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What Causes Foundation Settlement?

Stair-step cracks in foundation wall

Foundation settlement, the downward movement of a home’s foundation due to changes in underlying soil conditions, can significantly affect your home’s stability and safety.

You might believe your home rests on solid ground. The reality is that the soil beneath it comprises various layers, each with distinct properties that can shift and change over time, impacting your foundation.

This article explores three primary reasons for foundation settlement and the methods Groundworks uses to prevent and repair damage.

Top 3 Causes of Foundation Settlement

1. Wetting and Softening of Soil

Heavy rainfall or melting snow can saturate clay soils, leading to soil erosion and voids that are unable to support the weight of your home. Additionally, infrastructure issues like water main leaks can worsen this problem.

2. Drying and Shrinking Soil

Extended periods of drought or dry weather can cause clay soils to shrink and crack, leading to gaps that can result in foundation settlement. Tree roots can also contribute by drawing moisture away from the soil, further reducing its volume and stability.

3. Poorly Compacted Fill Soil

During construction, fill soil that is less dense than the natural soil is often used to level the ground. If this fill soil is not properly compacted, it can settle under the weight of your home, causing foundation problems. This issue can affect entire neighborhoods.

Warning Signs of Foundation Settlement

Recognizing the signs of foundation settlement early is crucial to prevent further damage. If you notice any of the following, it’s time to take action:

Ignoring these signs can lead to severe structural issues and costly repairs. Prompt attention can mitigate these risks.

Groundworks Solutions for Foundation Settlement

Foundation settlement can be managed effectively with the right solutions. Groundworks offers several methods to repair and prevent foundation damage:

installing foundation piers
  • Piering: This reliable method involves using foundation piers to stabilize and potentially lift the foundation back to its original position. It is especially effective for severe settlement issues.
  • Drainage Improvement: Enhancing drainage around the foundation can prevent future settlement problems. Solutions include regrading the landscape, installing interior drains, and ensuring gutters and downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
  • Root Barriers: Installing barriers to prevent tree roots from extracting moisture from the soil beneath your home helps mitigate soil shrinkage and settlement.

Get a Free Inspection from Groundworks

Fine tuning of a pier being installed in the ground.

Concerned about foundation settlement? Don’t wait for the problem to escalate. Groundworks offers free inspections to evaluate your foundation’s condition and provide the best repair solutions tailored to your home.

Our professionals are equipped to handle everything from minor fixes to major repairs, ensuring your home remains secure and stable. Contact Groundworks today to schedule your free inspection and secure a stable foundation for your home.

Foundaiton Settlement FAQs

Yes, areas with expansive clay soils, high water tables, or poor drainage systems are more prone to foundation settlement issues.

The duration of foundation repair depends on the extent of the damage and the repair method used. A professional inspection can provide a more accurate timeline, but usually, repairs can be completed within a few days.

Yes, unresolved foundation settlement can significantly decrease your home’s value due to the potential for structural issues and costly repairs.

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.