Soil Expansion and Contraction Can Do Extensive Damage To Your Foundation and Structure
Homes built in the Dallas, Fort Worth Metroplex are built on varying types of soil including clay.
Home foundations built on clay can move with the moisture levels in the soil. This movement will cause damage to the foundation that can be minor or in some cases major. The type of foundation and foundation maintenance can determine when and if damage occurs. As part of its service, Realty Inspection Services determines the type of foundation that is in place and if it has sustained any major movement that could lead to damage. They also recommend maintenance procedures to prevent future problems.
There are actually two choices to maintain a stable soil condition, continually wet or dry. Obviously keeping a continuous dry condition is impossible. It really does rain in Texas! So the obvious choice is to keep the soil continually wet.
Moisture levels are affected by hot temperatures, amount of rain received during summer months, amount of moisture added to the soil around the foundation via sprinkler systems or soaker hoses, and plant life added around the foundation. Many homeowners plant foliage next to the home and need to be aware of the possible damage that can result. Plants placed next to the foundation remove moisture from the soil thus causing retraction of soil from the foundation (This moisture wicking process is called transpiration). Realty Inspection Services recommends that homeowners place soaker hoses around their foundations to keep the moisture content of the soil as close to stable as possible year round. Root barriers is another option that may be warrented.
Builders in this Dallas/Fort Worth area prefer to build homes on a post tension slab foundation because they are the most economical. However, in areas with excessively high clay content, good builders will build homes on pier and beam foundations or they will drill to bedrock and fill these drill holes with concrete to form concrete pillars. These concrete pillars support the post tension slab and prevent excessive movement.
Homes built on sand tend to stay stabilized throughout the seasonal changes. Builders in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area also build homes on post tension slabfoundations on sandy soils. Soil that is considered sandy still has some clay content so Realty Inspection Services recommends that homeowners keep the soil around the perimeter of their foundation moist year round to reduce movement.
Homeowners must remember that there is a constant need for maintenance. Foundations are just one of the areas that need regular attention in order for homes to keep their value.
Realty Inspection Services provides all its clients with a complete Maintenance Check List that includes the proper procedures to keep foundations in good repair.
Realty Inspection Services inspects all foundations to the extent of the Texas Real Estate Commission standards. If any home has movement that causes concern Realty Inspection Services will recommend Homeowners seek a Structural Engineer to examine the elevation of the foundation throughout the home to determine if excessive movement has occurred.
The first line of defense in buying or maintaining a home is a competent, professional home inspector. Realty Inspection Service fills the bill.