Soil compaction is a vital part of construction. The type of soil your house is built on and the way it is compacted is extremely important. The foundation of your Houston home relies on the firm support of the soil surrounding it to remain stable. Any shifting of this soil can lead to a cracking and crumbling foundation.
Once this starts happening you will likely need to call in a foundation repair specialist to assess the damage and cost to repair your foundation. A cracking or sinking foundation can compromise the integrity of your Houston home’s structure, leading to much anxiety on the homeowners part. Let’ discuss the different soils and how they can affect the foundation beneath your home.
1. Silt foundation
Silt soil can be smooth and almost slimy to the touch. This is because this soil type retains water very well. This allows the soil to have good compaction. However, its ability to hold water for longer periods of time make this a poor material for building a home. The soil remains cold and wet and unable to drain well. As the silty soil absorbs water, it pushes against the foundation and weakens it - causing a need for a foundation repair. This type of soil is common in the Galveston areas.
2. Sand/ gravel foundation
Sand/gravel acts in just the opposite manner of silt. This soil has the largest particles of the different soil types. This soil type also will not hold moisture, but drains easily, because of its large openings. When this soil is moist and compacted it will make a good base for your foundation. The problem, as foundation repair experts will tell you, is that this soil will lose the ability to support the foundation if too much moisture remains in it. A sand/gravel foundation support makes for a mostly stable foundation, but you will need a good drainage system as with the silt foundation.
3. Clay and foundation repair
Clay holds water well because it is made up of small particles. The ability to hold water can make it difficult to have a stable foundation in this medium. The clay will expand greatly when it is holding moisture. It is extremely pliable and can be easily be moved and manipulated. However, when the clay dries out it will shrink significantly. This can cause the foundation to weaken and possibly crack. The extreme changes in the moisture of the clay will put a great pressure on your Houston home's foundation, leading to a foundation that will start to move and buckle over time. The result of which is a need for calling in a foundation repair expert. Possibly leading to a foundation repair. This makes clay one of the poorer supports for any home foundation and is often found to the west of Houston.
4. Loam equals no foundation repair
What do most foundation repair experts recommend to potential home builders? That would be a soil that is referred to as loam. Loam is the ideal soil type for a home’s foundation to be built upon. So you are probably asking right about now what loam is. Loam is a combination of several different soils. It contains sand, silt and clay. It is soft, dry and crumbly when touched. Do not let the smoothness of the soil fool you. Loam is a great base for your home’s foundation. The reason loam makes the perfect foundation base is because it is so well balanced.
It can absorb water well, while still allowing for effective drainage to happen. The loam will need to be compacted as well as maintaining the right combination of different soils in order to achieve the objective of a good foundation. A foundation repair expert can inspect your foundation and be able to tell you what type of soil it rests on. This can help you understand what problems you might be up against and help prevent you from having a foundation repair.
It should be noted that this type of soil is not common in the Houston area and if a home is built upon it, it is because this was man made and can be quite costly.
There are other soil bases that can be used under the foundation of your home. However, the soils we discussed are the ones that the foundation repair experts will most likely be talking to you about.
This is why choosing the right foundation repair expert is going to be crucial to your homes health and families happiness for years to come.