Foundation Cracks From Soil Shrinkage
Why does soil shrinkage cause foundation damage?
Most people associate foundation damage with excessive moisture, but water isn’t always the culprit. In fact, a lack of moisture can be just as destructive. When the soil around a foundation gets too dry, it may shrink. This causes a gap to appear between the foundation and the soil, which leads to settling. This settling can cause cracks to form that more often than not get worse over time. Ironically, soil shrinkage can also lead to flooding in the basement due to the gap it creates, which fills quickly with water during heavy rainfalls.
Soil Type Matters
Could soil shrinkage cause foundation damage to your home? It may not occur at all if you have the right kind of soil. Basically, soil that contains large amounts of clay is the most susceptible to shrinking and swelling. Clay is expansive, which means it shrinks and swells considerably depending on how much moisture is present. Rocky soil is very resistant to shrinkage, but there’s one exception: shale, which contains clay. If it contains a lot of clay, it’s more likely to shrink during droughts, heat waves and under similar circumstances. Loam and sand don’t tend to shrink during dry conditions, but they are very susceptible to erosion, which can also cause serious damage to the foundation.
What Can You Do to Prevent Cracks Due to Soil Shrinkage?
If you live in an area with soil that contains a lot of clay, there’s not much you can do as far as altering its composition. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of soil shrinkage. First and foremost, make sure your drainage system is in good shape. Gutters should be in good condition and free of clogs. Downspouts should point away from the home and extend at least five feet away, if possible. The soil can also be graded to encourage water to flow away from the home. These steps help keep soil from expanding, which can also help to minimize shrinkage.
During dry conditions, use a soaker hose to wet down the perimeter of the home for an hour or two every few days. Beyond that, keep an eye out for signs of foundation damage, which may include doors and windows that don’t open and shut properly, cracks in ceilings, floors, and walls, and visibly uneven walls and ceilings.
Damage Already Done? Schedule Professional Foundation Repair Services
Knowing how soil can affect the structural integrity of your home’s foundation is useful, but it’s not going to do you much good if damage has already occurred. Prompt foundation repair is crucial. In Carmel, IN, and surrounding areas, Ram Jack of Indiana is the company to trust. Visit our website to learn more, or call today to schedule an appointment.