What is Foundation Settling? How does it affect you?

So, what is Foundation Settling?

Unfortunately, when it comes to foundation settling, your home is going to settle, there is no way around this. It is simply gravity acting upon your home. Now having said that there are different degrees of foundation settlement and if there is too much foundation settlement serious problems can occur.

Foundation Settling is caused when the weight of your house causes the foundation to settle, often due to soil shifting. Sudden shifts in the soil can cause foundations to crack, which in turn can cause significant damage. Foundation settling can also be caused by extreme weather events such as hurricanes, strong storms, and tornadoes, of course not that likely in the GTA. Our winters in Toronto can be cold, and the freezing and thawing (contraction & expansion) effect does happen. If this happens to your home, foundation problems are almost certain to arise. With a slight tweaking in your structure, you can avoid foundation cracking completely.

Sudden shifts in the soil can cause massive damage to any given foundation. Generally speaking, all structures suffer from some form of wear and tear over their lifetime. Gravity usually wreaks havoc on construction foundations. However, over time each foundation will experience different effects of gravity as well as local weather conditions. Basically, it’s important to ensure your construction is on good quality soil with proper drainage and solid footings.

Preventing foundation cracking and other foundation problems can be easily achieved if you know how to handle your soil correctly. Most often, excess groundwater and different types of water find a way into the foundations and cause structural damage. Groundwater weighs significantly more than the surrounding soil making it extremely difficult for moisture to escape properly.

You should also make sure your foundation is resting on the proper type of footing, especially if you have a basement. Groundwater can cause your basement floor to expand and contract, causing cracks and foundation settlement problems.

All houses will settle in the coming years. A few inches are standard and nothing to get excited about and a good build with quality construction will hold up many years under normal circumstances.

Water in your Basement

Usually after a rainstorm it is the best time to check for water in your basement. Sometimes water can get into the most solid of foundations, this will usually happen after a severe rainstorm and the water gets in through tiny gaps in basement windows or window wells. This is usually a damp wall, maybe a very small puddle. This will not happen every time it rains and will be rare.
If your foundation has been compromised, there could chances are you will see water in your basement, this could be damp walls or puddling on the floors etc. If this is the case this is definitely the time to call a professional to access your foundation situation as the sooner this gets looked after the better you will be.

When to Call in the Pros

What needs to be understood is that homes do have natural occurring settlement the first few years of construction. When settlement continues to occur that is when it something else is happening with your foundation – it is site specific and needs to be monitored and handled.

Check for wall cracks. If you find 45-degree angled crack throughout you home, these signs tell you that drywall or sheetrock is being cracked because the house of the shifting of your home.

Also, if you notice your windows and doors are sticking and it’s happening to most of the windows and doors in your house and looking at the top floors of your house and you find cracks in walls and gaps in baseboards this is all a sure sign that the frames and walls are being bent by the shifting foundation.

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