Your soil has a greater impact on your foundation’s integrity than you may realize – primarily due to factors like erosion, drainage, density, and moisture. But you can’t simply walk outside and know your soil’s qualities just by picking it up and having a look. In fact, among the nine dominant soil orders in Texas are over 1,300 different soils – all of which have interesting and distinctive properties and all of which will have varying implications for your foundation.
Why so many different soils? The World Atlas has the size of Texas estimated at 773 miles wide and nearly 800 miles long. That’s bigger than France and twice the size of Germany. Consequently, Texas’s 21 land resource areas are made up of a vast range of vegetation, unique geology, and diverse climates. Everything from wind to plant and animal life can affect the makeup of the soil.
This post will highlight how soil can vary from region to region, whether you’re in Houston, Dallas, or San Antonio. We’ll also cover those detrimental effects soil can have on your foundation and what you can do about them.
The Blackland Prairie region spans from the south-central area up into the north-eastern border of the state. In other words, homes and businesses in some of the most populated Texas metros have these soils beneath them. That includes areas like Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Much of the Blackland Prairie region is made up of soils that crack from dry weather—hence the term “cracking clay.” But we’re not talking about insignificant, hairline cracks here. We mean deep, large cracks. After having dried and cracked, the soils then expand again once they become moist.
As a result of Blackland soil’s shrink-and-swell nature (that is, from moist to dry and vice versa), foundations in these regions may be compromised without proper drainage systems or other preventative measures. How so? Basically, the expansion of the soil adds pressure to the foundation and can result in heaving and shifting – so the cracking clays can lead to cracked foundations.
Acidic loams and clays can be found throughout eastern Texas, from Houston and the Coast Prairie region through the North Central region. Areas where acidic soils are more common also typically have erosion issues. In fact, a rise in acidity is often a result of erosion from wind and water.
Land issues caused by erosion include removal of topsoil, erratic water drainage, soil infrastructure – all of which may impact your foundation. The best solution for problems caused by eroded, acidic soils and erosion-prone properties is having a smart drainage system in place. Without one, your foundation could succumb to serious water damage issues.
Silt soils can be found throughout several regions of Texas, particularly on the western half – including the Lower Rio Grande Valley to the south, Grand Prairie to the north, and Trans-Pecos on the Mexican border.
These soils come from rock that has been eroded or worn away by water or ice. So, you’ll often find silt soils near rivers and river deltas or silt that has been blown by the wind on large plains. It’s a great complementary soil for agriculture; silt loams are among the best soil makeups for growing a wide range of plant life.
Taking a proactive approach to your property’s plant life is one way to ensure your foundation is safe from harmful roots and vegetation. Silt loams can help you do just that.
At Perma Pier, we provide no-charge evaluations and extensive foundation repair for commercial and residential properties throughout Texas. We pride ourselves on being an industry-leading team that values customer and partner relationships above all.
Whether you’re calling in with a concern about your property or meeting us at your doorstep, we’re ready to deliver dependable and responsive services and ensure your confidence in our work. Learn more by giving us a call or checking out our blog.
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