Is the concrete underneath your house in distress Foundation problems can result in major structural damage within your home. Whether you’re a homeowner or a perspective buyer, foundation issues are scary and you probably have a good deal of questions.
Fortunately, there are ways to fix a concrete building foundation without needing to tear it out and start from scratch.
For the huge majority of issues, water is the primary culprit. Variations in moisture cause components of the soil to swell or shrink, leading to movement beneath your building foundation.
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Those soils highest in clay content are typically more vulnerable while those lowest in clay content are the least affected. In some areas the movement is insignificant; in others, it’s quite pronounced.
When unstable soils serve as a base, the movement is transferred to the building foundation. Since soil movement is rarely uniform, the foundation is subjected to a differential or upheaval.
If all the soil beneath a building foundation swells uniformly, there usually is no problem. Issues occur, however, when only part of the home settles.
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Whatever the cause, settlement can destroy the value of your house and even render it unsafe. If you see signs of failure, do not delay in getting the problem resolved. The longer you wait, the more your building foundation will sink, causing additional costly damage.
Are you wondering if you have building foundation issues All foundations will settle with time, but difficulties arise if this settlement is irregular or intense.
Sixty percent of all houses built on expansive soils suffer from foundation distress.
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Loss or gain of soil moisture can result in considerable shrinkage or swelling.
If the frame of a house doesn’t begin to distort until after three or more years of satisfactory performance, it’s doubtful that the distortion is caused by full-depth foundation settlement, which is always evidenced by fitting cracks. Cracks occur at each side of a portion of the foundation wall that is undergoing downward movement caused by soil bearing failure..
Settlement cracks are nearly always vertical, and they shouldn’t be confused with fractures that occur when a wall is subjected to lateral movement from soil pressure.
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Hairline cracks are a common outcome of regular foundation settlement. But you should be concerned if large cracks appear unexpectedly.
Horizontal or jagged 45-degree cracks are the most serious and usually indicate you may need expert help.
If unsure, track the cracks in your foundation, should they continue to expand, call a foundation company out to inspect the cracking.
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The soil type in specific areas of the country leads to a greater rate of foundation trouble. Areas with high clay content and coastal areas with a great deal of sand have a tendency to see the most damage. Homes in these areas are at greater risk for foundation damage.
The soil conditions in Texas respond to rain and drought like a sponge. This expansion and contraction with changes in moisture puts pressure on your building foundation.
Foundation problems are also prevalent in areas prone to flooding, as was seen with Hurricane Harvey in 2017. If you reside in Houston, you may want to elevate your house above the floodplain. FEMA offers this guide about the house elevation procedure.
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Additional factors that lead to building foundation failure in Texas include poor drainage around houses and the corrosion of cast iron plumbing or collapse of cedar piers under older houses.
Regions of Oklahoma, including Tulsa and Oklahoma City, also have soil with high clay content. The truth is the dirt is actually red in many places because there’s so much clay.
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In Oklahoma, soil expansion and contraction often results in issues in your homes basement. Sometimes basement walls will need straightening to properly support your dwelling.
Foundation experts in Oklahoma recommend watering your building foundation during times of drought and redirecting rain way away from your home with gutters and appropriate sloping during times of rain.
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Missouri is another state with more foundation problems than average. Kansas City and St. Louis both have expansive clay soils and variable weather that bring about the issues.
If your basement is leaky or moist you may need basement waterproofing. Or worse, you might have bowed basement walls that will need to be fixed.
Mississippi, and Jackson in particular, also have frequent foundation issues. The soil in this area, known as Yazoo clay, weakens foundations, placing them at risk of failure.
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The volume of this soil expands when wet and shrinks when dry, sometimes by up to 38%. This drastic soil movement contributes to shifting of structures, breaking of underground pipes and other harm.
If you’ve Yazoo clay beneath your house, the key is to maintain the moisture consistent. Sometimes this may mean redirecting rainwater away from your house, other times it might mean using a soaker home to prevent the ground from drying out.
Clay isnt the only kind of soil that negatively impacts foundations. The second largest enemy to concrete house foundations is sand. While sand doesn’t expand and contract like clay soils, it can be washed away, making gaps under a foundation. Peat is another type of dirt that shrinks and expands similar to clay..
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3608 Preston Rd #146, Plano, TX 75093
Phone: (972) 578-8800
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Loam and rock are the best soils for supplying foundation support. They compact well and don’t move or swell with moisture fluctuations.