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Potential Hazards to Your Home’s Foundation (Homeowners Guide)

As a homeowner, the last thing you want to hear is that your home needs foundation repair. Damage to a home’s foundation is one of the most expensive and significant issues that can happen. The foundation is what supports your home and ensures you and your family are protected. Just a few cracks can lead to costly repairs if not taken care of quickly.

When you first notice signs of foundation damage, it’s essential to call a professional to inspect it just to make sure there’s nothing wrong, and if there is, they can let you know what the issues are and the best way to repair them. However, it’s best to avoid problems by knowing the biggest threats to your home’s foundation. Visit our website for additional information on your foundation.

Soil Moisture Content

Both too much or too little water can lead to foundation problems. When the water is too wet, it causes the soil to swell and expand. This, in turn, makes the soil push on the foundation, which can cause cracks in walls, floors, ceilings, etc. When there’s too much moisture in one area, it can cause granular soil, like sand, to become compact or erode, leading to uneven support under the foundation. In areas that contain expansive soil, too much moisture makes the soil expand.

Seasonal Conditions

If you live in an area where the weather changes seasonally, the rain, snow, heat, and dryness cause the soil to change, which can cause issues with the home’s foundation. During rainy seasons the soil expands, causing it to push against the foundation. When the ground freezes, it moves the ground upward, and when it thaws, it absorbs the water causing it to expand and push against the foundation. Then during the hot and dry season, the ground contracts, which can lead to gaps between the foundations.

Any of these changes can lead to foundation trouble that needs to be repaired. In the Midwest, these changes can be hard on the soil, and we recommend homeowners have their foundation inspected at the end of spring and fall to catch any damage that may have occurred.

Plumbing Issues

Leaks in the plumbing can cause some significant issues to your foundation, especially if it’s with the mainline. A large leak will seep into the soil around your house, causing it to push or pull against your foundation walls. It’s not always easy to know if you have a leak in your pipes, especially if it’s a small drip. A few clues you might have a leak are an increase in the water bill, the sound of dripping or running water, or cracks in the foundation.

Poor Drainage

Improper Drainage systems are one of the most common reasons for foundation failure. Many homes don’t come equipped to drain water away from the house properly. If your gutter is pointed the wrong way, contains debris, or is too close to the house, it can cause excess moisture close to your home. Downspouts that are pointed in the wrong direction create oversaturation of the soil and lead to an unstable foundation.

The ground around your home should slope away from the foundation to ensure that the water flows downward and reduce the risk of water pooling. If you notice pooling close to the foundation, call a foundation repair company to inspect the drainage system. If they find issues, they will advise you on dealing with them.

Tree Roots

There are two different ways tree roots can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation. Tree roots only grow and penetrate where it’s easiest such as friable soils and mulch. When roots encounter solid earth that’s difficult to penetrate, such as pipes, sidewalks, curbs, and foundations, they redirect themselves up and over. However, if they locate loose soil such as what’s near the foundation, they will invade. The evaporation of water from plants and the overgrowth of tree roots can cause the soil beneath the foundation to contract, which causes the structure to settle and shift. The best way to avoid this is to make sure the trees by your home stay well-watered.

Poor Construction

Most construction issues are caused by extreme weather or problems with the soil; however, some can be caused by the poor construction of your home. If the contractor used uneven slabs, it’s a recipe for disaster. Your home’s foundation needs to have perfectly level slabs. Otherwise, the home settling can be unpredictable, causing cracks and damage to the structural integrity. Inadequate building materials are also essential for the house to have a solid foundation. If the materials aren’t durable, then cracks may start appearing, and you may notice doors and windows not opening and closing as they should.

If you notice your windows or doors sticking or your interior is damp, you may need your house’s foundation repaired. If so, make sure you call a qualified foundation repair company, so you know that they’ll do it right.

Natural Sinkhole Formation

The most common reason sinkholes form is due to the natural erosion or gradual removal of soluble bedrock such as limestone by water. Other causes of sinkholes can be poor soil drainage, broken water or drain pipes, or improperly compacted soil after excavation work. They are much more common than people realize and can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation.

The best way to prevent sinkholes from forming is to ensure the company built your foundation right the first time. Have a foundation repair company routinely inspect your house’s foundation to catch any issues that may cause problems later.

The Best Way Prevent Foundation Issues

The best way to prevent damage to your home and its foundation is to pay attention to the foundation and watch out for the signs. Some signs you should watch for are exterior cracks and interior cracks, especially horizontal or zig-zagging ones. If you notice your wallpaper pulling away from the wall, you need to call a foundation repair company to inspect your home. Other signs are doors that catch at the top or bottom of the door frame and uneven floors. If you notice any of these signs, don’t put off calling a foundation repair expert in hopes they’ll get better; remember, minor problems can lead to significant issues quickly.

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