What Causes Damage To Home Foundations?
Given the number of opinions on them, you have probably read or heard something about the causes of foundation damage. However, published materials that discuss this topic are often technical and abstruse. Moreover, it is unwise to trust your home’s safety to an average Joe’s speculation. Instead, reach out to a foundation repair services provider who can show you how the causes of foundation damage boil down to 2 factors: soil and moisture.
Enjoy the benefits of this information with the expert team at NV Waterproofing & Foundation Repair. Since 1986, we have provided wet basement solutions, drainage installation, waterproofing, and foundation restoration for homeowners. Our reliable work and excellent customer service have established our sterling reputation and earned us Super Service awards with Angi (previously known as Angie’s List). Best Pick Reports has also selected us as a chosen provider for 10 years. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office at 1-855-649-7594.
Below, we detail how soil and moisture lead to common forms of foundation damage:
- Soil movement (settling and expansion)
While home foundation damages often spring from an interaction between soil and moisture, one of these factors tends to take a larger role. Thus, we sort the following causes based on their primary influence.
Perhaps the most common cause of foundation damages, soil movement affects homes throughout the US. Many people struggle to comprehend this issue because they think of the ground as stationary. Yet shifting occurs at a level that’s invisible to the naked eye.
When no rain falls for a while, soil (especially clay) dries and shrinks. This process causes settling, as the structure’s weight compacts the recently-loosened soil. Conversely, heavy rain can cause soil to expand and push upwards. Water also softens soil, and—like a foot stepping into soggy ground—allows a structure to sink into the ground.
Additionally, contractors’ use of fill soil below structures can cause settlement. Poorly-compacted dirt collapses under the structure’s weight, creating a settling process that lasts years.
- Tree root intrusion
Another process that occurs below ground: tree root growth. While tree canopies can extend across great areas, tree roots grow two to four times greater than the diameter of canopies. So, a sapling that appears small and far away from your home may one day create issues beneath your foundation.
Roots draw moisture and minerals from soil. If they do so from the soil beneath your home, that soil will dry and compact. Thus, the tree root indirectly causes foundation settlement.
Soil can also put home foundations under a great deal of pressure. As mentioned above, moisture can cause soil to expand. Its increased mass weighs especially hard on foundation walls. Worse yet, nothing on the wall’s other side pushes back against that pressure.
- Excessive moisture and humidity
While soil often acts as a conduit for moisture, water also exists in the air. Water in and of itself is not a negative thing; even now, there’s moisture below your home in the form of humidity. However, excessive moisture and humidity can create problems.
In homes with wooden joists and girders, for instance, high humidity causes the wood to rot, grow moldy, and weaken. Your home foundations then take on more pressure as the structure’s weight distribution changes. Your home’s floors may also sag.
Excessive moisture may stem from a few sources: unsealed floors where water leaks from below ground, air vents that allow outdoor air to flow in, or a leaking pipe. Learn how we seal the spaces beneath your home against moisture and maintain a reasonable humidity level.
As taught in primary schools nationwide, water expands when it turns to ice. Thus, water that seeps into cracks or sits outside foundation walls will create more pressure when it freezes.
Ice can expand the size of cracks, reduce foundations’ integrity, and increase the external pressure on a basement wall. This event speaks to the importance of identifying foundation cracks and noting any increases in size or direction.
- Hydrostatic pressure
A term that gets tossed around in home improvement circles, hydrostatic pressure refers to the force exerted by liquids due to gravity. In this context, it refers to the pressure that water places on the outer surface of your foundation walls. While these walls can handle some pressure, they will crack and buckle under extreme amounts.
This issue, like the other listed above, has no “quick fix” that a layperson can knock out in a weekend. It requires professional inspection and advisement. Don’t ignore the signs of foundation failure—reach out to a professional service today.
Popular Foundation Repair Services Available for Homeowners Now
Despite what others may insist, the causes of foundation damages come down to some simple factors but require expert solutions. Thus, rely on the professional foundation repair services at NV Waterproofing & Foundation Repair. Our team’s commitment to high-quality results stems from our foundational values: respect, accountability, and integrity. We want to help make your home a safer place that you can enjoy for years to come. Call us today at 1-855-649-7594 or visit our website to learn more.