Causes of Foundation Problems

foundation damageFoundation Damage

There are many ways that your foundation can be damaged. You could have bowing walls, cracks, sinking foundations, and more. Just as there are many foundation problems, there are just as many causes. The biggest culprit, though, is water. Too much or too little can cause the soil to fail at its job, which is supporting the foundation of your home or business.

There will always be some movement to the soil, due to the environment and the weight of the structure, but it’s when the foundation shifts unevenly, those problems are encountered. Poor compaction during construction, swelling soil due to high amounts of water, or shrinking soil due to drought conditions can all cause problems to the foundation.

Poor Construction Practices

When a building is under construction, soil is moved and disturbed. If the earth is not properly compacted and made solid, the foundation can settle unevenly as the soil condenses under the weight of the structure. The same damage can occur, if the building sits on two different kinds of soil. If part of it rests on bedrock, while the other is resting on an expansive soil, like clay, the foundation may sink unevenly. This will cause stress on the foundation, especially slab foundations.

Another situation that can occur during construction is the soil having uneven soil moisture levels. The contractors pouring the slab need to make sure the soil is at the right moisture content. If the soil is too dry, the soil around the outer edges of the foundation will become wetter when it rains or the snow melts. This will cause the edge of the foundation to lose its support and possibly damage the foundation. On the other hand, if the soil is too wet, the outer edges will dry first and the moisture under the center of the slab will remain. This can cause the foundation to settle unevenly.

Drought Conditions

If your area experiences a dry spell, the drought conditions can cause the soil to contract. The foundation may settle, as the soil compresses. This can occur unevenly if the soil dries quicker on the perimeter of the foundation than in the center.

Oversaturated Soil

floor crackSoil with too much moisture is the most damaging of the foundation damage causes. The soil can expand, pushing against the slab floor or the walls, causing them to crack or bow. Oversaturated soil also has the most causes, some natural, some man-made. Soil can gain too much moisture from sources like heavy rainfalls or snowmelts, leaking plumbing, poor drainage from gutters and downspouts, improper irrigation for landscaping, and other causes.

You can walk around the perimeter of your building and make sure that downspouts are discharging far enough away from the foundation. You can also look for pooling against the foundation from landscaping or uneven driveways or patios. If the ground next to the foundation isn’t sloping away from the structure, you can also have problems with proper drainage.

Foundation Solutions

If you have foundation damage, you may think you have an unfixable or cost-prohibitive problem. Fortunately for you, you have Southeastern Home Solutions at your service. We can repair bowing and leaning walls, cracking and chipping masonry, cracked floors, walls, and foundations, and more.

The longer you wait, the more time and effort will be needed to repair the damage, and with that comes more expensive. It’s very important that you contact as soon as you suspect foundation damage. We will give you a free estimate and inspection and work with you to restore the structural integrity of your building. Contact us today to learn more.