One thing we have learned in our 37 year history is that a severe drought leads to foundation settlement problems. Some homeowners across the state of Nebraska and Western Iowa are experiencing exactly that with the lack of moisture we have experienced in the area since last summer.
At Thrasher, we have received a heightened number of calls from homeowners who all of a sudden have new foundation settlement problems showing up and/or old foundation problems getting worse. The symptoms of foundation settlement problems include cracks in the foundation itself (which are usually larger at the top of the crack), cracks in exterior finishes including brick and stone, cracks in drywall, doors and windows that are now not opening and closing properly, and unlevel floors.
With the recent drought, these problems seem to be happening suddenly and only get worse with time. We have had several homeowners who have said in the last few weeks all of a sudden they heard a “popping” type noise, doors, windows are not opening and cracks in foundation walls, drywall, and exterior finishes are appearing.
With the lack of moisture, the clay soil is actually shrinking. This is no different than if you took a bucket full of dirt and sat it outside for several days without watering it. At the surface, you can see large cracks in the soil and the soil is no longer hugging tight to the foundation. The same thing that is happening at the surface is happening underneath your foundation footings, which support the weight of the home. Once there is a gap under the footing due to the soil shrinkage, the footing settles into that gap causing damage to your home.
If you are concerned that your home has is experiencing foundation settlement, call Thrasher for a free inspection and assessment from one our highly trained and experienced System Design Specialists.