Foundation Failure & Causes

With time even the strongest foundation can fail, because of poor soil preparation or just poor soil underneath the existing foundation. Not all soil types are equal, some are more suitable for supporting foundations than others. You can obtain soil boring test as a homeowner but those are very expensive and may run in the thousands depending how many holes are being bored. They would tell you what you already know, the soil underneath your foundation is failing to support your foundation.

Main Causes of Foundation Failure

  • Evaporation – Very dry temperature conditions can cause clay soils (majority type of soil in the Chicagoland area) to shrink and leave gaps in your foundation causing it to settle and sink without proper support beneath it, the foundation will continue to sink even after the dry conditions are over.
  • Grading Problems – A poorly graded ground level can cause a foundation to fail by allowing excessive lateral water pressure to bow a homes foundation.
  • Drainage Problems – Improper drainage of rain gutters can cause the soil beneath your home to expand and cause your foundation to fail.
  • Unsuitable Soil Conditions – Causes of foundation failures due to improper soil compaction, allowing for the soil to contract and expand.
  • Trees and Roots – You wouldn’t think a tree can cause damage to your home but if its too close to the foundation the roots will dry up the soil near your foundation and cause your foundation to fail, or even push in your foundation with lateral force.
  • Plumbing Leaks – A plumbing leak can last for years without anyone noticing. The moisture seeping into the soil can create pressure on the foundation, causing your homes foundation to fail.
  • Foundation Not Secured – A foundation that is not properly secured to a floor frame will eventually lean in with time
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