Structural Danger: 4 Ways Your Home’s Foundation Is At Risk

Structural Danger: 4 Ways Your Home’s Foundation Is At Risk
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    Your home's foundation is essential to its structural integrity.

    There are many factors that can damage the foundation, putting the entire structure at risk.


Understanding these factors can help you to take action and protect your home from costly damage.

Shifting Soil

Places with sandy soils may experience a loss of soil or pushing of soil on one side of the foundation. Without some support from the soil, the foundation may also shift slightly. Shifting soils can also place too much pressure on one side of the foundation, causing a wall to bow. A bowing foundation wall may cause cracked walls, movement of flooring and gaps between the walls and ceiling.

Expanding Soils

Soil that is heavy in clay experience expansion when the soil becomes saturated with rain or melting snow. The expansion of clay particles exerts considerable forces on the foundation walls. These forces can push the concrete blocks of the foundation out of place. The foundation may bow, shift or crack. This type of damage may require the placement of exterior piers to anchor the foundation into place. Interior I-beams may also need to be installed to halt the movement of the foundation’s walls.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps come in several varieties. The two primary types are submersible and free-standing. A submersible sump pump sits in a pit in the basement. The pump has a float that rests on the surface of the water in the pit.

When water from the interior drainage system reaches a certain level, it shifts the float and triggers the pump’s motor. The draining water is pumped out of the basement. Free-standing sump pumps do not sit in a pit, instead they rest on the basement floor. They are triggered when water reaches the intake, which is two to three inches above floor level.

Some companies, such as Rite-Way Waterproofing, know how helpful these type of sump pumps can be. They can also help mitigate drainage problems.

Poor Drainage

Soils that do not drain well allow water to pool against your home’s foundation. Pooling water weakens the concrete. The water may leak through the concrete and into the basement. The foundation can begin to crumble from constant exposure to moisture. Improperly draining gutters can also lead to water pooling against your home’s foundation.

Regular inspections inside and outside can detect foundation problems before they become severe. If you notice a shift in the concrete blocks, dampness or water stains on the foundation walls or floors or cracks, these are signs of a problem. Sump pumps, piers, soil grading and steel beams can help protect your home’s foundation.

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