Over time soil begins to shift, causing your home’s foundation to settle. Foundation settlement happens when the soil fails to uphold the weight of your home. Here are some of the different reasons your foundation begins to settle.
Foundation settlement will happen if your soil is dry. If you live in an area where it does not rain often, then clay dirt will become dry and shrink. When clay dries, it shrinks and cracks leaving empty gaps in the soil. As a result, the weight of your home is not supported.
Another cause of dry soil is the presence of large trees planted near a home’s foundation. Trees make your landscape beautiful; however, beneath the surface, they do more damage than you may realize. As tree’s branches grow long and beautiful, below the surface the roots grow too. Roots need water in order to grow and will take moisture from the soil that surrounds your foundation, causing it to dry and shrink.
Dry soil is not the only cause for foundation settlement, wet soil will also play a role too. For areas that receive heavy rainfall and experience flooding, be aware of potential foundation issues. The soil around your foundation that has poor drainage and experiences heavy rainfall will become soft and spongy from the puddling water. This causes your home to sink into the ground because the weight of your home is no longer supported.
With the intention of creating a leveled lot to build your home, the soil may have been taken from other locations during your home’s construction. If builders failed to tightly fill the additional soil, then as the years progress the weight of your home will become heavy, causing your foundation to settle.
Older homes typically have more foundation problems than newer homes. However, this does not exclude newer homes from having these problems. Foundation problems in newer homes are a result of poorly filled soil or poor original construction.
Signs of a Settling Foundation
Your home will show noticeable outdoor and indoor signs of foundation settlement problems.
A settling foundation often experiences exterior problem signs, such as cracks on outdoor concrete or brick walls. You will notice a stair shaped design crack moving vertically up your walls. As settling worsens, the stair shaped design will become wider, pulling your outside walls farther apart.
Also, cracks that form on the outer part of doors and windows may be signs of the settlement. The weakest part of your home is where doors and windows are placed, because of the opening that exists in the wall. Noticeable signs of foundation troubles from windows or doors are separation gaps of windows and doors, and cracks that form because doors and windows begin to detach themselves from your walls.
Chimney separation is another sign of foundation settlement. A greater chance of detachment will happen if the chimney of your home is built on a different foundation, and settlement occurs.
Similar to the settlement signs which are seen on the outside of your home, you will notice signs of settlement that occur on the inside of your home as well. Cracks on drywall, concrete walls, and concrete floors may be signs. Cracks will appear on concrete floors inside your home and will also appear in drywall beginning from the corners of your doors moving up your walls.
In addition to indoor cracks, you may notice doors or windows jamming while you open or close them. If you or the previous owner of the home ever tried smoothing the top of your doors or windows or changed their locks, and they continue to jam then that may mean you have foundation settlement problems.
If you believe you’re experiencing problems with foundation settlement, call today to schedule a free foundation inspection or schedule online now.