No homeowner in Arkansas wants to hear that they have a plumbing problem, especially one that’s indicative of severe and costly problems, like foundation damage. Unfortunately, some relatively common plumbing issues can stem from foundation movement, and others can contribute to tens of thousands of dollars worth of necessary foundation repairs.
Below, we’ll explain how plumbing issues can cause foundation problems and how repeated calls for plumbing services in Northwest Arkansas might mean your actual problem is foundation related.
How Can Plumbing Issues Cause Foundation Problems?
Unfortunately, damage to your plumbing often results in the need for costly foundation repairs. Below are some of the most common foundation issues brought about by plumbing damages in Springfield and the surrounding area.
When pipes running through or near your foundation leak, they can rapidly saturate the soil around them. The most prevalent soil in Northwest Arkansas is Stuttgart soil, the state soil. This dirt is characterized by a high concentration of clay, which expands when it gets wet.
If the soft water in the area leads to pinhole leaks or a line freezes and bursts, it will leak into the ground and cause localized soil expansion. This increase in volume puts undue pressure — called hydrostatic pressure — on one part of your foundation, sometimes causing structural cracks to form. Leak repairs are an option, but these damages often reach into thousands of dollars to get the leak repairs done.
Water Intrusion & Moisture Build-Up
In addition to the excess pressure on your concrete foundation walls, water leaking from plumbing pipes and saturating the ground can seep into your basement or crawlspace. Even after leak repairs, the moisture they caused can move quickly through settling cracks and structural cracks, but it can also wick directly through undamaged concrete and evaporate into your under-home area. Water in your basement is dangerous enough, but if the water trapped in the concrete freezes during the cold Arkansas winter, it will expand and create additional foundation problems as well as requiring leak repairs.
Water and moisture in your basement will almost certainly lead to mold growth over time, which means even tiny plumbing leaks in your home or outside can promote mold growth in your basement. Even after leak repairs, mold could still be forming from the leak, pre-repairCertain types of mold growing on your concrete block walls can eat away at the concrete, weakening it over time. Not only will mold reduce your indoor air quality and put you and your family at risk, but it can also cause foundation problems.
Which Plumbing Issues Could Be Caused by Foundation Problems?
Unfortunately, the relationship between foundation problems and plumbing problems goes the other way as well: foundation movement can contribute to breaks in plumbing supply lines and drainage pipes, which then makes the foundation damage worse. Below are some of the common ways foundation damage can contribute to plumbing issues in Northwest Arkansas.
Low Water Pressure
As mentioned above, the soil in Arkansas is rich in clay particles, which expand when they get wet and contract when they dry. With the above-average rainfall residents in the area experience, the soil can grow and shrink quite rapidly in response to changes in ground moisture. Eventually, the ground movement can cause your foundation to shift or crack. If you have plumbing lines running through the concrete — as most homeowners do — you’re likely to have breaks as the rigid copper fails to move with the concrete.
You may find low water pressure in your sinks or showers as a result, as some of the water running through the supply line is escaping before it reaches your fixture.
Slow Basement Floor Drain Fixtures
Similarly, the natural expansion and contraction of the soil on your property can cause foundation shifting that damages your main sewer line, which often exits your home through the basement wall or basement floor drain. Cracks in the sewer line allow water and human waste to seep into the ground, which attracts tree roots in search of nutrients and water.
Tree roots are known to be invasive to broken sewer lines, often growing directly through the cracks and clogging the drain pipe.
Inside your home, you may notice that your sinks and showers slowly fill when you’re using them and your basement floor drains slowly after you’re done. If this occurs in a single fixture, chances are there’s a small clog in the local waste line. If this happens across multiple fixtures, you more likely have a sewer main clog that could be caused by infiltrating tree roots.
Unfortunately, sewer main clogs can be very costly to clear, and you’ll likely be looking at more significant repair costs if the clog was caused by foundation movement.
Wrapping Up: How Your Plumbing Issues Could Mean Foundation Problems
Plumbing problems in Arkansas can be expensive and cause massive frustration. Unfortunately, some homeowners in the area find that their plumbing issues are linked to foundation problems. Issues with plumbing systems can lead to foundation damage, and foundation damage can promote plumbing problems.
If you’re noticing mold growth, increased humidity, pooling or standing water in your basement, or cracks in your foundation walls, they might be caused by an underlying plumbing problem. Similarly, if you notice low water pressure in your home or that your basement floor drain or other fixtures drain slowly, your plumbing issue might really be indicative of a foundation problem.
Vesta Foundation Solutions is an award-winning Oklahoma City foundation repair contractor and crawl space waterproofing specialist founded in 2017. We repair over 40 homes a week ranging from concrete repair to dirt crawl space solutions. We service parts of Northwest Arkansas including Springdale, Fort Smith, Bella Vista, Fayetteville and other surrounding cities!
When it comes to the long-lasting stability of your home, it is crucial to have an experienced professional to call. Vesta is a company that understands the best practices that will help restore and protect your home's structural integrity. We provide free, no-obligation estimates in crawl space repair, foundation repair, concrete lift and leveling, and basement waterproofing.