“This article is written by an independent resource not affiliated with Ram Jack.”
All houses are subject to some types of damage and repair, but the difference between foundation problems and plumbing or electrical problems can be the difference between hundreds and tens of thousands of dollars. If you live in an area of the southern United States, such as Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas, it is possible that the soil underneath your house has a higher concentration of clay. Clay is far easier to compact and is more viscous than normal soil, making it a dangerous substance to have underneath a concrete foundation and house that weighs hundreds of tons. What’s more, the soil may not be properly aerated or may be too dry, leading to further imbalance of a foundation and creating the possibility of damage, cracks, shifting, or deterioration.
The soil of Florida and Georgia has a higher concentration of moisture than Midwestern states due to the proximity to the humidity-producing ocean as well as frequent rains (and even hurricanes). When soil beneath a slab stagnates, however, it can easily lose the moisture from contact with the higher-temperature dirt around it. When the earth beneath a house loses water, it creates foundation problems; some of these problems may be easily remedied by irrigating around the frame of the foundation, but others require more intensive solutions. Florida experiences more rain than any state except Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, making most irrigation unnecessary, but also increasing the chance of shifting soil. As such, it is something of a double-edged sword to have a house in the southern-most state.
Georgia’s clay concentration is not always high, but many areas of the state are notorious for the red clay soil that gives a rust-colored appearance to the earth. While these clays are extremely rich in nutrients and make for an abundance of produce, they can easily cause sliding and shifting of a concrete base. Worse, the soil in Georgia is extremely old and weathered, meaning that it is less capable of forming firm bonds. If you live in the Peach State, you will have to monitor your house’s foundation continually for harm to the concrete base.
Identifying foundation problems depends upon how severe the damage to the property is. When there have only been minor shifts or hairline cracks, you will likely not notice any changes to the interior of your home. When a serious fault develops, however, it may be visibly apparent. The smooth level of a floor will turn into a bumpy, tilted surface. Your walls may have cracks in places where they have to support the extra weight of a leaning area. In cases when damage is severe, you may even have plumbing problems.
Repairing foundation problems can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. If your Florida or Georgia home is experiencing severe erosion beneath the base of the foundation, you will have to re-pack the soil to create a proper density and then reinforce the concrete. This can only be achieved by burrowing directly beneath the foundation with steel beams or concrete cylinders. While a contractor is capable of fixing the damage in a single day, they will have to put beams every few steps around the entire frame of your house. Some of these beams are immense, with a twenty-two inch base that fixes the sagging structure, while others are merely three inches in diameter. This will not damage the house itself, as it is harmful to use the base as any sort of lever, and allows you to retain the value and integrity of your house rather than see it degrade.