Identifying Problems of Unstable Soil
For those who are considering purchasing a home, the potential hazards of unstable soil is a real problem. One of the major issues is that this is not always easy to determine when viewing a home. Buyers may see a perfectly groomed lawn, beautiful landscaping and find out later that the property is an accident looking for a place to happen.
Unstable soil has the potential of creating numerous problems for homeowners. Some of these problems include the home settling too quickly causing foundation damage or finding water in the basement every time it rains. Additionally, soil erosion can cause trees to uproot and fall on the home creating even more damage.
How can home buyers protect themselves?
It can be challenging identifying unstable soil especially since not all homeowners may be aware that there are problems. Some immediate signs that a home is built in unstable soil is the condition of a foundation. When buying a home, a thorough inspection of the foundation should be conducted. Looking for cracks, signs of repair or other faults that may give signs that a home foundation has been recently repaired or is in need of repair can be helpful.
Additional checks can be made by looking at the soil in the yard that the property is built on. Check under decks, porches and shrubbery to see what type of soil is on the property. Signs that there may be problems include pooled water, extremely sandy soil or hard clay.
What can a home buyer do if they suspect unstable soil?
If a home buyer suspects that a home has unstable soil the best thing they can do to protect themselves is to contact a professional soil tester. These professionals will conduct what is known as a percolator test which can determine the stability of the soil. These professionals have specific training and tools that help them determine how stable the ground is.
Another method of determining how stable the soil is may be to review topographical maps of the area which may provide information regarding the soil in the area. However, these maps are not always current or entirely accurate.