Conditions that Contribute to a Structural or Foundation Problem
The same conditions that cause water to enter the basement can also contribute to a foundation problem. Water and structural issues can exist together, and they can also exist independently of each other. An ongoing, unmitigated water issue can ultimately lead to foundation issue for the house or building. It is also possible for a foundation problem to occur even when water is not the culprit. The following will identify common causes for foundation or structural issues that can occur.
…The pressure exerted against the foundation as a result of the water accumulation or high water tables. Rain, snow thawing, underground springs and low lying areas (ie coastal/shore areas) all contribute to pressure building up around the home. As the combined forces of hydrostatic pressure and the natural weight of the soils surrounding the foundation bear down, it can exceed the weight-bearing capacity of the walls, causing them to crack, bow, or shear. In rare instances, floors can buckle under the pressure as well.
Poorly constructed foundations
…Sometimes foundations are built when the ground has not been properly prepared, whether inappropriate soil was used, or the soils weren't compacted properly. A poorly designed footing or even the absence of a footing (not as common, but does exist) can lead to failures.
Poor exterior grading/improperly working gutters
…. Foundation drainage problems can be caused by too much moisture as well as too little. Standing water around your home, large amounts of water dumped by gutter downspouts or a negative slope of the area around your home can cause saturated soil and lead to structural problems.
…. Gradual and sudden climate or weather changes can create havoc to the foundation. Dry and wet weather cycles produce a constantly changing soil conditions under the foundation. The expansion and contraction of the soil over time can weaken the support for your foundation and cause it to settle and crack.
Trees and Tree Roots
… Large trees consume a considerable amount of water per day through its roots. When these roots are under or near your foundation, the drying process may cause a portion of the soil to shrink. The change in condition of the soil can create an instability that can cause a portion of the foundation to settle.