What is the Difference Between Foundation Upheaval and Settling in South Carolina?

Mar 22, 2017

Categories: Foundations

As the foundation repair experts in South Carolina, we have resolved issues with both upheaval and settling of foundations. Many people do not know the difference between the two. In this article, we will explain the difference between upheaval and settling, the signs of upheaval and settling, and solutions for both.

Foundation Upheaval and Settling in South Carolina

Upheaval occurs whenever your foundation moves upward due to soil expansion. Foundation upheaval is a very serious problem and could eventually render your home unsafe.

Settling refers to your home “sinking into” its surroundings by lowering into the soil. Settling happens to all homes, but too much settling can lead to foundation issues. Upheaval and settling are sometimes confusing since both tend to produce the same signs.

What are the Signs of Foundation Upheaval in South Carolina?

One of the biggest signs of foundation upheaval is cracks in your floor or walls. Cracks are caused by excess pressure as your foundation moves upward due to compression and will eventually separate. This can lead to the appearance of settling as one side of your home appears lower than the other because of the home lifting.

Upheaval is caused by too much moisture in the soil and there are a number of ways in which your soil can become oversaturated.

For example:

  • Removing too many trees
  • Plumbing leaks in your crawl space
  • Broken sewer lines
  • Ground that does not slope properly
  • Flooding

What are Solutions for Upheaval in South Carolina?

A common remedy for upheaval involves injecting a chemical solution in the soil underneath your home. This solution contains ammonium salts and potassium ions that prevent your soil from absorbing water. Tunnels may be dug underneath your home to lift it and allow better drainage or underpinning used to extend your foundation or redistribute its load.

What are the Signs of Foundation Settling in South Carolina?

Settling tends to result in “stair step” cracks in your foundation. You may also notice cracks on your inside walls and could make it difficult opening and closing windows. Concrete block foundations may begin to bow or bulge near the center whenever settling occurs.

A lack of moisture in the soil can lead to settling. Settling is more likely in homes where the soil was not compacted properly before building. Erosion may also result in settling, which is another reason why tree removal can be problematic.

What are the Solutions for Foundation Settling in South Carolina?

Foundation settling is sometimes repaired with underpinning and may include placing steel piers under the home to gently lift it. Another solution for settling is known as grout pumping. Grout pumping a technique of pouring thin mud or cement into the area underneath settled concrete. Polymer injections with lightweight geotechnical foam fill product are also used to stabilize the soil.

It can be difficult to determine the difference between settling and upheaval since the signs of problems are so similar.  If you are experiencing problems with upheaval or settling, contact CNT. We will work with you to ensure that the problem is identified and repaired.