© Foundation Systems Hawaii, Inc. 2018

GEOTECHNICAL DISTRESS FACTORS

Water

The soil that your foundation rests on can be exposed to water in many different ways. The physical characteristics of each soil determine the ability to withstand water. Water can erode the soil out from under your house causing it to settle. Water also affects the bearing capacity of the soil that the foundation rests on. Your first line of defense against foundation movement is proper drainage.

Soil Conditions

The most common and undesirable soil condition, here in Hawaii, is expansive clay soil. The expansive properties allow the soil to shrink and swell with the changing moisture content. This soil type has the ability to shift your structure, creating cracks in the concrete slabs, walls, etc... When a structure is supported by various soil conditions, the house may move differentially. The amount of movement can vary from one half to the other. If the foundation system is not properly designed, the differential movement may cause damage to the foundation and structure.

Slope Creep

Slope creep is the action of soil moving down a hillside.  Slope creep can be caused by different reasons, such as weathering or poor preparation of fill soil. The soil movement is typically very slow, but overtime the results can be severe and damaging.

Other Factors

Improper fill and/or compaction, tree root decay, poor drainage, under slab plumbing, inferior construction.

Recognizing Geotechnical Distress

Cracks in concrete, interior walls, brick and hollow tile, sticking windows and doors, roof leaks, separations at joints, sunken and uneven floors, cracked tile/flooring, walls that are buckled or bowed.  
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