What Causes Foundation Damage?
The soils in our area contain clays that expand and contract with moisture content. Soils expand during rainy weather and contract during droughts. Your foundation will move based on the moisture content in the soil around your home. It is very important to maintain a consistent level of moisture around your house in order to minimize the expansion and contraction of the soil and the movement of your foundation.
Foundation Damage Due to Mother Nature
- Droughts – Extended periods without adequate rainfall or unusually hot summers upset the natural balance of moisture in the soil causing the ground around your home to contract.
- Floods – Extended periods with too much rainfall can also upset the balance of moisture in the soil causing the ground around your home to swell.
- Faults – There are a number of natural fault zones in our area. One side of the fault shifts in reference to the other. Most of the fault zones have been mapped and construction is avoided in these areas.
Preventable Foundation Damage
- Drainage – Improper drainage around your home can cause water to pool against the foundation and the soil to swell. Other areas around your home may be dry and cause the soil to contract. It is important to grade the soil away from your home so rainwater drains away.
- Gutters – Gutters collect rainwater from your roof and carry it the downspouts. The outlet on each downspout should be at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation so the rainwater drains away.
- Trees – Trees typically have root systems that extend out as far as the drip line. If you have trees that are planted too close to your house, then the roots probably extend under the house. The roots will draw moisture out, causing the soil to contract. Trees that are too close to your house should be removed.
- Water Leaks – Leaks in your water or sprinkler lines can contribute greatly to foundation damage. A water leak will cause the soil to swell and your foundation to heave. You can check for water leaks by making sure all faucets are off and then monitoring your water meter. If the dial on the meter is still moving, then you have a water leak.
- Pools and Ponds – Leaks in your pool or pond will also cause the same problems as leaks in your water or sprinkler lines. You can check for water leaks by monitoring the water level in your pool or pond. If the water level reduces from one day to the next, then you probably have a leak.
- Fences and Walls – Fences and walls can interfere with normal water runoff and contribute to improper drainage around your home. Check during the next rain to see if water is collecting around your home and pooling up against your fence or wall. A French drain system may need to be added to remove the water from around your foundation.