The foundation of your house is its main support structure and the critical component that holds up everything else.
Foundation problems can cause serious issues, from the shifting of walls to moisture and mold problems.
In spite of the many ways that foundation issues can make themselves known, there are only two main causes: settling and ground upheaval.
After some time, either of these problems could leave your home in need of foundation repair solutions to prevent more damage from occurring.
Foundation Problems Caused By Settling
When a house is built, the foundation is typically set on a concrete slab that serves as a structural base for the foundation.
Before the slab is poured, the ground beneath it is compacted and leveled to provide a secure surface for the slab and prevent foundation problems.
The slab, foundation, and house are designed to accommodate for the slight settling of the soil as time goes on.
This minor settling may be responsible for the small surface cracks you may eventually see in your foundation, walls, and ceilings; however, it rarely progresses to the point of actual foundation issues.
Depending on the consistency of the soil and how well the ground was prepared before the slab was poured, it may settle more than the minor amount expected with most homes.
Extreme settling due to soil compaction, erosion from water in the ground, and other reasons can cause structural damage that requires foundation repair solutions.
Extreme settling can cause deep cracks in the foundation, walls, and elsewhere, threatening the structural integrity of the entire house.
Foundation Issues Caused by Ground Upheaval
Conversely, when soil expands more than the minor amount expected in normal settling and expansion, similar serious foundation problems can arise.
Homes affected by ground upheaval can be just as seriously damaged if the slab is pushed upward and the foundation, walls, and other structures shift and become cracked.
Whether it originates from an underground source, heavy rains, plumbing leaks, or somewhere else, water in the ground can cause the soil to expand under the slab and push everything upward.
This is especially significant in winter when the weather drops below freezing.
If the water in the ground freezes, it can expand by as much as 9%, pushing the slab upward considerably.
A shift of multiple inches due to expansion can cause serious problems with the foundation and the rest of the house.
Summing Up Foundation Problems
Although foundation problems are typically a result of either extreme ground settling or upheaval, the amount of damage your house could sustain can be significant.
In either case, if you see signs of foundation issues like cracks in the interior of your home, moisture problems in the basement, and doors or windows that no longer work properly, contact a foundation repair solutions specialist right away.
The sooner you have the problem diagnosed and repaired, the less damage your home will suffer!