What is Foundation Settlement and Why Does it Happen?

The foundation of your house is the base for your home. It can be scary to think about it shifting, and hearing or seeing signs of movement can be overwhelming for a homeowner. For the most part, this settlement is completely normal, and not something you should be overly concerned about. 

Your house is built on the ground, and house settling occurs when your house naturally displaces small air pockets in the ground over time. Normally, foundation settlement happens in very small units of measurement – fractions of a centimeter that you might not notice at all.

Ground and Cement Composition

Since your house is supported by the ground around it, it is good to note the type of soil that lays underneath and around your home. Some types of soil can cause more foundation damage than others.

  • Soils that contain more clay and peat are expansive – they will expand and shrink based on weather conditions and moisture levels.
  • Soils that contain more sand are subject to being washed away over time. This can lead to more gaps and holes below the foundation.
  • Soils that contain more rock can bear more weight, however they need to be level or anchored.
  • Soils that contain a combination of the above elements, otherwise known as loam, is ideal for house foundations. 

Common Signs of House Settling

Cracks are the most visual indicator of a basement and foundation settling, but not all cracks are a major concern. Depending on the size, depth, and location of the crack, you may or may not need foundation repair. Take photos and check back frequently. You can track the foundation settlement progress, as well as provide the photos to your Foundation Specialist if you would like to engage an expert. 

Other signs of foundation settlement can include sticking and hard-to-open doors and windows, unlevel door and window frames, and uneven flooring. 

What Should You Do as a Homeowner?

As a homeowner, you should be on the lookout for:

  • When cracks appear. Cracks that appear years after the home is built may indicate issues beyond the settlement of a new construction.
  • Changes in cracks. Cracks that get wider or longer over time may mean recent movement.
  • Crack design. If the width of the crack is larger on one end than the rest, it may indicate the location of a foundation’s weak point, or whether the foundation is pulling away from the rest of the house.

With over 65 years of experience, K Kuypers Construction has helped plenty of homeowners like yourself evaluate and repair foundation settlement issues. K Kuypers is a family-owned business operating in Edmonton, Alberta.  We offer free estimates, and are happy to help with all of your foundation needs!