🐊 3 Ways your Soil is Causing Foundation Problems | Expansive Soil

The key to solving your cracked foundation problem is to figure out what's causing it. Your soil has a lot more to do with it than you think! This video discusses what foundation settling is, and why you shouldn't ignore signs of settling.


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Soil characteristics have a major effect on your home’s foundation. There are different ingredients in soil like sand, silt, loam and clay. All of these ingredients determine how your soil behaves when it’s wet and when it dries. We’re going to learn the three common ways your soil is causing foundation problems. Before we get to our list though, it’s important to first understand what foundation settlement is.

Foundation settlement is the movement your home experiences when the soil below can no longer support its weight, and you end up with a sinking house. This can lead to foundation failure. Your home sits on many different layers of soil. Each layer has a different soil type and moisture content. How loose the soil is in each layer also varies. The exact properties of each layer change depending on location and how the soil got there. Typically, the deeper layers are stronger and more compact. The top layer of soil is the loosest. The soil layers in some parts of South Jersey, where we are, are an exception, but we’ll have another video on that later, so subscribe and hit the bell notification, especially if you live in New Jersey. Deep below all of these layers is bedrock, or load-bearing soil. This is important to know when examining the causes of settlement in your foundation and how to fix it permanently. Again, If you live in South Jersey, it’s a little bit different. The soil you should be most concerned about is the active zone which is the area immediately around and under your house. This area can be anywhere between a few feet deep to over thirty feet deep depending on your location.

Soil Problem #1: When Soil Dries

Clay soil shrinks when it dries. When the soil around your house shrinks, it leaves an empty space that your house will settle into. Did you know that trees can contribute to this? A tree’s root system is often two times the size of its canopy. If a tree’s branches extend over your home, its roots are likely to extend under your home. These roots suck moisture from the soil, and when the soil dries out, more settlement occurs.

Soil Problem #2: When Soil Gets Wet When clay soil gets wet, it gets very soft. This makes it weak, and the home will sink into it. Essentially it’s the same thing that happens when your shoes sink into the mud- your home’s footing is no different. It also increases in volume, which makes it expansive soil, and it pushes in on your foundation walls. Did you know? Sand experiences very little effects from moisture. Water usually passes through sand quickly, and sand has a consistent volume wet or dry. What kind of soil do you have? Tell us in the comments!

Soil Problem #3: Compression of Poorly Compacted Fill Soil When developing neighborhoods contractors often take soil from hilltops and place it in valleys to create a flat surface. If this soil is not compacted well, it will compress under your home’s weight, causing foundation settlement.

Do you think one of these problems applies to you? If you live in southern New Jersey, you probably have seen at least one of these situations If so, you’re house has experienced foundation settling. “But what’s the big deal if my house is done settling?” You may ask. It may have moved once, but it won’t move anymore right? The fact is that the constant cycle of wet and dry periods never stops, so your foundation problem will continue to get worse every year, until it becomes much more expensive and intrusive to fix. Luckily, there are foundation repair methods available that can permanently halt foundation settlement, and here at Dry Guys Basement Systems, we have the best foundation specialists in the area. Check out the links to our foundation repair videos in the description, and subscribe and hit the bell notification so that you can stay on top of new videos with useful information that will help you protect your home.

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