Several factors are responsible for the foundation problems in San Diego. From extreme weather conditions to invasive tree roots, soil conditions, and hydrostatic pressure, causes of foundation failure are numerous.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Earthquakes are pretty common in San Diego. They pose significant risks, especially to buildings that have developing foundation issues. With most structures vulnerable to possible effects of soil expansion, the earthquakes can drastically deteriorate their structural integrity leading to foundation movement.
Also, the region experiences extreme winters and summers. Freezing weather during winter and melting temperatures in summer affect the active soil layer, causing soil movements. These cause the soil to expand and contract in response to the harsh weather can trigger shifts in the foundation and cause structural damage.
Changing Soil Conditions
Clay is the most predominant soil in San Diego. It’s a nonporous soil type that soaks up water and expands, hindering free flow. As such, it’s highly expansive soil and is responsible for most foundation movements in San Diego. If the drainage around a structure is poor, water seeps under the foundation causing the underlying soil to expand. As the soil keeps expanding, it compromises the foundation’s structural integrity, leading to shifts and cracks.
Soil subsidence is another common cause of foundation damage. It results from a lack of uniformity in the soil structure. When laying the foundation, sometimes grounds are leveled by filling up with soil from other areas. If the soil’s structure is different from the native soil, the risk of foundation movement increases significantly.
For instance, if the porosity level of the introduced soil is higher, the native soil could seep water and expand while the former lets the water through and remains intact. This can result in differential movement, whereby a part of the foundation gets affected while the other doesn’t.
Poor drainage can lead to water accumulation under the foundation. Given the high water-retention rate of San Diego soils, foundations are usually at the risk of damage from hydrostatic pressure.
Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure exerted by standing water to its surroundings. This pressure increases with the depth of the foundation. Also, as the soil soaks in more water, it exerts more pressure on the foundation. Consequently, cracks occur on the foundation, leading to water leakage.
Invasive Tree Roots
Trees enhance the aesthetic appeal of our landscapes and provide loads of other benefits. However, sometimes your structures might not appreciate their proximity. For instance, if your building’s foundation happens to have cracks, tree roots can encroach and aggravate the problem. Even though it’s unlikely for roots to burst out your foundation, if they happen to find a crack on the foundation as they spread out, they grow in and wreak havoc on the foundation.