Foundation Problems vs. Foundation Settling: What Is the Difference?
Many customers ask us about the difference between foundation problems vs. settling. Foundations can be constructed in many different ways using piers, spread footings, and pilings, but most homes in Texas are made of concrete poured on steel. Sometimes the foundation settles and remains sturdy for years to come. Other times foundation problems develop that require immediate attention. A good foundation does more than just hold your house above the ground. It also insulates against the cold, keeps moisture out, and holds fast against the movement of the earth around it.
What Is Settling?
“House settling” is a term used to describe natural wear-and-tear of a foundation over time. It’s normal for homes to sink a bit further down into the ground, no matter how well a foundation has been constructed – especially given the climate and soil type of Texas.
Over-excavating and inadequate back-filling can result in some settling, but the biggest contributor is the natural expansion and contraction of the soil. As the clay in our soil gets exposed to cycles of moisture and dryness, some shifting and compacting will inevitably occur.
Roughly one-quarter of all homes in America are affected by this type of settling, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many of these homes will be okay, but an estimated 10 percent of these homes will experience severe foundation issues as a result. The rates of occurrence are much higher in the DFW area.
House Settling vs. Foundation Problems
Signs of house settling that do NOT necessarily indicate foundation problems include the following. If you see any of these, do not hesitate to call as it could also be a foundation issue.
- You observe thin, hairline cracks, less than 1/4 inch wide.
- Tiny cracks appear in an L-shaped section of foundation or in the mortar between blocks.
- The cracks in your home do not appear to be growing longer or wider.
- There are no other warning signs besides a few cracks here and there.
Do You Have A Faulty Foundation?
It can be hard to believe, but brand-new homes sometimes end up with foundation failures within the first five years. We see this a lot of times when a home was built during a particularly rainy season when the soil is as swollen as it can get, followed by a period of extreme drought, where clay can retract, causing the house to plummet up to five inches within a few months.
Sometimes a home has undiagnosed issues caused by plumbing problems, over-watering plants, or improper sloping and drainage away from the foundation. Contractors can contribute to foundation failure when they rush the curing of the concrete, interrupt the concrete pouring process, or have not firmly tamped down the soil before adding the concrete.
You can tell it is foundation problems vs. settling when:
- There are wide cracks, greater than ¼ inch in width, or bulging walls.
- You note jagged cracks running from the foundation at a 45-degree angle.
- The doors and windows of your home are sticking for no apparent reason.
- The top story of your home exhibits cracks above door and window frames.
- There are stair-stepping cracks in the brick veneer of your home.
Worried About Foundation Problems or Settling in Dallas, Tx?
Contact us at Align Foundation Repair to discuss your concerns about possible Dallas foundation problems. A foundation specialist from our family-run business would be happy to come out and take a look, free of charge. We are an A+ Better Business Bureau rated service offering a full range of foundation improvement services to suit your needs and budget.