Soil characteristics have a major effect
on your home’s foundation. There are different ingredients in soil like sand,
silt, loam, and clay. All of these ingredients determine how your soil
behaves when it’s wet, and when it dries. We’re going to learn the three common
ways your soil is causing foundation problems. Before we get to our list
though, it’s important to first understand what foundation settlement is.
Foundation settlement is the movement your home experiences when the soil
below it can no longer support its weight and you end up with a sinking
house. This can lead to foundation failure. Your home sits on many different
layers of soil. Each layer has a different soil type and moisture content.
How loose the soil is in each layer also varies. The exact properties of each
layer change depending on location and how the soil got there. Typically the
deeper layers are stronger and more compact. The top layer of soil is the
loosest, this allows plants to grow. The soil layers in South Jersey where we are
are an exception, but we’ll have another video on that later so subscribe and hit
the bell notification especially if you live in New Jersey. Deep below all of
these layers is bedrock or load-bearing soil. This is important to know when
examining the causes of settlement in your foundation and how to fix it
permanently. Again if you live in South Jersey it’s a little bit different. The
soil you should be most concerned about is the active zone which is the area
immediately around and under your house. This area can be anywhere between a few
feet deep to over 30 feet deep depending on your location. Soil problem number one:
When soil dries. Some soil like clay soil shrinks when it dries. When the soil
around your house shrinks, it leaves an empty space that
your house will settle into. Did you know that trees can contribute to this? A
tree’s root system is often 2 times the size of its canopy. If a tree’s branches
extend over your home, its roots are likely to extend under
your home. These roots suck moisture from the soil and when the soil dries out
more settlement occurs. Soil problem number two: When soil gets wet when clay.
When soil gets wet essentially it’s the same thing that happens when your shoes sink
into the mud. Certain soils like clay also increase in volume when they get wet.
These are called expansive soils. When these soils expand, they push on your
foundation walls. Did you know? Sand experiences very
little effects from moisture. Water usually passes through sand quickly and
sand has a consistent volume wet or dry. What kind of soil do you have? Tell us in
the comments. Soil problem number three: Compression of
poorly compacted fill soil. When developing neighborhoods, contractors
often take soil from hilltops and place it in valleys to create a flat surface.
If this soil is not compacted well, it will compress under your home’s weight,
causing foundation settlement. Do you think one of these problems applies to
you? If you live in southern New Jersey you probably have seen at least one of
these situations. If so, your house has experienced foundation settling. “But
what’s the big deal if my house is done settling?” You may ask, “It may have moved
once but it won’t move anymore right?” The fact is that the constant cycle of
wet and dry periods never stops so your foundation problem will continue to get
worse every year until it becomes much more expensive and intrusive to fix.
Luckily there are foundation repair methods available that can permanently
halt foundation settlement and here at Dry Guys Basement Systems we have the best
foundation specialists in the area. One of these methods is our helical pier
method. Watch our latest video on helical piers
here. Check out the links to our foundation repair videos in the
description and don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell notification
so that you can stay on top of new videos with useful information that will
help you protect your home.