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December 17, 2020

Top Reasons For Foundation Failures

If you live in or near Austin, Texas, you know it is a great place to live. However, the soil and weather can cause major problems for residential foundations. If these problems are not quickly and properly remedied, they can cause damage that will jeopardize your home’s value, functionality and safety.

foundation problems

Your home is special to you. It’s most likely the largest investment you’ll ever make and you depend on it to provide shelter and comfort to your family for the upcoming years. Foundation failure can take away this feeling of safety and security, but there are things you must know about the causes and remedies for failing foundations.

Top Causes for Foundation Failure

Expansive clay soils

Austin is located directly in the center of an expansive clay soil belt that runs from north of Fort Worth/Dallas to south of San Antonio. Many of the homes in Austin are built on this soil, which expands and contracts when the moisture levels change. When the moisture level rises, the soil expands, shifting and placing excessive pressure on the foundational walls of the home. Then, when the soil dries out, it contracts, further exacerbating the disruptions of the rigid stone foundation, causing cracking, crumbling, sinking and more.

Damaged water/sewer lines

The rigidity of most sewer lines makes them susceptible to being cracked or crushed as the soil around them expands and contracts. Pipes made of cast iron, orangeburg and clay tend to deteriorate over time, increasing the chances of breakage from soil disturbances. When a sewer line is broken, the resulting leak is likely to cause further damage to the foundation. The cycle continues until either the house is uninhabitable or professional foundation experts come in and offer a solution.

Seasonal rain

The yearly cycle of wet-dry seasonal precipitation amounts results in shifting soils and foundation upheavals, subjecting the home to damage that can range from annoying to dangerous. If the drainage system put into place is not sufficient, runoff and downspout discharge will collect at the base of the home, saturating and loosening the supportive soil around the foundation walls. At that point, there will need to be extensive repairs and preventative measures taken to rescue the home.

Invasive roots & transpiration

Live plants are known to sometimes do whatever they want. That said, if your plants are watered well enough, they shouldn’t send their roots underground to search for water; however, overwatering can easily become counterproductive. Furthermore, a cracked water line under the soil will attract roots, which will result in more serious damage to the pipes as well as the foundation of the home.

Other common factors that contribute to foundation failure can include:
  • Poor foundation construction
  • Inadequately treated/prepared soil
  • Incorrectly mixed concrete
  • Drought Improper grading
  • Higher neighboring elevations

This wide range of factors provides an indication that Austin homes should be taken care of with the utmost care in order to allow the home to last for generations to come.

Signs of foundation problems

Your home will show specific signs of foundation instability both inside and outside. Inside signs of foundation problems include:

  • Diagonal cracks in the drywall at the corners of windows and/or doors “Bouncy” or sagging floors
  • Doors don’t open or latch properly
  • Windows become difficult to open and close
  • Bowed or buckled walls
  • New or expanding mold
  • Nails popping out of drywall
  • Cracked floor and/or ceiling tiles
Outdoors, check for the following:
  • Cracking or leaning chimney
  • Horizontal or stair-step cracks in the foundation
  • Worsening cracks in the foundation
  • Door or window frames separating from exterior brick or concrete
  • Crumbling, chipping or flaking concrete
  • Moisture in the crawl space/rotten wood beams

Remediation and prevention specialists

If you begin to see these signs of possible foundation problems, don’t wait until they worsen. Call an experienced foundation expert in the Austin area for the most accurate diagnosis and best repair and prevention options. The foundation specialists at Douglas Foundation Solutions are highly experienced in performing foundation repair and restoration methods, including the following:

  • Steel piers
  • Helical piers
  • Concrete piers
  • Slab foundation repair
  • Soil stabilization for new & existing homes
  • Pier & beam foundation repair
  • New construction pier installation
  • Commercial soil stabilization

We stand by our work with a 5-year transferable warranty on pier & beam foundation repair, a 10-year transferable warranty on soil stabilization and a lifetime transferable warranty on slab foundation repair.*

Speak to a foundation expert now

*Please refer to your client contract for warranty specifications. The warranty details specified in the contract shall supersede all other warranties expressed or implied.