Foundation Sinking and Settlement Problems In Mid, Western and Northern Michigan

illustration of a settling, sinking foundation structure with a tilting chimney and cracked foundation

Certain kinds of soils are stronger than others.

Beneath your home there are many different layers of soil. Foundation settlement tends to occur when one of these soil layers can't support the weight of the house.

Telltale Signs of Damage Related to Foundation Settlement:

  • Leaning, Tilting Chimneys
  • Cracks In Drywall
  • Jamming, Sticking Doors & Windows
  • Stair-Step Cracks In Brick Or Concrete Block Foundation Walls
  • Cracks Around Doors & Windows
  • Cracks In A Concrete Slab Floor

How to Fix It:

At Ayers Basement Systems we fix foundation settlement issues by installing steel foundation piers.

These piers will extend beneath the foundation, contacting strong supporting soils that will permanently stabilize your home.

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How to Identify Foundation Settlement Issues

As a foundation settles, many telltale signs will become evident. We have compiled a list of some of the most common ways that foundation settlement can become visible to the homeowner.

Drywall cracking due to foundation settlement in Hillsdale

Drywall Cracks

Drywall cracks can typically be spotted at the corners of doors and windows and along drywall seams. Drywall tape can also be a good indicator, especially if it's ripping or coming loose.

Cracks in drywall throughout the house are reliable indicators of foundation settlement. Cracks will often be larger and more obvious in the home's upper levels.

Drywall cracks can also be a sign of sinking crawl space supports, sinking floors, and heaving floors.


A chimney leaning away from the home on a Manistee foundation

Tilting Chimneys

The dramatic sign of a settling foundation can be a tilting chimney, especially when it begins to separating from the home.

A chimney can be built on a footing that is not connected to the house foundation. This makes it even more at risk of settlement and falling away from the house.


A window sill cracking and separating from the foundation wall in a Hastings home.

Damaged Windows & Doors

Signs of foundation settlement often show up around door and window openings, as openinngs are the weakest point in a wall. The doors and windows most effect are the ones located above settlement areas.

Cracks may extend from the corners of the doors and windows. Frames of doors and windows may be shifted out of square. Doors may separate from the framing or exterior finish. Cracks may extend from the corners above doors and windows. Other signs of foundation settlement include sticking, jamming doors and windows and locks that stop working.

More information about sticking windows and doors in Michigan & Indiana.


Stair-step cracks showing in a home foundation in Dowagiac

Stair-Step Cracking

A sure sign of foundation settlement is a stair-step crack. This is very common in brick in concrete block walls.

As the settlement continues, vertical cracks may widen or become uneven as wall sections tilt away from each other, indicating more severe displacement.

When cracks are wider at the top than at the bottom it is a sign of advancing settlement and should be addressed immediately.


a severely damaged cracked concrete slab floor in Saint Johns

Slab Floor Cracking

Cracks in your concrete floor slab can be a sign of foundation settlement, but they may also be a sign that the slab floor alone has settled.

There are times when your slab floor may sink or lift independently of the foundation walls, damaging the floors but not necessarily the walls.

Repairing Foundation Settlement in Michigan & Indiana

At Ayers Basement Systems, we recommend installing foundation piers that will repair, stabilize, and restore a foundation. This solution will repair a foundation that's been damaged by issues related to foundation settlement and poor supporting soils.

There are several different types of foundation piers; each one is designed to address a different kind of foundation problem. We install three different kinds of foundation piers: push piers,slab piers and helical piers.

A graphic illustration of steel helical piers supporting a home foundation.

Illustration of foundation helical piers stabilizing a home.

Helical piers are attached to the foundation by mounting a bracket. Helical piers include rotating blades that are advanced (or "screwed") into the soil.

Foundation Helical Piers

Foundation helical piers are straight, steel piers that have helical blades welded to each shaft. This installation is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.

These piers are driven into the soils underneath your foundation, then each pier is connected to the structure's foundation via a steel bracket.

A section of the footing is exposed and cut for each bracket during the installation. Next, round-shaft helical piers are mechanically advanced into the soil. Once the helical pier has been advanced into the soil, a foundation bracket is secured to the footing.

When installed, they will work in unison to transfer the weight of the structure to competent soil. If possible, the structure is also lifted back to a level position.

More about installing foundation helical piers.

Read about our helical pier system.

A graphic diagram of foundation piers installed along a foundation.

Push piers connect the foundation to strong, stable soil or bedrock.

Foundation piers attach to the base of the foundation with special brackets and extend through settling and unstable soil layers. This transfers the weight of your home to competent soils or bedrock, rather than loose soil.

Foundation Push Piers

Foundation push piers are straight, steel piers that attach to your foundation and extend far below the structure to strong supporting soils.

During the installation, a section of the foundation footing is exposed and cut to attach to each pier's bracket. This is possible from either inside or outside of your foundation.

Foundation brackets are secured to the footing, and tubular pier sections are hydraulically driven through each bracket. Pier sections continue to be driven downwards until the piers meet competent strata.

The push piers, when installed,will work in unison to transfer the weight of the structure to the strong soils or bedrock below. If possible, the home is also lifted back to its original, level position.

More about installing foundation push piers.

Read about our push pier system.

An illustration of slab piers supporting a concrete slab floor.

Slab piers can stabilize a settling concrete slab.

When the soil beneath a concrete slab shrinks or settles, the slab itself is also likely to settle, often cracking in the process. Slab piers restore stability by connecting the slab to competent soil at greater depth.

Slab Pier Systems

Foundation slab piers are straight steel piers that extend from stable soils deep below the structure to support brackets directly in contact with the underside of the slab.

The foundation slab piers are meant to support a settling concrete floors. They are not appropriate for foundation wall stabilization. Slab piers are also inappropriate for repairing heaving foundations in MI.

A small hole is cored through the concrete floor, during installation. Next, a slab bracket is assembled beneath the concrete slab, and steel tubes are hydraulically driven down through this bracket.

When the slab piers have reached competent soils, the weight of the slab is transferred through the piers to load-bearing soils below. If possible, the slab is lifted back to level position.

At the end of the installation, grout is pumped under the slab to fill any voids, and all cored holes in the slab are restored with new concrete for a clean, professional look.

More about slab floor cracks and uneven floors.

Read about our slab pier system.

We Repair Settling Foundations in MI & IN!

At Ayers Basement Systems, we can identify and repair any issue you may be having with settling, sinking foundations. We have a wide variety of solutions for foundation repair in Michigan & Indiana that have been tested and proven effective throughout the United States and Canada through the Supportworks network of foundation contractors.

Our foundation solutions come with a free, written foundation repair quote, and includes a personal consultation with a foundation expert, an in-person inspection, and a free copy of our 90-page foundation repair book. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call or e-mail us today!

We proudly serve Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, areas such as Jackson, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Traverse City, Niles, Alpena, Mount Pleasant, and nearby.

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Our Locations:

Ayers Basement Systems
2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
1-517-731-0784
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