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What Causes Foundation Problems?

Foundation and Basement Problem Signs and Solutions

Foundation Problems - Cracked Bricks are a sign of foundation settlement

What Causes Foundation Problems?

Foundation problems and foundation damage can be caused by a variety of things ranging from construction to Mother Nature. If you’ve experienced any of these causes of foundation problems, don’t wait until you start to see damage: call in your trusted foundation repair expert.

Learn how you can save yourself time and money by requesting a professional foundation evaluation and receiving your Free Homeowner’s Guide to Foundation Repair.

Foundation Problems and Causes:

All foundation repair problems can be traced back to one or more causes. Read about the causes of foundation problems, the problem signs they create, then the patented, proven solutions we offer.


Snow Melt

After heavy snow fall, the accumulated snow will melt resulting in excess flooding. And where there’s significant flooding, water intrusion is likely. If your foundation has any cracks or leaks water will find its way into your home. 



When the moisture is removed from the soil, it shrinks (like a sponge) and will pull away from your foundation. When the soil pulls away, it creates a gap which allows for foundation movement. If your foundation isn’t supported properly then it will shift into the space and cracks will start to appear.



When the ground shakes, so does your foundation. And while most of us think that we’re not in an area that feels the earth move, you might be surprised. Virginia has experienced over 300 recorded earthquakes since it became a state.

So if you feel the earth tremor, take a look at your foundation for cracked blocks, concrete slab cracks or cracked chimney bricks. Earthquakes often times magnify small existing cracks in your foundation which can lead to basement water problems.


Expansive or Heaving Soil

The type of soil your home is built on makes a big difference in your foundation’s stability. Expansive soils, like clay soil, experience the most dramatic changes when there’s too much moisture. When there’s too much moisture, the clay soil expands causing upheaval. Upheaval is the opposite of settlement, and pushes your foundation up, creating the same problems as a foundation settling.

On the same note, when the soil dries out it shrinks. As the soil shrinks, it pulls away from your foundation, leaving room for your foundation to move and settle which causes cracks.


Consolidating Soil

Is the opposite of expansive soil. Clay soil is also a consolidating soil. When the clay soil dries, it constricts, pulling away from your foundation. This causes house settlement.



Just like a Nor’easter, hurricanes can be the cause of foundation damage. Flooding and heavy rains produced by the storm can force soil to expand, pressing against your foundation and causing cracks. But you can help protect your home from foundation damage caused by hurricanes.



If you live on the east coast, chances are you’ve experienced a Nor’easter. These storms can produce flooding, heavy rain and hurricane force winds. Factor these into expansive soil and you could end up having foundation cracks and other structural problems.


Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks add to the expansive soil problem. Whether the leak is in your crawl space foundation, in exterior plumbing or city lines, when the soil expands, it’ll push against your foundation.


Poor Construction

Before your home was built, the ground where your foundation is laid needed to be prepared. This typically involves testing the soil, compacting the soil and designing the appropriate footing to support your home.

If any of these steps are skipped or if substandard materials are used, your foundation could be put at risk.


Poor Soil Preparation

Before building your home, the ground where your foundation is now located was excavated. If the builder didn’t prepare the soil properly before building the foundation or backfilled the soil without compacting it, your home will start to settle.


Poor Drainage

Protecting your foundation is as easy as keeping your gutters clear and pointing the downspouts away from your home. These simple steps can help prevent some of the foundation damage caused by poor drainage, expansive soil or hydrostatic pressure which is caused by, you guessed it, too much water.



A hot, dry summer or period of drought can create problems for your home’s foundation. When soil dries, it contracts, pulling away from your foundation. The shrinking soil creates a gap next to your foundation which allows it to shift and settle.


Large Trees Next To Your Home

A large tree growing next to your home could be the source of some of your house settlement problems. If the roots extend under or next to your foundation, they are drinking up moisture that helps keep the soil surrounding your foundation stable.


Flooding - Too Much Water

Mother Nature, plumbing leaks, poor grading or inadequate drainage can all lead to a house settling problem. When soil is wet, it expands, pushing against your foundation. When the hydrostatic pressure becomes too much for your foundation, you’ll start to notice leaks, cracks and bowed walls.

What Do I Do Now?What Do I Do Now?

So, you think you have a foundation problem? Request a free inspection to find out the source of your home’s drywall nail pops, stuck windows and uneven floors. One of our certified foundation repair consultants will visit your home and conduct and in-depth investigation of your home’s foundation.

Every one of our foundation repair consultants has received extensive training from our team of Professional Engineers, and participates in manufacturer workshops, continuing their education in foundation repair solutions, and staying up-to-date on the latest technologies, installation techniques and best practices.

After your free inspection, the foundation repair consultant will share their findings with you and design a custom solution for your home. Sometimes we’ll find that your home doesn’t need foundation repair, and we’ll tell you.

At JES we believe in helping you find the solution, not create additional problems by trying to sell you a product or service that you don’t need. Call us with questions, 866-370-4816, we’re here to help!

The Experts at JES can Help!

If you’re not sure of the source of your foundation problem, give us a call at 866-370-4816, and schedule a free inspection. We’ll find out the cause of the problem and help you find the perfect solution.

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