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CFI with level on foundation in West Virginia

Foundation Settlement & Sinking

Every building experiences some form of settlement, but without the proper protection, this common occurrence could turn into a disaster. Here’s everything you need to know about this foundation problem sign.

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You may have heard of foundation settlement before. Every single structure will experience settling as it adjusts to the soil below it. Unfortunately, this process is rarely perfect, and may lead to other foundation problem signs or structural damage around your home. Thankfully, Basement Authority of West Virginia has foundation solutions designed to protect your home from settlement and sinking.

cracking exterior foundation

What Causes Foundation Settlement & Sinking?

Foundations rely on sturdy soil beneath them in order to settle properly. However, soil can be weakened in a number of ways, and without sturdy soil, your home is likely to sink into the ground and experience damage.

Soil Washout

Soil washout simply refers to excess moisture that washes away soil particles. West Virginia experiences an above-average amount of rainfall throughout the year and is also prone to snowfall during the winter months. Both forms of precipitation flood the soil with water and erode the ground over time. Additionally, blocked gutters and drainpipes may contribute to soil washout, as they dump massive amounts of captured water into your yard. 

No matter the source of water, soil washout makes the ground muddy, soft, and weak. Think about what happens when your car gets stuck in mud – your tires sink into the ground and can’t find any traction as you push on the pedal. Your foundation acts in much the same way during soil washout, sinking into the soil and becoming stuck as the weight of your home pushes down on it. As it sinks, your home becomes damaged.

roots and soil layers with blue sky

Drought and Dry Soil

West Virginia rarely experiences drought conditions, but dry soil can still affect your foundation. During the summer months, the sun’s heat beats down onto the soil. If left in the sun long enough, the soil dries out – shrinking in volume and becoming brittle as the moisture evaporates from it. These circumstances make it nearly impossible for your foundation to stay supported. 

As the soil shrinks, gaps open up between the ground and your foundation. Additionally, the brittle nature of dry soil is easily crushed by the weight of your home and foundation. Your foundation settles and sinks unevenly below the ground and causes structural damage to your home.

Poor Compaction 

When a new home is constructed, builders usually clear a large plot of land and later fill it in with soil. During this process, the construction crew will compact the soil and try to pack it together tightly enough to support the new building. In many cases, this artificial compaction doesn’t work very well and ends up leaving small pockets of air throughout the soil. Eventually, the weight of your home’s foundation mixed with these air pockets causes the poorly compacted soil to collapse. Once again, your home is left with foundation problems throughout.


Settlement sinking may lead to other foundation problems. Since foundation settlement has a direct affect on your home’s structural integrity, you can expect damage to certain structures throughout your home. Wall cracks are one example; as your foundation sinks below the ground, it causes the walls of your home to shift and crack. You might see cracks appear either inside, outside, or both. Another structural problem you might face is uneven floors or sagging floors. Lastly, windows and doors might become harder to open as they become unaligned due to settlement sinking.

No. We don’t recommend you DIY your sinking foundation. Foundation repair requires extensive knowledge and specialized tools. Without the proper training, you could end up causing more damage to your home or injure yourself. Not to mention, most home repair stores don’t carry the proper materials for foundation repair. Most professional foundation specialists use pier systems to keep your foundation protected from settlement sinking. Your local hardware store doesn’t carry these specific repair tools, or the machinery needed to install them.

While all buildings experience some form of settlement, if your foundation appears to be sinking into the soil, it’s not normal. Common settlement is gradual and barely noticeable. When your foundation sinks below the soil too quickly, it leads to foundation damage and problem signs around your home. You shouldn’t mistake signs of a sinking foundation for regular settlement patterns. Moreover, the best thing to do is protect your home from any kind of settlement to prevent a potential disaster in the future. Removing the possibility for damage is valuable when it comes to owning a home, and we have solutions that can help.

Call Us for a Free Inspection 

Since 2003, Basement Authority of West Virginia has been serving homeowners in Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Wheeling, and surrounding areas. With our foundation repair solutions, we provide quality service and permanent fixes to your foundation issues. We know that your home is important to you, and we always do our best to make sure it stays protected. Contact us to learn more about our foundation solutions, and to schedule a free inspection with one of our technicians. We’ll come to your home and devise a plan to make sure whatever is causing your foundation troubles is solved quickly while meeting your individual needs!

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Clarksburg, WV

1807 West Pike Street Ste C
Clarksburg, WV 26301