Protect your home foundation from shifting and cracking
Winnipeg home owners love their basement rec-rooms. But several problems, including flooding basements, cracking and shifting foundations are always a concern. Normally, our main concern is during wet weather, when sump pumps can become overwhelmed by the water, and tiny cracks in concrete basement walls allow water to seep into our prized man-caves and game rooms.
However, there are several causes of shifting and cracking foundation walls:
Extended drought causes foundations issues
Extended dry periods, such as what we’re experiencing this summer (2021), will cause the ground to dry up and crack, shifting soil all along your foundation walls.
Severe droughts can affect soil moisture levels even deep into the ground. If it goes deep enough, and affects the clay around the foundation footings, the impact can be severe.
Drying clay will shrink, causing vacant pockets around and underneath the footings. This will increase the chances of the footings shifting or dropping.
Prevention: Water your foundation on a regular basis. When watering your lawn, make sure your sprinklers work right up to the basement walls, to keep the soil nice and moist.
While it is commonly believed that, if a house is beyond a certain age, it will have ‘settled as far as it’s gonna settle’, I know of cases where houses have shifted after 30 years of relative stability.
Sudden changes in soil moisture levels
I read once that a fully grown birch cluster can take 8 bath-tubs full of water out of the soil every single day. If you have several large trees close to your home, and suddenly remove them, the moisture levels around your home will suddenly change. This can affect home foundations, and can cause severe shifting and settling.
Sudden, or even gradual changes in soil moisture are quite often the culprit of these issues with foundations.
Tree roots effect foundations
Tree, planted too close to foundations, can over time develop roots that are big enough to crack concrete. As prevention, don’t plant trees or even large shrubs too close to the house. However, if your home already has several large trees around it, don’t be too hasty in removing them, because this can cause another, equally severe issue…
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