New Home Foundation Problems

Every new house deserves a strong, stable base to support its structure.  A good foundation must be nice and flat for the new construction and able to uphold a substantial amount of weight.  It should act as a barrier to protect other structural materials for instance, wood which is susceptible to infestation and rot.  It ought to be unmovable regardless of the soil conditions surrounding it. But unfortunately, not every new house gets this good of a start.

Although it is commonly assumed that foundation problems only occur in older house, this is not always the case.  It has been discovered by Consumer Reports that 15% of new homes have severe foundation problems.

The main causes of the foundation problems found in new homes include:

  • Homes were built on soil not properly compacted
  • Homes were built on expansive soils
  • Homes were built with inadequate or failing support systems
  • Homes were built with overall poor construction

The surface of the ground must be level in order to build a foundation.  If it is not, many times builders will provide soil from a different location and use it for fill in areas where needed.   The new soil is very light and loose from being freshly dug up, especially in comparison to the hard-packed soils that are already existent in the ground.  

Because of this, the builders must first compact the new soil thoroughly before building a foundation on it.  It is these top layers of soil that the foundation depends on to keep it stable. If the soil compaction process is not completed properly or is not done right, this can cause the foundation to settle once bearing the weight of the house and the soil beneath it consolidates.

Remember, not all soil is created equally.  Soil content varies from place to place and is not always optimal for new housing developments.  However, that does not stop investors from building new homes in areas with a high demand, even if the building site is full of expansive soils.

Remember, expansive soils swell and shrink with water moisture levels.  If water moisture levels are low when the foundation is poured, the soil around the perimeter of the foundation will swell first due to its direct exposure to rain or irrigation water.

On the other hand, if high water moisture levels are present during construction, the foundation will actually contain the moisture within itself, with the exception of the outer edge.  This part of the foundation gets an extra dose of heat and wind because it is directly exposed to it which in turn causes the moisture levels to vary within the foundation itself and under the house ultimately causing settlement.

So, just because you have a brand new home, doesn’t mean it is completely risk free of foundational failure.  To avoid problems, it is wise to have a trained professional advise you on your foundation during the building of your new home and afterward.