Robert W. "Bob" Jensen, P.E.
bjensen@jensenengineers.com

Michael S. Jensen, P.E.
mjensen@jensenengineers.com

972-994-9872
972-994-0747
972-692-5713 fax

CAUSES OF FOUNDATION MOVEMENT

While foundation movement problems in north Texas can result from many factors, including poor construction procedures, the most common cause is undoubtedly a result of differential soil movement.  In north Texas many homes are located on expansive clay soils.  These soils respond in a like manner to a sponge, increasing in volume with moisture gains while shrinking with moisture loss.  As long as all soils supporting your foundation experience the same volume changes, problems may not develop.  However, when a portion of these soils moves differentially to those under the rest of the foundation, distress can develop in the structure. 

The key to minimizing foundation movement is to maintain as consistent moisture content in underlying soils as is possible.  Soil behavior can be aggravated by climatic conditions or from excess moisture due to plumbing leaks or drainage problems.  These conditions, along with tree root drying effects can cause excessive foundation movement.

Regular changes in soil volumes will expose the foundation to continual flexure.  As this movement intensifies, cracking will initially develop in rigid surfaces such as brick and drywall, followed by cracking of the foundation, door misfits and sloping floors.  Continual movement can seriously damage your home and result in reduced property values. Also see Soil Moisture Maintenance Tips