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How Expansive Clay Soils Damage Your Foundation 

While expansive clay soil is common throughout the U.S, it can be detrimental to a home’s foundation and landscaping. As a homeowner, it’s important to know how to look for signs that you live in an area with expansive clay soil and what you can do to avoid damage.

As foundation repair professionals, Groundworks has the expertise to help you identify signs of expansive clay soil and address the damage to your foundation. 

What are Expansive Clay Soils?

Expansive clay soils are types of soils that expand when exposed to significant moisture. Clay minerals in the soil can absorb water and expand, causing the soil to swell. On the other hand, when the soil dries out, it contracts and shrinks. 

Soils rich in silt or clay have the greatest swelling potential and therefore the greatest potential for foundation damage. They can cause foundation settlement, heaving, and cracks which are costly to repair.

On the other hand, when summer rolls around and heat increases, the soil dries out and contracts. This plays out in a sort of slow, pulsating motion that wears away at your foundation throughout the year in different ways.

Why Does Clay Soil Expand?

Clay soil expands due to unique characteristics of the minerals in the clay. Clay particles have a high surface area and a negative charge, allowing them to attract and hold water molecules. When water is absorbed, the clay particles swell, and the soil expands.  

Signs of Expansive Clay Soil

If you are unsure whether you have expansive clay soil, here are a few tell-tale signs to look out for: 

  1. Cracks in basement walls  
  2. Cracks in foundation 
  3. Sloping or sagging floors 
  4. Tilting or cracking walls 

Should I Worry about Expansive Clay Soils?

Yes, it’s important to assess whether you live in an area with expansive clay soils. If not addressed, the soil’s expansion and contraction can cause significant damage to structures and landscapes over time.  

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Ways to Prevent Damage from Expansive Clay Soils

  1. Proper Grading: Ensure proper grading to direct water away from structures and prevent water accumulation. 
  2. Drainage Systems: Install an effective interior drainage systems to prevent water from adding pressure to your foundation walls.  
  3. Wall Stabilization: If expansive soils are causing foundation walls to bow, consider installing wall stabilization tools, like wall anchors or the IntelliBrace ™ beam system. 
  4. Consult Professionals: Consult with professionals like those at Groundworks for assessments and solutions tailored to your specific needs. 

Being proactive in addressing expansive clay soils is essential to mitigate potential issues and ensure the stability of structures and landscapes.  

Contact Groundworks to Save Your Foundation Today

If you suspect your foundation is suffering from expansive clay soil, contact Groundworks for a free inspection and quote. Our professionals will assess your foundation for signs of damage and recommend the appropriate foundation repair solutions.  

Prevent Further Damage! Connect with a Local Groundworks Company Today.

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Leah Leitow

Leah Leitow

Content Writer

Leah is a Content Writer for Groundworks with nearly ten years of experience working in the foundation repair industry. Her experience ranges from working with homeowners to find the right solution to training inspectors and staff. In her background as a Michigan journalist, she gained invaluable insight into people's lives throughout our state. Leah lives in metro Detroit with her husband and two sons.