If you require foundation repair in Houston, the odds are good that your problem ultimately isn’t with your foundation but with the soil that it rests on. Houston is on a very large north-south swath of land with expansive clay soil that extends from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico. During wet weather, the soil absorbs moisture and expands like a sponge. It exerts tremendous pressure on the bottom of your foundation and can easily lift up your home. During very dry weather, the soil shrinks and causes your home to sink.
Often this soil pressure is uneven so that some parts of your foundation lifts or sinks faster than other parts. This uneven motion stresses the foundation until it cracks. At this point, there are serious consequences if the foundation is not quickly repaired.
Structural Damage To Your Home
Because of the continual movement of clay soil, a damaged foundation is an ongoing process that worsens with time. This is why simply filling in the cracks will not solve the problem. Unless the foundation is secured with piers to stable earth deeper underground, your foundation and home will continually “bob” up and down in slow motion. If you have ever noticed collapsed old barns in the country side, the reason is often due to a broken foundation and soil movement. The sticking doors, sloping floors, cracked walls, and separating sections of your home are the beginning stages of what happened to these old collapsed barns. However, before your house reaches this state, other problems may happen in the mean time.
Because of Houston’s high humidity, mold is a problem for any home that doesn’t adequately control its humidity. A house with structural problems from a damaged foundation will have cracks along its interior and exterior walls. These allow moisture to seep inside during wet weather. Interior walls and wood soaked with moisture will become infested with mold growth. Depending on the species of mold, this growth takes between 24 hours to a week to begin. If foundation movement damages plumbing and causes a slab leak, then carpeting and wood flooring exposed to the water may also become moldy.
How mold affects health depends on which species of mold takes hold, and on how individuals react to exposure. Nontoxic mold can affect people with allergies, and respiratory problems such as asthma. Young children and the elderly, as well as people with compromised immune systems are also sensitive. Some species of mold contain harmful mycotoxins. They may cause flu symptoms, rashes, neurological problems, autoimmune disease, and cancer.
As was discussed earlier, plumbing below a slab can become damaged from foundation movement. In addition, plumbing elsewhere in the home may become stressed and develop leaks because the home’s structure is being flexed by foundation movement.
Higher Energy Bills
Cracks in your home’s walls and ceilings reduces its insinuative properties and allows heat to more readily flow in during the summer and escape during the winter. Distorted window and door frames compromises their seals because of uneven gaps. This allows outside heat or cold into your home. This means your air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter use more energy.
Houston has eastern subterranean termites, Formosan subterranean termites, and drywood termites. Subterranean termites enter homes from the soil and only require a crack the width of a business card to get inside. Foundation cracks and cracks on a home’s exterior near ground level provide plenty of entry points. Drywood termites can enter at any point on a home which means that external cracks along walls at any height above the ground are potential entry points.
The above problems happen because of one simple fact. As your foundation and home gets progressively damaged, it ceases to be an effective shelter from the elements. Moisture, mold, pests, the heat, and the cold make their way inside. The costs of recovering from foundation damage escalate when the problem isn’t quickly addressed. If you have any questions or concerns about your foundation, contact us at Perma-Pier Foundation Repair.