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Differential Settlement

Differential Settlement

Differential Settlement

When a home or structure of any kind is built some form of minor settlement will take place. This would be considered normal settlement if it occurs within the first twelve months of construction. There’s always a settlement tolerance with any structure regardless of the type of construction, spread footing to deep foundation systems (single story homes – 100 story buildings)! When settlement takes place after the first twelve months of construction, its anything but normal. Any signs of foundation settlement should be addressed early on, when they are in the early stages. When foundation settlement signs are ignored this will more than likely lead to very costly repairs to the foundation along with expensive cosmetic repairs to both the interior and exterior finishes.

The TERM normal settlement is a term typically used by a  real estate agents. This term is simply not true, if you see cracks in the exterior or interior walls call a Engineer like Foundation Masters, LLC for a free evaluation.

Types of Foundation Settlement

These are the three types of Foundation Settlement or Foundation Displacement types! 

  • Uniform Settlement
  • Tipping Settlement
  • Differential Settlement

All three types of settlement issues can take place for a number of different reasons. The main causes for foundation settlement (depending on the zone you live in) are: expansive soils beneath the structure that swell and shrink during moisture content changes through the seasons, tree roots of maturing trees, flooding, poor drainagehydrostatic pressure, soil migration, freeze and thaw, damaged mechanical lines, poor construction, road or construction vibration, poorly compacted fill soils, sinkhole activity, organic layers, buried construction debris, hillslide or hill-creep. One thing to remember is that today’s standard construction practice and building codes have a life expectancy of 20-25 years on a spread footer and monolithic foundation types, and 15-20 years on post tension foundation types. This however, doesn’t guaranty any foundation will survive unscathed for this lifespan.

Foundation Settlement Repair

If you notice any signs of settlement, consult with a engineer that is experienced in foundation and structural repairs like Foundation Masters, LLC to determine if the settlement is actively moving and may need to be addressed. If it needs to be addressed, Foundation Masters, LLC Engineers will determine the cause of the settlement and the proper steps to fix the situation.