One of the more serious foundation problems that could affect your home is sinking or movement.
Foundation sinking indicates some kind of problem with the ground your house is built on or even with the foundation or slab itself.
There are three main reasons why a foundation will move: soil composition and site preparation; amount of water in the soil; and the construction of the foundation.
Your contractor must determine why yours is sinking or moving and take care of this problem first before making any foundation sinking repairs.
Soil Composition and Preparation
A common cause of foundation sinking is changes to the soil beneath the concrete slab supporting it.
Soils of different makeup will compact and expand differently depending on how moist or dry it is.
Certain soil types like sandy or mineral-rich soil or soil over what was once swampy land can compress considerably over time once there is a heavy weight sitting on it.
Taking this into consideration, an analysis of the soil must be done to determine its makeup and how it should be prepared for the slab and foundation before any building is constructed.
The area must be properly compacted and prepared for the slab to minimize foundation problems.
When the site is not prepared correctly for the soil type, excessive settling and sinking may occur.
Amount of Water in the Soil
A second common cause of problems that require foundation sinking repairs is water in the soil.
Different soils can hold more or less water based on their makeup.
Some will compact as they dry out, then expand when water is reintroduced.
This movement is normal to a certain extent.
When there is more extreme compaction or expansion in the soil due to the amount of water present, foundation problems can arise.
The most common causes for soil to be saturated to the point that a slab will either sink or experience upheaval are poor drainage around the foundation, broken underground water pipes, and swampy ground that holds water.
Conversely, the drier these soils become in extreme conditions, the more they can compact, causing the slab to drop.
Any of this movement can be enough to cause damage and require foundation sinking repairs.
The construction method used to build the foundation can also predispose it to foundation sinking problems.
Currently, most foundations are made of either poured concrete or other materials like brick, block, and stone.
All except the poured foundation are mortar joint structures where each block or brick is held together with mortar.
Although it is very strong, mortar is still a weak point holding the entire structure together.
Over time, mortar joint structures can crack from the external pressure of the soil and start bowing or sinking as a result.
A Last Look At Sinking Foundations
Foundation sinking is a sure sign that there is a serious problem under the supporting concrete slab or with the foundation itself.
If you see cracks, signs of sinking, or other foundation problems, contact a foundation expert as soon as possible.
They will analyze the situation to determine the cause, then do the most appropriate foundation sinking repairs to lift and stabilize the foundation and prevent further damage!