What Leads to Failed Foundations

Foundation problems are common and they usually start occurring after a few years of the construction. A lot of factors lead to failed foundations and some of them are not in your control.

The first thing that causes failure in the foundation is the soil underneath your house. The soil surrounding your house keeps contracting and expanding all through the year because of changing temperature and moisture content. Various sections of the soil have different moisture levels. Some of these will be wetter than the others and others will be drier than the others. This kind of variation in moisture level causes stress on the foundation of the house. All of these inconsistencies are caused because of:

  • Poor water management
  • Overloading
  • Excess of organic materials
  • Erosion
  • Faulty compaction

In addition to the soil surrounding the house, there are various other factors that lead to foundation failure. And these include the following:

  1. Plumbing Leaks

    – Plumbing problems like leaking pipes can cause issues with your house’s foundation. When excess of water builds up in the soil, it causes stress on the foundation.

    How a Plumbing Leak can affect House Foundation Adelaide
    How a Plumbing Leak can affect House Foundation Adelaide
  2. Transpiration

    – Transpiration occurs with loss of moisture. If there are tree roots beneath your house then the soil can get dehydrated and the loss of moisture leads to shrinking of the oil.

  3. Drainage

    – Bad drainage system in the house causes build up of excess moisture in the soil. This makes the soil to heave.

  4. Over Watering Gardens

    – When your lawns are over watered, the soil becomes wetter in certain areas again leading to foundation issues.

  5. Poor Construction

    ­– During the construction, soil needs to be removed from one area and piled over other soil. When this is not done properly, the soil does not get stabilized and it shifts below the structure.

  6. Gutters and Downspouts

    – Poorly installed downspouts and gutters cause water to flow directly to the foundation, thereby causing problems.

    Gutters and Downspouts Services Adelaide
    Gutters and Downspouts Services Adelaide
  7. Swimming Pools

    – Leakage from swimming pools can go into the soil putting pressure on the foundation.

  8. Interior Remodeling

    – Another common reason for pressure on the foundation is interior remodeling. Whenever there are any changes made to the structure of the house, it leads to pressure on the foundation.

Other Foundation Failure Reasons

Improper design of the footing, slabs, or the basement walls of a house also creates foundation related problems. This is the case especially with houses made on expansive clay soils. These kinds of foundation failures can be divided into two categories – lateral pressure and differential settlement.

  • Lateral Pressure

    – Main sources of lateral pressure include pressure from soil swelling, pressure from soil weights, pressure from frost, and hydrostatic pressure. This kind of pressure has the potential to affect your house’s integrity. You can identify lateral pressure through various signs such as inward bowing of the basement walls and cracking walls. Damage caused due to lateral pressure can be serious because it can cause openings through which water can seep in causing further damage.


  • Differential Settlement

    – When the foundation settles unevenly in different parts after the construction then it is known as differential settlement. This is the main reason for structural damage. Two main reasons for differential settlement are soil’s poor drainage conditions and any kind of change in soil structure.  

    Foundation Settlement and Structural Damage Adelaide
    Foundation Settlement and Structural Damage Adelaide

Telltale Signs of Foundation Failure

For foundation related problems, it holds true that the earlier you recognize the problem and get it resolved by a professional, the easier and cheaper it will be. Therefore, by understanding about the signs of foundation problems you can get it fixed before it damages the entire foundation.

If you keep your eyes open and pay attention to what happens to the structure of your house then you can read the signs of foundation failure, before it is too late. Here are some telltale signs of failing foundations:

  • Misaligned windows and doors
  • Leaning walls
  • Floor cracks
  • Leaning chimney
  • Sinking garage
  • Cracked porch or stoop
  • Creaky doors

If you notice any of the above signs then probably there is some issue with the foundation of your house. And if there any foundation related problems at your house then you can completely trust Northern Underpinning. We are a reliable company with 20 years of industry experience. We have delivered excellent underpinning, restumping, and reblocking services to numerous houses in Adelaide. We use only the best foundation repair products to ensure your house’s foundation gets back to its original integrity. Call us to know more about our services!


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