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Shrink Swell Soil Issues

As the moisture’s removed from the ground, it begins to shrink, pulling away from your foundation. This leaves room for movement and settlement, which can cause cracks in your home’s brick, concrete, or block foundation.

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Issues Surrounding Your Home

Shrink Swell Soil Issues

Shrink swell soil is the movement caused by the amount of water in the soil. A lot of rain or a very dry season can change how your soil acts around your foundation. Soil shrinkage occurs when the water is removed from the ground. This can be caused by a drought, heatwave, or just an extended dry period.

As the moisture’s removed from the ground, it begins to shrink, pulling away from your foundation. This leaves room for movement and settlement, which can cause cracks in your home’s brick, concrete, or block foundation.

On the opposite end is soil swell. When your area experiences a lot of rain, the soil will swell and expand. The soil surrounding your home will begin pushing against your foundation, creating bowed walls, basement wall cracks, and waterproofing problems.

Soil Type Matters – Learn The Different Types of Soils

Clay Soil

Clay Soil

Clay is the most problematic soil when it comes to shrink-swell as it’s an expansive soil. In other words, any time there’s a lot of rain, the clay soil will swell. When the soil begins to dry, it will shrink.

Loam Soil

loam

Select fill or loam is a sandy loam that’s very resistant to moisture changes. This type of soil can be prone to erosion, which can change how well the soil can support your home.

Rock

rock

Rock doesn’t typically react to moisture unless it’s in a low-density shale.

Sandy Soil

sand

Sand doesn’t shrink-swell, but it is prone to erosion. If proper drainage isn’t in place, then the sand will erode and settlement will occur.

Shale

shale

Shale is a flaky rock that is made up of clay, quartz, and other minerals that were compacted together over time. Depending on the amount of clay in the rock, shale can experience shrink-swell.

How to Protect Your Foundation

One of the easiest ways to protect your foundation from shrink swell soil is to make sure that your drainage system is in good working order.

  • Clear your gutters.
  • Point the downspouts away from your home.
  • Extend downspouts – if possible – at least 5 feet away from your home.
  • If you don’t have gutters, grade the soil surrounding your home so that it directs water away from your foundation.

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