Expansive clay soils can be found in lots of areas of the country, including Texas. This kind of soil shrinks and cracks when it dries out. When it rains, soils with high clay and silt content don’t allow water to pass through the soil. Instead, water is absorbed and held in the soil, significantly increasing its volume.
Soil and water pressure could cause foundation problems
It’s difficult to assume that soil may harm a material as hard, dense and strong as concrete, but homeowners and foundation repair contractors alike will testify to the destructive power of expansive soils.
So what sort of damage can occur due to expansive soils, and how would it be repaired and/or avoided?
Cracked and buckled walls probably occur more often due to expansive soils than other foundation problems. During a dried spell, clay-rich soil is likely to distance themself from a basis wall, creating a space that can fill with stone, gravel, loose soil and other debris. Some homeowners even deliberately fill out this shrinkage gap. Nothing bad happens until there’s a lengthy, soaking rain. Then the extra material in the crack increases strain on the foundation wall since the soil expands. Since there’s not really a balancing volume of expansive soil against the inside of the wall, this one-sided pressure can push the wall inward, causing it to crack and bow in sections. Occasionally the foundation wall will resist cracking or bowing, but the damage will need the proper execution of tilting. The the surface of the wall will be pushed in by the expansive soil, creating a basis that tilts inward.
Soil that shrinks, settles and expands causes slabs, footings and walls to crack
Other site conditions that can subscribe to foundation problems associated with expansive soils include trees and bushes that displace soil or increase drying and shrinkage by absorbing ground water. Soils full of clay and silt aren’t just unstable; there is also poor load-bearing characteristics compared to soils which contain sand and gravel. Foundation footings and slabs built on clay-rich soil can heave in reaction to wet conditions or settle due to excessive shrinkage losa de cimentación características. Either way, cracks in foundation slabs, footings and walls will likely accompany heaving and settlement, since concrete can’t stretch or bend.
Foundation repair contractors overcome soil problems with special tools, materials and techniques
To a homeowner, the type of foundation damage mentioned previously looks severe. But a skilled foundation repair contractor sees an opportunity to stabilize difficult soil and connect the building foundation to solid, stable soil at greater depth.
Different techniques may be used stabilize the soil that surrounds a house or commercial building. Since water is why is clay-rich soil swell and shrink, one of many first things foundation repair contractors do is to check the big event of gutters, downspouts and general drainage round the house. Moving water far from the foundation is really a reliable way to limit soil movement, protecting the foundation from soil’s expansive pressure.
If the soil has shrunk or settled, evoking the masonry to crack and sink, soil stabilization may also be attained by driving helical piers to the soil. The helical flanges (or plates) on these steel piers are shaped just like the threads on a wood screw, and function in the same way. Whilst the contractor turns the shank of the pier, the helical plates pull the pier deeper to the soil. The contractor will add pier sections in order to reach stable soil under the damaged foundation. Once the pier’s resistance to rotation reaches a predetermined level, the contractor knows that the pier is solidly anchored, and can offer the stable support the foundation has been lacking. A bracket is installed for connecting the pier to the foundation; this can also enable the contractor to lift a sunken slab, footing or wall back to its original position.