This isn’t a metaphorical question; we’re being quite literal here: Is Your Home On Solid Ground?
Your first reaction is probably, “Yes, of course it is!” Your second reaction is probably, “What a silly question!” And, you wouldn’t be the only one. Most people assume their homes are built on what we’ve come to call “solid ground.” After all, who would build a home or any structure on anything but solid ground?
The answer to your question may surprise you. That’s because the soil under and around our homes is often not as stable as we think. In fact, the ground beneath your home is actually made up of many different layers of soil, each with its own properties, such as moisture content, density, and material type (clay, sand, etc.). Ultimately, these layers can wash out, soften as they are moistened or shrink as they dry out.
4 Soil Types That Can Be Found Under Your Home
Think about stepping into some mud. That mud “squishes” underneath the weight of your body, and you sink into it, right? The same thing will happen in a much larger scale when certain types of soil become saturated with rainwater or snow melt and the massive weight of a home and its contents causes the entire structure to sink or settle. When this happens, it may cause a whole host of foundation problems throughout the house, including uneven floors, sticking doors and windows and ceiling gaps.
At times, a large quantity of water, either from a broken pipe or severe weather event can cause portions of the soil beneath your home to washout completely, leaving empty space that can’t support the weight of the structure above it. This can also cause the home’s foundation to settle and sink.
Just as excessive moisture can be a problem, too little moisture can also cause issues with your home’s foundation. During prolonged drought conditions, clay soils can dry out and shrink, leaving voids that are unable to support the weight of your home. As with moist or washed-out soil, this can also lead to foundation settlement.
Poor Fill Soil Compaction:
When your neighborhood was established, the developer likely moved soil around, removing it from hilltops and placing it in valleys to create flat, buildable lots. That soil, known as fill soil, needs to be adequately compacted to support the weight of the homes built on it. If it isn’t, those structures can eventually sink into this poorly compacted fill soil.
What About Your Concrete?
Your house isn’t the only element on your property. Your driveway, patio, pool deck, sidewalk and walkways-all made of heavy concrete slabs-can all suffer from issues relating to poor soil.
Concrete is great stuff! It’s strong, durable, and can be made into just about anything. But it’s extremely heavy and if the soil underneath it can’t support its weight for any of the reasons mentioned above, it can settle, sink, and crack. Once that happens, it doesn’t just create an eyesore that potentially decreases your property’s value, it can also create serious tripping hazards that you could be liable for as the homeowner.
Now that you’ve learned a little more about the solid ground beneath your home and its concrete, it might be wise to ensure that its stabilized permanently. A reputable foundation and concrete contractor can achieve this in a variety of ways, including installing piers and anchors for foundations, basements, and polyurethane foam to lift and stabilize uneven concrete slabs.
Note: Before any of that can happen, you need to have your home’s foundation and concrete inspected by someone who has the expertise and skillset to identify potential issues and design a solution to address them.
Contact us today for a free inspection. Dry Pro services the Charlotte, NC, area and its surrounding cities.