Foundation and Masonry Repair Blog

Foundation Repair 101 – Common Causes of Foundation Failure

Several tell-tale warning signs of foundation failure present themselves during the various stages of your foundation’s demise. These include windows and doors not closing or opening correctly, and diagonal cracks forming at the corners of your home’s interior walls. Additional signs include visible cracks in the concrete foundation, warped floors, cracked bricks, and new separations around your garage doors, or home’s windows or doors. If your home is experiencing foundation failure, it is a good idea to brush up on some of the common causes of foundation failure so you can avoid the situation happening again after it has been properly prepared.

Top Five Reasons for Foundation Failure


When the weather in your area constantly fluctuates from extremely wet to extremely dry, or vice versa, the soil under your home can contract and expand in relation to these weather changes. The process of the soil underneath your foundation swelling and shrinking causes your foundation to elevate and settle. Therefore, the repeated effects of this generally call for immediate foundation repair services. The foundation repair company will then re-align your home’s foundation, and seal the cracks in your foundation, so that it is better equipped to handle these random changes to the soil beneath it.


Trees, outdoor decorative plants and other types of vegetation around the foundation of your home need large amounts of water to flourish. If they remain inadequately watered, they will “drink” from the soil underneath and around your home. This process, called transpiration, causes the soil underneath your foundation to dry out in certain places. Because some areas of your soil are now dehydrated, differential settlement of your foundation occurs. At this point, foundation repair services must be utilized to re-balance your home’s foundation, making it secure again from cracking or splitting from uneven soil and water pressure.

Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks are notorious for eliciting foundation repair services. You most likely think to call a foundation repair company after a large plumbing leak to assess any damage. However, minor leaks left undetected can also contribute to cracks or other types of failure within your foundation. If you notice an increase in your monthly water bill, it is best to have a foundation repair company come out and look for small problems before they become larger and more expensive to fix.


Sometimes it is not what is coming in to your foundation, as much as what is not leaving it. If you fail to properly waterproof the area around your foundation, excess moisture can build up and cause your foundation to swell. In Georgia most homes are built on clay soils which are not good acquifers, meaning clay tends to hold water rather than allow it to soak through into deeper areas. Clay soils expand and contract quite a bit based on water content thus clay soils exert pressure on foundations or pull away thereby allowing foundations to settle or crack.

Poor Building Site

In recent years, building codes have improved to protect against sinking foundations due to poor building site conditions. However, if you own a older home, your sinking foundation might be attributed to unsatisfactory materials, unskilled labor construction mistakes or defective home construction design plans. Your reputable foundation repair company will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your foundation failure after a thorough inspection of your home’s foundation.

Certainly you can hire a foundation repair company to address foundation cracks, settling or other structural deformities. In some cases you may be able to recognize potential causes of foundation problems and take proactive steps to prevent costly problems. If you believe that your foundation may be subject to any of theses common causes for foundation failure, call a foundation repair expert for a free evaluation.