5 Ways Homeowners Create Foundation Problems

Most foundation problems are the result of changes in soil conditions. Throughout the year, soil expands and contracts due to fluctuations in moisture and temperature levels. Over time, this constant shifting and settlement in the soil eventually lead to foundation failure.  

Foundation Problems

Mother Nature and errors made in the construction process are typically to blame for problems with house foundations. But, in some cases, the homeowners themselves contribute to the problem.

No. 1: Planting too Close to the Foundation

Flowers and shrubs certainly look beautiful growing around your home, but planting too close to the foundation can cause problems.

When plants are placed too close to the house, the roots may grow into and damage the home’s structural supports. Installing root barriers can help prevent this from happening, but experts recommend keeping plants a safe distance from the foundation.  

No. 2: Overwatering the Lawn

The unpredictable weather in the Intermountain West leads many homeowners to overwater their lawns. Overwatering puts pressure on the foundation walls, which can cause them to swell and crack.

Lawns don’t need as much water as you might think. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for about one inch per week, spread over three or four days. Using an automatic sprinkler system with a rainfall sensor makes proper watering easier. Or, you could just pay attention the grass. 

When footprints remain after walking on the lawn, it’s time to water. 

No. 3: Poor Water Drainage

Poorly graded yards and inadequate drainage systems are frequently to blame for foundation problems.

If the land around your home doesn’t slope down and away, rainwater and melting snow can seep in near the structural supports and cause the soil to settle. Damaged or improperly installed gutters and downspouts can also direct water into the soil and create foundation problems.

No. 4: Improper Swimming Pool Installation

In-ground swimming pools are a popular property upgrade, but some homeowners fail to consider the foundation when planning their pool installation.

During installation, your pool contractor will take appropriate care to ensure that the pool is watertight. However, because concrete is porous, pool shells can leak. Or, in time, the pool can develop tiny cracks, due to soil settlement. 

If your pool is too close to the house, these leaks may make foundation problems inevitable.

No. 5: Remodeling Projects

Homeowners who are planning interior remodeling projects don’t always think about structural support. But big changes to the house design can lead to foundation problems.

Removing supporting (load-bearing) walls can shift the load of the house and put extra pressure on certain parts of the foundation. Adding a room addition, porch or patio can have the same effect. Before starting any major remodeling project, consult with a foundation contractor or structural engineer to evaluate the potential change in structural load.

Do you think you may have foundation settlement? It’s better to find out now, because correction will be easier and more cost-effective than it will be if you wait until the damage worsens. The professionals at Atlas Piers offer free inspections to homeowners throughout Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. For professional advice and assistance with foundation problems, contact us today.

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