Apartment buildings have various kinds of issues that need to be addressed. However, if you experience similar repairs over and over again, such as windows and doors that won’t close properly, cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors in multiple units, there could be an underlying issue with the foundation that needs to be fixed. Without addressing the root cause of the problem, any repairs done may just be quick fixes that won’t last for long.
Foundation damage is often the root cause of many types of structural faults within apartment buildings. It is also the reason why these problems keep recurring every time. Causing tenants to keep requesting the same kind of repairs.
When the soil below the damaged foundation continues to shift, the impact of this movement is felt throughout your building. This causes the widening of old cracks, as well as new cracks to emerge. Additionally, windows and doors on which the frames were recently fixed begin to distort yet again –causing doors and windows to stick. When you thoroughly inspect the building’s exterior, you may notice huge cracks in the concrete walls, external bricks, and blocks. Cracks are also visible at intersections where building sections are joined together.
Causes of Foundation Damage
Expansive Clay Soil
If you’re regularly experiencing these structural faults, it is highly likely that your apartment building is built on top of expansive clay soil. Clay soil responds differently to moisture. That is, the soil expands when it’s wet and shrinks when it dries out. Furthermore, clay soil shifts when the moisture content changes. All these regular movements are usually responsible for the cracks and faults you see on your building.
In case you’re wondering how shifting clay soil can damage a solid concrete structure, here’s why: when the soil shrinks or shifts beneath your building, the weight of your building sits on a weakened surface thus lacking the support it needs. On the other hand, if clay soil expands, it exerts an additional pressure of up to 7.5 tons per square foot on your foundation which triggers damage.
Reasons behind the Challenges Faced by Buildings Standing on Clay Soil
As opposed to the past, buildings put up today are less troublesome thanks to improved construction techniques and building codes. Unfortunately, buildings which were built in the past lack these benefits because when they were constructed, most of the changes hadn’t been implemented. Multi-unit and multi-story residences are built using a variety of types of building designs.
Aside from how buildings are constructed, there are numerous other factors that can cause foundation damage. Neglecting issues that have something to do with landscaping, especially when building on expansive clay soils, can cause future foundation problems. Plumbing leaks which are not detected in time end up flooding the soil below the foundation. This washes away the soil, which triggers foundation damage.
Additionally, over watering of lawns next to the building is not recommended. It causes swelling of the clay soil which puts pressure on the foundation.
Large Tree Roots
When you have large tree roots beneath your foundation, these suck a lot of water from the soil underneath or close to the foundation. This significantly weakens the soil, and means that there is not sufficient support as most of the soil has pulled away. When run-off water from the roof settles on the ground right next to the apartment walls, it causes heaving and erosion which leaves a depression where water accumulates. During the dry weather season, foundation watering is critical to ensure the soil that sits near the foundation does not dry out.
Granite Foundation Repair has vast experience in handling diverse foundation faults and repairs in multi-unit residences such as apartments, townhouses, and condominiums. We also provide top-notch foundation repair services for multi-unit commercial buildings. We have a team of experienced and qualified professionals including structural engineers.
When our team visits your property, it doesn’t matter how complicated your foundation problem is, we have what it takes to guide you appropriately and put in place our expertise to ensure your foundation is fixed. Contact us today for more information.