Foundation settlement in the North Texas area is typically caused by the expansive clay soils drying out and shrinking. This shrinking of the soil happens during dry weather. Ground heaving is due to highly expansive clay soil taking on moisture and expanding during wet weather. Expanding soil typically results in a positive elevation increase being seen in the foundation.
Another step is to take an elevation survey to identify the relative elevations across the foundation, and the areas where significant movement may have occurred. Based on this information, recommendations may be given for sections of the foundation in need of repair.
The foundation should first be visually inspected for signs of distress. Signs of distress include cracks separations, shifting etc. Sometimes this distress may be difficult to spot for the average home owner. The goal of any home owner or building owner should be to provide positive water runoff away from the perimeter of the foundation. The positive runoff of 10 inches of fall in the first 10 feet away from the foundation. Any holes or areas where water stands should be filled and graded to drain. Any sprinkler system discharge should not be spraying directly on walls and allow to drip down the side of the foundation. Large bushes, shrubs or trees should not be allowed to grow next to the foundation. Plastic sheeting can be used as a root barrier for bushes or shrubs. A foundation may have poor drainage on one side and good drainage on another resulting in differential foundation movement. This is where one part is moving up and the other is moving down. In such differential movement situations, more distress in the structure or foundation is typically seen. Due to the nature of soil, foundation repairs typically will not remove all movement or distress. There are many factors involved with foundations, such as site conditions, method of construction and manner of distress. These existing conditions can limit repairs that can be performed. In most cases the foundation can be restored to an operating and livable condition. Cracks in exterior brick, floors out of level, cracks in interior walls, doors not operating properly, windows not fitting properly, leaning chimney, cracked basement walls, leaning or bowing basement walls, are all indications of foundation settlement or heaving due to expansive clay soil.
Foundation repairs can be very complicated, expensive and confusing. Multiple contractors may provide differing opinions after assessing your home’s needed repairs.
Rain water directly affects these moisture changes in the soil. If rain water is allowed to enter the soil around the foundation, the soil will absorb the water. This will cause a clay soil to expand. Then during a dry period the soil will shrink. This translates to up and down movements in the foundation. We have inspected thousands of foundations in the North Texas area and would be happy to help you find the best solution for your distressed property.
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