Common Signs of Building Foundation Problems in Birmingham, Alabama

Common Problems to Look for in Birmingham Homes and Businesses

Foundation failure is a problem that grows exponentially with time. The longer you wait to get repairs the more expensive, time-consuming, and complex the repairs become. The best way to avoid costly repairs is to get smaller repairs as soon as you notice a problem. Keeping an eye out for common foundation problems at all times will help you keep your home protected from foundation failure. There are three signs that are the most common beginnings of foundation failure.Foundation Problems in Birmingham, Alabama

The first common sign of foundation problems is cracked or crumbling foundations. Obviously, when looking for foundation issues, the best way to start is to begin with the foundation itself. Look for cracks, separating walls and seems, crumbling or flaking concrete, sloping floors, and moisture–including water stains, pools of water, and humid air. Inspect both the inside and outside of the foundation.

The second sign is water damage and soil shifting. Improper drainage is the leading cause of foundation failure. When the moisture gets trapped in or around your foundation, it can lead to a variety of problems. Check for moisture around the home, especially around the basement. If there are existing cracks, water may leak into the basement. Water stains, mold and mildew, rotting wood, and seepage are all things you can check for.

The third sign is sagging floors and warped ceilings. Check for floors that slope or are uneven, sticking doors and windows, exposed gaps, and separating walls. These signs can be relatively easy to spot since they are affecting things you use and see almost every day. You can use tennis balls to check the level of the flooring. It should stay still or barely roll. If it rolls to one side of the room or the other, you may have the beginnings of foundation failure.

Foundation Inspections and Repairs: Early and Often

Check your Birmingham home or business for these signs of foundation failure often. If you are not confident about checking for yourself, we can inspect your home for damage. Nichols/Grout Tech offers both residential and commercial foundation repair services in Birmingham, Alabama. Catching these signs early will help you keep your home or business safe from serious foundation failure. Contact us today to learn more about our foundation repair and waterproofing services. Our service area covers seven states, including Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Give us a call today!


Winter is Here – Alabama Can Expect Trouble with their Foundations!

Be Prepared for Winter Foundation Trouble in Alabama

The last two years have given Alabama trouble. Winter has not been forgiving and it is likely that this year will be no different. There have been three major winter storms over the past two years. They brought snow and ice to the state of Alabama. This year, Alabama Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service offices in Alabama are taking precautions. The El Nino could mean storms for the South. Does this mean snow and ice? While it is too early to tell for sure, it is best to be prepared for the repair in alabama winter

The best way to be prepared is to keep your home safe from the snow and ice. The cold temperatures can cause a variety of problems for your home or business and its foundation. The concrete may split and crack and cause your foundation to sink and settle. It may lead to bowing or leaning walls. Keep your eyes out for signs of foundation failure and call Nichols/Grout Tech if you notice them. Some signs to look out for include:

Foundation Repair in the Alabama Winter

Foundation problems can lead to many more problems for your home or business in the future. The foundation of a building is where the majority of the structural integrity is. If it is not protected and strong, your home or business may be in danger. Contact us here at Nichols/Grout Tech and we can help you with all your foundation repair needs. We offer a variety of services and products to repair your home or business’ foundation. Some of these services include:

Waterproofing your Alabama Home or Business

If your home or business has foundation problems, water damage may also be an issue. Foundation cracks may allow water to seep into your basement or crawl space. Even without foundation issues, water damage may still affect your Alabama home or business. If you experience mold and mildew, humid basement, wet crawlspace, or water stains, you may need waterproofing services from Nichols/Grout Tech.

These snowy, icy winters can be dangerous for Alabama residents, but remember that your home or business is also in danger. Stay safe through the winter by preparing yourself and your home. Contact us today for more information on our foundation repair and waterproofing services. Our service area spans seven states, including Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and more. Give us a call today!

Common Birmingham, AL Foundation Problems

Common Foundation Problems in Birmingham, AL

Some of the most common foundation problems in Alabama are issues that cause your foundation to settle, sink, shift, and crack. Most of these issues occur when there is a lack of or an excess of moisture in the soil beneath your home. Other problems are caused by surface water, vegetation growth, and poor construction. Some of these foundation problems are:

  • Sinking Foundations: Usually caused by settlement of the soil under the home due to erosion, soil shrinkage, or poorly compacted soil.
  • Common Foundation Problems in Birmingham, ALSlab Cracks: Cracks can form in your slab due to how the concrete was mixed or due to settlement or shifting of the foundation with varying moisture in the soil.
  • Wall Cracks: Wall cracks are normally the result of settlement or shifting in the foundation, and basement wall cracks might also be caused by pooling water.
  • Sticking Windows and Doors: If your windows and doors are sticking, it could mean that your foundation has started to settle in spots, leaving them unsupported.
  • Bowing and Leaning Walls: Bowing or leaning walls in the basement indicates high soil pressure, caused by excess water in the soil, and this problem can also lead to wall cracks.
  • Sloped or Uneven Floors: The floor in your home may slope if the foundation settles, or if the support beams underneath rot due to basement/crawlspace water issues.

These are all some of the common foundation problems in Birmingham, Alabama homes. If you notice these problems forming due to the moisture variation in the soil under your home, contact us today.

Solutions for Common Birmingham, Alabama Foundation Problems

Here at Nichols/GroutTech, we provide all of the foundation repair solutions that you could need to fix the foundation problems in your home. Whether these problems are caused by a settling foundation or foundation cracks, we have the solutions that you need.

If your foundation has started to settle, Grout Tech offers a few different solutions to lift the concrete and support the sinking foundation. These solutions involve using an underpinning technique to install piers beneath the concrete. We use both helical piers, which screw into the ground, and steel push piers, which drive into the ground. These piers offer the support and the lift that the foundation needs to be restored to normal.Common Foundation Problems Solutions in Birmingham, Alabama

For shifting foundations and bowing basement walls, we use tieback techniques to pull the foundation into place. These devices are installed in the ground adjacent to the foundation wall and then attached to the concrete. The anchors we use are helical tiebacks, which work much like the helical piers discussed above, except they are installed in the ground horizontally. We can also use carbon fiber repair strips on the interior basement walls to keep them from bowing inward and cracking.

In addition to these foundation repair solutions, we offer slabjacking procedures to support your foundation and fill voids that may have formed underneath. Contact Nichols/GroutTech today for solutions to foundation problems in Birmingham, AL.

Value: Food for Thought

When it Comes to Waterproofing & Foundation Repair, Cheap isn’t Always Best

We bid jobs often for foundation repairs, waterproofing, grouting, concrete repair and more. Sometimes Nichols / Grout Tech will be the lowest bid, but not always. This is because we will never sacrifice quality for price. Quality of work should always be the priority, and although Nichols / Grout Tech aims to offer the best pricing, we also aim to do the best work with the best products available on the market today. Be believe that is the best way to do business, and the best way to serve our customers well. Your home or your business, we get that it is your biggest investment, and therefore compromises cannot be made.

So, for today, we would like to share some food for thought. Remember, when it comes to your home or your business, cheapest and fastest isn’t always the best:

Author Unknown

“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot do a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are that man’s lawful prey.”

VALUEvalue for foundation repair & waterproofing in Alabama
1819-1900 (English Writer)

“It’s unwise to pay too much but it’s unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it’s well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better!”

So if quality is what you seek, as well as value, call Nichols / Grout Tech today. We look forward to give you exactly what you deserve – our best work!

Is Your Alabama Foundation Sending You A Warning?

Foundation Repair Warning Signs in Alabama

Have you noticed cracks in your walls or doors that aren’t closing properly? Maybe youdoor-604085_1280 have experienced uneven and sloping floors in your home as well. These can all be indicators of foundation failure. Distress to your foundation can almost always be attributed to expansive soil. Whenever there is a heavy rainfall, the moisture will cause the soil underneath your house to expand. In contrast, on hot and sunny days your soil will dry up and shrink. This fluctuation will eventually cause your foundation to rise and resettle, creating cracks and openings. An astounding 60% of all homes built on expansive soil experience foundation distress.

Damage to your foundation can cause a multitude of issues in your home, and can seriously damage it’s entire structure. It is important to inspect and analyze your home in search for foundation issues. Delaying foundation repairs will allow the damage to get worse and result in larger costs. There are certain signs you should look out for to keep a watchful eye on your foundation.

Inside Your Home

When inspecting the interior of your home, look for cracks in the drywall, ceilings and floors. Check all of your doors and windows to see whether or not they latch properly and close easily. Use a level on your floors to see if they are sloping or uneven.

Outside Your Homebasement-stairs-347482_1280

You can check to see if your foundation is even by measuring the length of the wall at each corner. If you notice any bulges in your foundation, this is most likely because your foundation has shifted due to soil expansion and structure weight.

Also, look for weak concrete and brickwork. Homes that were built in the 1900’s were not designed to hold a heavy structure weight for long periods of time. This means that a large amount of homes today are prone to foundation depletion. Try to penetrate the brick or concrete in your foundation with a screwdriver. If you are able to chip it, your foundation is weak, and you will most likely need to get it completely replaced.

Your Basement or Crawlspace

Posts in your basement should stand straight and be able to firmly support the beams above them. If you are not sure if your posts are straight, try examining them with a level.

Another thing to look out for in your basement or crawlspace is visible mold and mildew, musty odors, and rot. If any of these instances have occurred, you can be sure that water is seeping into your basement. Moisture can build up around the perimeter of your foundation and leak into your home if you do not have proper drainage. Make sure that your gutters are unplugged. If you need to, redirect your downspouts away from your foundation.

Contact our professionals here at Grout Tech if you are experiencing any of these warning signs. We are pleased to assist you with any foundation repair needs you may have!

Questions to Ask Your Foundation Contractor About Your Foundation Problem

Questions to Ask Your Foundation Contractor in AlabamaQuestions to Ask Your Foundation Contractor

We know that any type of foundation repair can be stressful. The process is hard because it can be risky, time-consuming, and expensive. We here at Nichols / GroutTech want you to feel peace of mind during our time together. Our goal is to offer you the best service possible so that you can rest easy. That is why we are offering you a list of questions to ask any foundation contractor that you decide to hire. Knowing the answers to these questions will make the process much easier for you and anyone involved. Our list of questions include:

Do I really need foundation repairs?

While keeping your home or business up-to-date on repairs is smart and a responsible long-term investment, sometimes businesses will perform unneeded repairs, costing you money. Getting a second opinion never hurts, either.

Are you licensed and insured in my state?

Make sure your contractor is reputable and safe by checking to see if they are licensed and avoid dealing with insurance problems by asking this question. It is okay to outright ask these questions; you have a right to know.

How much, how long, and how to?

How much does it cost, how long will it take, and how will you do it? Knowing these in advance and in writing can help you avoid unwanted or surprise costs. Most of the time, foundation repairs will take anywhere from 1-5 business days, depending on the extent of the damage. Also, ask what they will be doing to repair your problem and how they will do it.

questions contractor foundation repairDo you offer a warranty?

Almost all repairs and repair products come with a lifetime warranty, but make sure before your contractor begins that this is the case. Become familiar with their warranty and take responsibility as a policyholder to find any problems.

What are your credentials?

Ask about past experiences and schooling. Experience matters, and price can be deceiving. You want someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. You also want a company that will be around long enough to deal with any future problems.

Can you provide references or testimonials?

Getting opinions from past customers is probably one of your greatest assets. Most of the time, customers have no reason to lie or exaggerate, so they are going to provide some of the most truthful stories and advice. Ask your foundation contractor for multiple customers. If they can only provide one happy customer, that may be a red flag.

Can you provide advice on how my problem started?

Knowing what caused your problem in the first place really helps. Your contractor should be able to help identify the cause of your problem and provide advice as how to avoid it in the future, as well.

Does your business have a physical address and facility?

This can help you determine if your contractor is part of a serious, full-time business or if it is just a hobby or part time business. This can also help you determine if the contractor subcontracts their work, which we will talk about later. If they don’t have a permanent, existing facility, it is likely they subcontract their work.

Will you have my utility lines marked?foundation repair questions contractor

Make sure your contractor is familiar with where your utility lines are, so they can avoid them during the repair process. Most of the time, the contractor will know someone who will mark the lines. Make sure this is a part of the process before repairs begin.

Do you subcontract your work?

Subcontracted work can incentivize contractors to take shortcuts, which can lead to future problems. Make sure your contractor is dedicated to giving you the best repairs possible. That way, your repairs are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Do you use/offer more than one repair method?

If your contractor’s business only offers one method of repair, such as only underpinning, this may point to inexperience. Different structures and property require different products and repairs, so having a variety of options to pick from allows you to get the best possible repairs for your specific problem.

We hope these questions to ask your foundation contractor have helped you learn more about what to look for in a contactor. Contact us to ask any of these questions. You can also ask us about our foundation repair and waterproofing options, our service area, or for an inspection and estimate. Do not hesitate to ask us any questions. Give us here at Nichols / GroutTech a call today!

What is Carbon Fiber and How Does it Fix Bowed Walls?

Carbon Fiber Solutions for your Foundation Walls in Alabamacarbon fiber bowing walls

It is likely that you have heard of or about carbon fiber at some point in your lifetime, but do you know what it really is? Carbon fiber is a material made of thousands of small fibers of carbon. Individually, carbon molecules and fibers are incredibly strong, and when they are woven together they are stronger than steel. It is the strongest material that humans have made.

It is a useful and versatile material because it is lightweight, but it does not stretch, and it can be melted and molded into a variety of shapes for many different uses. Fortunately for us here today, carbon fiber is able to be mass produced which makes it more available and cheaper for us and our customers. It used to be much more expensive, but today it is used in hundreds of thousands of products such as motorcycle helmets, bullet-proof vests, cars, tennis rackets, golf clubs, and even jewelry.

Bowing Wall Repair with Carbon Fiber for Birmingham, ALcarbon fiber repairs bowing walls alabama

Because carbon fiber is a strong, versatile material, we use it to repair bowing foundation walls. Our supplier–Rhino Carbon Fiber–has an installation system that we have been trained to use. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals will install the carbon fiber strips by drilling and bolting fasteners into the strong footer of your foundation and the house frame. The carbon fiber strips will be laid taut against the affected wall. This eliminates the pressure from outside and repairs the bowing wall. Carbon fiber repairs actually make your basement or crawl space walls stronger than before.

This option can be better than other foundation repair options because it is less invasive and can be done quickly and easily inside the home’s basement or crawl space. It can be less expensive than other options. Carbon fiber repairs are maintenance-free, so once they are installed, you no longer have to worry about the walls bowing. This option can also repair foundation cracks.

If your home or business is experiencing bowing walls, carbon fiber repairs may be for you, but we also offer helical anchors and steel push piers along with a variety of other foundation repair solutions. We can help you decide which product is best for your specific situation. Contact us today to learn more about carbon fiber repairs, our service area, or for an inspection and estimate. We want to hear from you, so give us here at Nichols / GroutTech a call today!

Lifetime Warranties – Not A Guarantee

Lifetime Warranties Not Always A Guarantee

The following is an excerpt of an article located online.  We attempted to find the originator for full article reprint permission, but were unable to do so.  Therefore, we have removed the personal information, such as names and magazine titles, from the article. We think this is an important article to share, because when you are shopping for a contractor for concrete repairs or foundation repairs, you need to know the facts and be educated so you can make the best decision about local foundation and concrete repair contractors.

Consumers Urged To Read Fine Print Carefully

Many people might think a lifetime warranty will protect against product failure as long as they live, but there are some gray areas when it comes to certain warranties.

Check Fine Print on Warranties in AlabamaThere is no single legal definition of “lifetime warranty,” and that could cause issues for consumers trying to collect on the promise. [NOTE that in the State of Alabama a Lifetime Warranty is defined as seven (7) years.]

When <a customer’s> Craftsman ratchet broke, the Sears clerk made good on its lifetime warranty.  “He went and got me a replacement without any question,” the customer said.

But that’s not always the case, according to <a leading consumer reporting magazine>.

“You should never depend on spoken assurances. You have to read that fine print carefully. And don’t assume that lifetime necessarily means your lifetime; it may simply mean the expected lifetime of the product,” said <a leading consumer reporting magazine’s> money advisor.  The key is to read any lifetime warranty carefully and get oral assurances in writing.

For more information on possible warranty issues, people can check out the web site, which gets a lot of complaints from consumers about lifetime warranties and follows up on them.

Alabama Foundation Repair Needs – Repair Common Problems

Foundation Repair in Alabama

Whether your home in Alabama has a foundation that is a basement, crawlspace or Foundation repair in Alabama by Nichols/GroutTechslab, they are all susceptible to foundation problems. Foundation problems in Alabama can stem a variety of reasons such as:

  • Poor construction at time of build
  • Shifting soil due to changes in the water content
  • The home’s weight bearing down on the foundation
  • Trees and bushes growing too close to the foundation, drinking up the water in the soil

When the foundation of a home starts to fail, problems will begin to appear throughout the home. Once a problem begins, it will only become worse as the home ages, causing complete foundation failure. Let the experts at Nichols/GroutTech come and give you a free inspection and offer you the best foundation repair in Alabama to get your foundation stabilized and keep it strong for many years to come.

Knowing some of the signs of a foundation problem is the first step in getting your repair done before more damage occurs throughout your home. Some of the things to look for are:


  • Bowing or leaning walls
  • Wall cracks
  • Floor cracks
  • Stair step cracks in the brick


  • Leaning post supports
  • Bottom of posts are not resting firmly on the floor of the crawlspace
  • Wood rot
  • Puddles in crawlspace


  • Wall cracks
  • Floor cracks

Some of the other signs to look for throughout your home that may indicate a foundation problem are:

  • Sticking doors and windows
  • Sloping floors
  • Leaning chimney
  • Garage column cracks
  • Porch and stoop problems
  • Ceiling cracks
  • Floor cracks

At the first sign of a foundation problem, let the professionals at Nichols/GroutTech come and inspect your Alabama home and offer you the best foundation repair in Alabama solutions.

Foundation Repair Solutions in Alabama

Nichols/GroutTech uses underpinning products such as helical piers and steel piers along with pressure grouting of soils to repair foundations.

Helical piers and steel piers are used for foundation repair by driving the piers deep into the earth through the unstable soil layers until they reach a solid soil layer. Then each pier is individually load tested and the entire weight of the structure is lifted onto the piers to level and stabilize the foundation.

Nichols/GroutTech also uses compaction/pressure grouting to strengthen weak soils. Our compaction grouting techniques are used for pre-construction site improvement, to stop foundation settlement, rectify sinkhole problems and lift and level slabs and foundations. Compaction/pressure grouting is the injection of a very stiff grout mixture that is pumped at very high pressure into specific areas in the soil to strengthen the weakened soil.

All of the products used for foundation repair in Alabama by Nichols/GroutTech are manufactured by Earth Contact Products (ECP), the leader in the manufacturing of foundation repair products in the industry.

Nichols/GroutTech was founded in 1981 and has established an outstanding reputation in Alabama. With the experience of our team and because we use only the best products in the industry, you can be assured that your foundation repair will be done right the first time and will keep your foundation strong for many years to come.

Don’t let a small foundation problem turn into a larger one. Let Nichols/GroutTech give you a free inspection and find the best foundation repair solution for your Alabama home. Contact us today.



Wall Cracks and What they Indicate About your Alabama Foundation

What Wall Cracks Mean in Your Alabama Home

Wall Cracks and Repair in Alabama by Nichols / Grout TechThere are several different types of wall cracks that may occur in your Alabama home. Each of these wall cracks may indicate a particular type of foundation problem. The first step to fixing the underlying foundation problem is determining what type of wall crack is present in your home. No matter what type of wall cracks you are dealing with, Nichols / Grout Tech can help you come up with a solution that fits your home. Contact us today to see all of our wall crack repair solutions in Alabama.

Some of the most common types of wall cracks that you may find in your home include:

  • Vertical: Vertical wall cracks are normally caused by some sort of settlement or by heaving in your home’s foundation. The worst cracks are more than 1/8 inch wide.
  • Vertical Wider at Bottom: This kind of crack is typically caused by settlement in the center of your foundation.
  • Vertical Wider at Top: These cracks are usually the result of settlement towards the sides of your concrete foundation.
  • Horizontal: Cracks that run horizontally in your wall are often caused by bowing and leaning foundation walls due to soil pressure and a shifting or moving foundation.
  • Angled: Cracks running at an angle through your wall may be the result of settlement or possibly bowing walls.
  • Vertical and Horizontal: These varied types of cracks are caused by settling foundations or bowing foundation walls.
  • Stair Step: cracks shaped like stair steps may be the result of foundation heaving or settlement during freeze/thaw cycles.
  • Center Converging: Cracks that converge in the center of your wall may be the result of foundation settlement or bowing walls.

These are some of the more common types of wall cracks in your home. Whether these cracks occur in your foundation walls or drywall, we can help you out with some of our foundation repair solutions.

Wall Crack Solutions in Alabama from Nichols / Grout Tech

While smaller wall cracks may be fixed by using an epoxy injection to fill the crack, the larger ones may also require a foundation repair solution. Our team specializes in grout solutions such as epoxy crack injections to fill in and seal wall cracks in your home. We offer our premiere foundation repair and wall crack repair solutions to various areas in Alabama, including the following cities:

Crack Repair in Alabama by Nichols / Grout Tech

The first of these solutions is underpinning with helical pier or steel push piers. If the wall cracks in your home are a result of a settling or heaving foundation, these piers can help reposition the foundation by anchoring into the stable soils deep underground and supporting the weight of the above structure. Because the piers are driven deep into the ground, they are able to support the foundation while lifting it to the proper position.

The next solution helps to correct bowing and leaning foundation walls resulting from a shifting foundation. This solution is the installation of helical tiebacks. These tiebacks are much like helical piers that are installed horizontally. They screw into the ground through the wall laterally like a large screw to pull the foundation wall back into position.

For these and more solutions for wall crack repair in Alabama, contact us today!