If you have experienced foundation problems in the past, or are currently seeing some of the tell-tale signs that you currently have foundation damage, your first thought is likely about getting it repaired. Beyond that, you will probably want to get to the cause of the foundation problem to prevent it from returning. While there are a number of possibilities for the cause of foundation damage, one of the most frequent is the weather. Naturally, the next question to ask is. How does Baton Rouge weather affect my foundation?
The weather of the summer and fall of 2016, have taken their toll on homes in the area, but have also given us a very clear example of how foundation damage occurs. The simplest answer to the question involves the moisture levels in the soil our homes are built on. In Louisiana, and South Louisiana especially, we have very rich, alluvial soil. While this type of soil is great for plant life, it can make things tricky for a home owner. When we see extremes in weather, as we have this year, these issues come to the forefront.
In August of this year, we experienced record rainfall in a very short period of time. In fact, experts at the National Weather Service and NASA classified it as a “1000 year” rain event. In the simplest possible terms of explanation, we were left with a lot of water that had nowhere to go and as a result, we experienced catastrophic flooding.
But, when it comes to your foundation, the flood wasn’t the end of the battle. Believe it or not what has happened since the flood can be just as detrimental. Following a very wet July and August, September and October have been very dry. This is when foundation problems can rear their head. When we experience very wet months, our soil absorbs as much moisture as it can. This year, that was to the point of saturation and beyond. When the soil absorbs the water, it expands. When the moisture levels in the soil drop, the soil subsequently contracts. This movement is often the cause of foundation problems.
If your home is on a slab, you can be left with a void where soil was previously well packed. That void can lead to an uneven sinking or sagging in your slab. This can lead to a major crack as your slab is not meant to bend and you are left with cracks in your walls, windows that stick, or other signs you see both inside and outside your home that tell you foundation problems have occurred. If your home is raised, meaning you likely have a pier and beam foundation, those beams can shift with the moving soil and the same symptoms show up.
Even though we are now a few months removed from the flood, that doesn’t mean foundation problems are out of the question. The process may have started, but has yet to show the undesirable results that may occur. As we move into cooler, drier months to close out 2016, now is the right time to be on the lookout for potential foundation damage.
If you do see some signs that lead you to believe you have foundation problems, you should call someone immediately to assess the damage. What’s more, since our soil is unique in Louisiana, you don’t want to trust that assessment, or any potential repairs, to someone who isn’t familiar with that uniqueness. With over thirty years of experience in Baton Rouge, we know the ground your house is built on. As a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, and a member of the Capital Region Builder’s Association, our knowledge and expertise is unparalleled locally. If you have any questions, or would like us to get a first-hand look at your foundation, feel free to give us a call at WCK Foundation Repair.