Unfortunately, all foundations are not created equal. The quality of foundations can change from house to house, even in the same neighborhood when houses are built within days of each other. What are the most common reasons that a foundation might crack and crumble?
The Ground Might Have Been Improperly Compacted
When making the foundation of a house, the soil must be properly compacted. Unfortunately, it’s not always done properly because of the rushed building schedules in many suburban neighborhoods. Your neighbor’s foundation might have been compacted at 9:00 when the worker was fresh and relaxed, but your’s might have been rushed when it was time for him to head home at 5:00. Unfortunately, by the time you realize that you need foundation repair, there’s really nothing you can really do about it.
The Ground Might Settle
Even if the construction worker who compacted your soil did a perfect job, there’s always the chance the soil just isn’t on your side. Soil densities can change considerably in a neighborhood, especially if there was a lot of fill-in and leveling. During this process air pockets can be created in the soil that might not be compacted, or natural sinkholes can fill with water, causing even more soil to be washed away. Without compacted soil to support your foundation, it can become weak as water gets in there and freezes during the cold Boston winter.
Improper Concrete Pouring
Sometimes the concrete used wasn’t as high-quality as it should have been, as contractors who build entire neighborhoods often use materials that “meet industry standards” but don’t always “exceed industry standards.” It’s also possible that the concrete actually dried too quickly, due to constant winds when it was poured. Wet concrete actually cures better than dry concrete, and if it dries too quickly it can be susceptible to early cracking, leading to premature foundation repair.
Gutters are a wonderful invention. While most of us are thankful for them because they allow us to walk out the front door without all of the rain falling on our head, their main function is to guide the rainwater and snowmelt away from our home’s foundation. When the gutters aren’t installed correctly, get clogged with leaves, or the gutter extensions aren’t properly used, the soil can wash away from your foundation and, much like with the ground settling we spoke of up above, the water that gets in and freezes can crack your foundation. Then it’s time for foundation repair.
Earthquakes? In Boston? People don’t think of the Northeast as being a hotbed of seismic activity, but they do happen. In fact, did you know that there have been more than 50 measurable earthquakes in the New England this year alone? Most of them aren’t able to be felt, but then again you’re not buried in the ground like the foundation of your house is. All of these tiny earthquakes, combined with passing semi-trucks, can eventually cause cracks in your house’s foundation.
In the end, it doesn’t matter why you need foundation repair. When you need it, you need it, and the longer you wait the worse it’s going to get. Ready for a quote? We’d love to hear from you and help you. Contact us right here!