Common Causes of House Foundation Problems


Diagram of foundation problem causes

Foundations crack and break when they shift, settle, and sink into the soil around it. When hydraulic pressure and gravity apply their forces against a hardened substance like concrete, the rigid concrete will lose every time.

So why is your foundation shifting and sinking? Whether it’s weather-related, shifting ground, erosion, or other outside forces, no home is exempt from shifting and settling. Here are some of the most common issues we encounter in West Michigan and East Missouri.

Here’s a hint: It’s all about water!

Expansive Soils

The most common cause of foundation settlement is expansive soils such as clay. When these permeable soils get wet, they expand. Likewise, when they dry out, they contract. This causes the soil under your home or property to settle and shift at an uneven rate, compromising the stability of your structure.

The following are usual suspects for putting extra strain on your foundation or basement walls, causing them to break or crack.

  • Heavy rains
  • Flooding
  • Nearby Water Sources
  • Extended Drought
  • Poor Drainage
  • Plumbing Leaks

Improper Soil Compaction

All soils behave differently when water enters. That is why West Michigan and East Missouri have codes for construction companies to compress the soil before pouring home foundations. These compaction specifications vary from lot to lot depending on the type of soil and how deep it is before reaching bedrock. These codes are important for a solid foundation, but just because a home’s ground soil meets code, does not mean it is impervious to the elements.

Likewise, sometimes compaction jobs fall through the cracks, and soils are improperly packed at the time of construction. If a builder did not properly prepare the site before the foundation was poured, soils are much more likely to shift and settle.

Finally, since compaction specifications have changed over the years, older homes may be at more of a risk.

Trees Planted Too Close

While it is true that a tree’s roots can cause foundation issues, trees usually cause problems by pulling large amounts of water away from the soils supporting the home. This causes soil contraction and thus foundation problems.

A Custom Foundation Repair Made Just for Your Home

Kent Home Services can pinpoint the problem at your home, and make things worry-free in no time.

We use the latest piering technology to restore your sinking or cracked foundation to a level, more waterproof state. We offer many other types of foundation, basement, retaining wall, poured concrete, and concrete repair solutions to meet your specific needs.