Written By :
Dayton Foundation Repair Experts
Are you noticing large, gapping cracks appearing in the ground around your house? It's a problem no homeowner wants to face - and it can be quite concerning if you're not sure what might be causing it.
Before getting too concerned, take some time to read up on what may be happening - and why. Here we'll discuss the potential causes of the ground cracking around house, as well as the associated risks and solutions you should consider. Your and your home's safety is important to us!
Ground cracking is defined as an opening or separation in the earth's surface. This process can occur gradually or suddenly. Typically, the cracks may start small and expand over time to the point where a homeowner will begin to notice them around their house.
The earth is always experiencing movement underneath the surface. Although we can't always feel it, there is constant pressure. Some elements and natural events cause this pressure to increase or decrease over time. Let's explore some of the natural causes there may be cracks around your home and how this can cause the need for a foundation inspection.
When there is the tectonic activity or the tectonic plates are shifting, this can cause the ground to shake or move causing cracks to appear. A natural disaster occurring, such as an earthquake, can create cracks in the earth's surface. This may also create faults or other potential weak points which can make the ground even more prone to cracking.
This is another process that occurs readily. Certain types of soil, such as clay soil, are more expansive than others. The natural settling of soil over time can cause ground cracking to occur, especially if it's prone to expanding or contracting based on the weather conditions.
Clay soil, made up of clay particles, is notorious for causing settling and shifting for homes. It is an "expansive" soil, so based on the weather conditions, it will expand or contract accordingly. Clay soil is one type of many expansive soils and is mostly located between the Atlantic Plain and the Appalachian mountains, known as the Piedmont region as well as Texas state, according to CONUS-soil dataset.
Have you ever seen a picture of the desert, and there were thousands of large cracks in the earth? This is what can happen to areas that experience very dry weather, severe droughts or even a frequent "dry spell" with no rain for several months. While dry spells without rain can be a common occurrence, prolonged drought conditions in the USA can create what's known as "soil desiccation," which is when cracks occur due to the large reduction in water content of the soil.
Sometimes, homeowners will even take soaker hoses to water their grass and lawn, garden, and plants/crops - applying water when needed. However, during a drought, this may be limited by the city or town you live in for water conservation purposes.
As a homeowner, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of ground cracking around your house. By recognizing these signs and understanding their severity, you can take appropriate measures to safeguard your home from potential risks.
Here are the key points to consider when it comes to evaluating the cracks near your home:
Minor cracks typically exhibit narrow widths, and limited lengths, and have minimal impact on the overall structural integrity of your house. They may be superficial and pose no immediate threat.
Moderate cracks are more substantial in size and may extend further. They can indicate a greater degree of ground movement and potentially affect the stability of your home if the cracks are close by to your home's structure.
Severe cracks pose a significant risk to your house's structural integrity. These cracks are wide, lengthy, and may display signs of movement or displacement. It is crucial to seek immediate professional assistance to assess the situation and implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety of your home.
When the ground begins to crack near your home, this can feel scary and look concerning. It's important to know the impact these ground cracks can have on your home if they are close in proximity.
There's a potential for structural damage when there is instability near your home. Now, we're not saying your house will collapse, but it is crucial to reinforce when necessary.
When the ground cracks, it can cause your home's foundation to either sink or settle more than it can handle. This causes doors and windows to misalign, floors to become uneven, and cracks to appear in the interior and exterior walls of the home.
These cracks in the ground outside your home can transmit instability and stress to the foundation, impacting not only the aesthetic but the stability of the property.
Think about all the aspects of your home. You have water and toilet waste that runs through drains and pipes, electricity running through wires, and even external structures like your front steps, walkways, and driveway. All of these components are meant to stay in one place. They're not meant to move. So, if there happens to be movement occurring due to foundation cracks, these systems of your home can be impacted.
A solid foundation is vital for maintaining the structural integrity of your home. Consider the following measures. It's important to know which actions to take when you fear your home is at risk of poor structural integrity.
When you notice the ground cracking around the house, be sure to get the opinion of an expert or multiple experts, before you jump to conclusions. If there are serious problems cause by the cracks in the ground near your home, you need a structural engineer to take a look at it immediately. However, if the issues are less severe, it may not be cause for alarm. Either way, it's good to get the advice of a professional. Please make sure you ask about their credentials and experience and receive multiple quotes and estimates to make the best-informed decision possible.
All in all, cracks in the ground should be considered as having a minimal, moderate, or severe impact on your home and structure. When close to the foundation, cracks can create structural damage, such as misaligned windows and doors as well as result in damage to utilities such as plumbing and electricity. It's of utmost importance to seek out the advice of a professional in the field to assess the situation and provide preventative measures for your property to mitigate the risks. When you detect the risks early on, receive a proper assessment, and put preventative measures into action, you can protect your home and family and also maintain your normal landscape.
Please be sure to reach out to our foundation contractors at Dayton Foundation Repair Experts for more information!