s advised to review your policy thoroughly and consult with your insurance agent to understand your coverage better. 

Related Resources

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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