The wider, the better is a commonly used measurement when it comes to foundation walls. They’re usually wider than the house walls and generally a good 2 inches wider is a very safe bet. However, it’s important to note that different materials call for different levels of thickness (brick, for example, is usually close to one foot) BUT an average thickness is usually about 7 inches. The recommended widths can change three to five times in a single county depending on the soil consistency and other natural properties that can mess with the stability of the house. As far as height goes, however, they should never exceed 96 inches or the stability tract can begin to become compromised.
Concrete is often used to create these walls though in more recent years, the walls are created at the factory to the new house’s specifications before being shipped to the job. However, stone and brick are occasionally used as foundation materials.
One of the more serious problems faced by homeowners is the cracking of the foundation wall. Pressure from the soil can eventually work to cave-in the walls of a foundation especially if it expands when moisture trickles down into the soil – this extra pressure can, over time, deplete the foundation walls of their ability to properly support a house and create a tilted surface.
These issues create leaks of water and other nasty byproducts into the lower areas of your house and can create serious issues if not quickly acted upon. It’s important to call someone who has experience and makes working with foundations a specialty – this is not a job for your local contractor, it takes well-honed skills and a special set of tools that only specific repair companies have.
Sometimes, these repairs can be simple. There are a number of straps and anchors that can be utilized in the stabilization of a tilted or bowed foundation wall. Granted, these usually have to be adjusted over time (picture braces for your concrete walls and you’ll get the idea) to get the desired results but it shouldn’t be too hard for you to schedule having someone come in once every three months for about fifteen minutes to ensure the quality and stability of your foundation walls. Occasionally, beams have to be inserted which can be somewhat more costly given the expanse of material, labor and readjustment that happens; helical and wall anchors are easier and more cost-effective assuming it is determined that they are right for the job…and if you’ve caught it early enough in the deterioration process, they might be.
Occasionally, these structures are implemented after the home is constructed and if they are causing problems, they can be swapped out. However, this usually involves heightening the house and is a very specialized and expensive endeavor due to the delicate nature of balancing an entire house aboveground until the job can be completed. Still, this is easier than a large commercial building although many times the larger jobs are deemed more expensive than tearing down the building and starting over!