Windows that constantly get stuck, doors that jam, and those cracks in your beautiful concrete walls or uneven floors may not be caused merely by wear and tear over time but frustrating to overcome, nor something that can be ignored. Neither should it be something you will simply have to live with, but is worth investing your time in taking a look? There's a possibility that it is due to a foundation problem, or rather the movement of clay soils under your foundation. Your home is indeed standing on the ground, but on what ground? Things can get a bit more complicated, but the fact that soil characteristics have a major effect on the condition of your home makes it quite essential to understand.
The main types of soil include expansive clay, select fill or loam, rock, and sand. Clay holds the greatest risk of potentially damaging a foundation. Why do you think and in what way does it impact your home? Though it may not be the same type of non-toxic clay your child plays with, you may not know very well how clay soils expand and contract with changes in moisture content. Consider that your home has been built upon a gigantic clay platform, where it so happens that when the ground shifts, shrinking and expanding, your home's foundation apparently moves with it.
Why Do Clay Soils Move?
Clay soils move by variable changes in volume - they tend to swell when wet, and shrink once it gets dry. It absorbs water quickly and the more it becomes saturated, the more it expands in volume. This explains why walls and floors crack, heave, and shift. Once the soil dries out, it shrinks and cracks, and you are left with some gaps between the house foundation and the soil underneath. You may not take notice until the next drought, when the clay soils have shrunk so much that the concrete slab foundation cracks and literally falls down until it finds support. In contrast, when the clay soils are saturated, by rain or under slab plumbing leaks, the volume of the soil will expand dramatically. This is called upheaval. One part of the home can be raised significantly higher than the rest of the home by upheaval. Or soil expansion under the middle of the home can create a hump in the concrete slab.
Soil type can have a big impact on your home more than what you may think. Familiarizing yourself to the type of soil your house is sitting on can significantly help a home owner recognize a problem before it becomes too big. However, if it already has become a significant problem, you will need help from reliable repair contractors to effectively deal with it and prevent things from getting worse. An experienced foundation service professional will be able to accurately assess the situation for you, and tell how serious it actually is. Comprehensive foundation repairs, drainage solutions, prevention and plumbing are all part of owning a home. The peace of mind and security of living in a functional and reliable home is unbeatable!
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