Once your home’s foundation was completed, previously excavated soil is replaced or “backfilled” around the walls. This soil is loose and fluffy, and not as dense or tightly packed as undisturbed soil farther away from the house. Because of this water can easily collect in the soil directly surrounding the home and create a “clay bowl.” The soil expands and contracts as it becomes saturated and dries out. When saturated soil expands, it exerts pressure on the foundation walls known as hydrostatic pressure. When this constant force becomes more than the walls can handle, they will begin to show signs of failure in the form of cracks and inward movement.
The Clay Bowl Effect and Hydrostatic Pressure
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