What Weather Conditions Can do to Foundations
In many cases, weather conditions are the primary factor contributing to foundation damage and foundation failure. This is unfortunate given that the weather conditions where you live is something that is completely out of your control. Nevertheless, by understanding how weather conditions affect your foundation, you can take steps to keep it from being damaged as well as take the right steps to repair damage after it has already occurred. Below, we’ll take a look at what effect various weather conditions can have on foundations to help you better understand the relationship between your home’s foundation and the weather that it is exposed to.
Heat and Drought
Water is the element most associated with damaging foundations. However, a lack of water can be quite damaging to your foundation as well. Every foundation has moisture inside the concrete. During the hot summer months, this moisture can be heated up to the point of evaporation. When the moisture in your concrete evaporates, it can create cracks and weaken your foundation.
The drying out of the soil that your foundation rests on can create problems as well. When the moisture in the soil beneath your foundation evaporates, it reduces the density of the soil. This means your foundation won’t have as much support, which can cause it to settle and incur damage.
Excessive rainfall is hard on a home’s foundation. If the soil beneath your foundation is saturated by rainfall, it can become soft and mushy and unable to support your foundation, leading to settling.
If there are any gaps or cracks in your foundation already, rain water may seep through them. This can cause flooding in your basement as well cause the gaps and cracks in your foundation to grow larger.
During the winter, if it grows cold enough to freeze the water that has seeped into the cracks of your foundation, the freezing water will widen the cracks as well. When water freezes, it expands in volume, pushing out on the sides of the cracks in your foundation and widening them.
If you don’t have a good drainage system in place that carries excess water away from your foundation, all of these problems are exasperated. Putting in French drains that are designed to give water a downhill path away from your foundation is the most common solution to avoiding foundation damage from excess water.
Dramatic swings in temperature – even if they are over a prolonged period of time – can damage your foundation. When things are cold they contract and when they are hot they expand. The same holds true for your foundation, which may contract during the winter months and expand when the weather turns warm again in an ongoing process. This continuous cycle of contracting and expanding can cause any cracks that might be present in your foundation to grow larger over time.
The soil beneath your foundation may experience the same contraction and expansion, especially if it is a soil that is susceptible to temperature changes such as clay. As the soil beneath your foundation contracts and expands, it may cause your foundation to settle.
When the weather turns violent, your entire home is at risk – including your foundation. While some types of natural disasters such as tornadoes and fires will only damage your home above the foundation, other types of natural disasters can pose a serious risk to your foundation as well.
Floods can lead to an enormous amount of water in and beneath your foundation, washing away the soil that your home is resting on in a matter of hours and dramatically increasing the size of any cracks that may already be present in your foundation.
While not especially common in Texas, earthquakes do sometimes occur in the state, and these can be quite damaging to your foundation. Even if an earthquake does not feel all that severe, the disturbance in the ground can still enlarge any cracks or gaps in your foundation while also potentially causing the soil beneath your foundation to settle. Of course, severe earthquakes can destroy a foundation entirely.
Lastly, sinkholes caused by poor soil and erosion due to excess rainfall can sometimes come out of nowhere, dragging your foundation down with them. If your foundation is built on good soil, sinkholes shouldn’t be a concern. However, they do pose a threat to foundations that are built on soil where the bedrock is made of limestone, salt deposits, or carbonate rock.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to protect your home entirely against natural disasters such as these. The best you can do is build a sturdy foundation on good soil and hope that a serious natural disaster never strikes.
What to do if Your Foundation has Been Damaged by the Weather
If your foundation has incurred damage due to any of the weather conditions mentioned above, it’s important to repair the damage as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more serious the damage is likely to become.
If you would like to learn more about how the foundation repair experts at Abry Brothers can help repair your damaged foundation, we invite you to contact us today.