The foundations of your property are essential to its overall health and stability. Yet from time to time, these foundations can fail – resulting in damage to your home and often significant expense to help fix the problem.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how and why foundations fail – and the signs to look out for!
What are foundations for?
Foundations give the property support. They are inherently structural and provide stability and integrity to the property. Yet this doesn’t mean they are infallible.
Types of failure include:
General sheer failure
This foundational failure will include a well-defined pattern and failure load. Identifying markers will include soil bulging and the event is likely to be abrupt and highly noticeable.
Foundation tilting is likely, and this is often seen in clay or denser sands, particularly within shallow depths.
Punching sheer failure
The pattern of this foundation failure will be hard to define and lack a pattern. There will be no bulging of the surrounding soil, and it is generally not a catastrophic incident. No tilting is observed on-site, and this can happen in soft clay and sand of any depth.
Local sheer failure
Tilting of the foundations is sometimes present, but other times it is not. The failure can occur at variable depths, with other aspects including the failure load equally ill-defined.
However, a key characteristic is the absence of catastrophic collapse.
What causes foundation failure?
The reasons for failure vary wildly but include transpiration from nearby trees and vibrations from nearby construction work.
There are other problems that can occur, such as:
- Sub-soil moisture
One of the most common reasons for foundation failure, this option occurs when the groundwater fluctuates frequently. It can lead to uneven pressure, which impacts the foundations and sometimes leads them to fail.
- Soil settlement or uneven loading
If the soil is settled unevenly, cracks can start to develop and over time, foundation reinforcements can corrode. This is usually the result of uneven load distribution, which results in an uneven distribution of stress below the building.
- Soil type and compaction
Different foundation areas are placed on top of different types of soil. Ground investigations, if thorough, can identify displacement of soil and water and help prevent foundation failure.
There are a few common reasons why the foundations of your home fail and ways this problem presents itself. It’s a good idea to understand each so you can evaluate your personal level of risk.