Subsidence, Drought, and Cracked Foundations

Here's under the porch.
Which it's tough to see, but this is the worst crack yet.
The house is actually hovering above a portion of the foundation.
Suspended by the sinking on the other side of the house.
One of the major problems facing Liberty (both now and into the future) with its well derived water source is subsidence, a process whereby the clay in the ground swells or shrinks based on the amount of moisture in it. Perhaps you've never heard of this concept (likely they don't want you to know), but you could be a victim of it considering the continuous droughts that have plagued Liberty in the last decade (and over-use of our wells). You may be thinking that a drought is not that big of a deal and eventually it will rain, but here in the Piedmont Triad we've built our homes upon this Carolina Clay, and because of this many buildings and structures are literally being torn apart by this swelling. 

 As you can see, here is the side of the house with a very
obvious crack that stair-steps through the foundation.
The damage occurs during a drought, or the over-use of wells that causes the clay that our foundations are built on to shrink or swell like a sponge in relation to the amount of moisture it contains. This movement twists and torques the house and its foundation, often damaging the building as it does. The drought is worsened by nearby trees of which certain breeds which can siphon off 40 gallons of water a day from the soil. The unevenness of soil heights cause the foundation to basically teeter-totter until eventually the foundation cracks.

 For example this Liberty property  has suffered damage from a combination of drought, city use of wells, and the over-abundance of trees on the property. All has been well for the good part of twenty years but now that the town of Liberty is suffering water shortages, the foundation is cracking, the doors won't shut properly , and the floors have begun to slope in places.

The bottom line is this: if Liberty doesn't find new sources of water soon, structural damage will continue to be a common problem in this town.



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