Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if I am experiencing foundation problems?
Frequently, foundation movement initially affects the operation of interior and/or exterior doorways first. Another early indicator of foundation movement is gapping of the brick frieze boards, located at the top of the brick wall. In more pronounced cases, sloping floors may become obvious just by walking across a room.
What causes foundation movement?
Clay soils, and those with clay content, shrink and swell with changes in moisture content. The higher the clay content, the more subject to movement the soils will be. Since we typically have wetter winters and drier summers, houses tend to move downward (settlement) in the summer and upward (heave) in the winter. This repeated cyclical movement is what can lead to foundation problems.
Will trees too close to my foundation cause foundation problems?
Many people think that tree roots under a home will cause the home to raise as the roots increase in size. Actually, the opposite is true. Trees have an enormous water demand and roots are the primary water provider for trees between rains. Large trees can drink between 10,000 to 40,0000 gallons of water a year. This would be the equivalent of 2 average residential swimming pools...for each tree! As the tree roots take on water for their tree, the soils around the roots shrink because of the water loss. If this occurs under your foundation, you will likely experience some degree of settlement.
How close is too close for trees?
This is a point of great controversy. Rumors abound that tree roots only extend to the “drip line” of the tree, while others state that tree roots extend as far from the trunk as the mature height of the tree. These theories may or may not be the case for you particular situation. However, one thing you can be sure of is that the roots will extend as far from the tree as necessary to get moisture for the tree.
Will watering my foundation prevent settlement?
Foundation watering is not an absolute solution. Depending on when the foundation was constructed, and the weather conditions in the months preceding construction, watering the foundation may create a new problem or compound an existing one. For example, if the foundation was constructed during or at the end of a dry season, watering could cause the perimeter soils to swell, thus lifting the perimeter of the home. On the other hand, if the foundation was constructed during or at the end of a wet season, watering may be extremely important in order to maintain a “swelled” condition of the soils.