Foundation Failure: Is Your Soil To Blame?

foundation failure

Foundation failure can be caused by many different problems, but the number one most common issue is the soil surrounding the home. Like wood, soil expands and contracts throughout the year. This is because of the moisture in the ground and how it’s affected by temperature levels.

How does expanding and contracting soil affect your home? It turns out that foundation failure can happen when there’s either too much or not enough moisture in the soil surrounding your house.

How does soil impact my foundation?

The soil surrounding your house can have sections with different moisture levels. This causes the soil to shrink or swell at different locations.

When a certain section of soil is significantly wetter or drier than the rest, it can stress out your home’s foundation. Left untreated, it can also cause foundation failure.

There are four key reasons why these inconsistencies occur in the soil around your house including:

  1. Poor building site preparation. When a house is being built, the soil around it is removed and moved elsewhere for the time being. If the soil isn’t properly stabilized before the residence is built, it can move below the house and cause foundation issues later on.
  2. Transpiration. Transpiration is when moisture is carried through plants from their roots to their leaves and then evaporated into the air. If there are trees or other plants around your home, they can dehydrate the soil and cause the soil to shrink. When the soil shrinks, your home settles and this can cause foundation failure.
  3. Poor drainage. Drainage is key to preventing excess moisture build up in your soil. When you have poor drainage on the exterior and interior of your foundation, it can cause moisture buildup and soil heaving.
  4. Plumbing leaks. Leaky pipes can cause water to seep into the soil. When soil has too much moisture, it can put additional stress on the walls of your home’s foundation.

How can I keep my soil from damaging my foundation?

There are a few ways you can protect your home’s foundation from expanding and contracting soil. It’s recommended that you first contact your local foundation repair service to do a soil analysis around your home. This way, you know what type of soil you’re dealing with; Texas alone has up to 60 different types of soil.

It’s usually a good idea to make sure your soil is getting enough moisture. When your soil doesn’t have enough moisture, it can become dry and shrink. This causes settling.

Dry, shrinking, and settling is especially common if you home is built on clay soil. That said, you need to maintain a controlled watering program to give your home’s foundation some stability.

Your soil can crack during hot, dry summers if it’s left unmaintained. This causes the soil to lose its ability to bear heavy loads and your home will start to settle or sink. When you keep the soil moist during dry weather, you prevent cracking.

However, it isn’t enough to turn on the hose and water the ground. You can keep the soil around your home moist using a soaker, which ought to be 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation of your house.

By using a soaker at this distance, you can safely control the moisture in your soil without causing damage to your foundation.

Make sure you have proper drainage

It’s a great idea to use a controlled watering program to keep the soil around your home moist during dry, hot weather to avoid cracking. But before you set up a soaker, you need to make sure you have a proper drainage system in place first.

Drainage systems ensure that the water you’re using to moisten the soil is draining away from the foundation and not settling inside it. Poor drainage, as we listed above, can cause water to pool and certain areas and make different parts of your foundation dryer than the rest.

Is your home suffering from foundation failure?

Whether your home has a slab foundation or a brick and mortar foundation, it’s crucial to control moisture levels in your soil to keep the soil from shifting. Shifting soil can cause foundation problems and even foundation failure.

The good news is the foundation repair services of Perma Pier are here to help. We perform expert soil analysis and foundation repair to ensure your home is standing tall for years to come. To learn more about our residential foundation repair services or commercial foundation repair services, contact Perma Pier today.

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