The success of a home literally rests on the foundation. When foundations shift and crack, instability in the rest of the structure inevitably follows. Some settling over time is natural. After all, gravity affects the best of us. If you visit a historic building, you’ll see the telltale signs of foundation settling, including things like minor cracks in the walls and tilted floors.
Still, these buildings have lasted 100+ years, showing that a strong foundation can carry on through the decades despite gradual shifts. To contrast, foundation failure can mean doors and windows that will no longer open or close, plumbing that no longer functions appropriately, and dangerous structural problems.
But what makes the difference between a foundation that settles a bit and one that fails?
We build our homes to protect us from the weather, but foundations need protection as well. Improper drainage causes the soil underneath the foundation to swell with water, causing damage to the foundation that stands on top. Add to this mixture seasonal freeze/thaw cycles that cause even more movement, and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.
If your home is situated in a low spot or otherwise prone to standing water or flooding, taking care to shift water away from your foundation is critical. Properly installed gutters and downspouts will help, as well as creative landscaping designed with stormwater management in mind. Rain gardens and trenches are an option, as are french drains and flower beds with appropriate outlets to encourage water to move away from the home.
Water isn’t the only natural cause of foundation failure. Earthquakes are a major source of consternation as well. Modern homes built in earthquake-prone areas are designed to handle shakes. Older buildings constructed in areas where earthquakes have historically been rare may not be, as some homeowners in Oklahoma and northern Texas discovered when a rash of earthquakes hit in 2014-2016.
While tornadoes and other storms are more likely to cause damage to roofs and walls, it’s not unusual for them to accelerate damage that has already begun. And invasive tree roots can get into foundations, creating and widening cracks as well as damaging plumbing that can in turn leak and begin to cause a drainage problem.
Poorly Laid Foundations
Unfortunately, some foundation problems are caused not by inevitable forces of nature by by human errors. Soil that was not compacted correctly, cement that was too wet or too dry or was allowed to cure too quickly, slabs that were laid off the level or with air holes in them, all of these represent avoidable mistakes that can be costly to repair.
For this reason, it’s critical that your foundation is laid and repaired by people you trust to do the job with integrity.
Are you concerned about your foundation?
If you’re looking for an inspection to ease your mind, increased drainage to protect what you have, or repairs to damage already done, Edens Structural Solutions is a reliable source for foundation services at every stage of the game.
We’re ready to stand by our work and offer a guarantee on our foundation repair. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation consultation on how Edens Structural Solutions can help keep your home standing tall.