Why do we have foundation problems?
It is not unusual to see a foundation in the DFW area move in response to moisture variations.
-Heaving of a foundation usually occurs during the cool wet winter months. Heaving can lift a
foundation off the piers that are supporting it.
-Settlement of a foundation that is induced by seasonal considerations usually occurs during the hot dry summers, when the clay soils dry out to a depth of 10 to 15 feet. The drying occurs because of both surface evaporation and transpiration.
Settlement can also be caused by a loss of soil strength. Strength decreases as the water content of a soil increases. It is possible that portions of a slab foundation that have previously not moved can experience settlement due desiccation of the soil. A previously underpinned area shouldn't settle.
As soils dry they shrink and consolidate. A foundation usually settles during the summer months, especially along the outer perimeter. Usually the winter months are wet, so the expansive clay soils tend to swell and rise the foundation. If the soils get too wet, soil strength will become too low to support the load of the house and the soils will deform and the house will settle.
Soil upheaval many times is caused by the water being allowed to pond near a foundation. It is very important that the homeowner ensure that the ground surface around the entire foundation is sloped to allow water to flow rapidly away from the foundation. It is recommended that the ground surface be sloped at a rate of one inch per linear foot. The ground surface near the foundation should be sloped to drain away from the house at this rate for a distance of at least 6 to 8 feet. there should be no water allowed to pond near the foundation.
Interested in learning more? Click on the tabs below to read more about the types of home foundations, the early warning signs of foundation problems and the most common causes.