Foundation Heave: What is it and What Can You Do?
You’ve noticed that your foundation or slab floor is moving upwards and causing cracks in the walls and floors of your home.
You may have also noticed:
- Cracking on inside walls (common)
- Cracking on outside walls (rare)
- Cracks on the concrete floor slab
- Displaced or tilting slab sections
This movement is called Foundation Heave and is typically caused by unwanted water accumulating in the soil under your home which causes pressure on your foundation. Other causes of heaving include tree roots and pressure from adjacent buildings.
There are four common causes of foundation upheaval:
1. Expansive Soils
A house built on soil with a high clay content will be susceptible to heaving because clay-rich soil expands significantly when it gets wet.
2. Frost Heave
Water increases almost 9% in volume when it freezes so wet soil can expand by that same amount when it gets frozen. When this happens, the pressure it puts on the slab or foundation can cause it to shift and crack. Frost heave can often lift a foundation by several inches or more!
3. Plumbing Leaks
Leaks in plumbing lines that run underneath a slab or through a foundation wall can leave moisture. Over time, the moisture can cause the soils underneath the foundation to expand. This moisture can come from supply lines, waste lines, or even HVAC systems.
4. Prolonged Or Heavy Precipitation
Too much precipitation combined with too little drainage away from the house will lead to increased moisture underneath your foundation. Moisture that comes into contact with expansive soil can result in the heaving of your foundation and slabs. Precipitation can also cause an expansion in the soils on the sides of your foundation leading to bowing and buckling walls.
Before doing any repairs to your foundation, it’s important to have the problem officially diagnosed as heaving. The cracks caused by heaving can easily be misread as foundation settlement because the symptoms are often similar. Start by having an experienced foundation specialist inspect your issue and identify the cause of your problem. Once the problem is correctly identified, a customized solution can be proposed to repair the damage and address the cause of the issue.
If you're concerned about your home's foundation, now is the perfect time to let TerraFirma inspect your home for foundation heave. Contact us today to schedule your free evaluation!