Anything with a damaged base will eventually come down, and your home isn’t an exception. That’s why all homeowners should be aware of the common causes of foundation damage to prevent the destruction of lives and property. Several factors influence the foundation of a building, and knowing them can help you identify issues in advance and opt for repairs.
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Let’s shed some light on these factors to increase your knowledge of structural issues.
Problems of the site
When constructing a building, you should inspect the site properly and acquire as much information as possible about its history. For example, you should ask around for any recent disasters in the area, like earthquakes, floods, forest fires, landslides, excavation and drilling activities, and so on. Even if such incidents happen nearby, they may affect the construction site.
It’s because such actions cause vibrations in the soil around the building, which may have far-reaching effects. You should also check other houses in the neighborhood for signs of foundation issues, like tilted structures, broken chimneys, gaps in the walls, etc.
Leaks in the mainline or sewer can be difficult to identify with inexperienced eyes. Many a time, such issues can get detected only after the house suffers from major structural damage or foundation shifts. But it should be noted that these leaks can go a long way to make groundwater seep in, causing damages to the foundation. If you notice any such leaks beforehand, get them repaired as soon as possible.
Condition of the soil
The kind of soil in an area also predicts whether a building will have foundation problems years after. If the soil seems wet, expansive, clayey with boulders, and signs of buried debris, one should be extra careful while installing the foundation. For example, in the case of expansive soils, the homeowners must install a system that tends to keep the soil together and reduce shrinkage.
However, if someone’s buying a ready property, s/he should look for fills by inspecting the tree trunks. The experts at Lux Foundation Services suggest looking for vertical trunks of deciduous trees that run straight into the ground. It’s one of the significant proofs of construction on fills.
If the building is raised on rocky terrain, the rocks may have required blasting before any construction work could begin. Improper and uncontrolled blasts can reduce the bearing capacity of the site and cause structural damages to the concerned building, as well as the ones in adjoining areas. They can also cause liquefaction, which may lead to foundation shrinkage or offer inadequate support to the building.
Freezing of wet soil
In a frost-prone area, lack of proper drainage and faults in the gutter can cause the wet soil to freeze, leading to the formation of cracks on the foundation wall. The buildings having their foundation walls at the same level or above the frost line depth can suffer from such problems. It’s better to call in the experts to look into the issue and resolve it in time.
Vehicle damages, stepped footings on steep slopes, sinks, nearby streams, or excessive rains can also give rise to foundation problems. However, not all damage is irreversible. If you can identify these issues on time, proper repairs can resolve them. Sometimes, you may also need to install the foundation piers in your property, but it’s for the best. After all, safety is everyone’s priority.