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Foundation Errors That Lead To Structural Problems

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Having a proper building foundation is essential for the structure’s long-term integrity. But some construction companies may make foundation mistakes that lead to severe issues.

What Are The Symptoms Of Foundation Failure?

Most people know that a flawed building foundation can cause severe structural problems. But how do you know when a building has a problem with the foundation? Look for these signs:

  • Windows stick: You may notice this issue when trying to open and close windows. Or, the windows may not latch as they should; this happens due to higher pressure from stressed walls, making them shift.
  • Floor tile cracks: Cracking floor tiles is a common building foundation sign. They may crack from uneven pressure due to the foundation slightly shifting. If your maintenance team sees multiple cracked tiles in part of a building, investigate the foundation.
  • Nails popping from drywall: It’s common for nails to occasionally pop from the drywall in a new building as minor settling occurs. But if you see nail pop-outs all over the building, there may be a foundation problem.
  • Major wall cracks: Hairline cracks in office walls are not a big deal; they usually just mean there’s a bit of settling. However, if you notice cracks that are .25” or wider, there could be foundation issues. Cracks this large suggest a significant problem.

Hollows In The Soil

The first part of a building project is to dig out the foundation. Unfortunately, when the construction team does this work, it will disrupt the soil’s stability. That’s one reason ground improvement services may be needed to ensure the soil can handle the load.

When the team pours and cures the foundation, there could be soil instability if the ground improvement isn’t done. Then, hollows in the soil may form under the building.

In response, the foundation could sink into these hollow spaces when it takes on the weight of the building. Sinkage may lead to foundation flaws and cracks. There could be basement flooding and significant structural damage in the worst case.

Slabs Are Uneven

It can be challenging to control the speed at which concrete is poured into a building’s foundation. The construction team may pour the slab improperly, making it harden with one part slightly higher than the other.

Uneven slabs may affect how the building’s structural supports are placed. Also, an uneven slab is more likely to suffer damage over the years, and there can be damage to other parts of the building.

Concrete Is Improperly Treated

Concrete may seem simple to the layperson, but it’s pretty complex. A construction team may not treat the concrete as they should. Improper curing is a common issue. If it cures too quickly, the concrete may become brittle and more prone to cracks.

Concrete can also be cut too hastily before curing, and structural damage may occur.

Too Much Water

A lot of water can make the soil under the building expand. If the soil expands too much, excessive foundation settling could create foundation and structural problems. This does not mean excessive rain will cause significant issues with the building’s foundation.
However, it’s essential that the building being constructed has proper drainage installed to make sure water flows away from the foundation as much as possible.

When too much water flows around the foundation, the soil may expand in one zone and not in another, leading to stress on the foundation.

A proper foundation is just as important with commercial construction as residential construction. Fortunately, proper construction techniques and ground improvement methods go a long way to ensuring your building’s foundation will stand the test of time.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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