Expansive Soil

How expanding soils affects foundation walls.

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Straight Talk About Foundation Soils

The soils around your foundation can put a lot of pressure on your foundation walls! The amount of pressure will vary depending three factors:

Bowed Basement-Wall
  • The types of soil around the home
  • How much moisture is in the soil
  • How deep underground the foundation is built

Since foundation walls are designed to support loads from above rather than lateral (sideways) loads, expanding soil can cause foundation problems.

Backfill soil behaves differently than the un-excavated, “virgin soils” farther away from the foundation. Backfill soil typically absorbs more water and expands more, exerting pressure against the foundation.

When the pressure from outside the basement walls is greater than the wall can handle, the wall will begin to crack, bow, and push inwards.

Factors such as expansive clays, hydrostatic pressure, and freezing water can create too much stress on basement walls, causing them to push forward and even collapse entirely over time.

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