How Soil Type Can Impact Your Foundation
A solid foundation is crucial to a home’s structural integrity, but a foundation relies on the stability of the soil underneath it. Different kinds of soil tend to expand, crumble, or shift in varying weather conditions. Over time, if left unchecked, changes in the ground can cause cracks, sinkholes, or structural problems in your property.
Before planning any foundation installation or repair, it’s essential to determine the type of soil. For prevention, understanding the type of soil under and around your home can help avoid foundation repair.
North Texas’ Terrain Creates a Variety of Soil Types
The type of soil in your neighborhood is a result of the region’s terrain, plant life, and weather. There can be huge differences from one type of soil to the next. North Texas has three different soil regions, including:
- The Blackland Prairie with black and grey clays
- The Eastern Cross Timbers with sandy loam soil
- The Grand Prairie, with a mix of clays, limestone, and sandy loam
Throughout Dallas and extending southward are areas with volcanic ash layers called Austin chalk.
Soil type affects the structure and maintenance of your foundation. One soil may call for steel pier piling, while another may make drainage a priority.
The roots of hedges, shrubs, and trees near your home can also undermine your foundation if not kept in check.
Managing Your Soil Type
Here’s a look at how different soil compositions may affect the need for foundation repairs.
North Texas has several kinds of clay soil. The extreme heat of the summers combined with clay’s tendency to expand and contract as it holds and releases water puts stress on area foundations.
Composed of tiny particles, clay expands with water and shrinks with drought. In some areas, wet clay can move the foundation up and down, putting a strain on it. Adequate drainage can alleviate this problem.
In this region, the challenge comes when clay contracts in the hot, dry summer. It can shrink so much the position of a home’s foundation changes.
Keeping an eye on your clay soil and wetting it during dry spells can minimize this shift and delay or avoid foundation repairs.
Rock includes bedrock, limestone, sandstone, shale, and hard chalk. In this area, limestone is most common. Rock provides stability and depth and makes an excellent foundation.
However, there can be downsides. Trees may not have enough depth to flourish. Homes on a slope may need bracing for extra safety, especially if the underlying soil is high in shale, which can slide. Some rock soils can expand and contract as the weather changes like the clay soils do, although not to the same degree.
Sandy loam is excellent for supporting foundations and flourishing gardens. It’s often a combination of sand, silt, and clay. Unlike clay and rock, it maintains water at a balanced rate and drains well.
Sandy loam is dark in color and feels soft, dry, and crumbly in your fingers. The most frequent concern with foundations built on loamy soils is erosion.
Address Foundation Concerns Early
Catching a foundation repair early saves expense and hassle. If there is a problem with your foundation, it won’t go away on its own. Our experts can stabilize your foundation and help prevent further damage.