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Sinking Foundation: Signs, Causes & Solutions

Got a sinking feeling about your home’s foundation? Don’t ignore it—your home’s stability could be at stake. We’ll demystify sinking foundations and show you how to spot the warning signs, causes, and—most importantly—how to fix it. Act now to save your home from serious damage. 

What is a Sinking Foundation? 

A sinking foundation refers to a situation where the soil beneath a building’s foundation settles unevenly, causing the foundation to sink and become unlevel. While a certain degree of settlement is normal and to be expected, beyond a small threshold, this settlement can lead to various structural issues that require prompt attention. 

Signs Include: 

  • Uneven floors: If you notice that your floors are no longer level or have started to slope, it could be a sign of a sinking foundation.  
  • Floor cracks: Cracks in your floor, especially those that are wider than 1/8 inch, can indicate foundation settlement. 
  • Sticking doors and windows: When doors and windows become difficult to open or close, it may be due to a sinking foundation causing misalignment. 
  • Cracked exterior bricks: Cracks in the exterior brickwork can clearly indicate foundation settlement. 
  • Cracked or tilting chimney: A sinking foundation can cause the chimney to crack or tilt, posing a safety risk. 

What Causes a Sinking Foundation? 

There are several common causes behind a sinking foundation. Understanding these causes can help you identify potential issues and take preventive measures. 

Soil Expansion 

Changes in soil moisture content can cause soil expansion, leading to foundation settlement. This is particularly common in areas with clay soils that expand when wet and shrink when dry. A particularly wet season followed by a dry spell can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to a foundation.  

Poor Drainage 

Improper drainage around your home can accumulate excess water near the foundation. This can weaken the soil, causing it to compress and the foundation to sink. 

Insufficient Compaction 

If the soil beneath the foundation is not properly compacted during construction, it can gradually settle and cause the foundation to sink. 

Clay Soils 

Clay soils have a high shrink-swell potential, meaning they expand and contract significantly with changes in moisture. This can lead to foundation movement and settlement. 

Nearby Trees 

Large trees located close to your home can cause foundation issues. As trees grow, their roots can extract moisture from the soil, causing it to shrink and the foundation to sink. 

Can You Fix a Sinking Foundation? 

Yes, a sinking foundation can be fixed. It’s crucial to consult with a professional foundation repair company to assess the extent of the damage and recommend the most suitable solution for your specific situation. 

How to Repair a Sinking Foundation 

There are several effective methods to repair a sinking foundation. The appropriate solution will depend on factors such as the severity of the settlement and the type of foundation. 

Push Piers 

Push piers are installed beneath the foundation to lift and stabilize it. They are driven deep into the ground until they reach stable soil, providing long-term support. 

Helical Piers 

Similar to push piers, helical piers are screwed into the ground to stabilize the foundation. They are often used when the soil conditions are unsuitable for push piers. 

Slab Piers 

Slab piers are specifically designed for concrete slab foundations. They are installed beneath the slab to provide support and prevent further sinking. 

Why Address Sinking Foundations Now 

Delay is the enemy when it comes to sinking foundations. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more serious and extensive the damage could become, leading to a series of unwelcome consequences for both your wallet and your peace of mind.  

Contact Mount Valley Foundation Services for Sinking Foundation Solutions 

If you suspect your foundation is sinking, don’t hesitate to contact Mount Valley Foundation Services. Our team of experienced professionals specializes in foundation repair and can provide you with a free inspection and effective solutions tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and ensure the stability of your home. 

FAQs

Prevention is always better than cure! To minimize the risk of future foundation sinking, focus on proper drainage to keep water away from your foundation. Regularly clean your gutters and ensure downspouts direct water several feet away from your home. Maintain consistent soil moisture levels by using a soaker hose during dry periods. Consider installing root barriers if you have large trees near your home. Lastly, promptly address any small foundation issues before they escalate into bigger, costlier problems. Mount Valley Foundation Services is happy to provide preventive consultations to help keep your foundation rock-solid. 

Homeowner’s insurance policies differ, but most standard policies do not cover foundation repair unless specific, covered events like flooding or earthquakes cause the damage. It’s crucial to check your insurance policy and speak with your agent to understand what is and isn’t covered. Mount Valley Foundation Services can help guide you through the insurance maze and provide documentation you may need for claims. 

The cost of fixing a sinking foundation can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the settlement, the chosen repair method, and the size of the foundation. Our experts will provide a free consultation and estimate to ensure you are fully informed of all the nuances included in foundation repair. 

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