Cracking or gaps where your chimney meets the house can be a sign of foundation failure. Nine times out of ten, if the chimney foundation is settling (sinking), the cracking will appear larger at the top of the chimney and will get smaller as you work your eyes down towards the ground. Leaving your compromised chimney unattended may lead to further structural damage.
Chimney foundation settlement can be caused by many different factors:
- Poorly compacted soils
- Improper grading
- Laterals or conductors not functioning properly below the ground
B-Level, Ltd. stabilizes the foundation of a settling chimney with helical piles. Helical piles are like giant steel screws used to support structures from sinking. The piles are driven into the ground much like a drill drives a screw into a piece of wood. B-Level guarantees stabilization of the foundation and no further downward movement.
To install the piles, the dimensions of the chimney are entered into a computer program that provide us the correct load bearing capacity needed to properly stabilize the chimney. Next, the soils in front of the chimney are excavated approximately one foot below the footer, the footer is prepared, and lastly, the pile is driven to load bearing capacity. Once we have reached load bearing capacity, a L-shaped bracket (or seat) is installed. After the piles are installed, a lifting assembly is attached to them to attempt recovery. The chimney is now supported by the steel brackets and pipe rather than the soils that were allowing settlement.
If you notice your chimney starting to crack, leaning, or tilting away from your house, contact B-Level, Ltd. today! We can answer any questions you may have and set up a time for our certified project manager to come inspect and provide a remedy to your issue. We provide free proposals to all home owners after an on-site visit.
Written by: Project Manager, Butch Storts