Soil Shift Happens: 2 Things You Need to Know About the Dirt Around Your Foundation

One of the first things you’ll see online when you type in ‘foundation maintenance’ is a lot of advice about watering your soil. Dry soil contracts and pulls away from the sides of your foundation. The dirt underneath your foundation can also shift and destabilize. Foundation shift happens when the soil isn’t hydrated, but it also depends on the soil itself.

Soil Shift Happens: 2 Things You Need to Know About the Dirt Around Your Foundation

What type of soil is on your property?

If you’re directly in Dallas County, find your neighborhood on this soil map of the area. While knowing the gradient of the property, or how much it slopes, gives you a good indication of how much erosion and drainage might be a problem in the future, it’s an incomplete picture. The type of soil your house sits on can tell you a lot about how likely foundational shift is. The majority of the soil around Dallas has a heavy clay make-up, but that general rule doesn’t apply to the whole metroplex. If you live outside of the Dallas county limits, a quick search can tell you more about your neighborhood’s soil.

Clay, loam, or sand — why does it matter?

If you have loamy dirt, or dirt with a good mix of clay, sand, and silt, you hit the jackpot. This soil is more stable than it’s other counterparts. However, it’s much more likely than even loam-heavy regions have too much clay in the soil. Sandy soil is almost as good because of the good drainage, but it’s rare. Unfortunately, sandy soil is also vulnerable to erosion.

Clay is really good at retaining water, which is good for your plants but bad for the foundation. The dirt will swell up with as much water as it can hold onto when it rains, and that can put a lot of pressure on your foundation. During a drought, the dirt will severely shrink as the water disappears. The high level of expansion and contraction is why shift happens so much in the DFW area.

You don’t have to figure out what type of soil your foundation sits on to keep it safe. Call in a foundation inspector to examine potential problems and shift.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog

Three Testable Ways Your Pier and Beam Foundation Might Not Be Level

Whether you’re looking for a new home to buy or you’re preparing for some hardcore spring cleaning, the integrity of the foundation. When you have a pier and beam foundation, it’s important to check for problems in the subflooring and the floor’s levelness to catch problems early on. Here are three ways to do it.

Three Testable Ways Your Pier and Beam Foundation Might Not Be Level

1. Look for a gradual incline across the length of the house.

It’s hard to notice a whole house tilt by yourself. If your home is built on a hill, or there’s been a lot of erosion in the last few months, those are signs that shifting is a risk. If the tilt is severe or growing, you might be able to feel it as you walk down a straight hallway. But the best way to discover a tilt across a whole house’s foundation is to call an inspector. They can often confirm a tilt down to the degree as part of a free estimate for repairs.

2. Check rooms from corner to corner.

It’s easier to check individual rooms for a tilt. You may have heard of the marble test, where you place a marble in different sections of the floor and see if it rolls. You can also use a level or other DIY tests. If just one room is at a tilt, that means there’s uneven stress on the foundation, and a more official test can isolate the problems.

3. Look for vertical and horizontal warps.

Even if one corner of the room isn’t higher than the other, there may be warps and warbles across the space. That’s because most rooms are big enough to have several piers and beams under the floors. If one of them settles or starts to crack, you might be able to feel or see valleys or waves in the flooring.

If you want to get your foundation tested so you know for sure, go to Steady House Foundation Repair here.

3 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home’s Foundation

Texas homes are well-known for their foundation troubles. Every home has a few hairline cracks in the concrete, and soaker hoses running around the edge of a home, even where there aren’t any plants, are a common sight.  Let’s talk about 3 ways water can damage your home’s foundation.

3 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home's Foundation

 

A lot of it has to do with the weather. The are’s multi-year drought, intermixed with heavy torrential rain, is putting stress on everyone’s concrete foundation. Water can cause a lot of damage that’s hard to spot. Here are three ways it might be hurting your foundation behind the scenes:

1. Poor drainage makes water sit against your house.

If your home is at the bottom of an incline, that’s bad news for your foundation. When water pools against the side of your house, eventually it will find its way into the basement. It will also wear any the dirt and slip under the concrete slab. That replaces the semi-stable dirt support around your foundation with flowing water and mud.

2. Droughts change the consistency of the soil around the slab.

Not all of the soil on your property has the same composition. Some of it can be rocky and have easy drainage. Some of your soil might be more like clay. When the soil is frequently, consistently watered, those different types of soil offer relatively equal amounts of foundation support. But when it’s been months since the last good downpour, some dirt will dry out and contract more than the rest. Instead of equally distributing its weight on the soil, then, some parts face more stress and are more likely to crack.

3. Without good gutters, rain will fall against your slab’s seams.

Gutters don’t just redirect water away from your front door. They also make sure water doesn’t free fall from your roof against the concrete. Without them, the pressure would wear down the concrete. It can push the soil around the sides of your foundation away and push more water under the slab. If water falls in front of your garage, it will also work its way between your house and driveway slabs of concrete.

Fix poor drainage and water problems before you have to fix your home’s foundation. Contact us at Steady House Foundation Repair to get started.