The Two Villains in Foundation Failure
Most homeowners think of their home foundation as a concrete and steel slab which supports their house. This is only partially true, because your home really has two foundations. The first and most important foundation is the soil which supports your man-made concrete slab. Expansion and contraction of the soil underneath your home can severely damage its second foundation, the concrete slab, even though it may be well designed and sturdy.
There are two major foundation villains in the Houston area which you must be aware of when dealing with proper maintenance of your first foundation, the soil. The issues are the expansive soil conditions in Houston and how moisture changes the soil.
Houston's expansive soils are clay soils, which have the unique property of expanding when moist and shrinking when dry. These changes can be as much as 60% in volume. When a dry clay soil absorbs moisture and expands, it can produce enough lift to raise a two story house by more than 12 inches. Conversely, if the moisture evaporates, that same foundation or a corner of the slab can drop by 12 inches or more. In Houston, the range of such movement is usually within 6 inches.
Moisture change is the common thread that produces damage to your foundation and home through expansions and contractions of the clay soil during wet and dry weather cycles. Trees also play an important role in moisture content, as a tree's root system can remove 100 to 600 gallons of water from the soil each day.
If a new home's foundation is on soil that has sufficient moisture at the time of construction (the soil is in the expanded state) and the optimal moisture content is maintained, little movement or damage will occur. Such conditions, however, are ideal and only occur if the homeowner practices proper moisture maintenance.Three simple steps to prolonging foundation repair:
- Maintain consistent moisture around you home at all times. Soaker hoses or sprinkler system are a must. Feel free to call US Foundation Repair for the best solution: 713-988-9099.
- Take a weekly walk around your home, inside and out. Look for cracks forming, and measure the length and width of each crack. Check the soil moisture level surrounding your entire home. Make sure soil is sloping away from your foundation.
- Install root barriers for trees close to your home. Contact us at US Foundation Repair to install these root barriers for you.
Thank you for considering US Foundation Repair.
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