What Causes Foundation Failure?

Have you ever wondered what causes foundation failure? Over time, foundations can deteriorate, settle, or sink into the ground due to a variety of issues.

Here in Virginia, we see a lot of problems that lead to foundation failure.

Here are the top 6 issues that we see:

1. Poor Drainage

Some examples of poor drainage include short downspouts, clogged gutters, or lack of waterproofing.

Poor drainage conditions around your foundation can cause the oversaturation of the soil which causes instability around the foundation.

If improper drainage has caused foundation problems in your home, contact the professionals at AMC911 Crawl Space & Foundation Repair for an inspection and estimate.

2. Weather Conditions

Hot and dry conditions may cause the soil around your home to shrink and pull away from the foundation. When this happens, cracks may appear throughout the structure. The shrinking soil will create gaps next to the foundation which allows the foundation to sink and settle into the ground.

3. Poor Soil Conditions

Poor soil, organic components, debris, etc., may cause expansion or consolidation, which contributes to foundation failures.

foundation failure

4. Transpiration

Tree roots could dehydrate the soil beneath a home causing soil shrinkage and settlement of the home. Maturing trees and bushes close to a home or building is a common cause of foundation settlement. As the trees and bushes mature, their root system demands more water. These roots will draw the moisture from beneath a home’s foundation and cause the soil to shrink. This results in the settlement of the home.

5. Plumbing Leaks

Water from leaky plumbing is often a major contributor to foundation problems. The soil supporting your foundation can erode when excess water is present due to plumbing leaks. The moisture content becomes distorted when a plumbing leak occurs under the foundation. When moisture is added to the soil because of a plumbing leak, the soil and foundation will move, causing foundation settlement. The degree of movement depends on the soil type, soil density, soil moisture content prior to the leak, and the length of time over which the leak has occurred.

6. Poor Building Site & Ground Preparation

Cut and fill situations, where the soil is removed from part of the lot and stacked on another, must have proper soil stabilization before the structure is constructed. Otherwise, unexpected movements of the soil beneath the foundation may occur.

If the builder failed to prepare the soil before your home’s foundation was poured, it can cause foundation settlement. Loose, not properly compacted soil starts to compact on its own and then the foundation starts to settle into the ground.

Soft, low-density soils and improperly compacted soil beneath a foundation is one of the leading causes of foundation failure. The grading of the soil should always divert water away from your home to that the water is not allowed to seep under the foundation.

drainage

Common Signs of Foundation Problems

Signs your home might have a foundation problem include:

Doors and windows that don’t open and close properly

Floor cracks, especially cracks that run wall-to-wall

Wall cracks, especially horizontal and diagonal cracks

Stairstep cracks in brickwork and masonry

Ceiling cracks, especially a crack that goes across the ceiling and down a wall

Sagging, buckled, sloping, or uneven floors

Torn wallpaper (might mean the wall behind the wallpaper is cracked)

Moldings that aren’t in contact with the wall or ceiling

Bowed basement walls, with or without cracking

Chimneys and porches that are leaning away from the house

Foundation Failures FAQ

Can foundation issues be fixed?​

Yes, most foundation problems can be fixed. Only on rare occasions does a foundation need to be replaced.

Can you live in a house while the foundation is being repaired?​

Most of the time, yes. You’ll be able to stay in your home while we’re working on the foundation.

Do all old houses have foundation issues?​

Both new and older homes can have foundation trouble. 

How serious is foundation settling?

Foundation settlement is serious because it puts stress on the foundation and can cause significant structural damage. As such, it needs to be repaired as soon as it’s noticed. The longer you wait, the more expensive will be the repair.

Solutions for Foundation Failure

Unfortunately, foundation problems are all too common, especially in the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads areas. If you have experienced structural issues, it is important to get them taken care of before things get worse and complete foundation failure becomes an issue.

If you are experiencing foundation failure, AMC911 Crawl Space & Foundation Repair has professional solutions for you. We install steel push piers and other foundation repair systems to get your foundation back to permanent stability. Take a look at our foundation solutions to see which method would be best for you.

AMC911 Crawl Space & Foundation Repair will work with you to find the best foundation repair solution for your needs and budget. Contact us today to get started with your free quote.

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