What is termed as the foundation failure?
Well, it is a situation when the laid foundation recedes below the original level of construction. The failure may be because of many reasons and is visible in the form of cracks and separations in the walls.
Foundation failure causes expansions and contractions of the underlying soil. Further, if ignored, it can lead to deterioration of the whole building. Let’s have a quick look on some of the common causes of foundation failure:
Too much water
Accumulation of too much water below the ground and near the foundation can be a leading cause behind foundation failure. There may be various reasons as to why water is getting accumulated near the foundation. It can be due to the poor plumbing system, flood or poor drainage.
Too much water causes the soil to get wet that starts pushing the foundation of the house. Over-saturation causes heaving which then leads to destabilizing of soil. On drying, the soil shrinks. Continuous expansion and shrinkage cause the foundation failure.
Pressure on the walls
The presence of an arch or a pitched roof can also deteriorate your building’s foundation. This is because strong wind transmits lateral pressure on the walls due to which the foundation suffers from the eccentric load and thus falls due to overturning or generation of tensile strength on one side and high compressive pressure on the other side.
If you have herbs and shrubs around the house, this might also be a reason as to why your foundation might fail. This is because the roots of these plants can penetrate towards the foundation soil and absorb moisture, thus, drying the sub-soil.
This dryness increases in summers and can cause a reduction in voids. This causes the ground near the walls to depress. If the soil around the house is very soft, excessive moisture can squeeze out the soil laterally under vertical loads, thus causing the settlement of the foundation.
Further, mature trees which are in close proximity to the house can also cause the foundation to crack. As the trees mature, their roots penetrate deeper within the soil in search of water. The swelling roots thus crack the foundation.
Poor ground preparations
The cut and fill situation also causes the settlement to fail. Sometimes soil from one side is picked and stacked on the other. This loosens the soil beneath the foundation and leads to unexpected movements.
Lose and improper compacted, soft and low-density soil can then cause the foundation to settle. Poor workmanship during construction such as leaking roofs, cracked floor tiles, shedding paint, and improper drainage can also cause the foundation to fail.
Soil texture and its type also play an important role in determining your building’s foundation. In summers, the soil tends to shrink, while during winter and rainy season, moisture returns back due to which soil swells back to its original volume.
This differential movement in the soil causes the walls and the foundation to suffer and fall. In winter, the frost heave causes the ice to expand. This causes the topsoil to get eroded thus affecting the foundation.
Over to You
Thus, these were some of the events which can cause the foundation to face a downward movement at an uneven rate resulting in cracks and structural damage causing the foundation to fail.
This is perhaps why it is always recommended to hire an expert restumping and underpinning expert and get your building’s foundation checked from time to time.