As a Foundation repair consultant and basement/crawlspace waterproofing expert my job is to help you solve your foundation problems regardless of the cause. Over my 20+ years of foundation inspections I’ve experienced first hand hundreds of examples of foundation failures. Here in the Charlotte/Piedmont area of North Carolina, most of those failures can be attributed to the soil conditions.
CLAY AND EXPANSIVE SOIL
Consider this, your foundation is most probably on poured concrete footers formed by pouring concrete into rebar reinforced forms directly onto the underlying soil and buried with the same soil. Our area around the Charlotte area, and the Piedmont area in general, is a heavy clay based soil. Clay is classified as an “expansive soil” meaning that when it is dry, it contracts and is resistant to penetration by water, a soil condition known as “hydrophobic” or resisting water. This is what happens when we experience drought conditions and it can remove support from under your home’s footers or its very foundation. When clay does absorb water it expands and exerts tremendous pressure in all directions (volume expansion up to 10%)… on your footers and the exterior of your basement walls causing heaving and vertical walls to bow. (see diagram)
Bottom line … the soil under and around your home will shrink and expand depending on moisture/temperature variations.
That is one reason why water drainage around your home is ever so important – more about that later. Of course, that is only one of many causes of foundation problems that I can help you with. How to fix it will depend upon your individual circumstances – this is where I can help you decide on the best course of action … no charge!
SOME OTHER INDICATORS YOU MAY HAVE FOUNDATION PROBLEMS …
Sinking/sloping floors and gaps between floors, walls and ceiling – as indicated here by the floor actually separating from the room walls leaving a gap between the floor and wall molding.
Walls bowing inward – of course this is the classic horizontal basement wall crack that runs along the mortar joint of the cement blocks. As mentioned previously the soil is exerting enough pressure on the exterior of the cement blocks to start pushing the wall inward. If nothing is done to remedy the situation the wall will fail and the homeowner will have a problem 10x worse than a bowed wall.
If you see what you suspect is a foundation problem, don’t wait – call me, Michael, at (704) 787-6972.