Common Causes of Slab Foundation Problems
“Metroplex Foundation Repair company just completed work on the foundation of or home and I just wanted to send a note to compliment your crew.”Bill W. in Desoto, TX
Listen to this news report on how dry conditions can quickly affect your home’s foundation.
Moisture changes in North Texas cause drastic clay composition changes. Acting like a sponge, soil expands during seasons of heavy rainfall and contracting during times of seasonal drought. Continuous fluctuation causes stress on your home’s foundation. Commonly, the center areas of the slab remain undisrupted, while the perimeters settle due to exposure to the seasonal moisture changes.
Trees and large shrubs with extensive root systems require immense amounts of moisture to sustain their health. Moist soils located near the edge of the home, as well as underneath the slab, provide a viable source of water. When the root system drains the additional moisture from these areas, it causes the slab to settle.
More common these days, plumbing has become a major issue for foundations. The cast iron plumbing commonly used in the 1960s and early 1970s is beginning to deteriorate and erode. The soil directly underneath the home can infuse with water, creating long-term foundation damage.
Common Causes of Pier & Beam Foundations Issues
Moisture changes in North Texas cause drastic clay composition changes. The soil acts like a sponge, expanding during seasons of heavy rainfall and contracting during times of seasonal drought. Fluctuating weather patterns can cause stress on your home’s foundation.
Most homes built before the 1960s were built on cedar post piers, extending only a few inches into the ground, providing very little surface area to support the home’s foundation. The surface area over time can erode below the posts, and losing both its integrity and ability to support the structure.
Block and pad piers are utilized for the same function as cedar post piers. At each pier location a shallow pad of concrete is poured directly on top of the ground. Concrete blocks are then placed upon the pad and stacked to provide support under the home’s beams. In many instances, the footing poured directly on top of the ground is adversely affected by the expansion and contraction of the soil at the surface level resulting in an inability to provide the proper amount of support for the structure.
Even though poor soil conditions are one of the leading causes of foundation problems in North Texas, there are a variety of other contributing factors:
- Poor drainage of water away from the home
- Insufficient ventilation for the soil under the home to aerate
- Deterioration of the wood beams and other supportive material
- Inadequate footings or surface area to provide support
- … and poor initial construction practices can all lead to foundation problems on pier and beam homes.
Warranty Aftercare Maintenance Procedures
Foundation maintenance in general consists of one major concept: The moisture in the soil under the house & around the house shall be as consistent & uniform as possible at all times. Here are some measures to take to help accomplish this are as follows:
- Install good ground cover. This prevents excessive moisture from seeping deep into the soil, causing problems to the foundation structure. This will also prevent erosion of the soil. Good ground cover also prevents excessive “drying out” of the soil through evaporation. Good ground cover will help maintain a more constant uniform moisture level in the soil beneath.
- Water the soil around the house during dry periods, but just enough to keep the grass green. More watering is needed in areas with more abundant shrubbery, plants & trees. The south & west sides of the house are more exposed to sun & may need more watering to offset rapid evaporations.
- NEVER water to close to the foundation. Stay about 3 feet away. NEVER pour water into the cracks in the ground. These cracks usually go a few feet deep, & the water will reach soil that is normally undisturbed by concentrated amounts of moisture. Depending upon the shrink/swell potential of your soil, the soil may upheave, or it may consolidate & lose volume, either way it undermines the foundation & causes problems. NEVER place sand, sandy loams, or rocks around the foundation. They are porous & allows water to pass-quickly to the soil below, where the sun & wind cannot dry it out. Clay soils are non-porous & are recommended for positive water drainage away from the foundation. NEVER allow water to pond around the foundation. If water stands for very long it will seep under the foundation causing problems.