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shifting soil

How to Save the House from Shifting Soil

Even straws break the backs of camels. So also the foundation of houses can be dislodged significantly by the phenomenon of shifting soil. Usually, for certain reasons such as increased moisture, the soil can get very unstable and as a result unfit to bear the weight of the whole building. In such scenario, the foundation often settles and changes its configuration, and ultimately collapses.

The Mechanism of Soil Dislodgement

There are a number of factors that can lead to the dislodgement of soil. Very often the cause is the composition of the soil. The nature of the soil has a way of determining how much moisture the soil can absorb and its tendency to get loose. So when the rains come on, the soil easily expands and becomes less compact enough to hold the foundation of the building.

Also, the presence of organic materials and decaying stuff in the soil has its own way of depreciating the capacity of the soil to withstand the strain. As the materials decompose, they mix with the soil in such a way that the overall strength of the soil is averaged between the compost and the soil itself.  With time the effect of soil shifting starts getting observed.

It is important to mention that sometimes, the soil defies the study of experts to ascertain if they are healthy enough to carry the foundations. It turns out it is not so easy to identify the faults with the soil.

There are some measures that are often taken to prevent the eventual state of soil shifting. One of such measure is the loading of asphalt in the soil before building the foundation. This is to average the effectual soil density to a high value and thereby reducing the chance of a shift in the soil. There are other preventive measures also, such as channeling off water and replacing of soil, that could be adopted in a bid to curtail soil dislodgement.

Returning the Soil to Good Shape

While it might be difficult to predict beforehand that the soil would, once detected that there is some shift in the soil, it is very important to take proactive steps to correct the fault before it degenerates into more critical foundation problems. A very efficient method is the use of helical anchors to peg the foundation to the portions of the ground that has more capacity to withstand the strain. Aside from the very helpful role the anchors play in sustaining the foundation, they are also portable and not cumbersome to manage.


Installation of sloped steps around the building also has its own way of protecting the soil from the possible infestation of moisture. Some homeowners employ retaining walls, nets and meshes, and strategies involving slanting the topography of the environment of the house to control erosion of the soil.

Above all problems homeowners often face, the problem of soil shifting is one that has a peculiarly special place. It has the huge potential of ruining the general structure of the house. But every problem has a solution, and as such there are useful approaches that can be taken in tackling and solving the problem. When effectively handled, the foundation can retain its balance and remain the camel’s back that has yet to carry its last straw.