Minimize the Effects of Expansive Soils on a Home

Along with the rain showers, hazards have arrived

This winter season has brought much needed rain relief to California. However, along with the rain showers, hazards have arrived. Some, like floods, landslides and mudslides, are visible costly catastrophes that Californians have dealt with before. However, ‘expansive soils’ is a hazard that can quietly lurk beneath a home and can cause extensive structural damage.

Expansive soils absorb water thereby increasing in volume during rainy seasons and retract during dry periods. The absorption of the soil can put pressure on a structure and cause damage like cracks in the foundation & walls, separation of floors, walls & the roof, as well as plumbing problems. When the soil dries out and retracts it can remove support from the structure. It also can leave deep cracks in the ground leading water deeper into the soil. As this cycle goes on without remedy, it can put stress on the structure creating costly damage to walls, foundations, driveways, swimming pools, plumbing and floors.

Homeowners can practice measures to minimize the effects of expansive soils on a home

  1. Make sure rainwater properly drains away from the home, and is directed out toward the street. This helps over saturating the soil.
  2. Fix areas around structures that have poor drainage. Maintaining a uniform moisture condition around the home throughout the year helps prevent the soil from drying out and shrinking. Avoid over-watering.
  3. Be sure trees are planted at least 10 feet away from any structure as trees tend to extract moisture from soil causing shrinkage.
  4. Be sure to fix any leaking pipes immediately as the soil around the foundation could become saturated and distressed if a leak is allowed to continue for a long period of time. Property I.D. is the only disclosure company that includes a disclosure for areas susceptible to expansive soils and other soil hazards in its Reports.




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