There are many problems you might experience as part of being a homeowner. These can all be frustrating to deal with, but some you may not even know about until someone points them out to you. One of these less obvious problems is soil washout.
If you’re dealing with this erosion under your home, which can happen for a variety of reasons, it’s important to remember that the problem is often more multifaceted than it seems. No matter how you found out about it, whether you just noticed the symptoms of washout or you had an expert notify you, you then need to bring in an expert to help solve the problem.
When you have issues with soil washout underneath any concrete in and around your home, you need to tackle it early on. However, it’s equally as important that you gather information about the problem before you try to tackle it. Here are a few important things to consider about soil washout underneath your concrete.
The Reasons for Soil Washout
Before you look into anything else, you probably want to know the reasons for soil washout in different homes. Many homes experience soil washout and not all of them experience it for the same reasons, which means your home might have fallen victim to any one of these issues.
- Flooding and General Water Concerns in the Area
The first big problem you might experience has to do with general flooding in an area. This can be more traditional flooding, which happens when there’s a lot of rainfall, or it can be less traditional flooding, like when a significant amount of snow starts melting all at once. Either way, flooding can cause soil problems across your home.
One of the main reasons that you might experience soil washout due to flooding is because the water can more easily end up underneath the concrete of your home. With more flooding, the hydrostatic pressure becomes more intense, possibly forcing water underneath the home and therefore bringing pieces of the soil away with it.
- Issues with Soil Compression
When a construction crew is building a home, they first need to compress the soil underneath it. Not compressing the soil well enough can cause water to make its way more easily underneath the home when there is even a small amount of flooding. Then, it can carry pieces of the soil away, especially because the soil isn’t as fixed in place.
It’s also important to remember that soil compression plays a crucial role in keeping your home sturdy overall. Soil erosion is just one of the elements that can wear down the sturdiness of your home over time, eventually resulting in serious issues for your home. However, those serious issues can vary from home to home.
- Existing Divots in the Soil
If there are already divots in the soil, it becomes more likely that you’ll experience washout. This is because of how water moves and takes particles with it. It’s especially probable if the divots are in clay-like soil, but dips in any type of soil can end up expounding over time, eventually resulting in a serious soil issue.
If you have existing problems in your home’s soil, flooding can trigger exponential growth in those problems. That’s one of the reasons you might need to handle current problems as soon as possible; even outside of soil washout, which can build on itself, many other home problems can worsen with time.
Problems That Can Arise
Soil washout can cause significant issues past the soil movement on its own. If you’re experiencing soil problems, you may also end up with any of these concerns.
- New or Worsening Concrete Sinking
Concrete sinking is one of the most prominent problems that can develop from soil washout. This is specifically because soil washout tends to remove soil underneath concrete slabs, which then gives them less of a base to stand on. That means the concrete slab may start tilting or sinking overall, which can be very damaging.
It’s also important to remember that if you currently have concrete sinking problems, soil washout can worsen them. Concrete sinking is a problem that has multiple sources, but soil washout can make it worse. When soil washout is already a problem, it’s more likely to expand upon itself.
- New or Worsening Concrete Cracks
Concrete cracks are one of the other options that soil washout can create. Although concrete sinking is one possible and common consequence when the base underneath a concrete slab starts to deteriorate, it’s possible for the sinking to become too significant and cause a crack to form in the concrete slab as well.
As with concrete sinking, it’s also possible to simply exacerbate a problem that’s already there. For example, if your concrete slab is already experiencing some cracking issues, especially from expansive or contractive soils, soil washout can increase weight and pressure on one side of the concrete, allowing those cracks to become far more prominent.
- Generalized Foundation Concerns
In general, soil washout tends to negatively impact foundation health. Even if you don’t see anything wrong with your basement or your foundation, once you start noticing issues with soil washout overall, you need to contact a foundation repair expert. That’s because soil washout can have an impact on your foundation health even if you don’t notice it.
These types of foundation concerns are important to consider no matter where they start. Whether the foundation concerns started with the soil washout or the soil washout is just exacerbating foundation issues you were already having, it’s a good idea to think about your foundation’s overall health. Soil washout will often impact your foundation no matter what, so fixing the washout will be immensely helpful.
How to Fix Soil Issues
The process of “fixing” soil washout is much more complicated than it may seem in the first place. Fixing soil washout may require a multi-step process. Here are a few of the steps you might be able to take to fix soil washout problems in and around your home.
- Avoid Washout in the First Place
Though it might not feel like an effective answer, the best way you can fix issues with soil washout is to make sure you’re avoiding it in the first place. There are many potential ways to avoid soil washout, including mixing existing soil with new soil, installing effective draining methods all-around your property, and diverting floods before they arrive.
This doesn’t help if you’re currently experiencing soil washout in and around your home. Sure, avoiding soil washout can be extremely helpful, but what about when you have soil washout problems right now that you’re having a difficult time managing? In these situations, it’s very important to have a fix available for your home.
- Add Plants and Methods of Diverting Water
One option that might be beneficial if the washout is in its very early stages is to essentially add some avoidance techniques and hope it prevents worsening issues. Plants, for example, can be an immensely helpful way of avoiding soil washout; the roots can cling to the soil, causing it to retain its structure where you put it.
You can also focus on draining water from around your home in general. Water drainage techniques, which can include anything from effective downspouts to full drainage systems throughout the property, can help you avoid issues with soil washout. At the very least, they can mitigate the soil washout problems that you’re experiencing right now.
- Polyurethane Foam Injections
If part of your soil washout problems has to do with the fact that you now have a gaping hole underneath your concrete slabs, you may need to look into polyurethane foam injections. These are a great way to lift concrete in general and that includes concrete that has had issues with soil washout over the years. This is true no matter why the soil washout has happened in the first place.
Indiana Foundation Service uses PolyRenewalTM for its polyurethane foam injections. Essentially, this consists of a mixture of chemicals that puff up when combined, then set very strongly. The Department of Transportation has used polyurethane foam injections to help with potholes, sinking streets, and other problems. This can help you fill in the holes caused by soil washout, allowing you to make the most out of your concrete.
Why Should You Fix Soil Washout as Soon as Possible?
Even if you believe that fixing soil washout is important, you might not quite understand why it’s so important to fix the washout early on. Couldn’t you just wait for a bit until it becomes more serious? Here are a few of the reasons that fixing soil washout early on can be immensely helpful.
- Fewer Fixes Necessary
The longer you leave soil washout to itself, the more difficult the problem becomes. That means that the longer you wait to tackle the problem, the more fixes you’re going to have to invest in. More fixes inevitably mean more time, more money, and more inconvenience for you, which means it’s not something you want to have to resort to.
- Less Chance of Structural Concerns
Soil washout doesn’t inherently cause structural damage; a very small amount of soil washout may not end up giving you structural damage. Washout is probably going to continue to expand, eventually resulting in larger problems that may include structural concerns.
- Preemptive Fixes for Future Washout Concerns
When you fix soil washout early on, you can also add in preemptive fixes that will help you avoid soil washout concerns in the future. However, if you wait too long, you’re more likely to be unable to avoid those future concerns. It’s a much better idea to tackle your soil washout problems early on so that you can install fixes that can help you tackle future soil washout concerns.
Preemptive fixes should be one of the things you think about the most when it comes to soil washout. After all, the best fix for your washout problems is always going to be to avoid washout in general. Because many people don’t know how to learn about soil washout, identify it, and prevent it, your best solution may be to intervene early on and install one of these preemptive fixes.
Soil washout doesn’t happen for just one reason. Plus, it tends to exacerbate the existing problems that you can see in the soil already. These are the two most common reasons soil washout can happen.
- Flooding and General Water Overflow
Water is one of the main factors of soil washout; after all, without water, there is very little that can drag away your soil naturally. With that said, how water interacts with your home’s soil is what matters. Generally, it has to do with too much water; a normal amount of water, especially from rain, can be completely acceptable in a well-made home.
Because of that, flooding tends to be one of the biggest factors in serious soil washout. Underneath a concrete slab, this can be because there’s simply too much water, causing an increase in hydrostatic pressure and forcing its way underneath the slab. It can also be because so much water is rushing across the slab, eventually burrowing a hole underneath the concrete.
- Poor Planning
Although soil washout typically happens as a result of flooding, it could also be a problem that arises due to simply a lack of planning. If you’re looking to combat soil washout, you need to make sure that your home is resting on a sound foundation. Poor planning can mean that your foundation was built upon unsuitable soils or lacked the proper safeguards to circumvent that issue.
For the most part, the biggest problem tends to be that the initial construction crew didn’t tamp down the soil enough. This can make it so that the soil is more prone to moving around, which can make it easier for your concrete slabs to end up with soil washout. As such, a local expert will need to evaluate your foundation soils and check to see if this is the obvious problem. That will help them craft a more accurate and effective solution for you.
Fixing soil washout doesn’t have to be a complicated process. However, it can also be more difficult than you might assume. If you’re looking for ways to fix soil washout problems that are already happening around your home, here are two strong approaches.
- Manage It Before It Happens
This might not be one of the most encouraging answers, but it’s one of the most effective. In general, the best way you can “fix” soil washout is simply to manage it before it happens. This means being proactive in managing the soil issues, especially those near concrete slabs.
Some of the methods professionals recommend include adding plants to your landscaping, mixing your current soil with different soil types (like mulch), and making sure you have effective drainage throughout your yard. However, you can also check with a foundation repair expert to learn more ways to mitigate soil washout.
- Use Polyurethane Foam Injections
When you have soil washout that’s essentially burrowing a hole through the ground underneath a concrete slab, you need some way to refill that hole that’s simple, effective, and will last a long time. At Indiana Foundation Service, that means using polyurethane foam injections to restore your concrete to its original position.
Whether you have issues underneath your concrete slab due to soil washout or due to something else entirely, polyurethane foam injections can be a great way to fill the empty spaces underneath a concrete slab and lift it up to its initial position. Plus, polyurethane foam injections cure extremely quickly and are very sturdy, making them a great option for this problem.
Different areas are always going to have different problems in general. A home in Arizona is going to struggle with different issues than a home in New York. When it comes to homes in Indiana, these are two of the most common problems that exacerbate soil washout concerns.
Indiana has snow at various times of the year. There are many potential problems that snow can cause, but especially when it comes to freezing the ground and freezing the water in the ground. When you have snow in Indiana, you don’t often think about soil washout – but this is one of the biggest impacts it can have on your home.
Specifically, this happens when the snow eventually starts to melt. When it does, it will likely not be a big flood, but instead, a small trickle that continuously impacts the soil. That continuous impact can eventually cause soil washout, even though the process seems minor and insignificant. In this situation, the regular impact is lifting your soil and carrying important particles away.
- Different Types of Soil
Indiana is also well-known for its various types of soil. Depending on where you live, you might end up with loam or with clay-type soil. These clay-type soils tend to be the trickiest, as they end up expanding against the concrete of your home and potentially causing cracks, bowing walls, or even structural instability. They’re also the most prone to issues with soil washout.
Overall, clay-type soils are going to give you more problems under your home than other types of soil. They can lead to concrete sinking, and foundation walls weakening and leaking in your basement or crawl space. Without the proper waterproofing measures and foundation reinforcements in place, this could result in serious damage. That makes it helpful to reach out to an expert to learn how you can safeguard your home against this type of soil.
Get Help with Your Soil Problems from a Local Expert
The earlier you handle your soil washout problems, the more likely you are to be able to handle them fairly easily. That means you need an expert who can understand soil washout and help you handle it.
Many people don’t know how to handle soil washout and it’s not typically a problem you should try to tackle on your own. Instead, you should schedule a consultation with Indiana Foundation Services to make sure that an expert can come in and assess the situation, then give you information on what you can do to fix the problem. Indiana Foundation Service even offers free consultations, so you can get information before you make your choice.