Foundation problems are not uncommon in homes across the United States. Whether your home is built upon a slab foundation or has a full basement, foundation movement can occur. A foundation that heaves upward or settles downward may need repair. Foundation leveling can fix the problems in many cases.
A home’s foundation may shift because there are problematic soil conditions, compromised structural integrity in the footings or piers, under-slab plumbing leaks, tree root intrusion or inadequate drainage. These issues must be addressed before foundation or house leveling is performed.
Expansive Clay Soils
Areas with expansive clay soils can suffer foundation problems. Clay soils absorb water and expand, exerting pressure or heaving upward into the foundation. When dried, clay soils contract or shrink and can cause the foundation to settle downward. Inadequate exterior drainage contributes to the expansion and contraction of clay soils.
Water that collects close to or under a house foundation can be damaging. Downspouts not connected properly to gutters or diverted away from the foundation contribute to excessive water in the soil near and under the foundation. Driveways, walks, patios and landscaping areas that do not slope away from the house can cause water to sluice back towards the house and over-saturate the soil as well.
Any time there are plumbing leaks under a slab foundation or basement, issues develop. Tree roots can stretch under the foundation and cause cracks in pipes, creating standing water. This can lead to cracks in the foundation, shifting/heaving soil and multiple problems within the home.
Intrusive tree roots also absorb large amounts of water from soil under the foundation. When this happens, the soil dries and shrinks. This loss of moisture (and resulting soil shrinkage) can cause one part of the foundation to move more than the other parts—differential movement. With differential movement, foundation cracks may look like stairs or steps or as diagonal cracks. Differential movement often is responsible for more structural damage than other types of shifting. Foundation cracks can appear on exterior or interior walls and floors.
The foundation leveling process includes raising the foundation as needed. Olshan uses a Hybrid Piling System that will penetrate tough soils and provides optimum support for the foundation. It combines both steel and concrete components. A specialist can be consulted to discuss all foundation repair methods.