Top 5 Reasons Why Most Louisiana Homes Need Leveling Within the First 3 Years
Louisiana, a land steeped in rich history and vibrant culture, is home to stunning architectural designs and lush landscapes. However, being located in the Gulf Coastal Plain, Louisiana also comes with a unique set of challenges for homeowners. One prevalent issue that many residents face is the need to level their homes within the first few years of building them. In this blog post, we will explore the top 5 reasons why this phenomenon is so common.
1. Expansive Soils
What are Expansive Soils?
Expansive soils are clay soils that expand when they absorb water and shrink when they dry. Louisiana, with its high rainfall, is abundant with such soils. When a house is built on expansive soil, the constant change in volume can cause the foundation to heave, settle, or crack, necessitating leveling.
2. Flooding and Water Damage
Flooding in the Bayou State
With its low-lying topography and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana is no stranger to flooding. Floodwaters can penetrate foundations, causing them to weaken and settle. Additionally, continuous exposure to moisture can cause wooden support structures to rot, which can also lead to the house sinking or tilting.
3. Construction Quality
Subpar Construction: A Recipe for Disaster
In some cases, the need for house leveling can be attributed to the quality of construction. Some builders might use subpar materials or methods, or not adequately prepare the ground before construction. This can result in a weak foundation that doesn’t hold up to the natural elements, causing the house to settle unevenly and require leveling.
4. Tree Roots and Soil Erosion
The Impact of Louisiana’s Lush Landscapes
Louisiana’s lush landscapes mean that many homes are built near trees. Tree roots can grow beneath a home’s foundation, drawing moisture from the soil. This can cause the soil to contract and the foundation to sink. Furthermore, excessive rainfall and poor drainage can lead to soil erosion around the foundation, causing it to lose support and settle.
The Sinking of the Land
Subsidence, or the sinking of land, is a widespread issue in Louisiana. This can be caused by various factors, including natural settling of the earth, extraction of underground resources like oil and gas, and the aforementioned soil erosion. When the ground beneath a home sinks, the foundation often follows suit, resulting in the need for leveling.
Understanding the challenges that come with building a home in Louisiana is essential for prospective homeowners. Awareness of issues such as expansive soils, flooding, construction quality, tree roots, and subsidence can help individuals make informed decisions regarding site selection, construction methods, and maintenance practices. With proper planning and vigilance, it’s possible to mitigate these challenges and ensure a sturdy and level home for years to come.
For more information on how flooding affects Louisiana homes, visit the United States Geological Survey’s page on “Floods in Louisiana” [USGS]. This provides detailed insights into the history of flooding in the region and its impact on the built environment.