How Does Soil Affect Your Foundation?

Did you know that the type of soil on your property can greatly impact the stability of your foundation? Soil may vary based on region, climate, and history of a property. Different types of soil react uniquely to moisture and flooding.

Whether you are preparing for new construction or trying to determine how to best repair your foundation, understanding your soil type is an important step! DFW Foundation Repair can help you assess soil types in your region and design an appropriate plan for your foundation.

Common Types of Soil

Some of the most common types of soil include:

Peat – A softer soil usually composed of decaying vegetation and water. It is unstable and not good for supporting foundations.

Clay – This soil is highly expansive and is easily molded when wet. It is composed of very small particles and swells and retracts easily.

Silt – A soft-to-the-touch soil that retains moisture, it is not good at draining and can continuously swell against foundations.

Sand or gravel – There are large spaces between particles, preventing the retaining of moisture. This can be good for foundations so long as particles aren’t washed out.

Loam – Made up of sand, clay, and silt, this is ideal for supporting foundations. It is well balanced for moisture absorption.

Rock – Made up of bedrock, sandstone, limestone, or another rock. It is solid and doesn’t absorb moisture, as long as it is properly prepared.

Reasons Your Foundation is Failing

Common causes of foundation damage include:

  • Evaporation – Dry temperatures can cause the soil beneath to shrink leaving the foundation without solid support beneath it.
  • Transpiration – If you have trees or many plants near your home, they can take the moisture from the soil below the foundation and leave it dried out.
  • Leaks from plumbing – The plumbing system can leak for years without anyone noticing. The moisture seeping into the soil can create pressure on the foundation.
  • Drainage issues – Improper draining of rain gutters or French drains can cause the soil beneath the building to expand and rupture the foundation.
  • Poor construction of foundation – If your foundation did not have the proper amount of steel or rebar when it was made, it can impact how long it lasts.
  • Soil not properly prepared – If the soil was not leveled and properly compacted before the foundation was laid, the soil can shift and cause problems with the foundation.
  • Poor soil conditions – One of the top causes of foundation failures is improperly compacted soil or soil with poor density. It allows for the soil to expand and retract creating damage to the foundation.