Foundation Settling and the Influence of Soil Conditions

Foundation settling, gone unchecked, can present a significant problem for Utah homeowners.

Foundation Settlement Prevention

Our state’s notoriously poor soils conditions contribute to that problem, and they add to the challenge of foundation repair

How a Home’s Design Affects Foundation Settling

When foundation settlement occurs in a newer home, the homeowner is often quick to point fingers at the architect and contractor. Blaming poor design, faulty construction methods or both, the homeowner often pursues resolution in court.

What they often find, however, is the foundation settling is not the fault of the home’s design or construction methods. Rather, some type of soil issue is to blame in most cases. 

If the problem can be traced to improper soils testing or compaction, the homeowner may have recourse against the contractor. In many cases, however, the problem can be traced to something else.

Utah Soil Conditions and Foundation Settling

In Utah, we are fortunate to enjoy a wide variety of topography and four dazzling seasons. Unfortunately, these are the primary reasons for our abysmal soil conditions. 

Clay soils are the worst enemy of your home’s foundation and – as you might guess – we have lots of clay in our soil. Sandy soils allow moisture to pass through without shifting or changing the nature of the dirt. Clay, on the other hand, absorbs water and expands. When the water dries out, the clay contracts.

The changing of the seasons can exacerbate the problem as well, as the freezing and thawing cycle can also cause the foundation to shift.

Watch for Warning Signs

If you can confront the risk factors around your home to prevent foundation settling, you have little to worry about. Even if you can catch the problem early, it will be much easier to deal with.

Inside your home, keep an eye out for cracks in the drywall, especially those that appear suddenly. Those that radiate diagonally from the corners of door and windows are the ones that most likely indicate a settlement issue.

Take note also if you have a door or window that suddenly starts sticking or won’t shut all the way.

Outside, watch for cracks in your exterior walls that look like stair steps, or that run diagonally to the corners of window or door openings. Along your foundation, watch for new or worsening cracks.

In the basement, be on the lookout for cracks, leaks or bowed walls. If you have a crawl space under your home, watch for bows in the structural support members.

You can also contact a local foundation settlement company to provide an inspection. Atlas Piers provides foundation support systems and foundation repair in Utah as well as Wyoming and Nevada.

Contact us today to discuss your home and any concerns you may have about potential foundation settling.

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