Foundation Repair Terminology

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Ryan

Active Zone

Seasonal Patterns in Soil Moisture, Vapour Pressure Deficit, Tree Canopy Cover and Pre-dawn Water Potential

Aeolian soil

Soil that has been deposited by the wind

Alluvial soil

Soil deposited by running waters.

Basal spacing

The distance between individual or molecular layers of the clay particles

Baseboard water channel

There exists a specialized interior basement drain that is designed exclusively for use with monolithic slab foundations. It is crucial to avoid breaking apart monolithic basement slabs in the same manner as floating concrete slabs. This distinctive interior basement drain system is engineered to function in harmony with the monolithic slab foundation, efficiently controlling water infiltration while avoiding harm to the foundation.

Batter pier

A pile driven or a pier cast at a vertical incline.


Clay can be utilized as a dense slurry to prevent soil from collapsing into a drilled hole, or to facilitate the extraction of debris while drilling.


The diameter of tree foliage. Also known as “drip line”.

Capillary fringe

An area that contains capillary water that originates from the water table.

Capillary pressure

When referring to soils, negative water pressure exists at points situated above the water table. It can be described as the contrast between air and water pressures within the pore spaces.

Capillary rise

An evaluation of the rise in water height over the free water barrier. Capillarity is inhibited when water contacts clay particles. On finer soils, the rate of rise is slower, but the height of capillary rise will be greater. resulting from surface tension.

Carbon fiber strips

Used to reinforce poured or concrete block walls that are prone to bending and isolate wall movement.


When water supply is changed, a soil with the tiniest possible particles and frequent can undergo significant volume variations.

Concrete piling

concrete column that is thin and has steel rebar in the middle of it. The foundation of a structure is supported by the concrete piling, which is inserted into the ground to a set depth.

Drilled-in caisson

A rock-mounted open-ended pipe. It is cleaned out, a socket is bored into the rock to hold a steel core, and then the socket, pipe, and concrete are filled.

Drilled pier

A concrete pier or pile is placed in the center of an augered hole that may have a bottom bevel. Very good if the hole will remain open and the earth is dry. If not, casing is necessary.

Driving cap

A steel cap placed over a pile to prevent damage.

Earth anchor

A screwed-in steel shaft with one or more helixes that acts as a retention device against uplift pressures.


Measurements taken by instrument to establish grades.

Epoxy crack injection

While cosmetic wall repairs can hide fractures and cut down on moisture, they do not guarantee foundation stability over the long run.

Expansive soil (expansive clay)

Any soil that changes in size as a result of water content might be categorized as expansive. Expansive soils include clay soils, which are prevalent in Texas. The soil expands as a result of the clay soils’ extensive water absorption. Hence, the foundation of a house is put under pressure. The foundation shifts once again as a result of the earth contracting as it dries.


soil that has been added to provide the correct level or grade for a building surface. Dirt can be replaced with gravel to reduce hydrostatic pressure on basement walls.


a structural component, often made of concrete, that increases the soil’s bearing capacity while distributing the foundation load over a larger surface.


the area of a structure that is directly attached to the ground and transfers the structure’s weight to the ground. The slab-on-grade, pier-and-beam, block-and-base, and basement foundations are the most prevalent types in the US.

French drain

a pipe with holes inserted in it that is used to catch and direct underground water. The cut is graded to drain the water away from the building and is below the level of the encroaching water. If there is insufficient natural grade, a catch basin and discharge pump may be necessary.

Frost heaving

expansion that happens when a soil and water combination freezes. Depending on the production of ice at the boundary between the frozen and unfrozen soil, the total volume may grow by as much as 25% after freezing.


The level of ground surface. Also, the rise of fall per given distance.

Gravity discharge

Uses a natural or man-made slope in landscape to discharge water near the foundation.


A procedure in which substance is injected to infiltrate and penetrate a reasonably deep soil bed. The goal is to strengthen the soil, reduce voids and permeability, and occasionally stop organic degradation. Grouting is frequently used to repair sinkholes. One well-liked alternative for grouting is polyurethane injection.

Gumbo clay

Highly plastic clay soil from the southern and western United States.

Heave of pile

The lifting of earth between or close to piles brought on by the shifting of soil during pile driving.

Helical pier

A helical pier is a steel shaft formed like a corkscrew that may be driven into the earth to give support for a foundation or to level a displaced or sagging foundation. It is frequently employed when soil conditions are poor.

Hybrid piling

The method of providing the best structural stability by fusing steel and concrete. It may be installed without the need for large machinery and can pierce tough soils.

Hydrostatic pressure

groundwater pressure that accumulates and jeopardizes a foundation’s structural stability.

Interior floors

floors that are supported by a wood substructure’s girder and joist system. The system is in turn supported on piers and pier caps or piles and pile caps.

Ionic bond

A chemical connection formed when all of an atom’s electrons have been transferred.

Masonry block wall

Generally speaking, a brick basement wall is easier to repair than a concrete basement wall.


a pile that transmits loads nearly entirely by skin friction and has a relatively tiny diameter to length ratio.

Moisture barrier

An impermeable barrier that extends to a certain depth and is located near to the perimeter beam is used to keep the moisture content underneath a foundation at a certain level. In drainage, basement wall waterproofing, and crawl space encapsulation projects, moisture barriers are frequently used.


A method in which a grout made of water, soil cement, or soil-lime cement is pumped below the slab under pressure to provide a lifting force that allows the slab to essentially float to the desired location. A common and more hygienic technique is modern polyurethane concrete elevating.

Negative friction

the impact of settling soil on a pile that might grasp the pile and increase the weight of the load that the bearing strata must support.


water movement through a semipermeable barrier. The term “osmotic pressure” refers to the elevated pressure brought on by water diffusion.


Refers to a condition where the subsoil remains continuously frozen.

Pier and beam

A construction method where the perimeter loads are maintained by a continuous beam that is supported by piers that are preferably bored into a capable bearing soil or stratum. Unconnected piers arranged in a grid pattern carry interior weights.


Concrete is often poured into holes that are circular and typically have bigger cross sections than length. Often, shafts are extended through poor soils to either rock or reliable bearing material. The ideal pier diameter for residential and lightly laden constructions has been determined to be 10 to 12 inches.


Long, thin components made of wood, steel, concrete, or a combination of materials are often driven in groups or clusters. They might also be poured concrete, which creates a hazy line separating piles from thin piers.


a pile or pier attached to a building using one or more ties to help with lateral support and uplift resistance. utilized for load testing as well.

Pile cap

To assist spread the weight of the foundation, a pile cap is placed on top of the concrete piling. This keeps the foundation from settling into the earth by ensuring the support system can withstand the weight.


Several types of concrete foundations that are often totally supported by surface soils. In places with heavy clay soils, it probably makes up the bulk of new building.

Soil stabilization

a process for enhancing the natural soil qualities so that they are a better foundation for development. Soil stabilization can be accomplished by a variety of techniques, such as chemical grouting.


To give building stability, spacers are positioned between the pile tops and the foundation.

Steel pier

a thin steel column that may be used as a foundation support and pushed all the way down into the ground.

Stack effect

occurrence when warm air is drawn up and out of the lower floors of the house through the upper levels. In homes with basements or crawl spaces, this implies that the same air from the basement or crawl space is present indoors. Allergens, musty odors, and humidity frequently rise into the living area.


The force that results from the weight of the soil above a location in a mass of soil plus any added structural loads.

Sump pump

A mechanism for compelled drainage of basement or crawl space water away from the foundation.

Wall anchors

A low-impact, cost-effective wall repair solution that employs an internal wall plate connected to an external anchor to support foundation walls by releasing pressure.

Wall braces

supports foundation walls that are sagging or buckling from the interior of the basement without affecting the home’s exterior.

Wall shield

Homes with basements often employ liners to brighten internal walls and improve indoor air quality. Wall Shield works quickly and neatly.

Water leaks

Water that collects beneath the foundation from any home source.

Water table

the top layer of saturated water in porous rock or soil.

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