Getting to the root cause of your home foundation problem requires a peek into the main reasons why these problems occur in the first place. It’s always a case to case basis when it comes to home foundations, but the reasons can be narrowed down to several main causes:
The soil in which your foundation rests plays a big part in causing your foundation to move. Foundation problems are usually caused by soil movements, especially when you live in an area where the soil is highly expansive. Upheaval occurs when the soil expands due to high moisture content. What people need to realize is that the high moisture content of the soil is not just caused by things you have no control over like rainfall. Sometimes, it can also be caused by poor decisions like not taking care of leaks and plumbing problems, watering your plants excessively, watering too close to your home foundation, and not fixing your drainage system.
Settlement on the other hand happens when the soil lacks moisture, particularly during the dry season. When there’s a drought, the soil tends to contract and this affects the foundation as well. You should also make sure that during the dry season, you water your soil adequately.
How your home was constructed also plays a big part in foundation problems. If you didn’t consult with a professional engineer when your home foundation was being made, or if your foundation isn’t well-designed, then this will eventually cause problems in the future. Also if the lot in which your home stands was simply “filled” when construction was ongoing, then this fill could be compacted as time passes and this might affect the foundation. “Filling” is usually done to level out a lot before building occurs, and there’s nothing wrong with it per se, but you should make sure that the fill materials aren’t loosely or poorly compacted by your builder.
You might want to check if your home is surrounded by trees, because trees usually come with complicated root systems that suck out all the moisture from the soil during the dry season. Trees need moisture as well, and large quantities at that, so if there are roots around your home’s foundation then this could affect it by causing the soil to dry out and shrink.
If you have trees planted near your home foundation, then making sure you water your trees adequately can prevent this problem from arising, but there are also other ways to address root systems.
Your plumbing and drainage system can affect your home foundation adversely by allowing water to excessively penetrate the soil found under your home foundation. This can be solved by ensuring that your gutters are installed properly. You should also see to it that the downspouts bring the water at least 5 feet away from your foundation. If it’s too near the foundation, it can cause problems by increasing soil moisture content.
You also have to ensure that water isn’t retained too close to the foundation, not just with drainage but with landscaping beds for instance that are raised and that have metal edging. Additionally, you should provide at least 6 inches between the foundation walls and the soil gradient, at least in the first 10 feet. At least 4 inches should also be provided between the bricks and the ground. All of this will result to proper drainage and fewer (if any) foundation problems.