Foundation damage can be a serious problem for every property owner. Damage that is ignored will eventually lead to failure. Property owners who notice problems, such as cracked walls, brick separation or uneven floors should call in a foundation repair specialist as soon as possible. Foundation damage begins with soil movement under the property. Moving soil is not firm enough to support the foundation, so it begins to fail. There are five common causes underlying the damage and eventual failure.
- Poor Soil Compaction
Before a home or commercial property is built, the soil on which the building will stand is compacted. Well-compacted soil, especially in clay areas, provides a firm base. If the soil is not properly compacted, it will be more likely to settle after the foundation has been laid. The settling causes damage.
- Low Quality Materials
If the concrete used to make the foundation is the wrong mix, it will not be strong enough to support the weight of the building. Poor-quality shims can rust away. Rusted shims leave gaps, and the gaps encourage foundations to move. Once the foundation moves, it cracks.
- The Weather
We can get a lot of rain. We also experience temperatures that range from 100° down to below 20°. Wet soil expands. Frozen soil expands. Dry soil contracts. Over the years, this constant wetting and drying, expanding and contracting will take its toll. Piers, if the foundation is pier and beam, will become unstable and start to move. If the foundation is a concrete slab, it will lose some of its soil base, and it will begin to fail.
- Plumbing Leaks
Concrete slab construction has plumbing lines underneath the foundation. Those lines can leak. Constant leaks saturate the soil, so it expands and loses its ability to fully support the slab, so the slab begins to fail.
- Tree Roots
Tree blossom and fall leaves make the world all that more pleasant. If those trees are too close to a property, though, they can cause problems. Tree roots can grow underneath the foundation. They can lift the slab and damage the concrete, or they can take out the moisture in the soil causing it to dry out, shrink and weaken the foundation.