Austin is different. One major difference between where you are moving from and here is our local soil composition. Right now some of you might be thinking “who cares about dirt?” Well, if you are considering buying a home in Austin, you should know how soil conditions may affect your future home. Here’s the quick and dirty version of what you need to know about Austin’s soils – the dirt on dirt in Austin.
Austin Dirt Can Cause Extensive Foundation Damage
It is generally acknowledged that the soils which underlie most houses and buildings in Central Texas contain moisture-sensitive clays. The common characteristic of these various clays is that they shrink when they dry and swell when they absorb moisture. These “expansive” clays perform this way whether they are in the field or beneath buildings acting as foundation support soils. Most problems with foundations built on these soils are caused by a non-uniform shrink/swell of the soils, which causes non-uniform foundation settling or upheaval.
Foundation Damage Can Be Controlled and Prevented in Most Cases
Foundation distress or damage from this natural and normal soil behavior can be controlled by managing the uniformity of the foundation soil moisture. The goal is to maintain soil moisture at a uniform and constant condition regardless of the weather.
Watch for Settlement Cracks and Differential Movement
Failure to properly manage soil moisture conditions may result in settlement, differential movement, swelling, wall/ceiling cracks, drive-way and walk-ways upheaval and other similar conditions. These conditions can be cosmetic and no cause for alarm; sometimes these conditions are of a more serious nature and need immediate correction. Don’t assume and don’t guess. Have an experienced home inspector, foundation contractor or soil engineer evaluate.
Have All Settlement Cracks Evaluated When Buying a Home
Recommendation: Whenever you see conditions that may be the result of soil movement, shrinking, swelling or evidence of erosion, such as, cracks in foundation, patio slabs, drive-ways or walk-ways, consult an independent licensed Professional Engineer to evaluate the integrity of the structural components and their relationship to the soils. It’s peace of mind at a nominal fee.
Worried About Buying an Austin Home in Poor Condition?
As experienced Realtors who have worked with buyers for a combined 58+ years, we assume the responsibility to counsel our clients about conditions that may affect the value or desirability of a property. Buying the right house starts with being an informed consumer.
Looking for an Experienced Realtor to Help You Buy Right?
Our team of Realtors has a combined 58+ years of experience representing home buyers in all types of markets. We’ve seen just about everything and can recommend professionals that can help you evaluate the condition of a home so you aren’t surprised. Check out our Austin Home Buyers section for more tips and to learn how we’re different than you’re average Realtor. Then, call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation conversation.
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