Clay soil in a time of drought!

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Dustin Gebers

Clay soils are pretty interesting. A lot of people would initially think that clay soil is pretty strong soil, it is to an extent. However, clay has a tendency to move a lot in wet and dry conditions. When clay is wet it expands when it is dries out it shrinks. It’s not usually a problem when you set a house it has tons and tons of weight that is setting on top of the foundation.

Consider pottery making for a moment, clay pottery more specifically. After you have shaped your clay pot you will place it in the kiln to be fired. This changes the mineral components of the clay, when you pull it out of the kiln it may be smaller than you expected. That’s because the kiln has sucked all the moisture out and all that clay has gotten really hard and shrank.

“Clay is considered as the fine grained natural rock. The composition of clay may consist of organic matter, metal oxides and clay minerals. When the clay is dried or fired, it becomes hard, non plastic and brittle. In its natural form, it is plastic because it contains water ( ).”

It’s known that foundation is the most important thing in a home. When that clay foundation shrinks during a drought like we have right now, the house is going to settle some. What does it mean by settling? If it creates gaps underneath the soil the foundation isn’t going to bridge that gap. It’s going to collapse into that gap. Same reason why sink holes fall apart; There are large voids underneath the soil, it eventually the weight of the soil that is bridging that gap will going to fail creating that sink hole. The house is no different it could be large it could be small eventually it will fail; the concrete foundation our house is made of isn’t going to hold up to that weight over that structure.

The first signs of this will be cracks above doors and windows, both becoming harder to close. Also, stair step cracking on the outside of your home in the foundation.

When it does fail, the foundation itself actually cracks; its broken. Once it’s broken, there is no amount of glue that can put it back together.

 "It's not going to heal itself when it gets wet again it's not going to push it back," Layne Gebers.

 We use different types of solutions to figure out what caused the settlement; where is it coming from, what areas need to be addressed. If you have any concerns about your foundation call in today for a free inspection. We would be happy to come out and take a look.

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