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Foundation Settlement – When is it a problem?

December 14, 2017

With the exception of houses built on solid rock, ALL foundations settle over time. Fixing foundation is not uncommon but you should still consult a residential foundation contractor to help. A typical total foundation settlement range is up to approximately one inch. The alternative is to build on soil, which has a tendency to settle or in some cases, depending on soil type and moisture changes, heave over time. The purpose of a foundation is to allow the structure to settle evenly, or uniformly, versus differentially.

The question is “When does foundation settlement or movement become a problem?”

Foundation Problems Caused By Soil Expansion

foundation repairSoil conditions directly affect how the foundation of your home settles over time. Poor water drainage can leave excessive water in the soil, with this exposure causing many types of soil and clay to expand. When expansive soils shrink and swell, it puts direct pressure on the foundation, causing cracks and water damage. Poor water drainage can be due to many factors, such as plant watering areas next to the foundation that are not diverted away from the house or areas that have not been sloped correctly to avoid excessive pools of water.

Too much standing water or moisture is not good for your home as it can cause foundation movement and cracks to appear in walls.

Differential Foundation Settlement Movement

Even though foundation settlement is to be expected, the purpose of a foundation system is to keep the framing on top of it as plumb and level as possible. Industry standard for a new construction building floor is +/- ½" out of level in a 20’ length. When one part of the foundation settles or heaves faster than another, which is referred to as differential settlement or movement, it creates distress in the framing. This can make it so that your house leans or tilts to one side, causing distress and cracking in the foundation.

Differential foundation movement can create problems. Windows and doors may bind and become inoperable. Drywall or plaster may crack and fall off the walls and ceiling, and floor coverings like tile and hardwood may buckle and bend. In more extreme instances, framing connections may be compromised and cause structural failure. To prevent this, foundation repair should be considered before it gets to that point.

Home Foundation Fixing Experts

Do you have problems with door and window operation, interior and/or exterior cracks in finishes, and sloping floors? These are just a few warning signs indicating that there may be a problem caused by excess differential foundation movement. If you notice these signs, it is best to have qualified residential foundation contractors assess the structure. A residential foundation contractor can determine if the movement is normal or if home foundation repair is necessary.

Give Versa Grade a call at 775-284-1964! We are happy to have one of our residential foundation contractors come out and take a look at your home and let you know if a foundation repair is needed. We will also advise you if a repair is not needed!

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