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