Whether you’ve just moved to the Baton Rouge area, or been a proud Louisiana homeowner for decades, you’ve probably heard a lot about the amazing history and geology sitting under your foundation.
For thousands of years, the forces of nature have shaped the Louisiana landscape and layered it with an incredible mix of different kinds of soil – some of it carried across the continent by rivers and ice ages. And now, those traces of geological time are sitting underneath your house, pushing on your foundation
Your home is your most important investment, and it protects the people who matter most to you, so it’s natural to worry a little about the hidden dangers of foundation damage. If you don’t know the common warning signs of foundation trouble, you’ll be glad to know that they’re easy to recognize. You may also be relieved to know that they don’t always mean you need expensive repairs. In many cases, simple, affordable solutions can quickly ease minor problems.
The complexity of the soil is where many foundation problems start for Baton Rouge area homeowners. The landscape around here is a hodge-podge of loam, clay, and sand, and they all react differently to moisture, seasonal changes, and the structural elements of your home.
Geologists who specialize in Louisiana conditions tell us that these soil types appear in layers. Depending on the construction methods that are most common around your neighborhood, your foundation may be straddling multiple soil types from different exposed layers.
Each soil type reacts differently to changing water levels and pressure, and over time, these differences can stress your foundation in ways that the builders might not have planned for. Sandy soil tends to let moisture pass through and stays fairly stable. Clay will expand and contract, alternately pushing on your foundation or pulling away. Loamy soil can erode, leaving parts of your foundation unsupported.
There are things that every Baton Rouge homeowner can do to help prevent foundation problems before they starts
Look around your home and notice areas where water might pool or collect around your foundation. There are low or no cost do-it-yourself tricks you can use to improve drainage and keep conditions stable around the structural components of your house.
- Ensure that your landscaping slopes away from your foundation so that water naturally drains away from the house
- Use time-tested French drain techniques to keep water from collecting near your foundation
- Install new gutters or upgrade the ones you have so they carry water away from your foundation
- Remember that the root systems of mature trees are often as big or bigger than the branches you can see – consider removing trees that may compromise pipes or foundation components
The most foundation problems can be relatively simple and inexpensive to fix if you know what to look for and act quickly. The forces of nature are relentless, and the longer you wait, the more damage they can do.
Here are some of the more urgent signs of trouble to watch out for:
- Doors or windows may start to stick or warp or seem otherwise misaligned when they used to work normally
- Shifting soil or sagging foundations may cause expanding cracks in concrete surfaces, masonry, ceilings, walls, or places that join at right angles
- Persistent plumbing leaks, or invading tree roots may have begun to erode the soil around or underneath your foundation
- There’s water everywhere in Louisiana – stay especially alert for moisture accumulation in your home, especially in low areas like basements or crawl spaces
- Sometimes you may not see active water accumulation, but it will leave signs like condensation, stains, or bloom on interior walls, recessed spaces, or exposed parts of your foundation
- Sagging or uneven floors may give you the sense that you’re walking uphill or downhill in an area supposed to be level and flat
- Exterior features like chimneys, carports, or porches that start to lean or tip out of alignment
In almost every home, especially in Louisiana, some settling is normal. An inexpensive trip to the hardware store will take care of superficial cosmetic changes that happen over time. Even if you see more serious warning signs, there’s still no cause for panic. The most important thing to do is get a qualified structural expert to come take a look around and tell you what’s really going on.
Olshan has been around for over 85 years. We offer reliable foundation repair services and are here to assist Baton Rouge area home and businesses owners looking for help with foundation repair. Only Olshan offers cutting-edge repair technology featuring their warranty-backed Cable Lock™ ST Plus system that combines the stability of concrete with the strength of steel.
The evaluation by an Olshan Certified Structural Technician is free, and it only takes a phone call to get things started. With absolutely no obligation,
If you’re seeing warning signs, the worst thing you can do is wait. In many cases, your Olshan representative can recommend a repair option that fits your budget, and may be able to get you an affordable payment plan, often starting as low as $125 a month. To learn more, call Olshan today.