The Soil is Pulling Away from My Foundation

Soil Pulling Away from a Foundation

I received an email from a past client asking me why the soil is pulling away from his foundation. The short answer is, “The soil is drying out and shrinking. You need to water.”

For those of you interested in a more detailed explanation, read on.

North Texas is known for its clay soil. Clay soil expands and contracts substantially based upon the moisture in the soil. If the soil dries out, it contracts. If it gets wet, it expands. While this seems simple enough, that shrinkage and expansion can have a dramatic impact on a slab foundation.

A slab foundation sits directly on the soil. Since clay soil expands and contracts, the slab is actually “floating” on the soil. Keeping the moisture level in the soil around the foundation stable is critical to the long-term stability of the foundation. While the in-ground sprinkler system often provides enough water, many times soaker hoses are installed to help regulate the moisture level.

The bottom line is if the soil is pulling away from the slab the moisture content is dropping and steps should be taken to add water. Doing so early can save thousands in foundation repairs later.

If you think you may have an issue, contact a DFW professional engineer or a foundation company.

There is a Crack in the Sheetrock

Crack in Sheetrock

I was out showing homes the other day to some out of state buyers. As they looked at homes, they would spot some hairline cracks in the sheetrock of some of the homes. They were concerned about potential foundation issues. Welcome to Texas!

North Texas is notorious for expansive clay soil. Why is this important? The foundations of our homes are built on top of this soil and this causes the foundations to move with changes in the water content of the soil. When the foundation moves, hairline cracks can appear in the sheetrock.

The key to minimizing the movement is to keep the soil around the foundation at a consistent moisture content. What does that mean?  Water the lawn or add soaker hoses around the foundation. Dried up soil contracts and allows the foundation to move.

Foundation movement is not the only reason that cracks appear in the sheetrock. In new construction, the studs may not have been completely dry when the home was built. As the wood dries, it shrinks and can cause minor cracking.

If you’re purchasing a home and you have concerns, hire an engineer to inspect the foundation of the home. The cost ranges from $250 and up depending upon the size and type of foundation.

Dallas Foundation Repair and Inspection

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR