|If you currently own a home in Colorado, or are planning to purchase one
soon, especially along the Eastern "front range", the subject of
expansive soils should be of primary concern. Expansive soils cause
millions of dollars in damage annually. It is estimated that 50% of the
land in the United States has expansive soil, but it is in the populated areas
that the effects become most apparent. Colorado & Texas are the two
areas of the country most significantly affected by this condition.
With significant real estate development along the Colorado front range in the
past 20 years, the problems caused by expansive soil have become painfully
obvious. Many people have literally lost their homes due to extensive
damage and the high costs of repair. In some cases, class action lawsuits
have been brought against builders and/or developers for failure to follow the
recommendations of their soils engineers, or for failure to properly disclose
the potential risks associated with purchasing a home built on expansive soil.
"Bentonite" is a term commonly used to describe expansive soil.
Expansive soils such as clay, claystone, and shale will "swell" in
volume when wetted and will shrink when dried. This volumetric expansion
and contraction can cause houses and other structures to heave, settle, and
shift unevenly, resulting in damage that is sometimes severe.
Minor damage from expansive soil movement can sometimes be repaired for less
than $5,000. However, major damage can cost $30,000 to $50,000 and
occasionally up to $100,000 or more to repair!
Geotechnical engineering and structural engineering have come a
long way in the last 20 years, and specific foundation systems have been devised
to help counteract some of the problems inherent with expansive soils.
However, the risk of damage to homes can be minimized but cannot always be
Here are several good reasons for having your home inspected by a trained
- Not all homes in Colorado are built on expansive soil. A trained
professional knows what to look for to determine if expansive soils are
- Expansive soil can vary significantly in its destructive potential from
one area to another, even from lot to lot! An experienced professional
can help project the potential future impact of expansive soil on a given
- Some types and styles of construction are more susceptible to damage from
expansive soil than others. A professional can counsel you on the home
in question, to better understand the risks.
- Expansive soils can be expected to eventually "stabilize" under
certain conditions, but will not stabilize under others. A
professional will discuss low cost improvements that will help promote
- The beginnings of expansive soil related movement can be difficult for the
untrained eye to recognize. The experienced professional is trained to
recognize "early warning signs" that foretell of future problems.
- Click here for information about Foundation
- Click here for information about
Coyle Inspection Engineers, Inc.
2170 S. Parker Rd., Denver Colorado 80231
- Telephone: 303-745-5209