foundation problem.....

krissie55October 20, 2010

If you think your concrete foundation has a problem, ceiling sheet rock cracking, etc., it might be something as simple as keeping foundation watered via using a soaker hose next to house.

Lay of the land may cause house to be higher on one side. Ours is a few inches down in the back, no foundation cracks. Ceiling sheet rock is cracked all across the house.

Had a structural engineer check the house and it was determined front of house stayed more wet than rest of house (ground sloped toward the back). Too dry soil caused the difference.

Do not have a foundation repair place check your house because they want work and may tell you the foundation needs leveling when it does not. Worth every penny to pay a structural engineer, one that has no interest in repair work to check your house. Cost $275 for size house we had checked.

Thought I would pass this along in hopes it may be of help to others.

Now we need to put a soaker hose around the house except the front where yard watering keeps it damp enough. Need to let if slowly drip all the time. Will have house checked again in the spring and see if it has corrected the problem before repairing the sheetrock.

Wet ground swells and will make the difference.

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OK, I'll bite, how would dry soil have any effect on a concrete foundation or interior drywall? Is this some kind of unusual slab on grade over expansive soil condition?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:08AM
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Macy, the following URLs will explain it better than I can.

The articles explain how it affects drywall, etc.

Our house is on clay soil in Texas.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 7:07PM
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You forgot to post the URL's.

Anyway, I read about this somewhere. They argue that keeping the soil moisture conditions more constant (clay soil) limits the cycle of heave & settlement, etc. (But I'd hate to see the water bill.)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 11:55PM
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My initial question is this. Is your house on a slab or is there a basement?

You can often actually see the clay soil pull away from a foundation is really dry conditions even here in Kansas City.

Several experts locally recommend watering your foundation during extremely long dry periods is you have a fully enclosed basement and the soil is high in clay content.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 12:49AM
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This is only an issue in expansive clay soils. The idea that wet soil would swell is unheard of in most of the U.S. Where I live a site with expansive clay would not be considered buildable for a home.

Since there are so many special design issues to consider when designing and building a foundation in this kind of soil, I am surprised that owners and builders are not aware of the ongoing requirements to avoid foundation movement.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 8:38AM
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"...ongoing requirements to avoid foundation movement."

Required by who/what?

Without an enforceable code requirement the minimum gets done.

By the time damage shows up the builder is long gone and uniquely to be held accountable (the shell company has no assets anyway).

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:29AM
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Sorry about not posting the URLs.

I found one of the URLs again and it explain what happens when houses are built on clay soil. Yes, clay soil does swell.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 6:44PM
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There are requirements for soil compaction and condition locally. Much of the soil is clay. There are precautions that are built minto the building codes.

HYowever, there is no way the codes can cover many years of weather conditions that can cause soil to become excessively wet or dry. Or what happens when houses are not maintained.

Example the house I now live in has a full basement. Built in 1965. The builder built the house and correctly landscaped the yard to channel rain water around the house. It is down hill from three blocks of houses. He installed heavy duty gutters routed into individual french drains. The house is also on septic with a fairly small leach field.

After building the hoiuse, he found he had improperly designed the interior stairs. There was not enough space to allow large objects to make the turn at the bottom.

He then dug down on the north side and cut a door in the basement wall, covering it with a bilco door and cover.

The several occupants since then did not adequately maintain the gutters. That caused fairly severe leaks duing a hard rain. One occupant had DryMoc applied in several coats to the interior. That makes the neatest huge bubbles when the water leaks through.

My fix? Clean and protect the gutters from clogging and remove the debris around the foundatiuon. (the last occupants mowed the grass now and then and neglected all exterior maintenance for 5 years. The privet hedges were 30' tall.)

I properly covered the window wells, and fixed the leaks in the bilko door cover.

I also scraped the loose Dry Loc off the walls, since it was useless.

Heavy clay soil, septic tanks in the yard/all neighbors yards. With proper design and the correct maintenance, the basement is now dry during the same heavy rains that used to cause an inch of water in part of the basement.

So, it is entirely possible to successfully build in any soil condition. Often the cost is prohibitive for some kinds of features. Like basements in many parts of Oklahoma and Texas. It can be done, but is cost prohibitive.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:40AM
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