A home’s foundation is the building block for the entire structure. Most people would argue that shoddy craftsmanship is the reason behind early foundation deterioration, but not so. Here are the top five causes of foundation damage.
Sinkholes form when there is water draining beneath the soil’s surface. Sinkholes are not easily detected. It could take years for a void to appear. Some of the major signs that you have a sinkhole forming include:
- Foundation settling
- A drop in the well levels
- Rainwater disappearing into the ground
- A depression in the earth
Sinkholes are dangerous and will only expand when construction at its site begins. Always have a resistivity survey performed if you are in a high-prone area.
2. Too Much Moisture
Soil can swell and expand if there is too much water. This can cause a foundation to have uneven support. Cracking in walls and sinking can occur when the water beneath softens the soil. Create a slope away from the foundation that will instill proper drainage. It should be at least six inches vertically within the first ten feet. A good drainage plan can help to eliminate this.
3. Inadequate Drainage
Not planning for water to flow away from your house makes for inadequate drainage. Rainwater is a culprit for this occurrence. If gutters are full or there are low spots that collect water close to your house, your soil layers will become eroded.
4. Expansive Soil Dries Out
In dry climates, like Florida and Arizona, the soil will pull away from the foundation if it becomes too dry. Even watering around your property will help to alleviate this problem.
5. Know your Soil
Thinking that all soil is the same is not correct. You may have clay soil, sandy soil, or silty soil. Contractors need to know what type of soil will interact with a foundation before adding tons of concrete. There are ways to strengthen the soil for a stronger base or to install pre-construction helical piers for deep foundations.
Most foundation damage comes from inadequate preparation of soil before a foundation is poured. Once a house is built on top of a foundation, there is no way to treat the soil beneath.