What Causes Foundations to Fail?

foundation failure

Causes of Foundations Failure

As one of the leading Fort Worth foundation repair companies, we’re often asked what causes foundations to fail.  The truth is, there are a variety of things that can cause your home’s foundation to fail, movement in the soil is the most common reason for foundation problems.

Builders have known how soil conditions affect the structural integrity of buildings for centuries.  In fact, the New Testament Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders admonishes, “Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell . . .”

How Changes in the Soil Affect Your Foundation

The soil in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is known as “expansive” because of the high clay content.  Fluctuations in moisture from rain and irrigation methods causes expansive soil to expand and shrink, which can cause foundations to shift and crack.

In a recent article, Technical Director of Geotechnical Engineering at Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. Matthew Marcus said, “Expansive clay soil is the most predominant geologic hazard across the United States.
Each year billions of dollars in damage to building foundations and structures is caused by the shrinking and swelling behavior caused by clay soil. The building distress can manifest in something as easy to address as popped up sidewalk trip hazards, or sticking doors and windows, and can be as major as cracked walls and roofs, and structures that need to be repaired for safety.”

Read our recent article, “How North Texas Soil can Affect Your Home Foundation” to learn more.

How Expansive Soil Affects Your Foundation

During the summer months, high temperatures combined with very little rain can cause the soil beneath the foundation to contract.

Trees and other vegetation planted near your home takes moisture from the soil beneath the foundation and leaves it dried out.

Plumbing leaks
Your home’s plumbing system can leak small amounts of water for years without anyone noticing. As the water seeps into the soil it can create pressure on the foundation.

Improper drainage
Without proper drainage, water from rain gutters and French drains can pool up around your home, causing the soil to expand and harm the foundation.

Improper soil preparation
If the soil beneath your home was not properly leveled and compacted before the foundation was laid, it can shift and cause foundation problems.

Think you may have foundation problems?  Call Atlas Foundation Company at 817-478-1181 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation estimate.

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