Common Causes of a Sinking Foundation

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Foundation problems are among the many issues that both old and new homes can develop. These can be very expensive to repair. Understanding the common causes of a sinking foundation may help you avoid the problem.

Changes in Soil

In cold weather, water in the soil can freeze, causing the soil around your home to expand. Then, when it dries out in the summer, the soil shrinks back again. Soggy soils in swampy areas get compacted with the weight of a house atop them. This can cause the foundation to sink. If the soil underneath the foundation was insufficiently compacted when the home was built, this can also cause sinking, as the weight of the concrete presses down on the soil. Where weather extremes are common, the strain of contending with moving soil, expanding and contracting with the seasons, can cause a home’s foundation to sink down or heave upward. The mortar holding block basements together can experience cracks caused by the shifting, expanding soil. Walls might bow or sink as the cracks grow.

Too Much Water

Water will get into whatever it can, including penetrating tiny cracks in and around house foundations. If the house sits on a slab, water can wash away the soil supporting it from underneath. Water getting into basement walls and seeping out from under them into the basement is also probably getting under and around the exterior of the house. This can cause sinking or heaving – either way, it weakens the foundation of the home over time. Regularly check for signs that poor drainage has caused damage around your home and take the necessary steps to correct drainage problems if you find them.

Regularly inspecting your home for potential causes of a sinking foundation may help you catch and repair problems before they become severe. Severe foundation problems can be very costly to repair. A home with a damaged foundation loses value, so if you hope to ever sell your house, call a professional, licensed, and highly recommended specialist for help.

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