Foundation damage in Atlanta is very common, but not all of it is structurally significant. Minor cracks often occur in poured concrete foundation walls; mortar joints in masonry walls can also crack and deteriorate. This non-structural foundation damage is the kind that leads to basement seepage and usually can be quickly and permanently repaired.
The more serious kind of foundation damage, the kind that jeopardizes the stability of the foundation and the home above, is usually the result of one of two things happening to the surrounding soil, both of which have water as their root cause.
Structural Damage Caused by Water
One way in which a foundation can suffer structural damage is by extreme settling, dropping or sinking. This occurs when the soil underneath the foundation shrinks and becomes compacted, often caused by a wet/dry weather cycle where large amounts of rain cause the soil to become saturated and swell, followed by periods of drought that cause the water to be extracted and the soil to shrink.
The other way water causes structural foundation damage is far more common. This occurs when heavy rains over-saturate the soil surrounding the foundation’s walls, causing the soil to swell. When the soil increases its volume, it exerts lateral pressure on foundation walls, causing them to crack and, in the worst cases, actually move. Those minor cracks that cause seepage are one result of this pressure but when the pressure grows it can cause severe cracking, bowing or bulging of masonry walls and tipping or rotating inward of poured concrete walls.
Type of Soil
Of course, soils of different composition absorb water and swell at different rates. Sandy soil, for example, drains very well and absorbs very little water so foundation damage from lateral pressure is infrequent. Clay soil, on the other hand, is extremely absorptive and elastic, so it swells at a considerable rate and is most likely to cause foundation damage in Atlanta.
When this type of wall cracking and/or movement occurs, the wall must be stabilized to prevent further damage to the home. Depending on the severity of the problem, the wall can be permanently stabilized with either carbon fiber strips or steel wall bracing; if the problem is neglected and major wall movement occurs, the wall may have to be replaced.
The foundation repair experts at Everdry Atlanta Waterproofing make use of thorough inspections to permanently and cost-effectively repair structural foundation damage. Contact us for a FREE inspection.