It’s common for homeowners to notice things they believe to be signs of foundation problems. This series encompasses everything you need to know about your home’s foundation: starting with a basic understanding of what a foundation is below. This is Part 1 of 4 in an ongoing blog series that was developed from an interview with one of our foundation consultants. To listen to the full interview, please find the audio here.
Let’s start with the basics and give you a foundation of knowledge on, well, foundations!
Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t even think about their home’s foundation until a problem arises that needs repair. And, while many of these issues can be repaired, there are also things you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place.
First, let’s look into foundation repair and what causes foundation problems to begin with. Thanks to the help of a foundation repair expert from Stratum Foundation Repair based in Dallas, Texas, here’s all the information you need to understand the basics. This will help you understand the issues that arise and how to best avoid them from happening at all.
Concrete Slab Foundation Basics
The key to understanding your home’s foundation is right underneath it. The earth under your home is what it sits upon, and it’s also what usually impacts the changes – and sometimes, issues – that occur.
Most people don’t give the ground underneath their homes a second thought. But, it’s that very ground, and its contained moisture, that can give you a run for your money in foundation repair.
Understanding the Root of the Problem
For example, consider a home within the Dallas area – one of the highest areas in need of foundation repair. Why? Clay. The earth in this area is most commonly comprised of clay. This especially impacts the movement of a foundation because clay expands. Think of it as a sponge – it contracts when dry, expands when wet. Couple that with dry weather patterns; like a drought, or over-watering and you can easily imagine why this area is ripe with foundation inconsistencies.
You may be thinking, if all of the land is clay, and there’s a drought, wouldn’t logic follow that the clay underneath the foundation simply contracts? This assumption is incorrect, because foundations are impacted by any inconsistencies within the earth and, unfortunately, can happen both naturally and unnaturally (as in, we’re doing things to the soil, like watering in certain areas, that can make it worse).
For example, something as simple as a tree can lead to inconsistencies. If one side of the home with a tree is being watered daily, the clay expands on that side of the home. If the tree isn’t being watered daily, it pulls a great deal of moisture out from the soil (trees can drink up to 100 gallons of water daily), causing it to contract. Meanwhile, the other side of the home, without a tree, gets less water and contracts if the tree is being watered. Or, perhaps, contains more moisture than the side the tree is pulling moisture from.
Common Causes of Foundation Issues
While there are many different causes and cases that cause foundation issues, the most important take away is that when these factors become inconsistent, it can lead to an uneven foundation.
The mere expansion & contraction isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the inconsistent swelling and contraction under the house.
For example, serious foundation issues often occur when the perimeter of the foundation dries out and the interior doesn’t – most commonly in summer months. This is most likely an issue that leads to the foundation moves first and the structure second. Think: the right side may be swelling while the other is contracting, leading to uneven foundation differences. Since clay moves so much, you want to implement a foundation that moves with it.
While the foundation itself is meant to move and flex, the structure on top of it and plumbing within it is not meant to move – especially inconsistently. Within areas that have clay, most homes are built on a concrete slab, so due to weather, settling, tree roots depleting moisture/droughts, and other variables, people need foundation repair.
These inconsistencies can cause different types of issues, some of which are more common than others.
4 Warning Signs of Foundation Issues:
- Noticeable cracks
- Roof/Trim issues
- Plumbing damage (often signified by odor)
- Structural damage
If at any point there’s a concern that you may have foundation issue in your home, you should never hesitate to call an expert. Many companies offer free foundation inspections allow experts to get to the bottom of it, whether there’s a problem or not. They want to ensure you correct the current problem and create a plan for the avoidance of future issues. This is the case with Stratum, and you can call us to give you a thorough and FREE inspection by calling us today. 214-683-2956
At the end of the day, if you have a foundation issue, it’s nothing to be lax about. Your entire house is shifting, and it won’t correct itself. Experts need to assess the damage and create a plan for both repair and a longer-term plan to avoid further damage; they will also navigate issues, like gas lines, etc.
You also want to ensure that it’s a long-term solution and that it’s done correctly from the beginning, so work with your foundation expert at Stratum to create a plan to both correct the current problem and avoid future issues from arising.
Now that you have the basic knowledge, you’ll be able to better understand how to determine if there’s a potential foundation issue with your home. Read on to discover the warning signs of foundation problems in our second post in the series, along with ways you can start to determine whether or not you may have a foundation issue. Call us today: 214-683-2956
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Reading the Signs of Foundation Issues (2/4)
Written By: Logun Liening
Ask The Expert Series 1: Foundation Basics & Problem Causes (1/4)
Written By: Logun Liening