Why is the Soil Pulling Away from My Foundation?

Why is the Soil Pulling Away from My Foundation?

soil pulling away from my foundation

The foundation of a building is crucial for its stability and overall safety. Homeowners may encounter the unsettling sight of soil retracting or pulling away from the foundation. This occurrence can be quite worrying, as it often indicates underlying foundation issues. So, why is the soil pulling away from my foundation? We will explore the primary causes of this problem and provide you with strategies to address it.

Primary Causes of Soil Pulling Away

Natural Soil Shrinkage

Soil is a living entity, and it undergoes changes due to various factors. One of the primary reasons for soil pulling away from foundations is natural soil shrinkage. As soil dries out, it contracts, leading to gaps between the foundation and the soil.

Poor Water Drainage

Water plays a crucial role in the health of the soil surrounding your foundation. If water isn’t draining away from your home properly, it can lead to the soil drying out and retracting. Gutters, downspouts, and proper landscaping can influence this aspect.

Tree Root Systems

Large trees planted near the foundation can also be a factor. As trees grow, their root systems expand in search of water. These roots can draw moisture from the soil near the foundation, causing it to pull away.

Implications of Soil Retraction on Foundations

Foundation Settlement

One of the primary concerns when soil pulls away is the potential for foundation settlement. If the soil that supports the foundation shrinks considerably, the foundation might sink or settle unevenly, leading to structural issues.

Cracks in the Foundation

As the soil moves away and the foundation potentially settles, this can result in cracks. While some small cracks might be benign, larger, more noticeable cracks can indicate significant structural damage.

Impact on Property Value

Beyond the immediate structural concerns, if the soil consistently pulls away from the foundation, it can have an adverse effect on the property’s value. Prospective buyers might view this as a sign of a problematic foundation, making the home harder to sell.

Addressing the Problem of Soil Pulling Away

Rehydrating the Soil

A simple solution might be to rehydrate the soil. This doesn’t mean flooding the area but rather ensuring consistent moisture levels to prevent excessive drying and contraction.

Adjusting Landscaping

Consider reviewing the plants and trees near the foundation. If large trees are too close, their root systems might be a significant factor. While it’s not always feasible to move a tree, understanding its impact can help make informed decisions.

Installing Root Barriers

For homes with trees planted near the foundation, root barriers might be an option. These barriers deter roots from growing towards the foundation, ensuring they don’t pull moisture away from the soil in that area.

When to Seek Professional Assistance

If you’ve observed that the soil is pulling away from your foundation frequently, it might be time to consult with professionals. They can offer insights into the severity of the issue and provide recommendations for both immediate and long-term solutions.


Understanding why the soil is pulling away from your foundation is the first step in addressing the issue. Whether it’s natural soil shrinkage, drainage issues, or invasive tree roots, recognizing the cause can help in implementing the right solutions. It’s always advisable to keep an eye on the health of your foundation and the surrounding soil, ensuring the safety and longevity of your property.

If you have concerns or are unsure about the state of your foundation, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts is here to assist you.