My foundation has heaved 1 1/2 inches, why aren’t I seeing more interior damage?
Well, there are a couple of possible reasons for this. The most common reason that you don’t see as much interior damage is because your home is wood frame, which bends and flexs more easily than your heaved concrete foundation. There is also the possibility that your home is not heaving quite as rapidly as the concrete foundation.
In other words, the soil under your home has pressed up the foundation, but the grass, landscaping, patios and deck are pinning the framed portion down. Sooner or later, the heaving forces of the soil will overcome the flexing and bending capabilities of the frame structure and the interior damage may appear. Naturally, your most cost-effective option is to remedy the heaving prior to the interior damage becoming apparent. This way, you don’t have to spend money repairing the framing in the structure.
Heaving foundations are not as common as you may think. In fact, Denver and the surrounding communities along the Front Range are home to some of the most expansive and heaving soil in the nation! These conditions exist because there are large deposits of bentonite soil that settled into the Front Range during Spring melt from the Rockies. Bentonite soil is a highly volatile expansive clay that rapidly expands as it absorbs water. The reason that it is considered volatile is that bentonite will suddenly absorb water and expand, rather than doing thisgradually. In general, this creates tremendous amounts of pressure on concrete foundations. It has been recorded that bentonite soil can heave a two story home as much as 8″ in just a few moments.
If you believe that your home rests on bentonite soil, or even mildly expansive clay soil, consult a structural engineer to do a soil test, or you can contact your county assessors office for neighborhood soil maps. Engineers have developed remedies for heaving soils’ affects on your home. If you believe that heaving is occurring in your home, contact a foundation repair specialist immediately. This will minimize costly damage to your home.