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Monday, June 5th, 2017 by Braden Cook
We always like to save the best for last, so we are going to start this blog out by telling you solutions that some companies may try to push on you. While some of these solutions do work, they are often temporary or can sometimes cause more problems than before.
The first solution that doesn't work are concrete columns. These concrete columns are basically just a concrete footing, with concrete blocks stacked on top of them, with shims put inbetween the concrete blocks and the girder. While this seems like a good solution and something that you've probably seen before, it doesn't actually tackle the real problem (does that sound familar?). This is not a reasonable option because the soil is the problem, so by just putting new columns without addressing the soil, the same issue will arise again when the soil keeps settling.
The next solution that only provides a temporary solution is additional shimming. Additional shimming is very cheap and extremely easy to do. This is eseentially taking wedges of wood and pushing them in between the girder and the existing column. While this may be cheap and easy, it is a very temporary fix and you are going to have to keep repairing and putting more and more shims in. With this solution, you get out what you put in.
Another solution that you definitely should not do is to install a light-duty jack post. This is essentially a smaller, weaker version of the SmartJack that we install. This is more than likely a DIY project taken on by the homeowner. There are a few problems with using light-duty jacks. The first problem is that these jacks can't really support the weight of a home, even installing several of these won't keep them from collapsing or failing. The other problem, as with other "solutions" is that it doesn't address the underlying issue-the soil.
We can finally move on to the one solution that can repair sagging floors, a SmartJack Stablizer or SmartJack. SmartJacks are similar to the "light-duty jack posts" except much, much better. They are able to hold over 60,000 pounds, which is much more other jacks. Not only can the SmartJacks hold more weight than other jacks, but the way that they are installed actually tackles the underlying problem, not just the issue with the sagging floors. When SmartJacks are installed, a small cube of soil is dug and and filled with concrete or crushed stone. This new base is much stronger and will not settle like the rest of the soil around and under it. SmartJacks are really the only solution to sagging floors that is permanent. Not only is the product strong and adjustable, but it also is the only solution presented that addresses the problem soil.
I am including a chart below that shows the pros and cons of each of these solutions. This chart is actually the chart from Foundation Supportworks's "Foundation Repair Science" book. As always, feel free to call us or message us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn with any questions!