The Art and Science of Construction

Dealing With Foundation Settlement In A Slab-On-Grade Home

Foundation settlement is a common issue that homeowners may face, especially in slab-on-grade homes. It can lead to various structural problems and impact the value of your property. 

What Causes Foundation Settlement?

Foundation settlement occurs when there is a downward movement or sinking of the foundation. This issue has various causes, including soil composition, improper construction techniques, and fluctuations in soil volume due to freezing and thawing cycles.

Determining the severity of foundation settlement helps guide appropriate actions for remediation. A structural engineer provides valuable insights into evaluating how much settling has occurred and whether it poses significant risks to your home's structural integrity.

How Do You Recognize The Signs Of Foundation Settlement?

Visual indicators play an important role in identifying potential foundation settlement issues. Keep an eye out for cracks in exterior brickwork or stucco finishes that are wider at the top than at the bottom. Performing a preliminary inspection can help you gauge the extent of foundation settlement. Look for any noticeable changes or shifts in your home's structure, such as cracks in concrete slabs or walls, separations between walls and ceilings, or doors and windows that no longer align properly.

When assessing foundation settlement accurately, consulting with a structural expert is highly recommended. These professionals have the knowledge and expertise to evaluate your home's foundation using specialized tools and techniques. They can uncover underlying issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye and guide the homeowner in the appropriate course of action.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Foundation Settlement?

Damage to your home's framework might be caused by foundation settlement. As settling continues, it can lead to uneven weight distribution, further exacerbating cracks and gaps in your foundation, walls, or floors. This instability compromises the stability of your entire house.

Foundation settlement issues can negatively impact your property value as potential buyers may be wary of investing in a home with unresolved structural problems. It is essential to address these foundation issues promptly before they worsen and potentially decrease the market value of your property.

Is Foundation Settlement Reversible?

Fortunately, many cases of foundation settlement are reversible through various repair methods depending on the severity of the issue. These methods include underpinning techniques like helical piers, push piers, or slab jacking, which aim to lift the foundation back to its original position.

Addressing foundation settlement is not just about fixing the immediate problem but also ensuring long-term stability. This may involve implementing preventative measures such as managing moisture levels around your home's foundation, properly grading the soil to redirect water away from the house, and maintaining a regular maintenance schedule.

Contact a local contractor to learn more about concrete foundations.