Whether we are talking about your home or a small commercial building, one thing is certain, the structure is relying on different layers of soil to support it. Each of these layers have their own thickness, density, and load-bearing characteristics. Much of the deeper soils have been in place for thousands of years or more. These soils were placed by wind, water, or glaciers.
The other contributing soils were put in place by builders/contractors as your structure was being built. The reason they did this was to create a workable, in some cases level, surface for the structure to be constructed.
In Colorado the soil types are generally made up of three particle sizes- clay (small), silt (medium), and sand (large). Expansive soils are more prevalent in Colorado than many other areas of the country. Colorado’s Front Range includes the foothills and plains on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Many of Colorado’s most populated cities such as Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs are located in this area. The soils in these areas are very poor for construction and often have large layers of bentonite soil. Bentonite usually forms from the weathering of volcanic ash in sea water, or by hydrothermal circulation through the porosity of volcanic ash beds. This process converts the volcanic glass present in the ash into clay minerals. This type of clay soil will absorb large quantities of water, which give it the ability to increase its volume by a factor of eight!
Vertical movement of your foundation, whether it be from settlement or heaving, occur because of the expansion, contraction/consolidation of the soils they are resting on. The expansion and contraction in these soils occur because of varying periods of heat, cold, rain, drought, and sunlight.
When the soil support under your foundation shrinks or goes through long period of saturation, your property sinks. When the soil under your foundation saturates and swells, your property heaves.
This movement often causes structural damage that should never be ignored. These issues do not fix themselves, and if ignored, can worse quickly over time. If the problem does get worse, it can rapidly decrease property value and quality of life for the owner.
HomeStrong offers the highest quality, permanent solutions to these problems. Contact us for a free foundation inspection and recommendation.