As we mentioned, soil and its appropriate preparation are critical to maintaining a proper foundation, and one of the factors that affect soil stability the most is water. If there’s one thing we have in abundance here in Cape Coral, it’s water, and all that water can spell disaster for foundations. Described below are some of the most common reasons that foundations need repairing in the Cape Coral area.
Heavy rain and hurricane weather can bring vast amounts of water down in a hurry — we get an average of 54 inches of rain each year. Our sandy, poorly draining, already-wet soil, has a hard time keeping up with that volume of rain. As water fills the nooks and crannies between particles in the soil, it can push against the foundation (hydrostatic pressure) and can erode areas away, causing problems for your foundation.
Whether from storm surge or seawall failures, encroaching water can have the same undesirable effects as too much rainwater runoff, leaving foundations vulnerable to uneven settling. In fact, 86% of Cape Coral homes are vulnerable to flooding, the highest percentage in the state. Every time your home or property floods, even if you don’t see any obvious damage, it can be happening, sight unseen, below the surface.
While sinkholes are common in many parts of Florida, they are less common around Cape Coral. Many of the causes of foundation problems are also ones that can contribute to sinkhole development, and so should not be ignored, even in our area.
Another way for water to gather more quickly and in greater amounts than can easily drain from the soil around your foundation is as a result of plumbing leaks. These can be from leaks in the pipes on your property, a slow swimming pool leak, septic tank failure, or from the municipal water supply or sewage lines. Regardless of the cause, water pooling from even slow leaks can cause the soil around your foundation to move in unexpected ways and can apply uneven hydrostatic pressure to your foundation, causing you problems.
Cape Coral’s sandy soil is generally not very good at draining away excess water. If that poor drainage is made worse by gutter, downspout, and grading issues which fail to move excess water away from your home, the situation is most likely contributing to foundation problems down the road. Construction and paving on your property or neighboring lots can also cause water to flow toward your home instead of draining away from it.
Construction and Maintenance Issues
True for so many projects, good preparation is needed to produce quality results. For your foundation, this means properly compacting the soil before laying the foundation. If the existing soil or terrain isn’t adequate, adding fill before compacting it is necessary. That fill tends to settle at a different rate from the naturally occurring soil, and so must be well compacted to produce an evenly compressible base for your foundation. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen when many of the homes in our area were built, and homeowners are paying the price now with frequent foundation damage. In addition, if foundation problems have gone undetected or addressing those issues has been deferred, foundation damage may have evolved from a minor issue to a critical disaster.