Sinking Foundation

Crack and Foundation Settlement
Cracked Foundation Settlement

This is likely one of the most common problems that come about with all types of foundations, whether they are brick, block, stone, or poured. A lot of homeowners want to know what warning signs to be on the look out for which may indicate that this is an issue happening to their structure. If you notice any of the following, it will be important to get the problem taken care of ASAP before any additional damage is done: windows and doors are sticking, the chimney appears to be tilting or pulling away from the home, certain spots on the first floor of the home no longer feel level, interior and exterior cracks form, and noticeable sinking of exterior walls can be seen on the outside of the home.

What Causes the Problem?

Weak Soils

There are some soil varieties that are not able to support the weight or pressure that is exerted from a heavy foundation. As a result, the footing presses into the soft soil an isn't able to properly distribute the weight of the home. This is often the case in homes that were built using general guidelines instead of site-specific soil data.

Poor Soil Compaction

When the home was first being built, a giant hole was dug out for the foundation to be put into place. The hole was made bigger than what the size of the home was going to be so that equipment and workers could move around easily. After the base was constructed, backfilled soil was put into place. If it isn't properly compacted, it will shift about whenever there is moisture from rain or melting snow. This can cause the structure to sink into the earth.

Changes in Moisture in the Soil

Expansive soils, such as clay, are known for swelling up whenever it rains, and shrinking during times of drought. This causes the water table around a home to constantly rise and fall. This puts a lot of pressure on a foundation, and it eventually will start to sink, leading to additional problems such as wall or floor cracks.

Tree Roots

The root system of expanding trees can draw moisture in from the soil around and beneath the foundation. When this happens, the water table starts to fall, and with it comes the base of the home.

Soil Consolidation

This is a problem that occurs whenever the weight of the home compresses lower and weaker soils. This forces water out of the earth, causing the dirt to shrink. In turn, this can cause the foundation to settle deeper and deeper into the soil.

Can I Fix it Myself?

It is not recommended for the average homeowner to attempt to try and diagnose/treat this kind of structural problem on their own. If you don't know what you are doing, the entire process could prove to be very time-consuming, expensive, and even dangerous. It is best to leave this kind of work to the experts who have been working in the business for years and know what warning signs to be on the look out for.

Push and Helical Piers

To take care of the problem, piering systems will need to be installed strategically around the home. The number needed and the spacing will be determined by the structural evaluator who comes to your home. The main duty of the piers is to shift the weight of the home off of the weakened base and onto themselves. Over time, this helps to prevent additional settlement, and it will help to keep the home level, stable, and secure.

Getting Help

Let our team help you to find a local contractor in your area who will be able to come to your home for a consultation and get to the bottom of the problem before it gets any worse.

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How The Process Works

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If You've Got Foundation Questions, We've Got Foundation Answers!

At Foundation Maintenance, we get a lot of questions from people concerning their foundations. In this section we answer the most commonly asked questions. If we do not have the answer you are looking for, you can submit your question to an Expert in our Network.