Your home is probably your biggest investment, so you need to take good care of it and it will serve you for decades to come. Maintaining your home’s health begins with the foundation. After all, the entire structure sits on the foundation, and if something happens to it, your home’s structural stability could be compromised.
Unfortunately, there are so many things that could go wrong with your foundation. Foundation defects can occur even when you least expect them, and they need to be addressed right away. These problems won’t go away on their own. The longer you postpone the repairs, the bigger the damage becomes.
Sometimes foundation issues are caused by improper construction and sometimes by forces of nature. Whatever the case, these problems warrant your immediate attention. In this post, we will take a look at the most common foundation defects that homes in St. Louis, MO are most likely to face.
The Most Common Causes of House Foundation Defects
If you don’t know what to look for, foundation defects can be tricky to spot. Therefore, it is best to learn about telltale signs of foundation damage on time, since detecting the problem early on can save you a lot of trouble, not to mention money.
Foundation damage can be expensive to fix in later stages and can even lead to structural instability. In other words, if you don’t fix your foundation on time, your entire home could collapse. Bowing foundation walls, cracks in the walls, jamming windows and doors, and tilting, leaning chimneys are just some of the signs that something is wrong with your foundation.
So, what exactly causes foundation defects? Two things can lead to these defects: improper construction and damage. If a foundation was improperly constructed it means that low-quality materials were used or planning errors were made. For example, if an architect doesn’t take into consideration the weight of the property or the type of the soil when calculating foundation proportion, foundation defects can occur.
Damage can be caused in many ways. Soil saturation can lead to damage, as can excess hydrostatic pressure. If a home was built on unstable soil, soil particles can shrink during draughts, causing gaps in the ground that lead to foundation issues. Frost heave and flooding also cause foundation defects. Natural disasters such as earthquakes can significantly damage the foundation and cause problems with your home’s structural stability.
The weather in St. Louis, MO gets cold during the winter, while temperatures can get very hot in the summer. Due to these changes, the soil expands and shrinks several times a year. Although homes are built with this shifting in mind, structures that do not have proper waterproofing measures or drainage in place can suffer from foundation defects. When the soil underneath your home moves dramatically, it leaves gaps in the ground and therefore no longer supports your home.
When the water table rises, it causes hydrostatic pressure around your home’s foundation. Without waterproofing measures, this force will damage basement walls and cause them to crack and bow.
3 Common Foundation Defects
The most common foundation defects are settlement, sinking, and heaving. Each problem is a result of unique circumstances and requires a unique solution. Let’s take a closer look at them.
As mentioned, when soil dehydrates due to drought, its particles shrink and cause gaps in the ground. When gaps open underneath your foundation, it will settle into them since it is no longer supported by the soil. While having a cracked foundation is bad on its own, just imagine what will happen when the rain falls and water starts flowing in through these cracks. This is why foundation settlement should never be taken lightly and why it is important to repair this problem as soon as you notice it.
Whether your home was built on unstable soil or the soil around your home often becomes oversaturated due to the lack of a drainage system or a negative grading, your home can begin to sink. This happens because the soil is no longer able to provide the required support. Structures rarely sink evenly, so in most cases, one part of the building sinks faster than the other. This can put a strain on the structure and even make it collapse.
If you have a lighter home or your foundation is very thin, you could have a problem with heaving. Foundation heave happens mostly in the winter when sudden drops in temperature cause the soil under the structure to heave upward. Of course, this can happen under every house. However, lighter structures and those with thinner foundations suffer the most. In those homes, the floor of a property starts to heave or bulge upward. Heaving results in large cracks that can let water into your home.
Although there are many things homeowners can fix around their homes, foundation defects require a professional approach. Not repairing the damage properly can result in even bigger problems, which is why it is better to step aside and let experts take care of things. If you have noticed some of the signs of foundation damage, you have foundation defects in your property or you just want to check if everything is under control with your foundation, contact professional contractors at Foundation Recovery Systems and schedule a free inspection and quote. Our trustworthy expert will inspect your foundation, determine where the problem is, and recommend suitable solutions.