A settling home doesn’t just make strange noises in the middle of the night. If you don’t take the necessary steps to protect your home from unnecessary settling, you may rapidly find yourself dealing with foundation sinkage and its side effects.
What Is Foundation Settling?
Rain and excessive hydrostatic pressure can both influence the forces that cause your foundation to sink, but they’re not always the sole causes behind foundation settling. That honor goes to the soil beneath your home. As the weather changes in the Springfield, MO, area, the soil beneath your home expands and contracts. Combine those natural responses to local weather patterns with the critters and roots living beneath your home, and you’ll notice the soil starting to shift.
If your soil shifts too much, it can leave behind vacuums that your foundation, thanks to gravity, will automatically fill. When those natural forces start to work with hydrostatic pressure, you can begin to see rapid foundation sinkage and additional damage.
To make matters worse, your foundation will suffer if you don’t actively protect it from sinkage. The same hydrostatic pressure and soil shifting that causes your foundation to sink can also cause foundation cracks and leaks. With that in mind, it’s important – whether your home is new or old – to reach out to the professionals in your area for a basement and foundation inspection.
Signs of Foundation Settling
Foundation sinkage isn’t all that subtle. If you can’t identify the symptoms of foundation settling, you should notice when an inch or two of your home seems to disappear.
If you want to spot a sinking home prior to that point, however, there are some clear signs you can look out for. The most common include:
- Bowing walls
- Shifting floors
- Gaps near the joints of your foundation
- Sticking doors
- Foggy windows
- Water damage that’s impacted your belongings, carpet or furniture
If you don’t catch these signs inside your home, you can always head outdoors. The longer you leave a settling foundation unattended, the more obvious its symptoms will become. The most common external damage that results from foundation settling includes:
- Vertical wall cracks
- Broken chimneys
- Horizontal foundation cracks
- Disrupted landscaping
It’s worth noting that many of these symptoms are also a sign of additional foundation damage. You’ll want to call in one of the professional foundation and basement repair professionals working in your area to tell the difference between a crack and settling. Luckily, contractors will be able to provide you with a quote on potential services at the end of your inspection. As such, you’ll be able to plan for the future with potential solutions and a budget in mind.
How To Prevent Foundation Settling
What can you do if you want to get ahead of potential settling? There are several steps you can take to secure your home against hydrostatic pressure and shifting soil. Some of the most common solutions include:
- Dampen your lawn – Surprisingly enough, watering your lawn won’t contribute to the amount of hydrostatic pressure your home endures. In fact, it’ll do just the opposite. When you let your lawn dry out, the soil particles beneath your home start to shrink. As a result, those particles aren’t able to gather up as much water as they normally would. When it rains, shrunken soil particles will let water run straight toward your home. Compare that hydrostatic build-up to the lesser build-up that a watered lawn generates, and you’ll find that there are more benefits to yard watering than greener grass.
- Keep an eye on your landscaping – As mentioned, the plants around your home can cause the soil near your foundation to shift. Certain trees and shrubs have more invasive root systems than others. Those invasive roots won’t physically damage your home, but they will make the ground surrounding it less stable. When you keep these plants at least twenty feet away from your perimeter, you can still enjoy their beauty without compromising your foundation’s structural integrity.
- Clean your gutters – Your gutters and downspouts direct water away from your home and out toward the rest of your yard. If you want to keep water away from your perimeter, you’ll need to regularly clean out your gutters. If you don’t, rainwater will run straight down the side of your home and almost immediately come into contact with your foundation.
- Waterproofing your foundation – Whether you’re a new homeowner or old hat, you have a plethora of waterproofing measures at your disposal. Talk with one of the contractors working in your area and you’ll be able to create a hydrophobic barrier between your home and the great outdoors.
Want to take the necessary steps to protect your home? The contractors working out of the Springfield, MO, area can walk you through the steps you need to take to keep your home from sinking.