“Goodness me!” You exclaim after noticing that your floor appears to be dipping. Or maybe your eyes are playing tricks on you. Well, a second opinion won’t hurt. So, you ask Johnny to have a look. They confirm your fear, which spells trouble. It turns out your foundation has an issue. Time to scour for foundation repair Louisville services, perhaps?
Does such an analogy sound familiar? Mostly, when laying down the foundation for our properties, we tend to put more emphasis on the materials we use. While this is vital, we can’t afford to overlook the soil supporting the foundation – as it impacts your building’s stability. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a predicament we’ve just alluded to. So, how do different soil types impact your foundation?
Clay soil is known to expand, mainly when its tiny particles absorb and hold water. This means it can put pressure on your foundation, causing cracks and other damage. During the dry season, clay loses moisture, shrinking in the process. When this occurs, it can leave gaps that can damage your foundation. The two extremes – shrinkage and expansion – make clay one of the most problematic soil types.
If your area has clay soil, be aware of this potential problem and take steps to protect your foundation. For instance, you can install groundwater drainage around your foundation. This helps reduce the pressure the clay soil can put on your foundation and helps keep it stable.
Sand particles have plenty of space between them. Plus, sand drains quickly and doesn’t absorb moisture well. Sounds great, right? Well, it can still cause issues. For starters, sandy soil doesn’t provide a lot of support for your foundation. As a result, your foundation can settle and sink over time, causing cracks and other damage.
And since it drains so quickly, it doesn’t provide the moisture needed to support your foundation during dry periods. This lack of moisture can cause the sandy soil to shift, putting even more pressure on your foundation.
Plus, the loss of friction means sand soil is easily washed away. If this happens, it can leave significant gaps under your foundation, jeopardizing it. So, if you build your property in a sandy area, monitor your foundation closely for signs of damage.
Peat soil comprises decomposed plant matter and is relatively rare. While it’s not as problematic as clay or sand, it can still cause issues for your foundation. Peat soil is known to be unstable and can quickly shift when wet. This shifting can put pressure on your foundation, causing cracks or warpage.
Plus, peat soil drains quickly in summer and doesn’t hold moisture well. Due to its structural change over time, it’s not an ideal support subsoil. It’s also not uncommon for it to become a fire hazard, another matter worth considering when building your home.
Loam comprises a mix of sand, clay, and organic matter. It’s fertile and easy to work with – which is why we often use it in gardening. Due to its balanced properties, loam is ideal for supporting foundations. For starters, it holds water well and drains slowly – providing the moisture your foundation needs. At the same time, it’s not susceptible to the forces that can damage foundations made in an area with clay.
What’s more, loam is relatively stable – meaning it won’t shift or erode easily. As a result, your foundation is less likely to sag or dip over time. And provided other soils don’t mix in, loam is unlikely to cause any problems for your foundation.
Silt is made up of tiny particles – similar to clay. However, it’s not as sticky or dense as clay. As such, silt drains slowly and is easy to work with. It also has a reasonable water-retention rate – meaning it can hold moisture without becoming waterlogged. However, don’t let these properties fool you – silt can pose issues.
For one, it’s susceptible to erosion – especially during heavy rains. When this happens, it can leave significant gaps under your foundation. And since it doesn’t have a lot of friction, silt is also prone to shifting. This shifting can put pressure on your foundation, weakening it and leaving it susceptible to damage.
Clearly, depending on the soil type in the area you plan to build your home or other structure, you may need to take extra precautions to protect your foundation. And if the damage is already done, you’ll have to bite the bullet and seek out repair services. A knowledgeable pro can help you figure out the best way to fix the problem and prevent future issues.