North Carolina is known for high biodiversity made possible by NC’s wide range of climates, soils and topography. This variety of climate, soils and topography however results in a range of foundation problems for homes and buildings.
NC’s different climates vary the amount and frequency of rain, temperatures and soil contraction and expansion. Different soils respond in a variety of ways to these water and temperature changes, expanding and contracting and shifting. You can see the temperature ranges in these links to maps of NCs maximum temperatures and minimum temperatures by month. North Carolina’s topography affects structures too, when buildings are built on slopes for instance, or in low laying wetland areas.
As new land is needed for development because the best land has already been developed, the field of ground improvement to stabilize less stable ground has grown.
Expansive soils are one of the major causes of foundation problems. Clays are known for their capacity to absorb water and expand. The fact that North Carolina leads the production of clay for brick manufacture in the US, and that the pottery arts are strong in NC, may be good news for business, but it’s sign of how much clay there is, and that’s not good for foundation stability.
Check out this map that shows levels of clay content in the soil across the US at a very generalized level. From this map you might think NC didn’t have any foundation problems, but we do.
Remember, before you choose your lot for a new construction home, seriously consider getting a soil engineer to test the lot’s ability to support your home.