Cracks in a home or building’s foundation can be more than just the soil unsettling. These issues are often the first warning signs of underlying problems that can compromise the integrity of your property. Have you ever noticed those subtle lines snaking across your basement walls or creeping up from the floor? These are underlying signs that certified professionals can point out to determine issues that affect the stability of your home’s foundation.
HD Foundations stands out as the premier experts in foundation repair in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Our expertise, unwavering commitment, and many years of hands-on experience have earned our reputation as the go-to specialists for repairing cracks in the foundation and other related concerns.
Our track record speaks volumes, as we have successfully addressed and resolved many foundation challenges of over 2,900 structures, ensuring homes across DFW stand on solid ground. In this guide, we review what causes foundation cracks, exploring the silent issues that can become more significant concerns in the long term.
Why Do Foundations Crack?
From shifting soil to moisture infiltration, the causes of foundation cracks are as diverse as they are potentially damaging. Understanding these triggers is crucial for homeowners looking to safeguard their investments.
Over the years, fissures have ordinarily been created by a number of different things in North Texas. While there are many different types of foundation issues, fractures are some of the most damaging. It pays to find out more about it.
What Causes Foundation Cracks?
Soil movement, plumbing leaks, soil compaction, and tree root damage are some of the most common causes of foundation issues in the DFW area. Here are some important facts that homeowners and businesses should be aware of.
Soil movement is one of the most common reasons why foundations crack in Texas homes. Any kind of motion in the earth can create fissures. Given long periods of time, all the foundations crack. How much it shifts is dependent on many things including what type of soil your structure is built on.
Depending upon where your structure is located, it may be constructed on clay soil, sandy soil, or loamy soil. HD Foundations can help stop this type of damage from getting worse. Cracks commonly occur in clay soils, which is pretty common in Fort Worth.
This type of soil tends to expand when they’re wet and then when it’s hot, they’ll contract and develop crevices. This back-and-forth motion can lead to cracking and other foundation issues.
Sandy soils are also called “loose” soils. This is because their particles are not densely packed together. As a result, they drain quite easily and don’t hold water. Loamy waters are “medium” weight soils that fall in between the other two types of soils.
As a general rule, expansive soils are the type that causes the most problems for property owners. If you don’t know what type of soil your foundation is resting on, a soil engineer can test the soil to determine how expansive it is. It’s important to remember that even a very small amount of movement can greatly affect your foundation.
Under-slab leaks can create all kinds of foundation cracks. Indications of plumbing leaks include:
- Wet patches in your carpet
- Tiny bubbles coming up from your floor crevices
- A water bill that is much higher than usual
- Foundation cracks that tend to get worse
Plumbing leaks cause problems because they allow the soil under your foundation to get wet. Effect: This leads to soil expansion, particularly if your house or structure is positioned on expansive soils. It’s a common cause of foundation cracks.
Of course, no matter what type of soil your house is constructed on, moisture under the foundation will cause damage. If you think you may have an under slab plumbing leak, you should contact a licensed plumber right away and ask them to perform a hydrostatic test on your plumbing in order to determine where the problem lies.
The sooner you have the leak fixed, the sooner your problems will stop multiplying. Once the leaks have been repaired, you may need to have a contractor stop by to evaluate your property for fractures and other forms of damage.
Improper Soil Compaction
Unfortunately, some home builders do not spend the necessary amount of time and money needed to ensure that the homes they build are constructed on soil that has been properly prepared. Ordinary causes of fractures in your foundation should be addressed by HD Foundations because we can help stop damage.
It is essential that soil be properly compacted (or smashed down) before a house is built on it. If a structure is built on a landfill or soil that has not been packed down with great force, it will eventually start to “settle” or slowly sink into the ground.
Once the structure has been placed on the site, the only way to deal with this problem is to have foundation piers installed where necessary to prevent the house from sinking further. A foundation repair contractor can tell you what type of piers would best solve your problem, how many should be installed, and where they should be placed.
Researchers from Stanford University have mapped over 250 faults around the DFW area. Most are susceptible to earthquakes, with some faults extending to many populated regions of the metroplex.
Earthquakes can exert immense stress on a building or home’s foundations. This stress can lead to foundation movement, settling, and the development of cracks in walls and floors. This means the risk of property damage is elevated in densely populated areas, such as Dallas-Fort Worth.
Homeowners should seek professional help upon noticing foundation issues, as experts can assess the extent of damage, identify the underlying causes, and recommend tailored solutions. Professional intervention is crucial because improperly addressed foundation problems may worsen over time, jeopardizing the structural integrity of homes or buildings.
Timely and expert intervention ensures that appropriate measures are taken to mitigate earthquake-related risks and preserve the stability of the foundation, safeguarding the overall safety and longevity of the structure.
Trees and Tree Roots
Stubborn tree roots commonly cause a great deal of cracking in house foundations. Fortunately, our team at HD Foundations can be of assistance. If you’re having issues, please give us a call.
Tree roots are very strong and exert tremendous force on your foundation. When tree roots wind their way under your foundation, they can create “upheaval”, which means that your foundation is pushed upwards and will eventually bend and crack. For this reason it is important to make sure that any trees are planted at a considerable distance from your property.
To find out how far away they should be placed, just consult an expert at your local plant nursery. To find out more, contact HD Foundations about your cracks. It’s best to terminate any form of fractures right away because it preserves your property and saves you money down the line.
Poor Foundation Design and Construction Practices
Both poor foundation design and poor construction practices can contribute to foundation issues and are closely related aspects of the construction process.
Some of the issues you should be aware of include:
- Inadequate Site Analysis: If the foundation design doesn’t consider the specific soil conditions of the site in the DFW area, it may lead to problems. Different soils have varying levels of expansion and contraction, and a lack of understanding of these characteristics can result in an improper foundation design.
- Improper Load Distribution: Foundations must be designed to distribute the structure’s load evenly across the supporting soil. If the design does not consider load distribution, certain foundation areas may be subjected to excessive stress.
- Failure to Account for Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as climate, water table levels, and potential seismic activity must be considered in foundation design. Ignoring these factors can lead to foundation vulnerability.
- Use of Substandard Materials: Low-quality concrete, steel, or other materials in the foundation can compromise its structural integrity.
According to a Risk Factor report, Dallas and Fort Worth communities have a 26% chance of flooding within the next 30 years. For this reason, homeowners and businesses should plan for these catastrophic events and reinforce their property’s foundation.
Flooding poses a significant threat to a home’s foundation, whether from a storm, leaks, poor drainage, or other sources. Excessive water creates hydrostatic pressure, exerting force on the foundation. When this pressure becomes overwhelming, it can lead to an array of issues, such as increased leaks, the development of more cracks, and a heightened risk of structural problems.
The hydrostatic pressure not only weakens the foundation but can also compromise its ability to support the structure above, making it crucial to address drainage issues, waterproofing, and other preventative measures to safeguard against the detrimental impact of flooding on a home’s foundation.
According to news reports, the summer of 2023 is one of the hottest in many years in Fort Worth. The temperature has reached over 100 degrees and is sometimes hotter in many areas in the metroplex, double the average in Dallas summers.
Extreme heat can contribute to foundation cracks as concrete undergoes expansion and contraction. The concrete expands due to the heat when exposed to intense sunlight during the day. As temperatures cool overnight, the concrete contracts and reverts to its original position. This cyclic process of expansion and contraction can induce stress on the foundation over time, leading to the development of cracks.
Repeated thermal movements weaken the concrete, and this phenomenon becomes more pronounced in regions with consistently high temperatures, like in Dallas. Homeowners in areas prone to extreme heat should be attentive to potential foundation issues, as cracks may compromise the structural integrity of their homes. Seeking professional assistance is advisable to address and prevent further damage.
Even though frost heaving is less likely to occur in the DFW metroplex than in other places, it is still essential to be aware of this potential threat. Frost heave poses a threat to concrete foundations, especially in winter. As temperatures drop, the soil freezes and expands, causing upward movement.
This upheaval displaces the ground beneath the foundation, resulting in cracks. Floors may tilt or become destabilized. Damage escalates when temperatures consistently fall below 40°F, emphasizing the importance of addressing frost heave issues promptly to prevent structural damage.
Work with Seasoned DFW Foundation Experts
To know more and stop the common causes of foundation cracks that have an impact on Dallas, Fort Worth property owners, contact HD Foundations. If you think that you need to have your property inspected, don’t delay in letting us know.
We’ll be happy to stop by and evaluate your foundation and tell you what we find. We know a lot about dealing with crevices and can fix any damage you may have. Request free foundation repair estimates online today or give us a call.