Exterior, Home Improvement

Causes Of Foundation Damage And Ways To Repair It

destroyed-buildingIt’s actually heartbreaking, when you first notice – a thin crack appearing on the beam of your home! But soon after, when ‘thin’ becomes ‘thick’-alarm bells start ringing in almost, every house-owners head! Worries, about whether the crack will increase in size, damage the foundation of their home and how much it will cost to repair it- crop up! If like many others, you are wondering: “What went wrong with the foundation of your house and how you can remedy it?” It’s time you went through this post!

Causes of Foundation Damage and Ways to Repair It


How to Repair Foundation Damage -Caused by Changes of Water Level in Soil

Dwight Barnett -a certified master inspector with the ‘American Society of Home Inspectors,’ states in the Daily Herald, how- “Drastic changes to the amount of water in the soil will alter the soil’s characteristics. In areas with heavy rains and flooding, the soil becomes unstable and unable to bear the weight of the structure.” He further states, that the demand for foundation repair, is higher- ‘in areas suffering from droughts – where smectite clay soils shrink, leaving voids under the supporting foundation, which could then cause major structural damage.’

In ‘drought situations,’ he suggests, ‘watering the foundation to prevent damage’ and ‘using a well to maintain the soil with a foundation watering system,’ as- repair measures. While cautioning, that solutions like – installing “a series of steel piers or helical piers, to support the foundation…” are expensive; he also notes that despite their high cost, these are effective. The reason being, that they support the foundation, independent of the soil.

Ways to Repair Foundation Damage -Caused by Tree Roots

If tree roots are cracking your foundation, driveway and walkway- you are probably wondering, whether cutting down the tree, is the way to repair the situation? This really depends on factors like: The health of the tree; the distance from the roots to the foundation of the house and the driveway; the type of foundation; the slope of the ground; the soil type; and the type of driveway – concrete or asphalt – all play a role in whether or not the tree should need to be removed,Angieslist.com informs.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) hints, that ‘prevention is better than cure,’ when suggesting foundation repair measures, for damage caused by tree roots. “With clay soils and temperate climatic conditions, trees are the biggest cause of soil drying and subsidence, resulting in foundation movement and damage. Understanding how trees dry the soil, and how this drying can be controlled, is essential for decisions on methods of preventing or remedying this damage,” it states, in an ASCE book.

When Foundation Damage is caused by- Bad Drainage and Repair is Necessary

“Foundation problems can be caused by too much moisture as well as too little. Standing water around your home, large amounts of water dumped by gutter downspouts or a negative slope of the area around your home can cause saturated soil,” informs ‘Stratum Foundation Repair.’ In such a scenario, ‘install drains and retain walls, and gutters, to alleviate drainage problems,’ it suggests.

“Homes with a crawlspace foundation should be inspected twice a year for flooding or water entry or for decay. In most areas of the U.S., termite infestation also can be a major problem,” cautions, Dwight Barnett in BuffaloNews.com. According to him, improper landscaping- is also a culprit responsible for drainage woes. To repair foundation damage caused by it, he suggests: “… a heavy clay soil for the first layer of landscaping, compacted and sloped to drain away from the home…a layer of topsoil for the plants and a bed of mulch for weed control … If you have a patio, walk or driveway made of concrete or pavers, make sure they are sloped to drain properly.”

How to Repair Foundation Damage-Caused by an Adjacent Construction

While most people do not realize it initially, noise is not the only irritant you need to worry about, when construction work-begins in the vacant plot next to your house. ‘Structural damage to your foundation,’ and how you can prevent, rather than repair it – is what you need to worry about, states Raanan Geberer, on Cooperator.com. “The biggest complaint we get is damage to adjacent properties,” says Aaron Brashear – co-founder of the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights, tells Geberer. “If they have to do excavation of some sort, obviously for their foundation, the developer more than likely will be going below your foundation …” he informs.

Featured images:

This article was written by Michael P. Edwards, an experienced construction and foundation repair consultant and a specialist writer on the subject.