Naturally your home is sitting on the ground but the type of soil plays a major role in the effects it can have on your foundation. Depending on whether the soil is made up of clay, sand, loam, or silt will determine how the ground reacts to dry and wet environments as well as to the weight of your home. Seasonal changes will make some types of soil shrink or swell more than others and when those fluctuations occur beneath the foundation of your home, it can cause damage.
Understanding the Role of Soils and the“Active Zone”
Soil consists of multiple layers that vary in thickness and consistency; all of which have accumulated for millenniums from glaciers, wind, and water, and, in some instances brought in from developers. The top layer of soil is more ideal for vegetation growth, whereas the older, underlying layers become compacted and offer more stability and support for load-bearing needs.
The soil underneath your foundation and the surrounding dirt is called the active zone. The active zone may be only a few feet below the surface or as deep as thirty feet down, depending on where you live and the soil combinations in your area. These soil combinations will also determine how much settling a house will experience.
What Causes Foundation Settlement?
Foundation settlement typically occurs from the soil being too wet, dry, or not compressed enough. With these consistency changes, the soil is unable to withstand the weight of your home so things begin to shift.
Soil that shrinks and dries is usually the result of drought conditions and claysoil, especially will shrink when it dries out, causing your foundation to move. Mature trees cause another trigger for soil dryness. Older trees have large root systems that will strip the soil of moisture around your house
Wet soil, like clay absorbs water and becomes malleable, resulting in the foundation sinking. This overly wet, soft soil may be caused due to heavy rains, plumbing leaks, or poor drainage near your home.
Loose fill soil is often brought onto building sights to level out an area. If the new soil is not properly compressed before construction, environmental conditions can cause the soil to change consistency and move, creating foundation damage for you.
Foundation issues can be corrected. For an evaluation of your home concerns, contact our home inspection specialists. Being longtime residents of the area ourselves, we are very familiar with the weather conditions and soil changes in Albany, NY. Contact us today!
The Author Adam Clark is the owner and operator of Shield Guard Home Inspections. Adam Clark is a local Home Inspector located in Albany NY that has performed over 6000 Inspections
Phone: (518) 720-7152