Common Foundation Repair Terms
Active Zone - The depth of which seasonal rains penetrate the soil.
Adequate Watering - Sufficient watering to prevent soils shrinkage around your slab foundation.
Allowable Load - Weight / load transferred to each individual peer, measured by pressure per square inch or PSI.
Backfill - The soil that is used to backfill tunnels and holes, typically the same soil that was used to excavate.
Bedrock – Solid rock that lies beneath lose layers of soil.
Call before you dig “811” – A City of Austin program where the city notifies all utilities in your area to mark and/or flag the utilities on your property.
Clay - Soil that has extremely fine particles allowing it to retain water for extended periods of time. It has the capacity for extreme volume.
Concrete Pier – A system of pressing a series of concrete cylinders into the ground to provide support for a concrete slab.
Crawl Space - A space between the structural floor and underlying soil.
Elevations- In foundation repair, elevations are taken by a tool called a zip level.
Engineer – As it pertains to foundation repair and excavation projects, an engineer studies foundation load transfers from the structure and its slab/foundation to the ground. They are experts in soil mechanics and rock mechanics as well as the design of foundation elements of structures.
Expansive Soil – Soil that expands when water is added and shrinks when it dries.
Fill - Soil added to provide a level construction surface or desired grade.
Footing - Concrete that distributes the foundation load over an area thus providing increased support.
Foundation - The part of the structure between the home and ground.
French drain - A drainage system to move water from one location to another.
Hydrostatic Test (Static Test) - A hydrostatic test is a way in which pressure vessels such as pipelines, plumbing, gas cylinders, boilers and fuel tanks can be tested for strength and leaks. This is done by plugging the sewer line in the yard between the house and the street and then filling it with water to determine a leak.
Jacks - A device that imposes force between the peer and foundation.
Mark Utilities – Call before you dig “811” - A City of Austin program where the city notifies all utilities in your area to mark and/or flag the utilities on your property.
Mudjacking - A process where, under pressure, a cement grout is pumped beneath a slab to lifting a slab. Typically used for raising driveways and walkways.
Orangeburg – Sewer pipe made from fiber layers of wood pulp pressed together using a bonding agent similar to tar.
Pier & Beam – A pier foundation system of girders (beams), piers, and footings used in construction to elevate the structure above the ground. The piers serve as columns for the structure.
Resistance – The point at which a pier reaches an impenetrable bottom such as rock.
Settlement - The drop of a foundation lower than its original grade.
Sewer Line - A sanitary pipe system that is made of cast iron, clay, orangeburg or plastic that transport raw sewage.
Slab – A concrete foundation that is supported by surface soil.
Spread footings - Two components, steel-reinforced concrete pad large enough to adequately distribute the foundation load and a steel-reinforced pier tied into the footing with steel and concrete.
Static Test - A (hydrostatic test) is a way in which pressure vessels such as pipelines, plumbing, gas cylinders, boilers and fuel tanks can be tested for strength and leaks. This is done by plugging the sewer line in the yard between the house and the street and then filling it with water to determine a leak.
Steel Piers – A system of steel pipes that support a slab foundation. The steel piers transfer foundation and building loads to a subsurface layer of bedrock.
Upheaval – The act of expansive soil pushing a foundation upwards from its original position.
Utilities - Electricity, gas, water, and sewer.
Water table - The upper surface of water saturation insoil.
Water Line - A Water Line is a system of pipes that supply pressurized, clean water to a home or building.
Wood replacement - In any pier and beam foundation, it is sometimes necessary to replace wood situated underneath the floor. Floor joists, beams, or sill plates.