Foundation Problems Explained
It is not uncommon for a house to be built on fill dirt or on a hillside. Have you seen huge, earthmoving machines working on a new subdivision? They scrape dirt from the high spots and deposit it on the low areas. The dirt that is used for fill is supposed to be compacted. However, it may not always be. Gravity and water entering the soil over time compacts the loose fill. If the compaction is not the same under the entire foundation, your foundation may fracture.
Also, the Kansas City area is largely composed of clay soils. Some of these clay soils shrink and swell like a sponge in response to the amount of water they contain. This movement can be dramatic. As the soil beneath your foundation dries out, your foundation drops. In wet weather the clay swells and lifts your foundation or can cause the walls of your basement to crack and buckle.
Besides the obvious signs of cracks in basement walls there are many signs of settlement. Many homeowners find that their doors and windows worked fine one day but the next day find that those same doors and windows stick or won't open. Cracks in plaster or dry wall, unevenness along baseboards, or cracks in exterior masonry also indicate foundation problems.
Once these symptoms manifest, it is time to contact a professional to inspect the problems with your foundation.