Whether your home is older or recently built, any home can suffer from foundation problems. There are many reasons for a home to settle and shift: wet weather, earthquakes, poor construction, expansive soils, and even cold, dry spells.
- Dry Periods
During times of dry weather, moisture from the soil is removed, causing the clay soils to shrink and pull away from your home’s foundation. This effect creates a void which allows for foundation movement and settlement. If your foundation isn’t supported properly, your home will begin to shift into the open space and cracks can begin to form.
- Snow Melt
After a heavy snowfall (this will vary depending on your region), snow that accumulates next to your home’s foundation can cause flooding. This also causes the soils around your home’s foundation to expand, filling the gap where the soils were once compressed. The water will choose a path of least resistance, applying hydrostatic pressure to your home’s basement walls. Stair-step, horizontal and vertical cracks may begin to appear along with your basement wall.
During times of cold weather, the typical morning frost may be damaging to your home’s foundation. Frost applies pressure to your foundation wall, especially if your basement is unheated. Frost can be powerful- it can cause shallow foundations to lift out of the ground, causing significant structural damage to your home.
With your home being one of your biggest investments–both financially and emotionally, it is important to understand the signs of a structural issue. It is also important to have these concerns assessed by a foundation professional before they get worse.