7 Common Causes of Foundation Damage in the Home

March 27, 2023

When did you last check your home’s foundation?

It’s easy to overlook, but a foundation can be damaged so much that it compromises a home’s structural integrity from the ground up. Over time, an unstable or weak foundation could lead to cracked walls, unbalanced floors, and (in extreme cases) sinking.

In this post, we’ll explore seven common causes of damaged home foundations and offer advice on how to repair them.

Soil Issues

You may never consider the condition of the soil beneath your foundation, but it can have a major impact on your home.

For example, it’s natural for soils to expand and shrink with fluctuating weather conditions. Over time, the soil may push against a foundation from below. This can lead to sloped floors and cracked ceilings or walls. Not only are these changes aesthetically unpleasant, but they can be costly to fix, too.

Soil may start to erode with excessive moisture buildup, which can create a lack of support beneath certain areas of the foundation. And that could be a real safety hazard if left for too long.

That’s why proper drainage is crucial. Ensure that the grass and soil around your home is watered regularly during dry weather and invest in an effective drainage system to prevent buildup.

Plumbing Problems

If you don’t have a working knowledge of how home plumbing systems function, identifying potential risks and early signs of problems is tough. However, it’s vital that you stay vigilant for any unusual plumbing-related activities and bring in a professional to investigate them as soon as possible.

Even a minor leak in a pipe (e.g., in the basement) or along an exterior wall could cause water to seep into the soil around your home. That moisture may spread and dampen the soil over weeks and months. Eventually, it could cause foundation cracks and instability.

Common signs of plumbing problems include:

  • Damp spots on floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Strange sounds in pipes
  • An unexpected spike in your water costs
  • Strange, unpleasant smells

These are just a few signs to look out for. If you think you may have a problem with your plumbing, especially one that could affect your foundation, call an expert to check it out.

Weak Drainage

Good drainage is paramount to avoid leaks and floods. Ensure that gutters and downspouts around your property work properly, particularly when you expect wet weather.

Blocked gutters, for example, can lead to backups. And overflowing water may seep down along your walls and into your soil.

Check gutters for natural debris (e.g. leaves and moss) and keep them clear. Downspouts should be angled away from the home to prevent pooling near the foundation.

Poor Construction

When you buy a property, you trust that it has been built by a responsible team who cut no corners and created a safe home. However, that may not always be the case. Contractors may take shortcuts and use inferior materials or techniques to try to save money.

For example, they could lay poor-quality concrete or rush the installation. That may lead to a general weakness in the foundation, and potentially increase the likelihood of cracks.

If you plan to have a property built for you, conduct due diligence to find a reputable contractor you can trust to lay a solid foundation.

Sinkholes

Sinkholes have gained increasing media attention around the world, and they have appeared numerous times here in Ontario (as reported by CBC).

According to the Government of Ontario website, sinkholes may occur due to:

  • Building properties on unstable ground
  • Heavy rainfall and vegetation loss
  • Earthquakes and heavy vehicle traffic
  • Unstable soils
  • Bedrock consisting of odd rock formations

If a sinkhole appears beneath or near your foundation, it could cause significant damage. Look out for signs of potential sinkhole formation, including tilting structures (such as fence posts) and areas of ground that appear spongy or unusually soft.

Tree Roots

If you have lots of trees close to your home, their roots could put the quality of your foundation at risk. Overgrowth is one issue which can cause them to absorb more moisture than they did before and the soil to shrink.

As a result, that may affect the soil underneath your foundation and leave the structure unsettled.

However, you can minimize the risk of problems by regularly watering trees close to your home. That will eliminate their need to pull moisture from the soil. Additionally, have the roots inspected from time to time to identify issues.

Water Damage

Water is one of the most common reasons for foundation damage. Water damage may occur due to leaky pipes, rain seeping in through cracked windows or damaged window frames, and cracks in basement walls.

As concrete is porous, water may penetrate it, reach the soil underneath, and force it to expand. The concrete will then crack and create more channels for water to get in through the foundation.

Damaged foundations are easy to overlook if you rarely or never go down into your basement but check it regularly to minimize risks. If you spot any cracks, it’s crucial that you have them addressed before they allow water into your home or lead to further damage.

How can you fix the basement foundation crack repair? A foundation crack injection service is an effective, reliable solution.

Protect Your Foundation with Crack Repairs and Basement Waterproofing

Foundation damage should be repaired quickly to maintain your home’s structural integrity and prevent flooding. And you need a trusted team to do it right.

Aluneed is a family-owned, family-run waterproofing company. We provide basement foundation crack repair services, with the latest materials and methods (such as caulking and troweling). Our licensed, certified, and insured technicians will repair cracks, leaks, and floods for your peace of mind.

We can also provide comprehensive interior and exterior waterproofing for your home. Our team seals foundation holes and cracks, installs weeping tiles, connects sump pumps, and much more.

Contact Aluneed to learn more about our services now!

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