Sources of Slab Foundation Problems
Seasonal moisture changes in Central Texas cause the composition of the native clay soil to fluctuate drastically. The soil acts like a sponge, expanding during seasons of heavy rainfall and contracting during times of seasonal drought. This continuous fluctuation can cause stress on the foundation of your home. Typically, the center or interior of the slab remains undisrupted, while the perimeter of the home settles due to its exposure to the seasonal moisture changes.
Creative landscaping can make a house stand out from those around it. But keep in mind, trees and large shrubs with extensive root systems require immense amounts of ground moisture to sustain good health. If it's not falling from the sky, these thirsty root systems eventually go looking for alternative sources of water. Very often the moist soils located near the edge of the home, as well as underneath the slab, provide a viable source of water. And when the root system drains the additional moisture from these areas, it causes the slab to settle.
In recent years, plumbing has become one of the leading causes of foundation problems. The cast iron plumbing commonly used in the 1960s and early 1970s is beginning to deteriorate and erode causing the soil directly underneath the home to infuse with water thus creating long-term foundation issues.
However, your home's foundation might be covered within your current homeowner's insurance policy. Here's why –
Sources of Pier and Beam Foundation Problems
Seasonal moisture changes in Central Texas cause the composition of the native clay soil to fluctuate drastically. The soil acts like a sponge, expanding during seasons of heavy rainfall and contracting during times of seasonal drought. This continuous fluctuation can cause stress on the foundation of your home.
Many homes prior to the mid 1960s were built on cedar post piers, which extend only a few inches into the ground and provide very little surface area or footing to support the home. Over time the surface area of the post below grade can erode, as illustrated above, loosing both its integrity and ability to support the structure properly.
Block and pad piers are designed and utilized to perform the same function as cedar post piers. At each pier location a shallow pad of concrete is poured directly on top of the ground. Concrete blocks are then placed upon the pad and stacked to provide support under the home's beams. In many instances, the footing poured directly on top of the ground is adversely affected by the expansion and contraction of the soil at the surface level resulting in an inability to provide the proper amount of support for the structure.
Combination of Factors
Although soil conditions are one of the leading causes of foundation problems, there are a variety of other contributing factors. Poor drainage of water away from the home, insufficient ventilation under the home, inadequate footings and poor initial construction practices can all lead to foundation problems on pier and beam homes.