What are the Best Ways to Repair the Foundation of My Historical Home in South Carolina?

Apr 4, 2018

Categories: Foundations

As the premier foundation repair company, located in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, CNT knows that historical homes and buildings are treasures and worth the effort to preserve them. The integrity of their foundations is essential to keep them structurally sound. The original foundation materials and practices that were used to build these beautiful homes and buildings are no longer in use today. Some of the earliest American homes started on stone or wood foundation to prevent sinkage. Many of these foundations that still survive today with are due to proper maintenance of the foundation.

In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider when owning a historical home, the difference between the original repair materials and those used today, and the benefits of using piers rather than excavation.

Should Additional Factors Be Considered When Owning a Historical Home in South Carolina?

There are extra factors to consider when owning a historical building, such as historical society guidelines and understanding the original building method of past centuries. Understanding these factors will make the process easier and the historical society could aid by providing guidance directly with CNT Foundation contractors.

Since past structures were usually built on stone and wood foundations, the structural integrity of the building degrades over time or may have been subject to sinking or shifting. Their original post-in-ground anchors were often only a few feet deep and therefore not as stable as the ones used by builders today.

Nowadays, modern methods can maintain the integrity and strength of a historical building’s foundation. The State and local historical home societies can be of great assistance to you. Aside from having historical information about the building, they can guide you in maintaining the historical integrity of your building or home as you make repairs to your foundation. They may also have the original building plans on file to help guide CNT Foundations to maintain the foundation’s authenticity.

If the records or plans from the original foundation are lost, then the next option is to record the original layout of the foundation with your contractor. They can help you to redraw the architectural plans and include any addition of piers that were used in the restoration.

How are Foundation Repair Materials Different Than Those Originally Used in South Carolina?

For the foundation repair to your historical building, modern building materials will be used such as poured concrete or CMU blocks. The original foundation materials can be salvaged and used as a veneer on the outer perimeter of the foundation walls. Doing so will maintain the historical significance of the building. It will also be more appealing to the look of your building or home.

In some cases, the historical home or building may need to be elevated above ground level.

To maintain the historical integrity of the structure may need a little more care and time to repair the foundation. Based on guidelines from the local historical society to preserve the building’s historical significance, it may be necessary to take steps to safeguard the rest of the structure. If the repairs needed are minor, then the process usually would not affect the rest of the home or building. But if there is sinkage, shifting or the need to replace the original foundation, there will need to be a way to protect the rest of the structure. Piering is the process of leveling and raising a structure that needs extensive foundation repair. Vertical piers are driven deep into the soil to support both the building and its foundation above ground. The in-ground depth for the piers to provide proper support varies depending on the needs of the structure. Hydraulic lifts are then used to lift the entire structure, foundation and all, off the ground.

There are three main types of piers, concrete, steel and drilled piers. Concrete piers use stackable concrete sections, held together with cable wiring. Steel piers use sections of pipe which are interlocked. Also using cable wiring, the pipes are driven into the ground to a depth suitable for supporting the building. To support a foundation and structure with drilled piers, holes are drilled into the proper ground depth and filled with rebar reinforced concrete. The piers then remain to provide continued foundation support once the hydraulic lifts are removed and the foundation is set back in place.

CNT Foundations use both concrete and helical piers when restoring a foundation. Helical piers are large drilled piers inserted into the ground with a large drill. These piers are then attached together with bolts as more are placed into the ground to provide permanent support the foundation once it is raised and then returned to its original position.

How is Using Piers Better Than Excavation to Repair a Foundation in South Carolina?

There are several ways the use of piers to repair a foundation are beneficial. Using piers instead of replacing an entire foundation saves both time and money.

  • The building can still be lived in or occupied during the foundation work.
  • The equipment needed is light, easily portable and takes up little room.
  • Does not require the use of heavy equipment, eliminating damage to landscape and yard.
  • The ground at the site of the foundation can be adjusted help the foundation repair to last even longer than if repaired without piers

Foundation repair can be a daunting task for a home or business owner. As with any historical site, there come the necessary upkeep to maintain the historical value. But a strong foundation is essential for the structural integrity of the rest of the building. Whether due to moisture, settling, or a shift in the earth, foundations can be restored to the original strength. Your home or building will receive the best care during its foundation repair. With the help of the expert contractors at CNT Foundation, one can rest assured that their historical home, building and its foundation are in safe hands. Please call  CNT to schedule an appointment. We will sit down with you to discuss the best course of action to restore your historic home or building’s foundation to last for many years to come.