What is foundation settlement? Simply stated, settlement is the movement your home experiences when the soil below can no longer support the weight of your home.
The soil used to support your home just fine. What changed? Most likely the soil changed.
There are two major changes in soil that can affect your home’s foundation.
- Dry periods
After months or sometimes years of drought, clay soil dries out. When clay dries, it shrinks. As the amount of soil below your home shrinks in size, an empty space is created for your home to settle into.
- Wet periods
As clay soil gets wet, it holds onto the water and become very soft. The soft soil can become weak, causing the home to shift or ‘sink’ down into it. In some ways, it is similar to when you step in mud and your foot ‘squishes‘ into the soil.
When it rains and clay soil gets wet, it expands. As clay soils expand in size it puts a lot of pressure on your basement walls. When pressure becomes more than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to push inward.
What should homeowners do? The constant cycle of wet and dry periods means that settlement in a home is never over. The ONLY way to know settlement is done is to FIX the problem, not ignore it.