The chimneys are tilting, cracked walls are bowing inwards, and the floors are sinking! Sounds like a scene from the horror movies, right? Before you panic, thinking that the earth is falling from right under you, consider inviting a Des Moines foundation repair specialist first to check your basement for damage. Yup, it may just be the basement you haven’t set foot unto for a long time now because it’s dark, dank, and you just won’t use it.
Water: the universal destroyer
It could be that the soil beneath your home is the expansive type, which, according to Geology.com, increases in volume as it absorbs water. The soil settles dramatically, too, upon drying. This repetitive expansion and contraction weakens your foundation’s support, which explains all the settling, the bulging, and cracks.
Dry-wet alternating seasons subjecting the soil to constant temperature change are usually to blame, but so is poor rainwater drainage. If you don’t have gutters and downspouts that channel water away from your home, or if your landscaping does not slope properly, rainwater seepage will accumulate around your foundation. Soil expansion then exerts pressure on the basement walling, creating bulges and cracks of all sorts as water leaks to turn your basement into a place habitable only by the vilest of critters and sickening microbes.
Of course, other parts of your house are affected, too. As the foundation becomes unstable, cracks begin to appear and windows and doors soon fail to latch. At worst, if the house is already nearing the end of its prime, severe foundation damage can put it on the verge of collapse. This isn’t to scare you, but it does happen. The point here is you’d want to fix the problem before it’s too late. Think of this too: Even if you sell it, if you were the buyer and you find out about the foundation’s condition, would you sign the deal? Most likely not. So this just means that either way, you’ll need to have that foundation issue settled once and for all.
Taming the beast beneath
Unless you can afford a complete foundation reconstruction, one of the cheaper ways to solve the problems is to fix your drainage, or install support technologies that stabilize your foundation. These include foundation braces for cracks and bowing walls or block wall replacement in case of severely damaged walls. If you wish to kick things up a notch, you may also upgrade that extra space through Des Moines basement waterproofing services from companies such as Better Basement. Turn it to a library, media room, or extra apartment, perhaps. After all, if you’re investing on its repair, why not get the most out of it?
Source: Identifying House Foundation Problems, House Logic
Source: Expansive Soil and Expansive Clay, Geology.com