Although your foundation may be well built and totally solid, many environmental factors around your home can cause your foundation to fail over time. One of these factors is the quality of the soil that your foundation is built upon. Soil settlement can lead to serious foundation damage, as well as damage to other areas of the home. Let’s take a look at how soil settlement occurs, and what parts of the home are most heavily affected by it.
Soil is typically made from a variety of different organic materials including minerals, water, and air. Many people are surprised to learn that water and air can make up as much as 50% of the soil beneath your home. The high moisture or air content of soil is the primary factor in determining the amount of settlement that occurs. Well compacted soil, or soil that has very little moisture or air density, will be less likely to settle because it is tightly packed. Soil that is not properly compacted before foundation construction will continue to settle over the life of the home, causing settling and shifting to occur.
Soil settlement can cause damage throughout the entire home, particularly in the areas of the home that place the heaviest load on the soil below. Brittle materials such as drywall, plaster, and masonry are typically the first building components to be affected. With time, your concrete foundation or paved outdoor surfaces will also begin to shift and settle with the soil. The composition of the soil around your home affects the type of foundation damage. Foundations built on clay or highly expansive soil will experience greater soil settling than foundations built above more stable soil.
If you’re noticing signs of foundation damage and soil settling, contact Nashville’s foundation experts at United Structural Systems. We provide professional foundation repair, crawlspace repair, waterproofing, cracked brick repair, and basement wall repair. Call (615) 800-2058.