There are many threats to the structural integrity of your home, including the soil that surrounds your foundation. Depending on the type of soil your home is built on, you could be at greater risk for foundation problems. Expansive, clay-rich soil is one of the main culprits because it is able to absorb a lot of water and place a great deal of inward pressure on the foundation walls. Our Columbia-based foundation damage repair contractors here at United Structural Systems have seen this type of damage firsthand, and since 1994 we’ve figured out more than a few ways to protect homes from the destructive effects of soil-related processes.
How Expansive Soil Affects Your Foundation
When clay-rich soil absorbs moisture from flooding, rain, snow, etc, the soil can increase in volume by 10% or more. As the soil expands, the hydrostatic pressure exerted on your foundation walls can increase to an excess of 20,000 pounds per square foot. Without structural reinforcements, you could see signs of damage such as bowing or bulging basement walls, cracking walls, water seepage, insects, or even total wall collapse. Contact our expansive soil contractors in Columbia the moment you notice any of these issues.
It’s not just the moisture absorption that makes an expansive soil hazardous to your concrete foundation. When the soil dries out it can shrink significantly, leading to unstable situations like erosion and air pockets. These wet and dry cycles can cause structural shifts in your foundation, especially over many years. In areas like Columbia, this can be a serious issue.