The soils around your foundation can put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls! The amount of pressure will vary depending on three factors:
Since foundation walls are designed to support loads from above rather than lateral (sideways) loads, expanding soil can cause foundation problems.
When the pressure from outside the basement walls is greater than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to crack, bow, and push inwards. Factors such as expansive clays, hydrostatic pressure, and freezing water can create too much stress on basement walls, causing them to push forward and even collapse entirely over time.
The experts at Mission Home Services understand how soil affects foundations, and we can provide you with an expert foundation repair for your cracked or bowing foundation. Call us today to get a free estimate in Westminster, Walkersville, Frederick and the nearby areas.
When the contractors who built your home dug the hole for your foundation and basement, they dug up mounds of the hard-packed earth that was there — some of which may have laid there untouched for hundreds of years or more. As foundation walls and house framing were completed, the empty space around the foundation needed to be filled. Contractors typically backfill foundation walls using some of the excavated soil that was removed to make room for the basement.
The excavation process breaks up and loosens the soil. Because of this, backfill soils will always be more permeable, or water-absorbent than the hard-packed earth beyond. When it rains, the water will collect in the backfilled soils, exerting hydrostatic pressure against foundation walls. This is known as the “clay bowl effect.”
Wet foundation soils have a number of possible ill effects on the soils. By adding water to soils, you can cause them to expand, add weight to the soil, and ultimately lead to enormous pressure on the foundation walls.
Wet soils can lead to foundation damage in these three ways:
1. Expansive Wet Clay Soil
While sandy soils remain stable as water passes through them, soils rich in clay undergo significant changes based on their moisture content. When clay type soils dry out, they shrink significantly — so much that the ground can become covered with cracks. But after a heavy rain, the cracks are gone and the soil is fully saturated with water.
Because clay soil absorbs so much water, it expands during wet weather. Expansive clay soils can put enormous pressure on your basement or foundation walls. When the pressure becomes more than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to push inwards.
2. Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid due to the force of gravity. To understand how hydrostatic pressure can damage foundation walls, imagine how much heavier soil becomes when it’s soaked with water. When the weight of water is added to the weight of the soil, you’ve got much greater pressure pushing against a foundation wall.
Hydrostatic pressure effectively amplifies soil pressure against a foundation wall. When pressure exceeds the foundation wall’s ability to withstand it, the wall will begin to bow, buckle, tilt inward at the top, or move inwards at the bottom.
3. Frost Heaving
In areas with cold winter climates, frost heaving can sometimes put enough pressure on foundation walls to make them fail. When water turns to ice, its volume increases by about 9%. If wet soil experiences a deep freeze, the wedging or heaving force that results can be extremely powerful.
Frost heaving can put literally thousands of pounds of force against your foundation walls, causing cracks, bowing, and heaving.
When your foundation is showing signs of bowing, buckling walls or any other foundation issues, you need high-quality foundation repair. As a locally owned and operated foundation repair company, we’ve been working with soils in your neighborhood since we first opened our doors for business.
We’d like to offer you a free, no-obligation foundation repair quote to help you identify the problems you’re facing with your foundation — and what it might take to fix them. To schedule an appointment with us, call or e-mail us today! We’re proud to serve Walkersville, Frederick, Westminster, Cumberland, Columbia, Hagerstown, Ellicott City, Olney, Laurel, Silver Spring, and many nearby locations in MD.
We get it. Basement waterproofing and foundation repair services can be challenging to consider when you’re on a budget. But everyone deserves a home that’s safe. That’s why we offer smart financing options to help make payments easier. View our options and consult with an expert to chart the path that will work best for you and your family.LEARN MORE
“From the very beginning of the transaction, Dave, the owner was honest, upfront and professional in his interactions with me. I am more than pleased with the work but more importantly, his values instilled in me a sense of confidence in small business owners who still believe in doing what is right for customers and providing outstanding customer service. I HIGHLY recommend Mission Home Services!”
“Dave was super responsive and went above and beyond in getting my basement project completed. He kept in regular contact with me on updates to the project, expected delivery of materials, and on permitting status. Very reliable and did a terrific job on my basement retaining wall.”
“First of all, I don’t usually do reviews; however, I was so impressed with the guys at Mission Home Services that I felt the need to let others know. We had them out to inspect our basement and give us an estimate on waterproofing it for future renovations. The representatives gave us a great education on not only how a basement leaks, but also how ours was leaking and the correct method to fix it. We highly recommend this company!”