October 7, 2014

Is Your Home’s Foundation Sinking under the Pressure?

Your home is only as stable as the ground it was built on and because of this, its foundation should be inspected each season as a way of identifying areas of concern before they become costly problems. While some things are better left to chance, your home’s foundation is not one of them.

Structural and geotechnical engineers are trained to consider every inch of a structure and the surrounding environment for efficiency and safety. To increase the chances of a favorable outcome, they anticipate solutions for problems before they become problems. Their foresight helps reduce risk and prevent additional stress.

The same line of thinking can be applied to your home’s foundation. Key parts of the foundation include the foundation walls, footings and resting soil. A structure tends to settle when its weight is greater than the bearing capacity of the soil it was built on. Bearing capacity describes how much weight the soil can handle. Over time, stress on the ground beneath a building causes it to shift. In turn, this movement leads to cracks in the foundation and if not resolved promptly, structural failure.

foundation of a house
Key parts of your home's foundation

It’s important to note that foundation problems:
  • Reduce property value
  • Present safety hazards
  • Compromise the structural integrity of a house
  • Become worse over time

What Is Causing Your Sinking Foundation?

Your home’s foundation can be compromised due to inconsistent moisture content in the soil and soil erosion. Weather events, such as rain, dry heat and freezing temperatures all influence soil pressure on foundation walls. The greater the force, the more likely failure will occur. Common soil types, in order of strength, include bedrock, gravel, coarse sand, fine sand, clay, silt and organic material. Each type has its own allowable bearing capacity.

Poor soil conditions, compaction, footing design and drainage can compel a home’s foundation to give way. The good news is homeowners can mitigate potential damage by proactively addressing any issues. Cracks and other signs of foundation failure get more expensive the longer they are ignored.

Our homes usually serve as an escape from all the hustle and bustle, but if not properly maintained, our sanctuaries can easily become dreadful burdens, financially and otherwise. Home repairs, especially if the nature of the problem can harm your home’s structural integrity or your family’s security, are worth dealing with as soon as they arise.

As life would have it, we’re not always able to plan for the unexpected. However, in matters where we can prevent the whole quilt from unraveling, it’s best to be proactive.

Have a sinking foundation problem? Don't let your foundation cave under pressure. Learn more about foundation repair solutions recommended by our professional engineers.

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