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Groundbreaking Signs of Foundation Failure

Friday, January 28th, 2022 by Molly Garbrick


Groundbreaking Signs of Foundation Failure - Image 1

Breaking ground for a home seems like an easy process. Test the soil, dig out a few feet of virgin soil, build a foundation, and backfill dirt back to support the new foundation. However, this process can have long-lasting effects on newly built homes. 

When virgin soil is dug and moved to the side, clay and loose topsoil mix and no longer their own layer. As a result, the backfill is a new porous dirt mixture around the perimeter of the home. This produces the Clay Bowl effect. Water from melted snow and rainy seasons is absorbed into expanding clay and topsoil mix that presses heavily on the new foundation causing what’s called hydrostatic pressure. After some time, the expanding and contracting soil becomes too heavy for the foundation to handle.

Some of the signs of foundation stress include:

 

  1. Interior wall cracks: Cracks in the drywall that start on corners of window and door frames. These cracks grow over time if a foundation issue is not addressed. 
  2. Sticking doors and windows: When foundation shifts and causes a home to be unlevel, fixed structures such as doors and windows have uneven frames. Uneven frames can trap doors and windows or cause them to open or close faster than normal. 
  3. Uneven or sloping floors: Noticeable gaps between floors and wall trim show that wet and soft soil is affecting the foundation walls as well as piers holding floors.
  4. Unlevel sidewalk slabs: The sidewalk around your home is a subtle sign that the backfill soil is becoming uneven from varying moisture levels. 
  5. Leaning chimney: A chimney is built into the foundation and feels the same effects of hydrostatic pressure. When the ground becomes wet, it is too soft to hold up the weight of the chimney. 
  6. Bowing foundation: As hydrostatic pressure changes over time, the foundation can become so weak it bows inwards. 

Foundation failure can be shown in multiple ways. Sometimes multiple signs show at the same time. Luckily, DryZone trains experts in foundation repair. Schedule a free inspection to see which method of foundation repair works best for you and your home!