Serving East Tennessee, Johnson City, Chattanooga, Knoxville

Causes of Foundation Damage

What Causes Foundation Damage?

A floor that is sinking by a half inch.

Master Services encourages all homeowners to recognize the signs that your home may need structural repair:

  • Cracked interior walls
  • Sagging floors
  • Creaky or bouncing floors
  • Fractured basement walls
  • Fractured brick
  • Cracks in interior or exterior concrete
  • Drafty air or poor indoor air quality
  • Malfunctioning doors and/or windows

Master Services Foundation Specialists have many years of experience protecting homes and buildings throughout East Tennessee. We study soil conditions to identify factors that cause foundation shifting or damage to building structures.

  • Soil Composition: Depending on the location of your property, the soil beneath your home may be sandy, clay-based, or silty, or a combination. While sandy soil does not retain excessive moisture during rainy seasons, clay soil does. Clay will retain water while wet and will expand in size. During drought conditions, clay will shrink and potentially crack. The changing nature of clay soils surrounding your home and its foundation exerts pressure on the structure, potentially weakening it over time.
  • Soil Expansion & Contraction: As seasons change, so do the ambient and ground temperatures in our community. These changes affect soil temperatures. Soil around your home expands and contracts during the changing of the seasons. Over time, these changes apply pressure to your foundation which may damage it over time.
  • Moisture Content or Hydrostatic Pressure: The stability of the soil surrounding your home is directly affected by how much water it retains and how much the soil expands or contracts with temperature changes. Poor drainage, heavy seasonal rains, floods or on-going leaks increase the moisture in the soil surrounding your home and the extent of damage that occurs.
  • Poor Construction Planning or Building Practices: In order to prepare your property for your home, your builder removed a significant amount of soil in order to pour your home's foundation. After foundation and construction are complete, the space around your home's foundation is back-filled with additional soil. The back-filled soil is susceptible to a range of factors: improper placement, poor quality, or uneven filling, to name a few. As back-filled soil shifts around your home and its foundation, it exerts pressure and may cause damage.
  • Building Components: Building materials can deteriorate or become defective over time. Your home may have porous mortar or concrete that is susceptible to retaining moisture. Or, your home may feature window wells, landscaping or other features that allow water to seep beneath your home.
  • Improper Drainage: Drainage across your property is determined by gutter placement, landscaping, large tree and root systems, and the slope of your property. Any combination of these factors may channel water towards your home and its foundation, rather than away from it. Excessive water surrounding your home affects soil conditions and the overall stability of your property.

Foundation damage can occur in several different forms around your property. You may see bowed foundation walls in your basement, or even bowing of retaining walls. At times, damage may appear in the form of settling and cracking concrete slabs or cracks throughout brick, walls or concrete floors.

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