The Causes of Foundation Damage

Your home’s foundation serves as the bedrock of its structural stability, and when signs of damage emerge, understanding the root causes is essential for effective resolution. In this blog, we’ll delve into the various factors that can lead to foundation damage, ranging from soil movement to drainage issues and the impact of nearby construction.

Soil Movement

Changes in moisture content are a major contributing factor to foundation damage. Expansive soils, which swell when saturated with water and shrink during dry periods, can exert pressure on the foundation, leading to movement and potential damage. 

This is because as the soil expands, it pushes against the foundation, causing it to rise. When the soil shrinks, it pulls away from the foundation, causing it to settle. This constant cycle of movement can cause cracks in the foundation, which can allow water to seep in and further damage the structure. 

Poor Drainage

Improper grading occurs when the ground around the foundation slopes towards the house instead of away from it. This can cause water to pool around the foundation, which can saturate the soil and make it unstable. Over time, this can lead to foundation problems such as cracks, bowing, and settlement.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure, the force exerted by water pushing against an object, can be a significant threat to foundation stability. When the soil surrounding the foundation becomes saturated with water, it can generate substantial hydrostatic pressure, pushing against the foundation walls. This pressure can lead to cracks, bowing, and other structural damage to the foundation.

Homes located in areas with high water tables are particularly vulnerable to hydrostatic pressure. The pressure from groundwater can rise up and push against the foundation, potentially causing damage. If you live in an area with a high water table, it is crucial to take steps to protect your foundation from hydrostatic pressures.

Regularly inspecting your foundation for signs of damage, such as cracks, bowing, or misaligned doors and windows, is essential for protecting your home from the detrimental effects of hydrostatic pressure. If you notice any signs of damage, promptly consult a qualified foundation repair specialist for evaluation and appropriate remedial measures.

Tree Roots

The presence of large trees with extensive root systems near the foundation can significantly impact soil moisture levels and the overall stability of the foundation. These trees absorb moisture from the surrounding soil, leading to soil shrinkage and potential settlement of the foundation. This is particularly concerning in areas with clay-rich soils, which tend to expand and contract significantly with fluctuations in moisture content.

Nearby Construction

Construction activities near your home can have a detrimental impact on your foundation’s stability. The vibrations generated by heavy machinery, such as jackhammers and piledrivers, can shake and destabilize the soil surrounding your foundation, leading to cracks, bowing, or other structural damage.

Excavation and backfilling activities can also disrupt the soil’s composition, making it more susceptible to movement and instability. The removal of soil can alter the load-bearing capacity of the ground beneath your foundation, while the introduction of new soil layers can create unevenness and instability.

In urban areas, construction activities often involve the use of deep foundations, such as piledriving. The heavy impacts and vibrations associated with these techniques can transmit through the ground, potentially causing damage to nearby foundations.

Poor Construction Practices

A foundation’s stability can be compromised by a number of factors, including inadequate footings and compromised soil stability during construction. Improper footing design or inadequate support can lead to settlement or movement of the foundation, while disturbances to the soil, such as poor compaction or backfilling, can weaken its bearing capacity and contribute to foundation damage.


Foundation damage is often the result of a combination of factors, with soil movement playing a central role. Homeowners should be vigilant about addressing issues related to soil moisture, drainage, tree roots, and nearby construction activities. 

Regular inspection, proper drainage maintenance, and proactive measures can help safeguard the foundation and ensure the long-term stability of your home. If foundation issues are suspected, consulting with a qualified foundation specialist or structural engineer is crucial for a thorough assessment and appropriate remediation. Contact Bedrock Foundation Repair today for a free estimate!