Your foundation is perhaps the most important structure in your entire home. It keeps your house upright from the surrounding soil, as well as prevents it from collapsing altogether. You might not think such an important structure will ever face any damage, but it is far more susceptible to shifting, settling, and cracking than you might think.
One pressing issue that can cause your foundation to settle is growing tree roots. These roots can upset the soil surrounding your foundation and cause the foundation itself to settle, shift, or even crack. Let’s take a closer look into how tree roots can create foundation damage, various problem signs you can watch out for, and how Foundation Repair of Western Colorado’s powerful solutions can help below.
Common Causes of Foundation Damage
In Grand Junction, Colorado, the soil surrounding your foundation is prone to absorbing a lot of water. That’s especially true during the spring when both melted snows and harsh rainstorms can add plenty of moisture to this vulnerable soil. This soil can only take on so much water before it starts to cause a problem.
All that added water weight can increase the pressure against your foundation, which can cause it to shift or even crack altogether. This is known as hydrostatic pressure and is, unfortunately, a common phenomenon that affects homes all around the world.
Hydrostatic pressure can take on another form as well. The water in your soil may also seep through your concrete foundation’s pores and become trapped for a time. If these droplets are still trapped come winter, they will likely freeze over and expand. This can then cause the foundation to crack from within.
The Clay Bowl Effect
Your current foundation damage might very well be the result of a common construction mistake that occurs when the foundation is first built. When contractors go about building a new home, they will dig a large hole where they plan to lay down the foundation and either a crawl space or a basement.
Once these components are set in place, there is typically some space left around the basement or crawl space. The contractors will then backfill some of the soil they originally dug up back into this space. This then creates a “clay bowl” of sorts encompassing your foundation and your basement or crawl space.
According to the Soil Science Society of America, Colorado has mostly clay and sandy loam soils, which makes the name even more accurate. However, the “bowl” does not need to solely be made up of clay for this effect to take place. After disturbing the soil, it will be much looser than it once was. The soil is then more susceptible to washing out during any particularly harsh storms or when the snow begins to melt. This can then cause your foundation to settle, shift from its original position, or crack apart.
Trees & Roots
The large tree in your front yard may give your home shade and add to your landscape, however, it could also be inadvertently causing issues with your foundation in Grand Junction, Colorado. This can be distressing for any homeowner, especially if you want to keep the tree in your yard.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the tree itself that causes foundation damage. Rather, it is the work of the roots shifting and moving out the supporting soils underneath. Even new roots can cause a surprising amount of damage. Essentially, a tree’s roots can grow out enough to reach the soils around your foundation and start to negatively impact its structural integrity. The roots themselves are not powerful enough to break through the concrete on their own. If your concrete foundation has already been damaged by some other cause, it may then grow up through the cracks and create even more complicated issues.
Rather, the roots will absorb the moisture from this surrounding soil to help the tree grow. This can cause the roots to grow out even further and absorb even more moisture the soil needs to stay compact. This can then cause the soil underneath your foundation to shrink or lose compaction, which can weaken the support it is supposed to provide. Your foundation may then shift or settle further into the soil as a result. This can also cause your foundation to crack apart as well. This settling is dangerous. If the roots are left to grow out even further, your foundation will not be the only structure affected. Your surrounding concrete sidewalk, driveway, walkway leading up to your house, pool deck, and other areas of your home could very well be affected, too.
Roots can cause all sorts of other damage as well. They can simply push soil out from under your foundation to cause settling rather than absorbing the moisture in the compact soils and leaving the soil to crumble that way. The roots can also push up against the concrete around your home, creating dangerous tripping hazards. Additionally, tree roots may even mess up your plumbing as well. Roots try their best to find a source of water for the tree to stay alive, which means that they will likely try to bust through your metal pipes. If successful, this can cause massive damage to your property. You may notice that your toilets have trouble flushing or that the water pressure in your house has changed for the worse.
Foundation Repair Solutions by Foundation Repair of Western Colorado
It can be frustrating to deal with all the issues a damaged foundation can cause. Fortunately, the experts at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado can help.
A cracked foundation can bring about a lot of damage to the structures above. Installing anchors into the earth and connecting them to your foundation can help to stabilize and repair any damage that it has faced slowly over time.
Each anchor is attached to your foundation through a heavy metal rod connected to a wall plate that will basically transfer the strength of the more compact soil to the foundation. In other words, your foundation will no longer have to rely on the vulnerable soil surrounding it for support. The wall anchors will brace your foundation against all damage that might threaten it for years to come.
Similarly, our piers systems can tap into the strength of the soil directly below to lift and level your foundation. We can offer two types of piers: helical piers and push piers. The main difference between the two lies in how they are installed.
Helical piers have spiral-like attachments on the bottom that our foundation experts will use to hydraulically drill into the soils below your home. Once the piers reach the more compact soils far below, they can then use the inherent strength of the compact soils to keep your foundation lifted, leveled, and even slowly repair any cracks that might have formed over time.
Push piers, on the other hand, are pushed into the soil and are attached to the foundation via a steel bracket. These piers alongside some hydraulic jacks are then used to push your foundation back to its original position, also closing any cracks or damage along the way.
Trees & Tree Roots
Though you may have a keen idea of what sorts of trees you want to keep around your yard, some trees may be much easier for you to manage than others.
First, it is a good idea to keep in mind where you will place this tree. Obviously, planting a type of tree that is known for growing quite fast right by your foundation will immediately cause some issues. Therefore, you should plant any trees you want at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your house. This gives the roots enough room to grow outward for a while without negatively affecting your foundation.
However, because many homeowners will not be able to see the roots’ growth, you may also not be able to tell if it is impacting your foundation or if the true cause lies somewhere else. It might help if you dig a little around your foundation by the trees to check if the roots have extended this far. If you do spot roots extending downward, you will know that your foundation damage is caused by these roots.
Another issue that can affect your foundation is larger trees. Larger trees often mean longer roots that can easily drift over to your foundation in no time at all. It is not necessarily a bad thing to keep large trees in your yard, but you will need to take measures to control their growth so that it will not impact your foundation at all.
Installing root barriers can also be a great protection measure. Root barriers basically deflect roots from growing around the foundation, thus preventing them from absorbing the moisture from the supporting soil.
Some homeowners might be concerned about their trees potentially creating foundational damage. You may decide that it might be best for you to just get rid of the tree altogether. Fortunately, you may not have to resort to such drastic measures just to protect your foundation.
Foundation Repair of Western Colorado offers plenty of powerful foundation repair solutions that can perfectly lift, level, and protect your foundation from all sorts of threats.
Carbon Fiber Wall Straps
Though wall anchors are great solutions, they also require a certain amount of space to install around your yard. If you do not have enough space, our experts might then have to choose a different means of foundation protection. Though you might not think much of our carbon fiber wall straps at first glance, they will protect your foundation and basement walls from caving in from any outside damage.
In fact, carbon fiber is 10 times stronger than steel. It is often used in the construction of heavy-duty sports equipment, racecars, aircraft of all kinds, and much more. You can count on these straps to slowly but surely push back against any damage your basement walls might face from bowing in and straightening it out again. These straps can even close any cracks, too.
IntelliBrace™ I-Beam System
You may also prefer the look of our IntelliBrace™ I-beam system over our carbon fiber wall straps. These I-beams perform pretty much the same function as our straps, only they are much larger I-beams braced to your basement walls instead of thin strips. Our carbon fiber straps might be powerful, but they are only capable of pushing back against around two inches of bowing.
Our IntelliBrace™ system can push back against bowed walls that extend further than two inches. The galvanized steel I-beams will slowly push the wall back over time through tightening braces attached to each beam. Our experts will come to precisely tighten each beam’s braces every now and again to ensure that your basement walls and foundation will stay nice and secure against any future bowing or damage.
Contact the Foundation Experts at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado Today
Your foundation carries the weight of your entire home on itself. Should this crucial structure become damaged in any way, you can bet that other parts of your home will start to wear down or crack too. Therefore, it is crucial for you to take the proper steps to protect your foundation where you can.
Unfortunately, one factor that many homeowners tend to overlook is the trees in their yard. More specifically, the wild roots of those trees digging into and absorbing the moisture found around the foundation’s supporting soil are to blame. The lack of moisture can cause this supporting soil to shrink, and cause the foundation to shift, settle, and even crack altogether.
Contact the foundation experts at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado for a free foundation inspection. Our experts can also provide free quotes on any of our tough foundation repair systems while we are there. We service clients all throughout Grand Junction, Colorado.