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Settling Foundations: The Whys and Hows

Foundations settle for several reasons. But what does a settling foundation look like, and how can you protect your home from the side effects?

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exterior stair step cracks in brick

When you first purchase a home or move to a new place, it’s easy to think you’re settling somewhere permanent. Unfortunately, geology doesn’t always take a homeowner’s desire for permanency into account. As a result, your home’s foundation may settle or otherwise begin to sink into the ground.

What Is Foundation Settling?

Home settling doesn’t just happen on a whim. Heavy rains and shifting soils can displace the ground beneath your home. If the movement is significant enough, or if it takes place over an extended period of time, the space that dirt leaves behind will create a vacuum for your foundation to sink into.

Now, dealing with a sinking home can be a pain, but it’s not always the end of the world. Dealing with a sinking foundation that’s begun to crack from stress or external damage, however, can cost you a pretty penny. That’s why it’s all the more important to keep an eye on your foundation and take preventative measures to better secure your home.

Signs of Foundation Settling

Luckily, sinking homes often give themselves away. There are several signs that will let you know your home is sinking. These signs include but are not limited to:

bowing basement wall
  • Bowing walls
  • Shifting floors
  • Gaps near the joints of your foundation
  • Sticking doors
  • Drywall cracks
  • Foggy windows
  • Water damage that’s impacted your belongings, carpet, or furniture
  • Mold

If you let your home sinking go unattended for an extended period of time, it’s possible that signs of damage may begin to appear outside of your home. The most common types of external damage include:

  • Vertical wall cracks
  • Broken chimneys
  • Horizontal foundation cracks
  • Disrupted landscaping

Note that many of these symptoms aren’t just indicative of foundation sinking. They can also be signs of additional foundation damage. You’ll want to get in touch with one of the professional foundation and basement repair contractors working out of the Colorado Springs, CO, area if you think something’s gone wrong in your home. These professionals will let you know what may be causing your home to sink. They’ll also provide you with a free quote on repair services, should any prove necessary.

How to Prevent Foundation Settling

Luckily, you can take several steps to prevent your foundation from sinking. Your overall goal will be to reduce the amount of hydrostatic pressure your foundation encounters. When you actively drive water away from your foundation, you both support the dirt beneath your foundation and prevent damage inside your home that might hasten the sinking process.

Some of the easiest ways to keep your foundation where it’s meant to be include:

watering lawn
  • Dampen your lawn – If you’re trying to keep water away from your foundation, you shouldn’t water your lawn, right? Wrong. If your lawn goes too long without water, the dirt particles around your home will start to shrink. These smaller particles won’t be able to take in as much water when it rains as they otherwise would. As a result, more rainwater will reach your foundation. Additionally, as those soil particles shrink, the dirt beneath your home will shift. Combine these two effects, and you’ll rapidly begin to see signs of foundation sinking. Water your lawn, comparatively, and you’ll be able to avoid the worst of these effects.
  • Keep an eye on your landscaping – It’s possible that your landscaping may cause your foundation to start sinking. For example, you’ll want to keep all taller trees and hedges at least 20 feet away from your home after planting. These taller plants have invasive root systems. While the roots themselves won’t impact the health of your foundation, they’ll encourage the soil beneath your home to shift. That shifting, as mentioned, can result in foundation sinking.
Basement After waterproofing with WallSeal
  • Clean your gutters – What does cleaning your gutters have to do with your foundation? More than you might think. When you don’t clean out your gutters, rainwater rushes straight down toward the perimeter of your home. As such, it’s easier for that water to reach your foundation and disrupt its overall stability. When you clean out your gutters, comparatively, that water will run out through your downspouts and have less of a chance to damage your foundation.
  • Waterproofing your foundation – When in doubt, you’ll want to talk to one of your local contractors about waterproofing your home. All manner of waterproofing measures, from interior drainage to sump pumps, as well as dehumidifiers, will keep your home safe from excessive exposure to hydrostatic pressure. The more effectively you can limit the build-up of hydrostatic pressure, the safer your home will be.

Protect Your Foundation and Home with Expert Help

Want to keep your foundation in place? The professional contractors working in the Colorado Springs, CO, area can help you find a place to start. Contact the expert team at Complete Basement Systems today to schedule your free foundation inspection and repair estimate!

Serving Greater Denver area, Colorado Springs, Eastern Colorado, and parts of Nebraska and Wyoming

Colorado Springs, CO

707 County Line Rd.
Palmer Lake, CO 80133

Denver, CO

4686 Ivy St
Denver, CO 80216