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Settlement Sinking

Settlement and sinking is one of the first signs of foundation damage. While nearly all foundations experience some kind of settlement, it can quickly turn into a problem under the certain conditions.

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Are you noticing various foundation problem signs around your home such as drywall nail pops or uneven floors? These issues likely stemmed from settlement and sinking, a foundation problem that affects nearly every structure in your home. Due to the soil makeup of Austin and San Antonio, many homes are at risk for settlement and sinking. FSS is here to inform you about this problem sign and provide foundation solutions that fix the problem permanently. 

Understanding the Red Flags of Foundation Settlement 

As a homeowner in Texas, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with foundation settlement red flags. Although we suggest you inspect your foundation at least once a year, both inside and outside, if you notice any of these warning signs, a professional inspection is required right away. 

These problem signs may start subtle but with time develop into a much larger problem. As always, to avoid secondary problems and keep repair costs down, quick action is required.  

Stair Step Cracks in Brickwork 

Take a look at the exterior of your home, if you notice stairstep cracks in your exterior brickwork, your home is suffering from the settlement. As the problem festers, the cracks will become more pronounced. Keep an eye out for cracks that are wider at the top than the bottom, this is a sign of advanced foundation settlement. 

Slab Floor Cracking 

When your home is sinking, one of the first signs you may notice is slab floor cracking. Although a cracked slab is a common sign, there are other reasons for this problem. It’s best to have a professional look at all areas of your home before repairing the problem. 

Drywall Cracks & Nail Pops 

Drywall cracks and nail pops are often some of the first red flags homeowners notice. You’ll commonly see cracks around doors and window frames and along drywall seams. Drywall nails also become visible because your home is settling unevenly.  

Leaning Chimney 

Although chimneys in Austin and San Antonio are less common than in some parts of the country, many homeowners still enjoy the ambiance it creates. If that chimney is tilting or leaning away from your home, however, it is a major warning sign of a foundation problem. 

Although these are not all of the problem signs created by a sinking settling foundation, they are some of the most common to be visible to a homeowner. If you suspect you have any of these problems, it is best to have your home evaluated for settlement.  

What Causes Settlement Sinking?

As mentioned, the soil makeup of Southeast Texas can contribute to settlement sinking experienced by your home. That’s because clay soil and sandy loam soil (the two most common soils of the area) are weakened by certain weather conditions. Here’s what causes foundation damage.

Soil Washout

Sandy loam soils are found in both Bexar County and Travis County. These soils are extremely porous, which means they can easily drain water when it rains. However, this also means the soil shifts and erodes easily when exposed to high amounts of water. While Austin and San Antonio receive a lower-than-average amount of rainfall every year, precipitation can still move sandy loam soils around. If your home is built on this type of soil, the rain might make it much harder for your home to stay supported as the soil breaks down and becomes muddy. Eventually, your foundation settles and sinks below the ground due to soil washout.

Drought and Dry Soil 

On the other side of the spectrum comes dry weather – a common occurrence in Texas. Mix this with the blazing hot Texan summers, and you have a recipe for extremely dry soil. Clay soil is the most common type of soil found in Austin and San Antonio. Unfortunately, clay is highly susceptible to drying out under hot and dry circumstances. For that reason, these conditions cause clay soil to shrink in size and become brittle. As the soil shrinks and becomes weaker, your foundation sinks into the ground and settles unevenly.

Poor Compaction

Another cause of settlement sinking is poor compaction. Naturally, soil compacts together over time due to processes like pressure and time. However, when a new home is built, contractors must excavate an area of soil in order to build a new foundation. This disturbs the natural soil compaction. Once the home is built, it comes time to refill any gaps in the land. This requires the workers to manually compact soil back into the ground. Unfortunately, manmade compaction is never as strong as natural compaction, and the soil may eventually collapse on itself. This leads to settlement and sinking, even in new homes.

FAQs

Thankfully, a few solutions exist to repair your settling home. FSS offers push piers, helical piers, and slab piers, all of which can stabilize and lift your home independently from problematic soil. Moreover, wall anchors and crawl space support jacks can protect homes with other foundation types. Be aware, DIY solutions will not work when it comes to foundation repair. You can’t simply fill in cracked sections of your foundation or attempt to lift it on your own. This could cause more damage and end up costing you even more money to fix.

Unfortunately, there is no solid answer to this question, as the cost is dependent on a variety of factors. These include the size of your home, the extent of the foundation damage, and the type of foundation your home rests on. Once these factors are determined, our professional team can give you an idea of how much repairs will cost. However, we do offer a free home inspection. You can better understand the cause of your foundation damage and receive a quote at no cost to you!

Obviously, settlement and sinking will be easily identified if part of your foundation has sunk into the soil. However, other signs can indicate that sinking and settlement is occurring or is about to occur. This includes cracks in your foundation, wall crack inside and outside your home, and uneven floors. These are just some of the foundation problem signs that may arise alongside settlement and sinking, so keep an eye out for any abnormalities along the structure of your home. 

Explore Solutions

No one wants to deal with settlement and sinking in their home. While it might seem like an insurmountable problem, FSS has plenty of solutions that protect your home from this problem sign. Take advantage of our pier systems, wall anchors, carbon fiber wall reinforcement, and more to keep your foundation in the best shape possible.


Call FSS for a Free Inspection!

Our experienced team at Foundation Support Specialists has dealt with settlement and sinking countless times. Since 2017, FSS has been a trusted source for foundation repair for homeowners in Austin and San Antonio. Accreditations from the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and the Texas Construction Association prove our commitment to quality service and honest business. With the finest tools produced in the USA, our team can tackle any foundation problem you might be facing. Contact us today to learn even more about our services and to schedule a free inspection so you can get back to enjoying your home.


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