These two clay samples started out exactly the same in size, weight, and composition. The sample on the right was allowed to dry out, while the one on the left we kept moist.
If a small sample of clay can gain this much volume when it gets wet, just imagine how dramatic the changes are in the soil around your home!
The soils around your home can put enormous pressure on foundation walls. The amount of pressure they exert depends on four factors:
There's constant pressure on your foundation walls from the outside, but the only thing holding up your foundation wall is the wall itself. Hydrostatic pressure, expansive clay soil, and frost can all exert enough pressure to cause walls to lean or even collapse.
When you notice paint or plaster pealing off your wall.
If you can not see the damage that does not mean it is not there. The caps on chimneys look like this after 5 year. Water will damage everything below the cap.
There is improper support for this I beam. Absolute uses "H" beams which has double the strength and then we block in the top with headers with bolts. After that we sister the headers again with more bolts and nuts.
Once water gets into the chimney from a broken concrete cap, several things can occur such as spalling brick.
Most houses have beams embedded in your concrete foundation wall. Over time the pressure of all the weight from your live load can cause stress cracks in your concrete then leading to more settling problems.
Improper grading around the exterior foundation can cause major damage to your foundation.