Most home in Texas have slab foundations, while some have pier and beam foundations. Each type of foundation comes with potential house shifting caused by design, but shift happens in Texas for a variety of other reasons.
In Texas, the frost depth is rather shallow, so the home builder simply and cost-efficiently pours concrete on the ground in a big pad with rebar reinforcements. While this type of foundation is great for protecting your home from termites, it’s not so great for the drainage pipes in the concrete when the foundation starts settling.
Pier & Beam Foundations
The oldest type of foundation, pier and beam foundations look just like they sound: the house sits on girder beams held-up by piers, which leaves a little over a foot of crawl space under the house. This type of foundation shifts when there’s not enough ventilation, or insulation for water pipes, or when critters get under there and start making their own little homes.
Texas Soil & Climate
The climate in Texas gets hot and cold, sometimes very hot and very cold. Texas soil is clay soil, and clay reacts to the heat as much as it reacts to the cold climate. When it’s cold, clay expands, putting pressure on your foundation, whether slab or pier and beam. When it’s hot outside, clay shrinks, and your foundation goes with it.
This back and forth shrinking and expanding often makes your foundation and house shift.
Shift Happens Everywhere
Aside from shift in Texas, drainage systems that are not designed or constructed well can lead to shift no matter where a house sits. Moisture is a big issue when it comes to foundations and everything supporting the structure, including shims and joists. Plus, there can be issues far beyond the damage point when there’s a plumbing leak, which can also lead to moisture, and you guessed it: shift.
Tree roots can also cause issues for pipes and structural components, as well as soil that wasn’t properly compacted during the home building process.