How to Fix Your Cinder Block Foundation - Masterful Solutions

September 7, 2023

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Cinder block foundations were a very popular choice for homes constructed in the mid-20th century. While these foundations provide an affordable and durable base for homes, over time, cinder blocks can develop cracks, shifting, and other damage that compromises the integrity of the foundation. 

What's the best way on how to fix cinder block foundation? Cinder block foundation repairs involve controlling moisture, injecting epoxy into cracks, installing reinforcing wall ties, lifting settled areas, adding supportive piers or footings, replacing deteriorated blocks, applying carbon fiber reinforcement, and waterproofing the exterior.

Thankfully, there are several effective methods for repairing and restoring damaged cinder block foundations. With proper inspection, maintenance, and repairs, cinder block foundations can be preserved for the life of the home.

How to Fix Your Cinder Block Foundation

Cinder block foundations are common in many homes built in the mid-20th century. While cinder blocks provide an affordable and durable foundation, they can develop cracks and other damage over time that must be repaired. Catching and fixing cinder block foundation issues early is key to preventing further deterioration and more expensive repairs down the road.

Inspect Your Foundation Regularly

Make it a habit to visually inspect the interior and exterior of your cinder block foundation at least twice a year. Look for signs of moisture, cracking, crumbling blocks, and shifting. Pay extra attention during periods of heavy rain or drought. Any cracks wider than 1/8 inch or signs of foundation movement should be evaluated by a structural engineer.

Identify the Cause of Damage

Work with an engineer and foundation repair company to identify all of the factors contributing to your foundation issues. Common causes include:

  • Settling and shifting soil underneath the foundation
  • Groundwater erosion and moisture issues
  • Age and deterioration of materials

Pinpointing the causes will determine the best repair strategy.

Control Moisture

Excessive moisture is the enemy of any foundation. Proper grading, downspout extensions, French drains, and sump pumps can divert water away. Applying a sealant or waterproof coating to the blocks fills pores and creates a protective barrier. Reducing moisture prevents further freeze/thaw damage.

Reinforce Cracked Areas

Structural cracks must be repaired to prevent further cracking and wall movement. Epoxy injection seals cracks and bonds the blocks. Steel wall ties anchor walls together and prevent bowing. For more extensive cracking, new blocks may need to be mortared in place. Reinforcing maintains structural stability.

Lift Settled Areas

If portions of the foundation have settled significantly, lifting and leveling may be necessary. This can be done by either push pier systems driven beneath the footers or hydraulic jacking systems. Lifting brings settled blocks back to their original position.

Add Support with Piers or Footings

Additional interior or exterior piers and footings can support overloaded areas and prevent future settling. Interiors piers are installed inside the basement or crawl space. Exterior piers require excavating alongside the foundation. Engineer-approved footings properly distribute the structure’s weight.

Remove and Replace Damaged Blocks

Heavily deteriorated, crumbling blocks must be replaced to restore integrity. The damaged section is demolished, and new cinder blocks mortared into place. The new blocks are sealed and connected to the existing foundation. If multiple areas are severely damaged, larger sections may need replacement.

Apply Carbon Fiber Reinforcement

Carbon fiber straps and panels can be applied to damaged areas as an extra strengthening measure—the high-tensile material bonds to the block surface. Carbon fiber reinforcement doesn’t corrode or deteriorate, providing long-lasting stability.

Waterproof Coatings and Membranes

Specialty waterproof coatings, membranes, or drainage mats can be applied to the exterior foundation walls before backfilling. These act as a barrier to prevent moisture penetration through the porous blocks. Proper waterproofing is crucial for long-term cinder block foundation preservation.

Regular Maintenance is Key

Once repairs are complete, be diligent about maintaining your cinder block foundation. Keep moisture under control, make regular inspections, and address minor issues immediately to prevent major problems down the road. A well-cared-for cinder block foundation can last for decades.

how to fix cinder block foundation

That's a Wrap

Repairing a deteriorating cinder block foundation protects your home’s structural stability and prevents much more costly issues in the future. Following professional guidance for proper repair techniques will help restore integrity and prevent further damage. With early intervention and proper maintenance, cinder block foundations can last for the lifetime of the home.

About Lexington Foundation Repair Experts

Lexington Foundation Repair Experts has served homeowners in Lexington, KY, and the surrounding areas since 1997. With over 20 years of experience assessing and repairing all types of foundation damage, our team of experts has the knowledge and skills to diagnose and address any foundation problems in your home properly. We use state-of-the-art techniques and the highest-quality materials to lift, reinforce, and waterproof compromised foundations. Our locally owned and operated business is dedicated to providing long-lasting solutions to stabilize your home's foundation. For honest assessments and masterful repairs, contact Lexington Foundation Repair Experts at (859) 955-1990.

FAQs

How do you reinforce a cinder block foundation?

To reinforce a cinder block foundation, you can add rebar to the cores of the blocks, use carbon fiber or wire mesh to reinforce the exterior, install steel I-beams on the inside, or underpin the foundation. The best method will depend on the specific needs of the structure and the severity of any damage.

Can you replace a cinder block foundation with poured concrete?

Replacing a cinder block foundation with poured concrete is a major undertaking, but it can be a good option if the cinder block foundation is damaged or if you want to improve the strength and durability of your foundation. The process typically involves removing the existing foundation, pouring new footing building forms, pouring concrete, and removing the forms.

How long does a cinder block foundation last?

A cinder block foundation can last for 50 to 100 years if it is properly built and maintained. Cinder blocks are made of durable concrete, but they can be damaged by moisture. To extend the lifespan of your cinder block foundation, waterproof it and keep the soil around it well-drained.

What causes cinder block to crumble?

Cinder blocks can crumble due to water damage, chemical attack, physical damage, and age. Water damage is the most common cause of cinder block crumbling, so it is important to waterproof the block and to keep the soil around it well-drained.

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