Foundation problems are often the price to pay for having a beautiful house on the hill. Shifting soils and excess moisture are often the cause of foundation problems. The problem could be more acute if you live in an area that experiences earth tremors. Building on sloped ground requires good design and a strong build for the foundation. But even quality buildings are susceptible to the vagaries of nature, like very large soil movements. Concrete foundation services can help fix these problems and extend your home's lifespan. What are some common problems you can expect, and how are they fixed?
1. Slope Erosion
Soil on hilly ground is susceptible to erosion when it rains. Fast flowing water carries with it loose topsoil, rocks, and vegetation debris. Soil erosion is self-perpetuating because the soil left exposed is also carried away in the next rainy season.
Soil erosion carries away the soil around foundation structures, leaving them exposed to the sun. Expansion and contraction cycles cause cracks in the foundation and weakening. Soil erosion uphill can also pile up the soil on the foundation downhill. The additional weight causes compressive stress on the foundation and subsequent damage.
Concrete foundation services will repair the foundation but also take steps to avoid further soil erosion. They erect retaining walls to prevent soil erosion around the foundation and stabilize the ground uphill to prevent soil rolling towards the house.
2. Expansive Soils
Some types of soil expand and contract significantly depending on water saturation and dehydration. Expansive soils become problematic for house foundations because they pile pressure on the foundation and cause it to crack. Sometimes the soil's weight becomes too heavy and it slides downhill in a landslide. This is often catastrophic; only a very strong foundation can withstand such soil movement.
Concrete foundation services can reduce a foundation's vulnerability to such forces by installing piles and anchors. These structures reinforce the foundation by holding it in place while stabilizing the soil around the structures.
3. Settling Foundation
A foundation will sink when the soil beneath it sinks because of compressive forces from the house's weight. A sinking foundation causes cracks in the floor, sagging doors, windows, and chimneys. Significant settling causes cracks in the wall. In the worst-case scenario, the house will sink to one side and become uninhabitable.
Concrete foundation services can stabilize a sinking foundation using load-bearing piers that go under the foundation. They can also do mud jacking, which involves filling the void left by sinking soils with concrete.
Are you worried your foundation has developed weaknesses? Talk to concrete foundation services to arrange for an inspection for damage.