If you know your soil conditions you can keep on top of foundation issues

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If you know your soil conditions you can keep on top of foundation issues


Below are helpful description of soil types and the issues that may take place so you can keep an eye out for them.

When a structure is supported by various soil conditions, the house may move differentially. As an example, if one half of the foundation sits upon expansive clay and the other half bears on select fill and/or rock, the amount of seasonal movement will vary from one half to the other half. If the foundation system is not properly designed, the differential movement may cause damage to the foundation and structure.


Many times building pads will be cut and/or filled so the bearing soil is all of the same type.


Here is an overview of soil types:


Expansive Clay Soils


Expansive clays will swell/ heave when wet and contract/consolidate when dry. If the foundation system is in the active zone (a shallow foundation), the foundation will move as moisture conditions change in the active zone.


Select Fill/ Loam


Select fill is normally defined as a sandy loam that shows little change with moisture variations. A building pad properly built with select fill/loam will support the foundation. Problems could occur if erosion occurs that changes the bearing capacity of the soil.




Sand will not change as moisture conditions change. However, sand can erode if drainage around the lot allows water to work its way under the foundation. Sand can also fall in a crack created by drying soils and cause the foundation to drift (move horizontally).




Rock can erode and expand slightly only if it is a low density of shale. In some slope conditions, fractures/ faults in the rock can allow sliding and failure if not properly pinned with tie back anchors.

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