Texas is a state with a variety of geography, geology, climates, and soils. It’s important to know what type of soil is supporting your foundation. The type of soil can affect the foundation in different ways. Here’s what you need to know about a few Texas soil types and how they impact foundations.
Alfisol is a type of soil that is rich in clay and quite fertile. Because this type of soil is slow to lose nutrients, agriculture can flourish. Alfisol soil is gray or gray-brown in color. The more brown it is, the more clay it contains. This type of soil can be throughout most of Texas. Since this soil encourages growth of strong plant life, they may cause damage to the foundation, which will require repair.
Inceptisol soil is a newer type that doesn’t contain much clay or minerals. This type of soil can be found at the southern tips of Texas, but is not ideal for supporting a foundation. Inceptisol soil is like trying to support something on a muddy river bank. The foundation, and your home, will gradually sink.
Edwards Plateau soil is mostly shallow, stony, or gravelly, dark alkaline clays. A less stony soil is found in the valleys. The concern with a foundation on this type of soil is that soil moisture is reduced. This means the soil will be more dry than other types, which can lead to foundation problems. If the soil crumbles and shifts, the foundation will shift as well. When the foundation shifts out of place it becomes unstable and this can lead to damages in your home.
Ultisol soil is ideal for supporting a foundation. This soil is found in humid areas, so it has been stripped of nutrients and minerals, making it minimally fertile. There are no worries about growth of greens around the foundation. The color of ultisol soil ranges from yellowish brown to deep red. The variation in color is due to the different levels of iron oxide in the soil.
Clay soils are sensitive to moisture fluctuations, which means the soil will regularly expand and contract depending on the weather. When the clay soil expands and contracts, it will cause gaps to form in the soil. This will leave parts of the foundation unsupported and vulnerable.
Decreasing moisture access to the soil is one solution when dealing with clay soil. A foundation that is driven deeper than the soil, into the strata, such as drilled pier foundations are a good option. The more clay in a soil, the more likely it is to have these issues.
Knowing the type of soil that is supporting your foundation is an important part of keeping your foundation strong for as long as possible. Taking preventive measures when possible is recommended. Texas is home to over 1,300 types of soil, each having a different impact on the foundation. An expert will be able to tell you exactly what kind of soil you’re dealing with and which type of foundation is best.