It is normal for the foundation of a house to stabilize over time. Even new houses experience movement that can lead to the formation of small cracks in the concrete. With time, this phenomenon can become critical if it turns into a much more serious problem such as failure or subsidence.
Here is some advice if you think your home may be facing damages causing foundation failure.
How to identify foundation failure
Some easily identifiable indicators of a foundation subsidence problem include:
- Cracks in the flooring or exterior cladding
- Difficult to close doors and windows
- Uneven flooring
- Structural deformations of the house
- Appearance of cracks on the inside walls
These signs are not a guarantee of foundation failure, but they are serious warnings and extreme attentiveness is required from the moment you notice them. You can also contact a specialist for a cracked foundation inspection if you are concerned.
Potential causes of foundation failure
Most foundation failures are caused by two factors.
The ground under a foundation can be sensitive to a variety of elements likely to result in subsidence or compaction of the ground. Some of these include dryness during periods of drought, vibrations caused by traffic, the presence of tree roots near the foundation and urbanization of the area where the home is located. The soil may then no longer be suitable to keep the foundation steady, leading to major structural problems.
Water can cause foundation failure in multiple ways. For example, it can cause damage by accumulating around your house and penetrating the concrete following a lack of sealing and draining. This can be worsened by freeze-thaw cycles, causing the concrete to burst as the water solidifies. Water table leaks can also lead to a soil-washing effect under the concrete slab if not drained properly, which can lead to foundation failure.
How to restore foundations after subsidence
Levelling and stabilization of the foundation with the installation of piles at the base is the most common solution to foundation failure. This is quite complex as it requires excavating the entire perimeter of the building.
The contractor may also proceed with short-term reinforcement work by adding a waterproofing barrier to the soil and strategically located support posts.
Who to contact in the case of foundation failure
If you are struggling with structural subsidence, contact a foundation repair specialist. You should choose a company with years of experience and knowledge of the different types of soils and common problems of the area you live in.