What Causes Foundation Problems?

Foundation problems are something that no one wants to deal with as it means the overall structure of your home is not sound, stable or safe. With foundation problems come a lot of time, money, and headaches. The longer you wait to get a foundation problem looked at, the more you are risking additional damage to the home. This is why it is so important to be able to recognize the signs of foundation problems and how they come about. Read the three common causes of foundation problems below to see if you could be at risk of an unsound structure.

Causes of Foundation Problems

1. Oversaturation of Soil

Common Foundation Problems - Over Saturation

The ground around your home can become oversaturated with water and cause serious foundation issues to your home. Some reasons your home may become oversaturated include:

– plumbing leaks in your crawl space
– broken sewage lines
– improper draining system
– high levels of rain
– snowmelt
– flooding

When the ground around your foundation becomes oversaturated by this excess amount of water, the soil begins to swell. When the soil expands, it starts to create an upheaval which pushes your home upwards. When your home is pushed up like this, problems arise such as cracks on your walls, ceilings, and floors, or sloping floors throughout your home.

2. Undersaturation of Soil

Just as your soil can get too much water and become oversaturated, your soil can also not receive enough water, which also can lead to foundation issues. Your soil can become too dry due to reasons such as:

– hot dry winds
– intense heat
– long periods without any precipitation

When your soil does not retain any moisture, it begins to shrink. As the soil shrinks, it pulls away from your foundation, leaving room for it to shift. This is where settlement comes into play. While settlement and upheavals are caused because of opposite reasons, their outcomes are similar. Settling can lead to cracks in your walls, floors, and ceilings, or difficulty with closing/opening doors and windows.

3. Poor Pre-Construction

Foundation Problems - Poor Pre-Construction

Besides the issues of oversaturated or undersaturated soil around your home, another main cause of foundation problems could simply be that the pre-construction of your home was not sound. In order for slab-on-grade foundations to be fully supported and stable, they need the uppermost soil layers to provide bearing capacity. If this soil was not compacted properly and professionally during the grading process, foundation issues are a given. Another pre-construction issue that would lead to foundation problems is if your home was designed on two different types of soil. This could mean that one half of your house sits on soil that retains moisture better than the soil that is on the other half, causing the foundation to shift over time and cause damage to the structure of your home.

Becoming more knowledgeable and being able to better understand what these causes are and how they come about can help so that they are recognized in time before the problem worsens. Make sure if you notice any of these issues happening to your home, you contact a professional right away so they can find a solid solution for you and your foundation.


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