Ways in Which Soil Issues Can Affect Your Home Foundation

expansive soil

Is the structure of your home entirely secure? While all homeowners would like to answer this question with a definitive affirmation, the reality is that there are a number of factors that could be affecting your home’s stability. One of the most insidious and instrumental ways in which the foundation of a home can become damaged is the very land it sits upon. Soil, and the issues caused by weather fluctuation, plays a monumental role in determining the stability of your structure. Read on to discover everything you need to know about how soil can affect your home’s foundation, signs of subsequent damage, and tips for stopping and resolving this potentially monumental foundation stability issue. 

Related: How the California Drought Affects Your Foundation

How does soil affect a home’s stability?

You may not realize what a significant role soil plays in determining your home’s stability. The amount of moisture in the soil drastically affects the stability of the home, since soil expands during periods of heavy rainfall and contracts during droughts. What does that mean when the hot, dry season rolls around? Spurred by weather fluctuations, shifting soil can cause instabilities in the base of your home. Contracting soil can wreak havoc on the building’s foundation, causing the foundation of the home to destabilize. 

In turn, this can cause the foundation to crack, sink, and even slide, completely upsetting the structure of the home.

What is expansive soil?

Though the weather in Southern California might appear ideal, it can unfortunately be leading to issues with your soil and structural stability. While hot weather can cause the soil underneath your home to contract, expansive soil provides another threat to structural stability. Minerals in the soil increase in volume when they absorb excess water. This situation can exert enough force to cause damage to the building’s structure. While the damage caused by expansive soil will usually begin in the foundation, floors, and ground level of the structure, the damage can reach the upper floors if it becomes significant. And once the expansive soil dries, the building then becomes susceptible to issues caused by contracting soil. Because soil damage occurs over time, and is not typically tied to a major event, it can be difficult to spot. Fortunately there are signs of foundation damage caused by soil issues that the homeowner can be on the lookout for. 


Related: How Expansive Soils Can Affect Your Hillside Home 

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What are foundation instability warning signs?

Many homeowner insurance policies do not cover damage caused by expansive soil and soil-related issues. This makes it extremely important to spot signs of soil damage on your own. Foundation damage warning signs include cracks of both the exterior and interior variety, particularly those that are excessively wide, large, horizontal, or clustered closely with other cracks. Warped floors, walls, and an overall slant to the building’s appearance are also indicators of damage.

Other signs include water damage, uneven walls and floors, crumbling bricks, and sagging chimneys. Another sign of foundation damage is ill-fitting windows and doors that have difficulty opening. While a professional contractor will be needed to spot warning signs that are invisible to the untrained eye, these signs are all visibly apparent to the vigilant homeowner. Therefore it’s important to be on the lookout for these telltale signs. 

What are the solutions for expansive soil? 

Once warning signs for foundation damage have been spotted, it’s essential to stabilize the home in order to prevent collapse. Foundation repair services can reverse the damage caused by weakened foundation in order to restore the health of the structure. It’s crucial to ensure that your home is up to date on all building code ordinances in order to preserve the health of the structure. Foundation repair services work to install steel or cement piers around the house’s perimeter and existing piers in order to provide reinforcement. Depending on the situation at hand, hydraulic jack lifts are typically used to level the house and securely transfer its weight onto the new support. This will re-level the house and prevent it from collapsing, slanting, sliding, or sinking. In addition to jack and lift services, supported underpinning and sister foundation repair services can also be used to secure the structure.

Related: When Should You Get a Foundation Repair? 

Can I minimize expansive soil?

Homeowners are able to minimize the damage of expansive soils through taking precautions to manage the soil’s moisture content. That means that is possible to safely construct a building on expansive soils as long as the building can be properly insulated from any soil volume change or if the moisture content in the soil can be maintained. Teaming up with a professional contractor can help you discover which moisture mitigation solution will work best for your property. These solutions include foundation watering systems, gutters and downspouts, timed sprinkler systems, landscaping changes, drainage system installation, and more. 

foundation repair woodland hills

Overall, a professional will be able to give you the best idea of how to improve your unique situation in order to best protect your property.

Why should soil problems be addressed quickly? 

If you have noticed signs of foundation damage, it’s important to contact a professional contractor as soon as possible. Delaying necessary foundation repairs could lead to a much costlier and more extensive foundation replacement process. The longer foundation problems go unaddressed, the greater the stability of the home is jeopardized. This threatens not only the lives of all building occupants but provides a risk of drastically lowering the home’s property value. Be sure to pay careful attention to foundation damage warning signs in your home and act as soon as possible if you notice signs of damage. Preventative action is always the most cost-effective way to fortify your property while saving money. If you notice any signs of foundation damage, be sure to request a professional inspection as soon as possible. 

Related: Reasons Los Angeles Homes Need Foundation Inspections

Are you concerned about the structural stability of your home? Have you noticed signs of foundation damage that might be linked to issues with your soil? Don’t wait for the problems to get worse. Call California Foundation Works today in order to give your property a professional evaluation! Our team of expert contractors will provide a free home inspection so that we can assess your situation and get started on discussing the best solution for fortifying your property. What are you waiting for?

Call today to get started on creating a more secure home!