When it comes to the stability of your home, one of the greatest factors in play is the condition of your foundation. When the ground your home rests upon is no longer stable, your entire structure is at risk. Here in Michigan, we face our own unique set of risks to our foundations. Due to the soil types in the state, the weather, and other factors, your foundation could be put at risk.
As foundation repair experts in Macomb — providing service across the state of Michigan — we are passionate about helping homeowners put their home back on solid ground. If you are worried about the state of your foundation, we invite you to reach out to our team for inspection. Read on to learn more about what the most common causes of foundation problems are in Michigan.
The Michigan Soil’s Role
First, let’s take a moment to discuss the role different types of soil play in the condition of your foundation. Not all soil is alike, and the type your home was built upon will determine a lot in the strength of your foundation. Each soil type will react differently to the moisture Michigan faces and the freezing and thawing cycles. Here in Michigan, it is likely that your home was built upon one of the following soil types:
According to the Department of Geography at Michigan State University, the soils of our state vary greatly depending on the region with sandy soils dominating the western and northern portions of the Lower Peninsula and clays/loams found most frequently in the southern Lower Peninsula. Across the state, a mix of these soils can be found. Each soil type will influence your foundation differently.
While building your house on sand might sound like a disaster, sandy soils are actually an ideal choice for homes. Sandy soils allow moistures to pass through and drain properly, which means less contracting and expanding of the ground under your foundation. Unfortunately, sandy soils are not the most commonly found in our state.
Loam soils are another solid soil type. Loam soil is comprised of equal parts of clay, silt, and sand. This makes it a sturdy soil and less prone to the pitfalls of clay soils. The biggest fear with loam soil is erosion, which can cause your foundation to sink over time.
One of the common Michigan soils that can cause the greatest number of issues for your foundation is clay. Clay soils tend to hold moisture, expanding and becoming saturated during heavy rainfall. Instead of draining water away from your foundation, clay soil will trap it there. Once the area dries, the clay soil will quickly lose moisture, causing it to crack and shift. This can have an extremely negative effect upon your foundation, leading to a slew of issues, such as cracking, shifting, and sinking. When winter is thrown into the mix, things get even worse, which leads us to our next point about Michigan foundations below.
Understanding The Freezing And Thawing Cycle
Here in Michigan, it isn’t just the soil underneath our foundations that causes damage, it is also the weather patterns we experience. Due to the cold climate of Michigan, freezing and thawing will play a big role in your foundation’s health. When you have a soil, such as clay, that is prone to holding moisture, it can spell big trouble. That moisture will cause the soil to expand and as the ground freezes, this expansion will become even more notable, placing large amounts of stress upon your soil.
Once that ground thaws, the real trouble begins. The water will melt away, leaving the ground to contract. Unfortunately, soil will not simply return to its previous size and form. Cracks will form, areas will sink, and the ground can even shift. The more freeze/thaw cycles the soil goes through, the more pronounced this can become. The larger gaps left behind can fill with more water, causing even more severe freezing and expansion. Over time, this cycle will cause your foundation, which is resting upon this unstable soil, to crack, shift, and sink.
Signs that your home’s foundation is being affected by the soil and the freeze/thaw cycle can manifest themselves in a myriad of ways. You might notice that rooms in your home have a small tilt to the floor. Perhaps you will start to see cracks forming along walls in your basement. Maybe water will start to pool in your home’s crawl space. Whatever the case, any sign of foundation damage should be taken seriously.
Protecting Your Home From Harm
If you have noticed that your home’s foundation is being weakened, the best thing you can do to protect your home is call in a professional for inspection. Here at Foundation Solutions 360, we provide foundation repairs in Macomb and across the state of Michigan. We are well versed in the soil types of the area and we can help you determine what your best course of action will be to protect your home. The worst thing you can do is ignore foundation issues once they have started. Due to the climate of Michigan, any foundation issue that starts will only worsen over time. Every single time moisture builds up underneath your home — or possibly even inside your home — you will expose the entire structure to further damages.
Need help determining whether or not your foundation is at risk? Call our team or fill out our online form to schedule a no-obligation inspection. We look forward to helping you keep your home on solid ground.