Soil. We all know how much the right soil matters to our plants and lawn. We know dirt can make a mess when it’s tracked into our houses. But how often do we think about the soil’s effect on a home’s foundation? How often do we consider how the clay soil and temperature swings so common in places like Oklahoma can impact our home?
Perhaps not as often as is ideal. After all, the clay soil around your Oklahoma home affects the stability and structural integrity of its foundation. So it pays to understand how Oklahoma’s soil impacts a home, why it expands and contracts so much, and how you can protect your home’s foundation for years to come.
So, why does Oklahoma’s soil and temperature changes have such an impact on the integrity of a home’s foundation?
Temperature Swings Can Be Severe
It’s a common saying in our state: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait. It’ll change.” In Oklahoma, the sudden changes in temperature can be striking. In 2011, for example, the town of Nowata, OK, experienced a record low of -31 degrees. Just a week later, Nowata jumped to a record high of 79 degrees.
And while temperature swings that drastic don’t happen every day, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to differ 20 degrees or more in the course of a few days. And this is tough on a home’s foundation.
Why Temperature Swings Cause Foundation Problems
Temperature swings can result in:
– Irregular soil freezing
– Expanding and contracting clay soil
– Frost heaving — which is when frozen water pushes up through surfaces like concrete, causing cracks
– The growth and worsening of existing cracks in your foundation
Clay Soil Is a Challenge to a Home
We may not think about it much until it’s stuck on our shoes and needs to be scraped off, but there are many types of soil, depending on where we live. In Oklahoma, the most common soil composition is clay. And clay soil can play havoc with a home’s foundation.
Yes, clay soil can certainly be pretty. It’s what lends that reddish tint to our area’s red dirt. But clay soil is also greatly impacted by moisture. In wet weather, it draws in moisture and then expands. Then, when the weather grows hot and dry, the water evaporates. The clay soil becomes hard and dry, drawing in on itself and contracting.
Why Clay Soil Impacts a Home’s Foundation
The repeated expansion and contraction due to wet and dry periods of weather can weaken the clay soil around a home. And it can significantly shift the position of your home’s foundation, leading to:
– Cracks in walls and ceilings
– Breaks in flooring and driveways
– Floor humps that make it hard to open and close doors
– Severe cracks in patios, walkways, and swimming pools
– “Slope creep” — a process in which the clay soil shrinks away from its original setting, causing structures such as fences to pitch downwards
– Problems with the home’s ability to properly bear the load of walls, making it structurally unsound
How to Recognize Foundation Problems
Smart Oklahoma homeowners don’t leave the condition of their home foundation to chance. They keep an eye on every part of their house and look for giveaway signs that suggest their foundation may be in need of attention.
Not sure what to look for? Here’s a list of common symptoms of foundation issues:
– A sagging or uneven roof
– Doors or windows that are hard to open and close
– Gaps between doors and their frames (or windows and their frames)
– A garage door that seems off-kilter or that has gaps between it and the pavement
– Visible cracks in walls, ceilings, and stairways, especially on a home’s second floor
– Breaks and cracks in flooring
– Large cracks and gaps in the soil immediately around your home’s exterior
How to Protect Your Oklahoma Home’s Foundation
The best way to catch any problems due to clay soil and temperature swings, and ensure your home’s foundation remains in good shape, is to regularly inspect the foundation. Remember:
Foundation issues often happen gradually, so it is best to do regular inspections.
If you see noticeable symptoms such as the ones mentioned above, contact a trusted foundation repair company to have an inspection.
Any serious issues with the foundation should be repaired promptly.
Delaying repairs only makes the foundation damage worsen—and if left unchecked, it could eventually render a home structurally unsound.
We’re Here to Help with Your Foundation Needs
When your foundation is in need of inspection or repair, call on Oklahoma experts who offer superior service and attention to details that keep your home in excellent shape for years to come. Edens Structural Solution has years of experience helping Oklahoma homeowners protect their foundations. Contact us today at 918-366-3001 to set up an appointment for a free consultation and estimate.