Without question, Texas gets its fair share of residential foundation problems. In addition to foundation issues seen elsewhere in the country, this state sees droughts that are sometimes followed by heavy downpours. If you combine that with our expansive clay soil, it means there are a lot of home owners here suffering from foundation problems. These are described in detail below:
Two Causes Of Foundation Problems
Foundation defects – Sometimes concrete pouring mistakes are made during the foundation’s construction. Concrete pouring technique must take extreme hot weather or cold weather into account. Yet another cause of foundation defects is an improper concrete mix. Mixing concrete is both an art and science. The wrong mix for local temperature and humidity fluctuations can lead to problems. The foundation may also get backfilled before the concrete has had sufficient time to harden. This stresses and cracks the concrete which means the new home has a weakened foundation.
Unstable soil – The expansive clay soil common to this state is not the ideal soil type for building a home. However, the best soil types near urban areas have already seen construction long ago. This leaves less ideal soil types for newer home construction.
Expansive clay soil expands when it’s moist and contracts when it dries out. Periods of drought followed by heavy rain means the soil around and beneath a foundation is seesawing between contraction and expansion. This soil movement is often non-uniform because the soil moisture around a foundation is also non-uniform. One side of a house may be drier than its other sides. This causes differential soil movement which may crack the foundation and cause the part resting on the dry soil to sink.
Differential soil moisture can also be caused by drainage problems such as a ground slope that causes rain water to pool next to the foundation. Tree roots too close to the foundation will dry up the nearby soil and cause it to contract.
Types Of Problems Caused By A Damaged Foundation
Sloping floors – Since floors are built level, a sloping floor means that movement has occurred. If the floor is at ground level, then there is no doubt the foundation, or part of it, has shifted.
Cracks and/or bulges in the foundation – While small hairline cracks are inconsequential, larger cracks in the foundation indicate serious issues, especially when they are horizontal. A bulge in the foundation wall means that it is giving way to stress.
Sticking doors and windows – Doors and windows don’t open and close properly when their frames aren’t square. This lack of squareness is caused by movement of the surrounding wall. You may also notice separation where the vertical and horizontal part of the door frame meet.
Gaps or separation between walls and floor or ceiling – Differential movement of a house causes its walls to separate from floors or from ceilings.
Separation of different sections of a house – When this happens, you will see a crack running along the area of separation. This can happen between the chimney and the rest of the house, or where two external walls meet at right angles, or where the garage meets another section of the house. Brick facades may also separate from the house.
Cracked or separated moldings – Since moldings aren’t very strong, then any movement of the surfaces to which they’re attached will cause them to crack or separate. If only one molding is like this, then perhaps it’s a problem with the molding. However, if this is a common theme throughout your house, it’s a sure sign of foundation problems.
If you have a foundation problem, getting it repaired as soon as possible will save a lot of money because it and the structural damage to your house will get progressively worse. Perma-Pier Foundation Repair has an unmatched level of expertise earned from over 15,000 repair projects. We have been in this business for three generations and are committed to excellence. Contact us today for a free consultation.