Foundation Settling vs. Foundation Problems: How To Tell The Difference

A home is the most valuable asset most people own. As such, no one wishes to lose his or her home comfort due to structural problems. The house must maintain the highest structural integrity, and when compromised, you need to know the exact action that will avert the problem.

The structural uprightness of your home lies squarely on the foundation. The foundation of a house is usually made of concrete that is poured on steel. With time, the concrete may start to crack due to settling. All buildings, once constructed tend to settle at some point due to the gravity that exerts pressure on the house foundation. Once this happens, you could have foundation settling or foundational problems. This is why we will set out to explain to you the difference between foundational settling and foundational problems.

What is Foundational Settling?

The term “settling” in buildings refers to the gradual and natural changes that occur in the foundation. These changes could be as a result of the weather or time. House settling analysis needs to be done by contractors by giving a close look at the soil type where a building is being put up. Once the soil analysis is done, an estimate of the time a building can take before it completely settles.

A new home may naturally sink into the ground after some duration. If there happens to be inappropriate soil preparation, new homes may be at a risk of sinking. We will advise you to avoid constructing your house during extreme weather conditions, such as a heavy downpour or during a drought. For instance, someone can build a house during a rainy season that comes after a rainy summer on clay soil. The clay soil expands and gets worse during the preceding drought period. This can lead to the house sinking further in a short period.

Foundation settlement takes place in two major steps. There are the initial settlement and the ongoing settlement stages. The first stage occurs within the first few years while ongoing settlement comes later, due to other factors. The ongoing settlement should be easier to handle since it can be monitored.

Soil expansion and contraction are the two major causes of foundation settling. According to the American Society of civil engineers, about a quarter of Americans have experienced foundation settlement. We can offer you solutions to this problem within Texas in San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

Foundation related problems

These are problems that occur when there is an extreme foundation settling. In most cases, foundation problems lead to a compromise of the affected building. The following characteristics exhibit a true foundational problem:
• Visible cracks in the foundation: Cracks that can be easily noticed reveal a problem in the foundation that requires urgent repair
• Wall cracks: cracks along the wall imply impending foundation problems. These cracks are usually observed along the window and doors or below the mantles. Jagged cracks running at an angle are an indication of building compromise.
• Horizontal cracks in the foundation: a crack of this nature is a result of hydrostatic pressure building up at the foundation of the house.
• Sticking doors and windows: if your doors and windows tend to be more difficult to open or close, there could be a possibility that the foundation has moved and as a result affecting the frames.

FOUNDATIONAL PROBLEMS OCCUR IN TWO MAJOR TYPES OF SHRINKAGE:

1. Foundation expansion
This is dominant in houses that use bricks. These bricks increase in size over time and, therefore, expose the bricks to moisture. In cold climates, brick walls absorb moisture hence leading to serious cracks.

2. Foundation shrinkage
Chemical reactions take place leading to loss of water from concrete over time. The shrinkage, once it happens, leaves visible gaps at the edges of slabs and the wall. Once this happens, we can conclude that there is a foundation problem in the building.

If you notice these signs in your house, you can contact us at G.L Hunt and we will help you with all of your foundation repair needs.

How to distinguish between Foundation Setting and Foundation Problems

As a homeowner, it may be tricky for you to determine whether your house is experiencing a normal settling or a more serious foundation problem. A foundation problem will be more serious and should be exhibited by severe warning signs. Cracks on the surface of the wall, however, may not necessarily imply that there is a foundational problem.

Settling, on the other hand, should be non-threatening. As such, foundation normal settling may not have an impact on the structural integrity of your building. There should be no cause for worry. In settling, a few inches of the building will move as part of a natural process. You will not be able to control soil expansion and contraction. These two are the major causes of settling in homes.

Larger issues that indicate a foundational problem include the following:
• Presence of water in the basement area of your house – this is due to seepage into the room through the large cracks in the walls
• Cracks and gaps in the roof
• Visible wall cracks

At G.L Hunt, we offer foundation repair to clients in the areas of Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio in Texas. If you need any advice on the soil composition with regard to new structures, feel free to contact us today. We believe that our high-quality services will help you maintain your precious home.