What is Foundation Repair?

Foundation repair isn’t a very specific term. This is a phrase that you may see on a truck driving down the interstate, on a company’s website, or on an internet ad, but what does it actually mean?

When we reference the term Foundation Repair, we specifically refer to remediating foundation failure. The methods of repairing a failing foundation include underpinning the foundation with helical piers, push piers, or deep injection polyurethane.

Sounds like Foundation Repair, but isn’t.

Other problems that are very much relevant to foundation repair, but are referred to in different industry terminology include the following: structural repair, crawl space repair, basement wall repair, and retaining wall repair.

Structural Repair

A structural repair usually refers to repairing/supporting structural floor framing members (band joist, floor joist, girders, subfloor, interior piers, etc.). Sloping & sagging floors and drywall cracks in a home could be the result of structural deficiencies (wood rot, overspanned joists, lack of interior piers, high moisture content) OR it could also be that your foundation is failing in an area of the home, causing these same symptoms. If you see any of these symptoms, it is best to contact a licensed, reputable foundation repair company to come to assess the issues. Directly contacting a third-party structural engineer is also a good avenue.

Crawl Space Repair

Crawl space repair is a term that some companies use to also encompass structural repair within the crawl space. We typically refer to crawl space repair as encapsulations, vapor barriers, french drain systems, dehumidification, and mold remediation. Excessive moisture in the crawl space can cause issues that produce foundation failure as well as a need for structural repair.

Basement Wall Repair

Basement wall repair is a term that usually refers to a bowing wall due to hydrostatic pressure or other various factors. The typical repair methods for basement wall repair include carbon fiber strapping, steel beams, and wall anchors with helical tiebacks. A failing basement wall would fall under the term “foundation repair” and typically include repair by means of helical piers, push piers, or deep injection polyurethane.

Retaining Wall Repair

While a foundation of a retaining wall may need repair by means of underpinning (helical piers or deep injection polyurethane) usually we refer to retaining wall repair similarly to a basement wall repair. Retaining wall repair methods usually include wall anchors with helical tiebacks or, in some cases, carbon fiber strapping.


To summarize, Foundation Repair is a term that is used to describe remediating a failing foundation by means of underpinning with helical piers, push piers, or deep injection polyurethane. Structural repair, crawl space repair, basement wall repair, and retaining wall repairs all coincide with potential or existing foundation problems and the symptoms that come with them. If you see any of these symptoms (drywall cracks, trouble opening/closing doors & windows, sloping floors, sagging floors, exterior brick cracks, or exterior foundation cracks) it is best to have a highly reputable, licensed foundation repairs company, like RhinoLift, or structural engineering firm inspect your issues.

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