How Michigan Soils Affect Your Home’s Foundation
The health of your home’s foundation can be impacted by the type of soil it rests on. And Michigan soils vary widely, from sandy in the west and north of the LP to loamy and clay soils in the south. It’s important to understand the different soil types and their properties so that you can anticipate—and avoid—the need for serious foundation repairs down the road.
Take time to get a better idea of how Michigan soils affect your home’s foundations and what soil composition could mean for you. You’ll soon have a good understanding of the most common types of Michigan soils and how they can affect residential foundations. The good news is that there is always a foundation repair expert you can call if you run into problems!
How Soil Affects Foundations
Michigan has many different soil types that your home may be sitting on. It may not seem like it, but your property’s soil is an important thing to consider. Your entire home depends on your foundation for its stability and structural integrity. And understanding how different soil types react to moisture can help you prevent cracks, bowing, leaning, and other foundation and basement moisture issues.
Sandy soils are most common in the western and northern parts of the Lower Peninsula. They aren’t as common here in Southeast Michigan, but you will find pockets of sandy loam, particularly around Metro Detroit. Water passes through sandy soils easily, making them well-drained and fairly predictable when it comes to home foundations.
Sandy soils tend to be stable because they don’t expand and contract. They maintain a fairly consistent volume and density, making them excellent load-bearing soils. That also means they don’t cause a lot of foundation issues—although, for Southeast Michigan, this type of soil can be something of a rare treat for homeowners.
Clay and Silt Soils
Unfortunately, the Midwest is well known for its high concentration of clay- and silt-based soils. Sometimes called “expansive clays,” these soil types absorb water very easily. When they absorb moisture, they expand, causing foundations to crack, shift, and sink. When they dry out again, they shrink, leaving gaps around home foundations and the surrounding earth for even more water to come in.
Loam soils, as well as the sandy loam soils we mentioned before, are fairly common in Southeast Michigan as well, though not as common as clay and silt. They can be excellent soils for controlling moisture and all the damage that moisture entails. However, depending on the exact composition of the loam, the soil could be overly soft. Too soft a soil means an erosion risk. If soils underneath your foundation erode, you may face sinking or cracking as well.
How to Build Up Soil Around a House Foundation
Tightly packed soil is crucial for a stable foundation; however, if your home’s builders used backfill soil and didn’t properly compact it, you should call a foundation repair expert. Loose soil is a major issue that needs professional attention.
Builders often use backfill soil (loose soil brought in from another location) to level out the area where a house is being built or to fill in gaps between a new foundation and the surrounding earth. When this soil isn’t compacted properly, the weight of your house will force it to settle in a way that is unhealthy for your home’s structural integrity. While some settling is expected, you should call a professional if you notice:
- Jagged cracks in the walls
- Sticking doors and windows
- Cracks and gaps in your roof
- Water in your basement
Taking a Closer Look
It’s wise to take a closer look at your home’s foundation and be aware of any signs of settlement such as cracks or unevenness. While checking the soil composition of a home isn’t going to be our first priority when we’re signing the dotted line, understanding the general area can help you anticipate issues and know what to keep an eye out for. And if you are seeing suspicious cracks, moisture, or gaps in your home, contact Foundation Solutions 360 right away for a free estimate!
Foundation Solutions 360: Michigan Foundation Repair Experts
At Foundation Solutions 360, we know Michigan’s soils like the back of our hands, so you don’t have to. We understand common foundation and basement issues throughout Southeast Michigan and exactly how to fix them for good. Even if your home’s foundations weren’t properly laid, we have the know-how to make it right. Call us for a FREE estimate at (855) 532-5360 or contact us online today!