Soil and Your Home’s Foundation

Soil and Your Home’s Foundation

Depending on what types of foundation soils your home is standing on can greatly effect the stability of your home.  Each type of soil reacts differently to moisture because they are all different.  Generally you have your sandy soils, your clay soils, and your loam soils.  Sandy soils allows the water to pass right through rather than absorbing it.  This makes sandy soils very stable and reliable since it maintains a pretty consistent volume and density.  Clay soils can have the greatest potential to damage your home’s foundation.  It absorbs the water and expands which causes the foundation to crack, heave and shift.  Then when they shrink there are gaps left around the house where water can easily pass through from the next storm.  Loam soils are also basically stable since it has little change from the increase and decrease of moisture.

One of the foundation problems that occur is called foundation settlement.  This occurs when the soil can no longer support the weight of your home.  One of the causes is the drying and shrinking of soil.  This usually happens when there is a drought.  There aren’t extreme droughts in Alabama, but there tends to be several weeks without rain each year.  The lack of moisture in the soil then causes the shrinking because the clay dries out.  That causes a section of your foundation to crack where the settlement occurred.

Another cause of foundation settlement is when your soil has excess moisture or softening of the soil.  This usually occurs with heavy rain or flood, poor drainage or if there are plumbing leaks and broken water lines.  With the rain or flood it causes the clay to become soft because it absorbed the water, then it allows your home to sink down into it.  Then same things happens when there is a standing water next to your home or if there is a leaking or broken water line because the clay absorbs that also.

Lastly the main reason for foundation settlement is with poorly compacted fill soil.  Normally when the foundation to the house is built, there is soil brought in from another location to fill the hollow areas.  This soil is much looser and lighter than the dense and packed soil that hasn’t been disturbed.  When this occurs if the builder has not compacted the loose fill soil well enough, then it might begin to compress under the weight of your home which causes foundation settlement.

The soils in Alabama are greatly affected by the weather conditions and can have a great affect on your home.  If any of this occurs to your home, then you need to go to a professional and have it taken care of.  It can be very dangerous to live in a home with foundation problems if they are not taken care of.  Contact Grout Tech and we can take care of it for you!