A lovely Texan day unfolds, accompanied by the cheerful melody of birdsong and the joyful laughter of children frolicking in the yard. Impulsively, you opt to throw open the windows, allowing the invigorating breeze to grace your home. However, a hindrance emerges – the windows cling stubbornly shut. Astonishingly, this predicament isn’t isolated; numerous windows within the house share this resistance to opening gracefully. And as you survey the scene, your gaze alights upon a fissure stretching from the window frame’s corner upward to the ornate crown molding. An unsettling sense of panic begins to take hold.
You find yourself pondering…
Could there be underlying foundation issues in this house?
Might the investment I made be at risk?
How will I manage the finances for my children’s education?
And what about my retirement plans?
Okay, perhaps that’s a bit on the dramatic side, but we understand! We’ve all been exposed to those unsettling tales of homes necessitating a staggering $100,000 in foundation repairs. The reassuring news is that such extreme scenarios are infrequent. Nonetheless, in the realm of foundation problems, identifying concerns early on is the pivotal factor in preserving your peace of mind (and the value of your home).
Are Stuck Doors, Windows That Won’t Budge, and Unsightly Cracks Indicative of Foundation Issues?
While these occurrences do raise concerns about foundation settling, it’s only a licensed Professional Engineer who can definitively assess whether there’s reason for apprehension. Remember, foundation damage is a frequent occurrence in Texas due to the prevalence of expansive soil.
The city of Dallas, situated in the heart of Texas, resides atop the Texas Blackland Prairie soils. The clay-rich soils characteristic of this area exhibit pronounced shrink-swell attributes, necessitating specialized design considerations to safeguard optimal structural soundness.
Distinguishing Between Structural and Non-Structural Issues
Among the initial structures to manifest indications of foundation settling are concrete slabs like patios, sidewalks, and garage floors. The question then arises: How can you differentiate between a crack that is structurally concerning and one that is merely cosmetic? An indicative trait of a non-structural imperfection is the presence of an exceedingly slender or fine crack, resembling a hairline. Additionally, there is an absence of conspicuously fractured or displaced masonry surrounding the crack.
Conversely, cracks that potentially signal structural compromise typically exhibit greater width. They frequently adopt a distinctive stair-step configuration and contribute to the displacement or deterioration of adjacent masonry.The disruption of concrete or masonry prompts neighboring sections to realign, causing spaces to emerge. For instance, when exterior walls shift, it commonly leads to the misalignment of doors and windows.
Upon closer examination, your foundation might be conveying a message.
The presence of uneven pavement frequently serves as an indicator that the soil beneath the concrete is undergoing settlement.
Observing the frieze board separating from the brick? This could signify the necessity for a comprehensive foundation inspection.
Within the expanse of the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex, precipitation rates tend to be modest, effectively eliminating the likelihood of wood swelling as the cause behind stubborn windows. Nevertheless, the strong likelihood exists that your residence has been erected upon expansive clay soil.
The Influence of Expansive Clay Soil
Under the intense heat of the Texan summer, the soil undergoes desiccation, sapping its moisture and triggering the contraction of clay. As the clay soil shrinks, the foundation responds with movement. Subsequent to moisture resurgence in the winter, the clay expands, causing the foundation to rise. This repetitive oscillation exerts strain on the concrete slab, frequently culminating in the development of cracks.
Homeowners typically become acutely aware of the most pronounced indications of foundation settling during phases of excessive aridity or in the aftermath of substantial rainfall.
When a combination of issues such as doors sticking, substantial cracks, and masonry displacement arises, it’s advisable to reach out to professionals who possess the expertise to effectively address your foundation concerns.
If you want to proactively protect your home, contact Thomas Engineering Consultants at 817-576-1973 to schedule an appointment for a structural evaluation which includes a detailed engineering report with actionable items to protect your home’s foundation.