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Top 3 Causes of Foundation Settlement: Prevention

Foundation settlement, the downward movement of a home’s foundation due to changes in underlying soil conditions, can significantly affect your home’s stability and safety.

While you might believe your home rests on solid ground, the reality is that the soil beneath it comprises various layers, each with distinct properties that can shift and change over time, impacting your foundation.

This article explores three primary reasons for foundation settlement and foundation repair methods to help prevent and repair damage.

The Culprits Behind Foundation Settlement

  • Wetting and Softening of Soil: Heavy rainfall or snowmelt can soften clay soils, which retain water. This can lead to soil erosion and voids unable to support your home, causing settlement. Infrastructure issues like water main breaks or leaks can also trigger this problem.
  • Drying and Shrinking Soil: Drought or prolonged dry weather can cause clay soils to dry and shrink, creating gaps that may lead to your home settling. Nearby tree roots can worsen the issue by drawing moisture away from the soil, decreasing its volume and stability.
  • Poorly Compacted Fill Soil: For construction leveling, builders often use fill soil that’s less dense than natural site soil. If not properly compacted, this soil can settle under your home’s weight, causing foundational issues. This is a common issue that can affect whole neighborhoods.

Signs You Need to Take Immediate Action

Understanding the underlying causes of foundation settlement is crucial for mitigating its effects. Immediate action is necessary upon noticing signs of foundation issues, such as:

Addressing these issues promptly is vital as foundation settlement compromises your home’s structural integrity, leading to potentially costly and extensive repairs if neglected.

How to Repair and Prevent Damage from Foundation Settlement

Foundation settlement can be daunting, but with the right approach, it can be effectively addressed to restore your home’s structural integrity. Here are some common methods used to repair foundation settlement:

  • Underpinning: One of the most reliable solutions involves underpinning with foundation piers to stabilize and sometimes lift the foundation to its original position. This method is particularly effective for significant settlement issues.
  • Drainage Correction: Improving drainage around the foundation can help prevent future settlement issues. This might include regrading the landscape, installing interior drains, or correcting downspout and gutter systems to ensure water is directed away from the foundation.
  • Root Barriers: Installing root barriers around the foundation can prevent tree roots from drawing moisture away from the soil beneath your home, mitigating one of the causes of soil shrinkage and settlement.
  • Soil Stabilization: Techniques such as injecting expansive polymers can stabilize the soil under your home, preventing further settlement. This solution is often considered when soil conditions are the primary cause of the problem.

Schedule a Free Inspection with Bakers!

Baker's Waterproofing truck.

If you’re concerned about foundation settlement, don’t wait until it’s too late. At Baker’s Waterproofing, we’re proud to offer free inspections to assess the condition of your foundation and recommend the best foundation repair solutions for your home.

Our experts are equipped to handle everything from minor adjustments to major repairs, ensuring your home remains safe and secure for years to come. Contact us today to schedule your free inspection and take the first step towards a stable foundation.

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Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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