Most basement and foundation problems are generally caused by key soil conditions. When the soil around and under the home keeps changing, it can literally cause the foundation to shift, crack, or settle. Many causes of foundation issues stem from problems that are directly related to the soil. Here are the top four threats that can cause problems regarding the basement and foundation of your home.
1. Seasonal Conditions
In several areas of the country, weather conditions change with each passing season. Dry seasons that alternate with rainy seasons can negatively impact the soil beneath a home. In certain areas with extensive clay-based soils, this is a typical cause of foundation issues since soils that contain more clay tend to absorb more water. This, in turn, makes the soil expand when it gets wet. The expansive, wet soil then works to push upward on the home’s foundation. As the soil dries over time, the foundation then settles. This ongoing movement in the foundation can lead to serious cracks along with other damage.
2. Drainage Problems
Drainage problems can also contribute to foundation and basement issues. Homes without any gutters or ones where the downspouts aren’t properly directed away from the foundation will have excessive water dumped directly into the soil that’s closest to the foundation and will eventually become too wet. Excess water in the soil makes it expand and apply pressure that could damage the foundation. Furthermore, landscaping is a secondary problem if it doesn’t adequately slope away from the home and could possibly cause water to also collect near the foundation.
Drainage issues also promote standing water beneath the home that contribute to damp, musty basements and foundation damage and therefore require the skill of a foundation expert. Drainage problems may also encourage a bug infestation in the basement along with discoloration of the home’s exterior concrete or brick and even problems with mold, which is notorious for causing severe health issues.
3. Slab Foundations
Several homes constructed on slab foundations contain pipes that run beneath the slab of concrete. When these pipes leak, sometimes due to excess pressure from a backed up drain or a simple damaged pipe, they typically cause standing water beneath the home in addition to cracked foundations and excessive crawl space moisture. Call a drain service company like Plugged Piper Drain Service or a similar servicer to resolve your pipe issues. Plastic pipes may especially suffer undue stress from the contracting and expanding of clay-based soil.
4. Intrusive Tree Roots
Big trees sometimes cause problems with the foundation as their root systems grow and extend beneath the home. Their roots can cause substantial pressure on basement foundations and water pipes under the home causing them to crack.
Check the crawl space or basement for any foundation problems. Is there a distinct musty odor? A moldy-smelling crawl space or basement is a red flag that there’s a leak and should ideally be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.