- By Naveesh Sharma
- In Civil Construction, Commercial Construction, DIY Home Renovation, Planning & Design, Residential Construction
As we near the start of summer, many of us are thinking about renovations and DIY jobs. It’s ‘hosting season’, so our minds are conjuring up ways to make our backyards look great.
Yet, this season brings a challenge that so few of us know about: moving house foundations.
All clayey soils react to the presence of water. We know what you’re thinking: but in summer, there is no water. Exactly. We’re talking about moisture content, which is low in summer. This is a crucial part of how the soil underneath homes behaves.
Find out what the soil type is in your area because only reactive soil moves. You can source this information from the soil classification reports of your property (or adjoining properties). This way, you can determine if your home is situated on a reactive profile.
That summer heat can dry out the soil, causing it to shrink and pull away from the house. This leads to uneven soil movements, foundation settlement, and damage (such as cracks). As you can imagine, it’s a serious issue.
How prevent structural issues? Become a ‘house inspector.’
At Solution for Construction, we encourage homeowners to educate themselves, so they can intercept potential structural issues and then get the right help. Preventing cracks in your house foundation is no different.
Get into the habit of checking your home before, during and after one of those infamous 40+ degree stretches. Grab yourself a pen and paper, then go through this list:
• Check for sags in the roof. This is a major sign that the foundation is shifting.
• Are your doors and windows seem tight or difficult to open and close?
• Look for cracks in the interior of the house (ceilings and walls). If you have a two-story house, the cracks would be more common on the second floor.
• Noticed the tiles in the bathroom or kitchen beginning to buckle?
• Inspect for cracks in the soil around the house
• And, gaps around exterior doors and windows.
Educating yourself is essential, so you can find issues, but also so you don’t make assumptions. The soil underneath the crack isn’t necessarily where the foundation is failing. The crack simply occurred at the weakest point of the foundation.
All you need to know is that the crack has happened, not where. That’s the professionals’ job.
Ignoring the signs that your foundation could be in trouble can lead to other major (expensive) issues, like plumbing or roofing damage. Your house can literally start to sink if the cracks don’t close over time. Once movement beyond 5mm has developed, your investment could be in trouble.
This is why we recommend regular inspections. The Solution for Construction team can help ensure your house is maintaining its structural integrity, through every season.
Here are some tips on how you can keep your home’s structure resilient.
• Water near the house foundation to help avoid the soil from drying up in the heat
• Avoid having large trees near the house. During hot seasons trees’ extensive roots look for water –usually sourced from the foundation soil, causing shrinkage.
• Install an apron of paving around the garden to prevent damage while watering soil that affects footings extends beyond the actual building line.
• Don’t over water your garden. Test it by looking and feeling with your hands. It should only be slightly damp.
Grab yourself a copy of the CSIRO Foundation Maintenance Guide and book in one of our structural experts to conduct an inspection.
Enjoy those summer heatwaves, without worrying.
Give us a call today to learn more about our services!
Bachelor of Civil Engineer & Master of Engineering Science (Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology)
2A/ 2 Portrush Road, Payneham, SA 5070
M: 0405 950 053 T: 08 7225 6514