Foundation Repair in Fort Myers, FL
Fort Myers, which takes its name from Col. Abraham Myers of the Confederate States Army, in Lee County and Naples in adjacent Collier County are popular tourist and retirement destinations in western Florida due to their welcoming climate and scenery. They bask in 300 days of sunny weather each year while providing access to several national parks, wildlife refuges, and nature preserves.
Like Punta Gorda to the north, both offer a small-town feel compared to the metropolis of Cape Coral plus plenty of upscale seaside properties. Unfortunately, all these locations experience at times torrential rains, high humidity and the threat of sinkholes that would negatively affect the foundations of the homes or other buildings of this area’s inhabitants.
Fortunately, residents can take advantage of our company’s many years of Geotech expertise, knowledge and cost-efficient procedures throughout SW Florida when it comes to inspecting and remedying any foundation repair, seawall repair, other concrete repair or soil remediation issues.
Why the Soundness of Your Foundation Is So Important
It should go without saying that your home’s base is the most vital component in any building’s construction starting from the day it was built. Its installation must be done correctly taking into account that its materials and the soil beneath are able to support the weight of the building for a hundred years or more.
This is why we highly recommend that any building’s foundation be regularly monitored for any signs of potential failure, since the remainder of the building, including the floors, walls, and roof, absolutely depend on it in order to perform their functions as well. If a foundation or the ground it sits on weakens, develops cracks, becomes uneven and so on, there is a domino effect for the other components that assuredly leads to costly repairs beyond only the base.
Two Common Mistakes Homeowners Make With Their Foundation
We understand that it is easy to take the foundation of your home for granted, especially if it is holding up a recently constructed home or other building. However, in Florida homeowners need to be especially vigilant for defects due, in part, to our local weather patterns and the threat of sinkholes.
Thus, we advise avoiding the two most common errors with regard to your foundation:
1. Not Performing Regular Foundation Inspections
Surprisingly, many homeowners in the Fort Myers area simply fail to look for or ignore early signs of stress, which might indicate bigger problems ahead. For instance, due to settling or variable ground conditions, voids beneath the foundation may form that are indicated by small cracks. This is more common than you might think since most homes in Lee and Collier counties are built upon granular soils.
Movement of the foundation may also occur due to cycles of soil expansion and contraction from an excess or lack of rain or via landscaping irrigation. Of course, we hope the cause is not due to the development of one of Florida’s infamous sinkholes, which we discuss later on.
Keep in mind, too, that the conditions that affect foundations may also cause cracks in a concrete pool deck, driveway or walkway, so these deserve regular attention as well.
2. Putting Off Repairs
Even if homeowners do regularly inspect and find obvious or potential defects, we find they tend to put off repairs or even consulting us right away to accurately assess the situation.
The natural tendency to play down bad news, however, is more likely to result only in worse symptoms. If you are already experiencing sticking doors and windows, interior wall fissures or floor unevenness, the problem may be on the brink of requiring expensive rectification.
Our remediation experts are able to tell you what any settling, cracks or gaps are caused by and how to fix them before more costly measures are required when symptoms persist or get worse.
Causes of Concrete Failure in Florida
Throughout the Florida southwest coastal areas including Fort Myers, there are a number of factors, besides poor initial construction, that create stress on the base of your home and may result in necessary foundation repair.
Due to the extensive presence of granular soils in this region, there is a strong tendency for natural settling of the soil underneath the footings and foundation walls, which may not occur uniformly. Unevenness, voids and small cracks are the typical early signs of this condition.
Cyclic Ground Expansion/Contraction
As we know, Lee County and Collier County experience significant increases in rainfall from June through September. These rains, or the occasional storm, cause the soil to swell with moisture then shrink when rainfall subsides. These hydraulic cycles test the strength of any concrete structure.
In the rainy season, such stress is exacerbated if the home’s roof or groundwater drainage systems are inadequate or in need of repair. It can even happen during dry periods if irrigation is excessive or shrubbery or trees close to the house are extracting soil moisture excessively.
Increasing the Home’s Weight
Any remodeling project that has the potential to increase a home’s weight must take into consideration the current load-bearing capacity of the existing foundation and soil beneath it. Often, homeowners ignore this requirement until concrete failure symptoms crop up post-construction.
If foundation or soil problems are discovered after the remodeling project, remedies we may apply, such as a concrete lift, underpinning or compaction grouting, may result in damage to walls or electrical and plumbing systems in the new construction.
Construction or Excavation Activity
We see many cases where construction or digging projects near a home cause excessive vibration that causes foundations to settle or shift. We offer a service to monitor such activity to calculate its effects on your home’s base or adjoining structures.
The Impact of Sinkholes
Besides the causes of foundation failure above, we need to take a closer look at a special case for Florida ground failure known as sinkholes, which are more common in Florida than in any other U.S. state. These are present across Collier and Lee counties from Punta Gorda to Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples and elsewhere.
This serious situation is due to the deep, porous limestone layers beneath these areas that are eaten away by rain or irrigation water made acidic by draining through surface vegetation. As the limestone dissolves, it creates small cavities that gradually join to make larger cavities that are unable to support the soil or structures above.
Sinkholes not only affect foundations, of course but a concrete pool deck, sidewalks or patios may be damaged too. Filling smaller sinkholes – using our polyurethane resin grouting – followed by a concrete lift is often required for concrete repair or seawall repair to counter this phenomenon.
Telltale signs of sinkhole activity are cracks in a circular pattern, trees or fences leaning, pooling water or wilting vegetation. Rest assured that it is exceedingly rare for even a portion of your home to be swallowed up by a sinkhole, but early detection and professional remediation are vitally important in a sinkhole situation.
Professional Concrete Repair and Soil Remediation in West Florida
In Florida, staying vigilant about the condition of your home’s concrete structures and acting to correct issues early significantly reduces the cost of maintaining a sound structure.
As you have seen, there are many threats to your home’s base and adjoining concrete structures here that come along with living in a pleasant, sub-tropical climate. Fortunately, help with ensuring your home lasts a lifetime is just a call away.
We are the premier provider of geotech construction services for the commercial and residential markets from Tallahassee to Tampa to Boca Raton with solutions for every type of foundation, concrete or seawall repair. Our teams have comprehensive training and the most advanced equipment to evaluate and remedy any ground, soil, foundation or concrete repair situation safely, efficiently and with professional execution.
Whether you need repairs or just a straightforward inspection of your foundation, concrete slabs or an assessment of soil conditions, please feel free to take advantage of our many years of in-depth experience and knowledge. We are more than happy to address any questions or concerns you have regarding our professional services.