Expansive clay soils are present in many elements of the nation, including Texas. This type of soil shrinks and cracks when it dries out. When it rains, soils with high clay and silt content don’t allow water to pass through the soil. Instead, water is absorbed and held in the soil, significantly increasing its volume.
Soil and water pressure may cause foundation problems
It’s difficult to assume that soil may damage a material as hard, dense and strong as concrete, but homeowners and foundation repair contractors alike will testify to the destructive power of expansive soils.
So what sort of damage can occur because of expansive soils, and how could it be repaired and/or avoided?
Cracked and buckled walls probably occur more frequently because of expansive soils than other foundation problems losa de cimentación proceso. During a dry spell, clay-rich soil will probably pull away from a base wall, creating a hole that can fill with stone, gravel, loose soil and other debris. Some homeowners even deliberately fill in this shrinkage gap. Nothing bad happens until there’s an extended, soaking rain. Then the additional material in the crack increases pressure on the foundation wall whilst the soil expands. Since there’s not really a balancing volume of expansive soil against the within of the wall, this one-sided pressure can push the wall inward, causing it to crack and bow in sections. Occasionally the building blocks wall will resist cracking or bowing, nevertheless the damage can take the proper execution of tilting. The the top of wall will soon be pushed in by the expansive soil, creating a base that tilts inward.
Soil that shrinks, settles and expands causes slabs, footings and walls to crack
Other site conditions that can donate to foundation problems associated with expansive soils include trees and bushes that displace soil or increase drying and shrinkage by absorbing ground water. Soils rich in clay and silt aren’t just unstable; there is also poor load-bearing characteristics compared to soils which contain sand and gravel. Foundation footings and slabs built on clay-rich soil can heave in a reaction to wet conditions or settle because of excessive shrinkage. In either case, cracks in foundation slabs, footings and walls will probably accompany heaving and settlement, since concrete can’t stretch or bend.
Foundation repair contractors overcome soil problems with special tools, materials and techniques
To a homeowner, the sort of foundation damage stated earlier looks severe. But a skilled foundation repair contractor sees a way to stabilize difficult soil and connect the building foundation to solid, stable soil at greater depth.
Different techniques may be used stabilize the soil that surrounds a residence or commercial building. Since water is why is clay-rich soil swell and shrink, among the first things foundation repair contractors do is to check on the event of gutters, downspouts and general drainage around the house. Moving water away from the building blocks is a reliable way to limit soil movement, protecting the building blocks from soil’s expansive pressure.
If the soil has shrunk or settled, evoking the masonry to crack and sink, soil stabilization might be accomplished by driving helical piers in to the soil. The helical flanges (or plates) on these steel piers are shaped such as the threads on a wood screw, and function in an identical way. Because the contractor turns the shank of the pier, the helical plates pull the pier deeper in to the soil. The contractor could add pier sections to be able to reach stable soil under the damaged foundation. When the pier’s resistance to rotation reaches a predetermined level, the contractor knows that the pier is solidly anchored, and can provide the stable support the building blocks has been lacking. A bracket is installed to connect the pier to the building blocks; this will also enable the contractor to lift a sunken slab, footing or wall back to its original position.