Cracks in Cinderblock Wall, which could be a sign of foundation failure in MichiganIt seems elementary: your home depends on its foundation. It’s the base upon which your structure rests. When something goes wrong, the repercussions can be observed and felt throughout your house. From large cracks in your basement walls to smaller cracks in your drywall, the indicators are everywhere. But why does foundation failure happen in the first place? 

There are a number of conditions that play a role in damaging your foundation, but there are some we commonly find to be the culprits. We’ve listed the top 3 causes of foundation damage in Michigan.

Water in the Soil

Michigan weather plays havoc on your foundation. When winters are bitterly cold, which happens often in our part of the country, the water in the soil contracts. When the weather warms up and the snow starts to melt, the warmer water seeps down and the soil expands. This push and pull can be felt on the walls of your foundation and can lead to serious damage.

Further exacerbating this issue, the soil in Michigan contains a lot of clay, which is an expansive material. It can absorb a great deal of water, and it releases water as well. When clay absorbs water it expands; when it releases it contracts.

In a perfect world this would happen evenly—if the pressure was felt evenly on the foundation, the potential for damage would be far less. But with the soil expanding and contracting unevenly, a lot of pressure is placed on parts of the foundation rather than applying even pressure on the foundation as a whole. This leads to cracking and other serious damage.

Melting snow, heavy rainfall/flooding, and plumbing issues can all contribute.

Poor Construction

Unfortunately, this is something we see more often than you’d think. Construction is an industry with deadlines, and sometimes those deadlines lead to rushed and ultimately shoddy construction. 

There are a number of measures that must be taken when properly installing a house’s foundation. The site needs to be properly inspected so the foundation has a solid footing. Oversights during inspection can lead to the foundation not being optimally placed, which can lead to problems down the line. 

Furthermore, the soil needs to be stabilized and properly compacted to minimize the amount of shift after the foundation is built. If the soil’s not stable, it follows that the foundation can’t possibly be stable. 

There are other construction elements that can play a role in the foundation’s stability: the use of cheap materials and rushed construction can both lead to a foundation that can’t properly support the house. These will result in cracks and the need for foundation repair.

Inadequate Drainage

Water, as we’d previously mentioned, does your foundation no favors. Besides the way the water affects the soil itself, inadequately drained water can also cause foundation damage.

Water leaching into your foundation can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes heavy rains can lead to flooding, or rapid snow melt can lead to a lot of standing water. Not a problem if this water is properly drained away, but if it stands, it can wreak havoc on your foundation.

If the flow from your drain pipes isn’t directed away from your home, water can pool right next to your foundation. This can obviously cause water damage, but it can also displace large amounts of soil, leaving air pockets. These air pockets affect the way the soil contracts and expands, and (as noted above) uneven contraction and expansion leads to cracks.

Foundation Failure: Understand the Causes

There are a number of factors that play info foundation failure, but we’ve seen these to be at least part of the cause in the many foundations we’ve repaired. Knowing what’s causing the problems is key to fixing your foundation and solving these problems.

Call Foundation Solutions 360 for Foundation Failure Repair

There are many causes of foundation failure. Michigan soils and weather play a huge role in whether your foundation sits right or eventually buckles and needs repair. If you suspect your foundation is prey to any of these conditions, or have begun seeing worrying cracks and/or bowed or leaning walls, call Foundation Solutions 360 for a free consultation. Put our more than 20 years of experience working with Michigan foundations to work for you.