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Most Common House Foundation Defects Homeowners Have to Deal With

April 26, 2021

Your home is your sanctuary, a place where you rest, have fun, spend time with your loved ones and unwind after a long day at work. From a more materialistic point of view, it is most likely your biggest investment. Either way, you should do everything you can to protect it. 

Since your whole house stands on the foundation, you should keep your eyes open for the first signs of trouble. Foundation damage can be caused by various factors that include soil, climate, plumbing problems, drainage issues, and more. Noticing the problem on time and reacting as quickly as possible can help you prevent other issues from occurring and lower the costs of repairs. 

If you worry that something is wrong, you should contact a local contractor in your area and have them inspect your home. It is always wise to have your foundation checked by a professional, so you know where you stand. Here are the most common problems you could come across regarding your foundation. 

Sinking 

This is one of the reasons why it is very important to have a proper drainage system in place. If, during those rainy months, the water pools around your home’s perimeter, it can sink into the soil under your house and destabilize your home. When the soil soaks in all the excess water, it can lose some of its integrity, and therefore stop providing support to the foundation. When your home begins to sink, it most likely won’t do so evenly, which is an even bigger problem. This will cause strain on the structure of your home and lead to severe damage. If you don’t have an installed drainage system, contact contractors serving your area and ask them about drainage options. 

Settlement 

While excess water will cause your home to sink, drought will cause your home to settle. Dehydrated soil particles will shrink, which means a hole will open beneath your house. When these cracks open up, your house will settle. You should pay attention to this potential problem during heat waves when temperatures are constantly high and there is no cloud in sight. When cracks under your house become wide enough, the foundation loses its support and begins to crack. When the foundation cracks and sinks into these newly opened holes, it is called settlement. The cracks that have appeared as a result of the settlement are a huge hazard since they can let water into your home, causing more damage. This is why it is important to water not just your plants, but also your soil, especially during drought. If you keep the soil damp, it won’t shrink and lead to hole development. 

Roots 

If you have decided to plant new trees in your yard, make sure they are at least 20 feet away from your home’s perimeter. In case you wish to plant some large shrubs, five feet should be enough. Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t count on the damage roots can cause when they begin a landscape transformation. Some trees with invasive root systems can destabilize the soil under your house and cause foundation cracks. This is why it is very important to make enough space between your home and large plants that could cause damage. Even if you wish to plant hybrid poplars, willows, American elms, or silver maples, make sure they are as far away from the house as possible. 

Frost Heave 

When the temperatures during those cold months suddenly drop, the topsoil layer instantly freezes. When the cold passes through the other layers, they too begin to freeze. However, since the first layer is frozen solid, the other layers don’t have room to expand. Therefore, they begin to push the top layer and it heaves upward. When this happens under your house, your foundation could crack and bulge upward. This leads to uneven floors and structural instability, and as the temperatures rise and everything begins to thaw and melt, the water could easily enter your home and cause a lot of damage. 

Poor Workmanship 

Unfortunately, not all construction workers do their jobs perfectly. If you are building your house from the ground up, this is not the time to cut corners. Invest in a good team that will build you a great and stable home. It just takes a simple mistake, such as mixing too much water into the concrete, to cause the cement to crack. In addition, improper leveling of a foundation can also lead to severe problems. Even worse, most insurance companies won’t cover foundation cracks if they are a result of poor workmanship, so you will be forced to pay for repairs out of your pocket. 

These are the most common causes of foundation problems. Foundation defects are infamous for causing a lot of other problems that require time and money to be fixed. Therefore, whether you are thinking of buying a new home or you have noticed something is wrong with your foundation, it is best that you call foundation experts and let them inspect your home for signs of trouble. 

Dealing with Foundation Issues 

Some homeowners decide to roll up their sleeves and try to fix the problem themselves, but your home’s structural integrity is not a thing you should play with. Forget about the DIY approach here and call a professional to assess your property immediately. When there is a problem with your foundation, your home requires expert care for obvious reasons. 

Arrange an inspection appointment with professional contractors in your area and learn about foundation repair options you have at your disposal. Investing in your foundation is investing in your future, so don’t put off repairs when the damage is done.