Settling occurs when the ground beneath your foundation begins to shift, and your home gradually sinks. It’s normal for a building to settle because of its weight over the years. However, too much settling or sudden settling causes foundation problems.
Changes in groundwater levels, for instance, change the soil bearing capacity. Rising water levels due to heavy rains, flooding during tropical storms, or uncontrolled water pumping reduces the load-bearing capacity of the soil supporting your foundation. As the ground loses strength, the weight of the house causes sinking.
To reduce the risks of settling, homeowners should build foundations according to the Florida Building Code. The foundations should be at least 12 inches below the ground surface. Older homes are more susceptible to settling. Most of the old homes are in Downtown Bradenton and are currently undergoing renovation. Be sure to contact us to have a thorough foundation inspection before purchasing an old house.
Corrosion and Decay
Homes near coastal areas like those in Bradenton tend to deteriorate due to moisture, humidity, and corrosion. Flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes put homes at even greater risk. Homes with wooden foundations and crawl spaces are particularly prone to water damage. It’s essential to treat wood and install a vapor barrier over the soil on the crawl space. Also, the wood used on the foundation should be extensively treated and accompanied by suitable metal parts to prevent wood degradation.
Over time, a house’s foundation loses structural integrity. Concrete naturally shrinks as part of the curing process. Curing turns the wet concrete mixture into a sturdy rock that supports your home. If timed or mixed incorrectly, the concrete may lose too much moisture, causing foundation shrinkage and cracks in the foundation. Also, concrete foundations tend to break down if the outer layer peels off.
Older homes that feature stone walls for foundations may also experience structural changes. Usually, stones are bound together by mortar. However, the mortar slowly degrades over time if exposed to the soil. Waterproofing is essential to protect the mortar from moisture and damage. If there was no waterproofing in your home or the waterproofing is damaged, the foundation may slowly break down.
Poor Soil Compaction
Soil compaction is an integral part of any construction. During compaction, the soil particles are pressed closely together to air spaces and improve the soil’s load-bearing capacity. Compaction reduces the possibility of settling and foundation failure. Usually, contractors use heavy rollers and tamping machines to compact the soil before building your foundation. Poor compaction is unfortunately common in Bradenton where development occurred quickly, and it leaves air spaces in the soil, which later causes settling due to the building’s weight.
Tree Root Interference
Our massive, native tree species growing close to your home can cause several problems. First, the tree roots can grow around pipes causing them to burst. A burst pipe slowly leaks water into the soil, compromising the soil’s strength under the foundation. As the compacted soil loses strength, it causes the foundation to settle.
Second, tree roots can draw away water from the soil under your foundation, causing the soil to grow thin. As the soil becomes weaker, it creates an unstable surface for your foundation, hence settling. Lastly, tree roots can penetrate foundation cracks and expand them, causing further foundation damage.
You should direct water away from your home to prevent foundation problems, especially in an area where drainage is poor to begin with like Bradenton. The water may come from your gutters, downspouts, and surface run-off. You should avoid discharging any water near the house because it causes drainage problems in the soil around the foundation. As the soil absorbs water, it expands and exerts pressure in the foundation walls, causing cracking or leaning.
According to the Florida Building Code, you should install footer drains around concrete and masonry foundations to prevent water damage in your foundation. All foundations and footings should also be damp proofed and waterproofed to protect the foundation, basement, and floors from water damage, again because of the high probability of saturated soil in the area.