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What Causes Foundation Problems?

Foundation problems are some of the most upsetting issues your home can experience. What should you know about the causes of foundation problems?

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There are many foundation problems out there, and the reasons for them may vary dramatically. If you’re having concerns with your foundation, you need to make sure you know what’s causing them. However, many homeowners don’t know much about foundation concerns and what causes them. If you’re looking to be more effective in your foundation problem fixes, here’s what you should know. 

Foundation Problems to Watch Out For 

There are a number of prominent foundation problems that may manifest in your own foundation for a variety of reasons. These are the biggest problems to look out for in your own foundation so you can tackle them early on. 

  • Cracking 

First off, cracking in your foundation should always be cause for concern. If you’re seeing any cracks in your crawl space or basement foundation, that’s a sign something’s wrong; you can’t just assume the cracks are harmless. From relatively small cracks to giant, gaping cracks, this problem can cause all sorts of concern for you and your home. 

This is because even though foundations that are a single concrete slab are waterproof as long as they stay together, they lose their waterproofing as soon as they have a crack in them. Plus, cracking can indicate that your foundation is under a lot of stress, which isn’t something you want to deal with for long periods of time. 

  • Shifting 

Have you noticed issues with settling and shifting in your foundation? Many homeowners don’t think to look for this specific problem, which can unfortunately be cause for concern. When your foundation starts to shift, that’s a sign of serious concerns in your crawl space. Typically, these concerns usually indicate problems in the soil underneath the basement or crawl space. 

Shifting foundations can look a variety of different ways. If you have multiple slabs of concrete underneath your home, they may drift apart and no longer maintain their evenness. Walls in the rest of the home may also move to accommodate the shifting in the foundation, which can lead to gaps between walls, sticking doors, and other similar problems. 

  • Water 

Possibly the biggest issue that may spring up underneath your home is the problem of water. When you have water problems, you’re going to end up with all sorts of additional problems, including mold and mildew, high levels of crawl space or basement humidity, and much more. These water concerns can cause dramatic problems all throughout your home. 

Cracking in the crawl space or basement is one of the things that can cause serious water concerns 

throughout these areas. If you want to make sure your home doesn’t have those serious water concerns, you need to catch all sorts of problems before they have a chance to cause water concerns. That’s why you might want to talk to a repair expert early on. 

The Most Common Reasons for Foundation Problems 

So why do foundation problems exist? Of course, there is a huge variety of reasons you may experience foundation problems. However, it’s likely that you have a combination of these issues indicating foundation concerns. 

  • Hydrostatic Pressure 

Perhaps the biggest problem facing your foundation is hydrostatic pressure. Quite simply, this is the pressure water applies when it’s at rest. With water weighing more than 62 pounds per cubic foot, the sheer weight of the water around your foundation can cause your foundation to crumble. 

Hydrostatic pressure is a very serious problem that you should pay close attention to. For the most part, it’s not really possible to avoid hydrostatic pressure entirely; your foundation walls should certainly have enough strength to stand up against a certain amount of hydrostatic pressure. However, reducing hydrostatic pressure can have a beneficial impact on your foundation. 

  • Expansive Soils 

Expansive soil expands dramatically if you introduce it to water. Some types of expansive soils can expand more than 15 times their initial volume this way. This can be a big problem if you have expansive soils in and around your home’s foundation. 

Specifically, this is because expansive soils contribute even more to your crawl space or basement’s hydrostatic pressure. When you have expansive soils, you’re going to end up with not only hydrostatic pressure, but also the pressure of dirt pushing up against the foundation walls. That can cause serious concerns all throughout the foundation. 

  • Foundation Drainage Concerns 

It’s common for foundations to have water that comes inside, requiring drainage. For example, if you have flooding issues, you’re going to need a drainage system that can help you avoid crawl space or basement flooding. Plus, in many crawl spaces and basements, foundation waterproofing requires that you accept the fact that water will come inside at some point. 

Foundation drainage, therefore, is an important element of maintaining your foundation. You can’t assume you’ll be able to manage your foundation without a useful drainage system in it. The foundation drainage process is something that you should invest very heavily in if you want to make sure you have a healthy foundation. 

  • Trees and Tree Roots 

If you have big trees on the property, especially close to your foundation, you might not know how much havoc it can wreak on the foundation. These big trees have similarly big roots, which means they’re going to grow toward and through the foundation if need be. Those big roots can have a seriously negative impact on your foundation. 

It’s possible to have big trees on a property and still not have problems with your foundation; you just need to think about where you’ve put the big trees and how you go about maintaining them. If you water them appropriately and maintain them in the right way, you can have these big, beautiful trees and still have a great foundation. 

  • Fill Soil Compression 

Fill soil is what a neighborhood often gets its start with. When a building company creates a new neighborhood, it often utilizes soil from the surrounding areas to level the location. That soil from the surrounding areas is called “fill soil,” and because it’s moved in from surrounding areas, it’s often not as compressed as the rest of the soil underneath. 

This is one of the things you might not really be able to change. If you have problems with fill soil compression, the best change is going to be if you install something to boost your home, which may include push piers, helical piers, and similar solutions. These repair methods shift the weight off the poorly compressed soil and to the bedrock underneath. 

  • Water Leaks 

Whenever you have water leaking through your basement or crawl space, you can be sure you’re going to have some generalized issues. Water is a huge concern for foundations; it can attract mold, mildew, high humidity, and even lasting problems like wood rot and similar concerns. Water leaks need your attention as soon as possible. 

The moment you have a leak in your crawl space, basement, or general foundation, you need to make sure you’re paying close attention to it. Water leaks, whether they come through the home area above the foundation or the open area underneath the foundation, can absolutely destroy your foundation, which makes them important to pay attention to early. 

  • Weather Events 

The weather is another thing that can have a negative impact on your crawl space, basement, or general foundation area. Weather events may range from severe tornadoes to just more rain than usual in a specific season. All of these weather events are important to pay attention to because they indicate you’re experiencing something out of the ordinary. 

Even if that “out of the ordinary” isn’t actually that strange, it’s still important to remember that things out of the ordinary can be a problem. Weather events should be something you keep in mind when you’re trying to understand your foundation. When you think about weather events, make sure you consider how your foundation may be holding up against it. 

  • General Settling 

General settling issues are often very frustrating to deal with, but one of the things they can impact is your crawl space or basement’s health. For example, settling can be a cause of cracks and other similar concerns in concrete. It can also cause your home as a whole to move around above the foundation. 

As a general rule, settling can be normal to an extent. For example, if you have a very small amount of settling in your foundation within the first year, that might be okay. However, especially if your home is very old, this isn’t a normal thing to experience. You should call in a foundation repair expert to learn more.

Foundation Problems


Foundation problems are the problems that most commonly make homeowners worry about their potential impact. However, if you’ve never done any research on foundation problems, you might not know why they’re so much of a concern. 

  • Widespread Issues 

One of the biggest problems with foundation concerns is the fact that you’re never going to have localized foundation concerns. Foundation problems tend to lead to problems over a substantial area. For example, if you’re having problems with your basement walls, it’s unlikely that the problem will be in just one wall and will instead probably be in multiple walls. 

  • An Impact Throughout the Whole Home 

Aside from impacting a substantial amount of an area, it’s also important to note that foundation concerns will often impact more areas than just the localized area. You’re going to have a lot of problems when you have foundation concerns. The entire home will feel the impact, not just the foundation. 

  • Gets Worse Over Time 

Foundation problems almost inevitably get worse over time. Although it’s possible for foundation problems to stabilize for a short period of time, you can be sure they’ll get much worse. If you don’t tackle them early, you’re going to see serious problems in the future.

Foundation maintenance is just as important as handling foundation concerns when they pop up. However, maintenance is something that many homeowners are confused about. Handling foundation concerns through maintenance is a crucial element of making sure your home stays structurally sound. 

  • Yearly Maintenance  

The first thing to consider is yearly maintenance. It’s a good idea to schedule foundation maintenance yearly. This can be as simple as having someone come in every year and inspect the foundation to make sure there are no problems or warning signs of problems. A yearly maintenance appointment can help you make sure you find out about problems early on. 

  • As-Needed Maintenance 

Additionally, you should always be on the lookout for warning signs of foundation problems. That way, if you notice that something’s a little bit off, you can call in an expert and have them take a look at your foundation. Paying close attention to your home’s structural integrity can pay off when you’re able to catch the problem early.

There are many foundation fixes that you might be able to utilize to keep your home structurally stable. However, these foundation fixes may vary depending on what problems you’re experiencing. You might not even have known that some of these could help you with foundation problems. 

  • Push Piers and Helical Piers 

These are methods to lift the actual foundation. You can use them when the home’s foundation is sinking because it doesn’t have enough stability. The piers drill deep into the earth, all the way down to the bedrock, to make sure that the home has a stable place to rest without having to rely on the structural stability of the upper soil levels. 

  • Wall Stabilization 

There are many ways you can stabilize your basement or crawl space walls. Whether that means applying a stabilization product to the inside of the wall or adding a stabilization plate that connects to an anchor 10 or 20 feet away from the wall, you can make sure those walls push back against the bowing problems you might be experiencing. 

  • Polyurethane Foam Injections 

If you’re having issues with concrete sinking, you may want to invest in polyurethane foam injections. These injections can fill holes underneath concrete slabs that come from erosion and general concrete sinking, which can help you lift a sunken or cracked foundation slab.

The process of fixing a foundation is not one you should take on lightly. If you need to fix your foundation, there are a number of things to consider. It’s always a good idea to opt for expert help if you can because foundation fixes can be dangerous. 

  • DIY Fixes 

When you choose a DIY foundation fix, you have to understand that you’re taking the home’s safety into your own hands. It’s not as simple as solving a plumbing or even an electrical problem. Your foundation is the safety of your entire home. You may not be trained enough to handle the safety of your whole home. 

  • Expert Fixes 

Instead of trying to do this on your own, you should turn to the experts. The experts at Foundation Recovery Systems can help you understand what’s going on in your home and give you options to fix it. That makes this the best possible option for solving foundation concerns.

Protect Your Home and Foundation with the Expertise from Foundation Recovery Systems 

Foundation problems can be frustrating, but they’re also not a death sentence for your home. It’s important to know that you can fix many of these foundation problems in your home, especially if you’re willing to tackle the underlying concerns that are causing your foundation problems. 

At the end of the day, contacting the experts at Foundation Recovery Systems should be the first action you take when you’re experiencing potential foundation problems in your home. We’re happy to serve central Missouri, eastern Kansas and Iowa, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Des Moines, Columbia, Moberly, and Springfield. Regardless of the reason, an expert can understand your foundation problems, go through the foundation to find anything you may have missed, and help you construct a unique solution to fix it.

FRS Service Area Map with Des Moines

Our Service Areas

Des Moines Location

2401 SE Creekview Dr.
Ankeny, IA 50021

Kansas City Location

211 SE State Route 150
Lee's Summit, MO 64082
(816) 774-1539

Moberly Location

1401 US-24
Moberly, MO 65270
(660) 202-8662

Springfield Location
1820 N Barnes Ave
Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 612-8286
St. Louis Location

1625 Larkin Williams rd.
Fenton, MO 63026
(314) 207-9995