Soil, Settling Foundations, and How They're Related

Thursday, September 20th, 2018 by Thrasher


basement foundation crumbling around the soil

The reason why foundations experience differential settlement results in cracks in drywall, unlevel floors, sticking windows, etc., is directly related to the soil underneath the structure. Different external sources distributed different layers of soil. Some examples of these external sources are glacial deposits, wind and erosion. In our area, most of the ground is made up primarily of clay-based soil. These layers were built upon one another at different times, had slightly different compositions, and responded differently to the weather. During seasons of higher amounts of moisture, the clay-based soil expands, and when the ground is unable to accept more water becomes very weak and compresses the soil and sinks. If we are experiencing a season with little rainfall and the temperatures are high at the opposite end of the spectrum, the clay soil responds by contracting. This Is very visible in the top layer of the dirt, where you will see large cracks in the ground. This cracking will continue through the soil layers, and voids are created. These voids then create weak areas in the soil, and the structures settle as well. The structure above the foundation then shows signs of movement like cracks, door and window issues.

Many superficial short-term "fixes" can mask the issues caused by the soil beneath your foundation. Patching drywall to hide cracks, shaving the tops or bottom of doors to allow them to close or shimming a window can all temporarily hide foundation issues. These "band-aid" fixes are just that and a short-term cover-up to a deeper problem that, if not correctly fixed, will continue to get worse over time. To permanently stabilize a foundation, we must address the culprit behind the settlement, the soil. Beneath the layers of the earth, a layer can support the weight of a foundation and is not impacted by the topsoil layers beneath the structure. This is known as bedrock or load-bearing strata. To prevent the havoc caused by the repeated soil expansion and contraction, you have to have a solution that can competently reach this bedrock. Thrasher's solutions to this settlement caused by the soil does just that. Our solutions drive directly through the weak and ever-changing layers of soil and reach bedrock to provide a permanent solution and eliminate the movement of your foundation. When the foundation is supported deep beneath the earth by solutions sitting on bedrock, you have the peace of mind knowing that your foundation is permanently supported and won't be affected by the soil expansion or contraction.

While the soil issues can cause your foundation to have problems, it also creates problems for your home's floor support. The floors in your crawlspace or basement are supported by columns that sit in or upon the soil. These respond to the ground the same way that the foundation responds to the soil. The expansion and contraction of the ground create voids underneath that are not strong enough to support the structure's load. In the same manner that we support a foundation itself, we can permanently stabilize the post supporting your floors by driving our solutions to bedrock or load-bearing strata.

Regardless of the age of your home, the size of your home, the foundation type of your home Thrasher has solutions that permanently support your home by piercing through the top layers of soil and resting on bedrock. All of our solutions are created to provide you with a custom solution that will provide the exact number of supports in the precise spacing needed at the exact locations to achieve the desired outcomes. Whether you want to eliminate the drywall cracks or close that sticking door, we can help!

To get your foundation fixed permanently, you will need to know precisely what is going on with your home and which solutions will best address the problem. Our team of certified, in-house foundation experts can help. We'll personally inspect your foundation issue during our foundation repair quote, explaining what's happening with your home and making suggestions for repair.

Each of our visits comes at no obligation, and it includes a written foundation repair estimate. To schedule your free inspection, call or email us today! We proudly serve Sioux City, Lincoln, Omaha, Council Bluffs, Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk, Fremont, North Platte, and nearby Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.

Learn from one of our basement and foundation repair experts, Shane McClintic, about the relationship between soil and settling foundations.