Causes of Foundation Problems

It’s never fun to discover that you have a foundation problem in your home. It is, however, quite common. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that approximately 25% of homes in America experience a foundation issue at some point. So why will 1 in 4 homes experience a foundation issue? Let’s look at the causes of foundation problems to understand why this is so common.

Outside home foundation cracks and issues

Improperly Poured Foundation

If the builder did not use quality concrete, didn’t let the concrete cure long enough, or didn’t use the right amount of rebar or steel in the foundation, the foundation that is supporting your home may not be strong enough to support the weight of the house. However, an improperly poured foundation is the least common cause for a foundation issue. The good news is that there are foundation solutions available that can improve the stability of an improperly built foundation.

Changes In The Soil Under Your Home

While there are many different types of soil throughout the United States, it’s the clay, sand, and silt contained within the soil that is responsible for making up the soil’s pore space. The soil’s pore space determines how well the soil drains, the amount of oxygen and air in the soil, and it’s ability to hold nutrients.

Soil That Is Too Saturated

When the earth beneath your home becomes too saturated, the hydrostatic pressure from the water can become so great that it pushes against the foundation. This can cause water to seep into the basement and can even form cracks in the concrete. 

Soil that Is Too Dry

On the other hand, soil that is too dry can shrink up and offer less support to the foundation beneath your home. Without a solid foundation under it, the concrete foundation can crack from the weight exerted on it.

Exposed foundation for repair

Unevenly Watered Soil

Not only can soil that has too much water or not enough water cause problems, but if there are uneven amounts of water beneath the foundation, this can also cause cracks in your foundation. Your home needs solid base beneath its foundation in order to support the structure built upon it.

Temperature Changes

In some areas of the country where the temperature fluctuates between freezing and thawing, expansive soils can lead to problems. Expansive soils are those with clay properties that swell and contract when exposed to water and dryness. When these expansive soils are beneath your foundation, saturated earth can push against the foundation when it freezes. Then, after it thaws and the water evaporates, the ground can shrink up. This constant change in water can lead to foundation problems.

That being said, foundation problems are not just caused by the ground beneath your home, but also the ground around your home.

Repair of foundation

Water Surrounding The Home

After a big rain do you notice water pooling in your yard? In areas of the country where there is a lot of clay in the soil, water does not drain as well as it should. Moving the water in your yard away from your home is a really important aspect of protecting your foundation.

Likewise, if you have downspouts or gutters that are not functioning properly, sending water away from the foundation, you could be setting yourself up for a foundation issue in the future. Ensuring you have proper drainage around your home and in your yard can help protect your foundation from expansive soil issues.


In other parts of the country, where the water table is high and the ground contains rocks that can be naturally dissolved by circulating groundwater, sinkholes can form, eroding the foundation beneath your home. 

If you think you may have a foundation problem, it’s important to involve a foundation repair specialist that you can help determine, not only the cause of the problem, but also the right solution for your home. Get expert advice from a My Foundation Repair contractor today.