What Is Foundation Settling?

What Is Foundation Settling?
What Is Foundation Settling?

Homeowners usually know what foundation settling is, but new homebuyers may not. In new homes, settling is usually minimal and uniform, as the weight of the newly built home settles into a newly excavated site. However, differential foundation settlement can result in critical issues that could compromise a home’s stability and safety over time. 

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What causes differential foundation settling?

  • Poor drainage can cause the soil around a home’s foundation to become oversaturated with water. This causes the soil to expand and swell, putting pressure on foundation walls, leading to cracks. 

  • The presence of mature trees and other vegetation around a home can also cause foundation settling. Trees and other vegetation with large roots near a home can draw moisture away from the soil surrounding a home’s foundation, resulting in decreased soil volume and the formation of voids. This can cause a home’s foundation to begin sinking into the voids.

Depending on the extent of the foundation settling, it can cause several structural issues, including cracking and water leaks, jammed doors and windows, and more.

Signs of Foundation Settling

Signs of foundation settling include:

  • Windows get stuck easily or are difficult to open and close
  • The interior trim detaches from walls or around windows and doors
  • Doors won’t close or open easily
  • Cracks appear in exterior stonework or bricks
  • Cracks appear in the chimney
  • Cracks appear in the basement near poured concrete walls
  • Water is leaking into the basement from cracks in the foundation wall

If you notice any signs of foundation settling listed above, you should take steps to remedy the situation before the problem gets out of control. It’s important to note that many types of foundation settling are unavoidable and occur naturally. 

Preventing differential foundation settling

One easy way to prevent differential foundation settling is to ensure your home has a good drainage system to divert excess moisture away from the foundation. Other things you can do include,

  • Clean gutters regularly so that water doesn’t spill over the side of your home and soak the soil around the foundation.
  • Install downspout extensions to ensure water is channeled away from the foundation.
  • Don’t plant water-hungry vegetation next to your foundation.
  • Install an underground downspout and pop-up emitter.

Repairing foundation settling

If you’ve noticed extreme signs that your foundation has settled, you might need to have the foundation raised back to level. This will stabilize the foundation and prevent it from moving or settling further. Usually, problems associated with foundation settling require the assistance of experienced professionals to help diagnose and repair any existing problems. If you are experiencing any problems associated with settling, give the professionals at Epp Foundation Repair a call to schedule a free inspection and repair estimate.

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